Low-carb diets have long been symbolic of having “magical” properties when it comes to fat loss, but in reality, it’s no better than any other diet according to every meta-analysis on the totality of scientific evidence.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet as well, but it’s very low-carb, to the point fact where the body begins to use fat as fuel rather than glucose.
Fat isn’t used directly, fat is converted into the fuel source referred to as ketones, such as beta-hydroxybutyrate or BHB. Ketones can cross the blood brain barrier and also fuel the brain.
Typically the ketogenic diet is 5% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 70% fat.
The low carb diet is generally anything less than 25% carbohydrates.
Let’s use an example to clarify the difference between keto and low-carb.
Let’s say that 50g of carbohydrates was your threshold for ketosis, again this is over simplifying it, and 55 g per day would shift you out of ketosis, this 5g difference has a huge impact on your metabolic function; regardless, you’re still in a low-carb (actually a very low-carb diet).
So that’s the crucial difference between keto and low-carb diets.
Keto is an adapted metabolic function. Low-carb is still using glucose for fuel while keto-adaptation uses ketones.
So what are the benefits of keto?
Well, it seems that there’s some potential for short-term rapid weight loss and has been used as a means to make weight classes for sports such as martial arts or gymnastics.
In general though because the diet is more satiety and you lose cravings for carbohydrates which are symbolic some of the most unhealthy foods which have a lot of processed sugar and thus calories.
Keto is often an appealing option to the obese who want to eat tasty food like bacon and still lose weight.
When keto is done wrong, meaning you’re eating processed meats and large amounts of processed dairy, then it’s not the healthiest option.
This is isn’t necessarily bad for the short-term as losing weight will rid many of the risks of obesity, but if it can’t be sustained for both keto and low-carb then it’s not worth it.
To the contrary when it’s done right you feel incredible. Mental clarity and euphoria are not unheard of from reports around the internet.
Keto is unhealthy when you forget about your healthy fats, you over consume dairy and feel like you can eat anything in the world that doesn’t have carbs.
Overall the decisions between keto and low carb or any diet for that matter is self-sustainability.
There are some unique benefits to keto as I outline in the video, but they are not worth it if you can’t sustain a healthy version of it long-term.
If ever in doubt with your diet then follow either the Pegan/Mediterranean diet and couple it with intermittent fasting and you’ll be good to go.