Keto vs Atkins Diet
Which One Has the Upper Hand?
The Keto vs Atkins debate has been raging for years with neither able to establish a clear advantage in the eyes of the public. Both have their passionate advocates and equally ardent detractors so trying to find a definitive answer to which is better can be challenging. Much of the confusion regarding which low carb diet is better centered on the fact that there is a significant amount of overlap between the two diets. But while the overlay is real there are genuine differences as well. Below we’re going to take a close look at both the similarities and the differences between the diets. First a brief overview of each.
What is the Atkins Diet?
The Atkins Diet is often called the "Atkins ketosis diet", which you eat as much fat and protein as possible while avoiding foods that are high in carbs. This process has been known to work for many people along with medical proof from proven professionals. The Atkins diet has been highly popularized and it consists of 4 different phases:
Facts about the Ketogenic Diet:
The Keto diet (read about it in-depth here) was developed nearly a century ago. Like the Atkins diet that came after it (and borrowed from it) this diet relies on drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and entering ketosis where the body is burning fat for energy. There are several accepted variations of the diet:
The Important Differences Between Them:
The following table presents a side by side comparison of known issues with the 2 diets so you can better understand the important ways in which they differ.
With Atkins this changes from phase to phase, starting with drastic reductions followed by gradual re-introduction.
Fixed level: Approximately 10% of average consumption.
Carbohydrate Monitoring Method
Three 4 to 6 ounce servings of protein daily.
Approximately 1 gram of protein for each kg of bodyweight.
Calories of last resort after protein and carbohydrates.
Significant fat intake. As much as 75% of daily food intake may be comprised of fats.
Atkins and ketosis is a 4 phase process where carbs are slashed then gradually reintroduced.
Once nutritional ketosis is achieved optimal carb, fat and protein levels are sustained.
With the Atkins diet ketones are at maximum levels during phase 1. After that ketosis is slowly ratcheted back.
Optimal production levels maintained throughout.
Time When Individual Achieves Ketosis
With ketosis the Atkins diet looks to achieve it in phase 1.
Depends on the individual.
Atkins Diet Risks
The Atkins diet has begun to fall out of favor in recent years for one significant reason: the perception that it’s self-contradictory. That is, at the beginning of the Atkins process one is expected to drastically reduce carbohydrate intake by as much as 90%. Doing so initiates the process of ketosis which results in the burning of fat instead of carbs for energy. Rapid weight loss often ensues. However, as noted above, starting with “phase 2” of the Atkins diet carbohydrates are gradually reintroduced. Many claim this reintroduction is in fact where Atkins bars ketosis and so collapses in on itself.
What often happens, however, is that once allowed to eat high carb foods again, discipline breaks down, ketosis is abandoned, and weight gain resumes. In essence, the person has put their body through a complicated transition process (achieving the state) for no reason.
Keto Diet Risks
Some nutritionists raise concerns about the Keto diet because it encourages the consumption of fats. In fact, as much as 75% of your daily macro nutritional intake may consist of fat under the diet. Why is this a problem? Because numerous studies have suggested a link between the consumption of saturated fats and an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer. It should be noted, however, that as of this writing there is no proven link between the diet and those maladies. We are simply stating that it is technically possible but there have been no real life cases of it ever happening.
Also, the most common issue that people tend to talk about when it comes to this diet is the "Keto Flu." Although, it has been known to be a direct result from lack of vitamins and minerals in the body which can be easily prevented by using the right supplements (see our recommendations).
Which is Actually Better?
Both diets embrace ketosis and have been shown to be beneficial to a fair percentage of those that undertake them. However, the fact that the process of Atkins diet carries with it the seeds of potential “relapse” is understandably enough to turn some people away. Dieting, after all, is difficult enough, without putting your body through major changes for no reason. By presenting their “phases” as being a kinder, gentler way of achieving ketosis Atkins creators seek a balance that may be untenable. Which raises the question: “Is Atkins a ketogenic diet?” The answer would be: “No.”
The Keto diet, by comparison, asks you to make significant changes and then to incorporate those changes into your lifestyle on a permanent basis. No compromising. No backing away. Just a full adjustment regarding how you view food in general and nutrition in particular. So which is the better the lifestyle, Atkins or Keto? For the above-stated reasons, Keto seems to be finally emerging as the preferred method of low carb, ketosis weight loss as it is slightly easier to maintain. Paired along with its other health benefits, it has cemented its place as the better lifestyle in our opinion.