Keto Vs Atkins: A Doctor’s Opinion

    At my clinical setup, we have seen scores of patients pouring in with complaints of obesity and excessive weight gain, despite the efforts of exercise and calorie restriction. New research continues to arrive on new ways of eating. One of these ways includes the ketogenic diet; today we’ll look at keto vs the Atkins diet, a similar older plan.

    Benefits Of Losing Weight

    The advantages of losing weight are:

    • Decreased risk and development of diseases 
    • Improved blood sugar and blood pressure levels 
    • Greater mobility
    • Greater self-confidence and improved mood
    • Betterment in sex life

    Ketogenic Diet 

    The ketogenic diet (keto diet) is an effective low-carbohydrate diet that can help shed those extra pounds effectively and quickly. 

    Dietary Proportions Of Keto

    Macronutrients are essential nutrients that you require in large amounts that are necessary for the body. If you are motivated to give the keto diet a try, here’s the proportion of macronutrients that you should be taking:

    • Fats 70-80%
    • Proteins 20-25%
    • Carbohydrates 5-10%

    How Do Keto Diets Work?

    Carbohydrates are the main igniting fuel of the body. A vast majority of people are habitual of taking more than the recommended amount of calories that is mainly in the form of carbohydrates. The recommended value of carbs that you should take daily is 200-300g/day. In a ketogenic diet, you are supposed to take large quantities of fats, moderate quantities of proteins, and almost negligible amounts of carbohydrates.

    Carbohydrates coming in less than 50g per day shifts the metabolism towards the stored glycogen reserves in the body that runs out soon. For this reason, the body has to shift to stored fats for energy. Plus, the high fat intake promotes the burning of stored fats in the body. Fats (lipids) break down into ketone bodies (chemical products of fatty acid breakdown) that accumulate in the blood to form the metabolic state of ketosis (a condition due to excessive accumulation of ketone bodies).

    How Long Until You See Changes On A Keto Diet?

    The time before initial results varies from individual to individual but generally, the body can enter a ketosis state within a few days to one week of the diet; more commonly, it takes around two weeks until you start noticing a difference in weight, a study suggests.

    Downsides Of A Keto Diet

    Although significantly effective for weight loss, there is another side of the coin too. Following a keto diet for the long-term may take a toll on your nutrition and general health. Some of the common side effects of a long-term keto diet may include:

    • Nutrition deficiencies (e.g. vitamin B, iron, zinc,) due to restriction of whole grains and fruits
    • Decreased fibre intake (due to restricted fruit and whole grains) can disturb your gut health
    • In a ketogenic diet, satisfying yourself with a limited variety of foods may be quite difficult. Most people find it challenging to follow a keto diet for a longer time
    • Being on a keto diet for prolonged periods can also cause keto breath (fruity smell from breath) and keto flu (headaches, irritability, fatigue, and hunger)

    What Is The Atkins Diet?

    The Atkins diet has been around for a long time and also reduces your carbohydrate intake, but it doesn’t take as strict an approach as the keto diet. This is because the Atkins diet is divided into phases. Just like the keto diet, you should include amounts of fats, moderate amounts of proteins, and very low carbs. The diet proportion however, varies according to the phases, which are:

    The Atkins Diet Induction – Phase 1

    This is the induction phase and allows only 20-25g of carbs to be taken per day. This proportion is continued until you are 15 pounds (7kg) short of your goal weight.

    The Atkins Diet Balancing – Phase 2

    This phase begins when you are 10 pounds (5kg) from your decided weight. You can start taking up to 50g of net carbs each day.

    The Atkins Diet Pre-Maintenance – Phase 3

    Once you have achieved your goal weight, you have to maintain it for at least a month. Then begins the 3rd phase, where you are allowed to take 50-80 grams of net carbohydrates on a daily basis.

    The Atkins Diet Maintenance – Phase 4

    This is the continuity of the maintenance phase; however now you can consume 80-100g of net carbs each day. What seems like a great rise in dietary carbs intake is just an incremental increase and is still pretty small compared to what most people consume.

    How Does The Atkins Diet Work?

    The Atkins diet works in a way similar to the keto diet, i.e., by burning fat stores of the body. But as previously mentioned, limitations to carbohydrate aren’t as strict as the keto diet.

    Downsides Of The Atkins Diet

    While the atkins diet is easier to maintain in the long run, the drastic cut-down of carbs in phase 1 of the atkins diet may cause some side effects like dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and constipation. 

    Similarities Between Keto Vs Atkins Diets

    1. Both are low-carb diets
    2. Atkins’s induction phase is similar to the keto diet (very restrictive)
    3. Both result in effective weight loss

    Differences Between Keto Vs Atkins Diets 

    1. Keto diet allows a 20% proportion of calories to proteins while Atkins allows 30%
    2. The process of ketosis does not take place on Atkins
    3. Atkins allows a small number of carbs to be taken with time while the keto diet stays strict throughout 
    4. Atkins allows a wider variety of foods to be consumed comparatively
    5. Ketosis leads to nutritional deficiencies and is tough to maintain whereas Atkins is easy to follow

    Keto Vs Atkins: Which Is Better?

    Both diets do a great job of assisting with losing weight, for maintaining glycemic index, and improving diabetes. The low carb diets are equally effective in managing epilepsy symptoms, a trial suggests. These diets also improve the fat profile of the body and aids in digestion.

    There is no strict answer that points to one diet being superior over the other; there are downsides and positives with both diets. 


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