Most of the fitness freaks of the contemporary times are following the simple mantra of a low carb high protein and fats based diet. This format has a proven track record of cutting down weight and also manages a number of medical conditions like epilepsy, type 2 diabetes and so much more(1, 2, 3).
Two such dietary plans are keto diet and the Atkins diet. Both these formats propose a drastic cut down on the carbohydrate filled food intakes and ramp up the portions of proteins and fats. Although both these dietary plans have certain similarities they also have certain dissimilarities as well. In order to understand whether keto is better than Atkins diet, it is important that you first get a proper idea of each of the diet plans, their aims, purposes and essentially the differences.
What is Keto Diet?
The keto diet proposes a low carb intake, moderate protein, and a high fat intake pattern. In the mechanism of this diet plan, the carb intake is really low about 20 to 25 grams on a daily basis. In any cases, the amount should not go anything beyond 50 grams on a daily basis. Due to this limited supply of carb, the body starts breaking down the stored fats for energy and fuel. This process is also known as ketosis(4). This is a diet that has also been used for the treatment of children with a record of seizures(1, 5). The carb intake portion is not to be increased at any point and the body is coaxed to remain in this format of ketosis throughout. It is important to note that the high fat which needs to be consumed must be healthy fats like nuts, nut oils, mustard oil, avocado, olive oil, salmon and other fatty fish to get the omega-3 fatty acids(4). Processed fats must be avoided at all costs.
What is Atkins Diet?
The Atkins diet is a highly popular diet plan all over the world. Atkins diet is similar to the keto diet and includes high fat, moderate protein, and low carb intake. This is a dietary plan that has a number of versions, the original one known as Atkins 20 is the most followed one. This diet plan can be broken down into four different phases. These stages are based on the number of carbohydrates that you have on a daily basis.
However, this carbohydrate has to be devoid of alcohol and sugar intake(6).
Phase 1: This is the induction phase where the carb intake is somewhere between 20 to 25 grams on a daily basis. This phase will continue until you are at a difference of 7 kg from the weight that you did set as your target.
Phase 2: In this phase, your carbohydrate intake increases to 25 to 50 grams on a daily basis till you are at a difference of five kg from the target weight that you did set for yourself.
Phase 3: In this phase again there is an increase in your carbohydrate intake from 50 – 80 grams on a daily basis. This format is to be maintained until you attain your desired weight goal and have also maintained it for a span of one month.
Phase 4: This is the final phase where you start an intake of 80 – 100 grams of carb per day so that you can maintain your weight from there on.
The plan of the Atkins diet is a moderate one where you can steadily increase your carbohydrate intake as you get nearer to your desired goal(7). This allows you to have a much larger variety of food and also move towards a more normal eating style. Even then the amount of carbohydrate that you eat is much lesser than what people eat generally.
Is Keto Better Than Atkins?
A clearer analysis will reveal the fact that the basic essence of both the dietary plans, Keto and Atkins, have certain distinct similarities. Both, the Keto diet plan and Atkins diet plan work on the idea that the supply of carbs to the body must be reduced so that the body can start using its stored fats for energy(4, 7). This is one of the most proven processes of burning fats. However, there is a stark difference between the natures of the two dietary plans. The keto diet is a much stricter and a stringent pattern of diet where the intake of carb happens to remain very low throughout. This is one of the aspects that make following keto for the long term really difficult and tiring. This is not so in Atkins where you can increase the intake of carb once you start nearing towards your goal. Once again in a keto diet, it is important that you keep a check on the level of the ketones in your body. This is costly and also a difficult process and maintaining it for a long term can become quite a challenge.
Additionally, the affectivity of the keto diet over the long term happens to be quite questionable. Its immediate and short term effects are one aspect that has been researched and investigated quite well. However, its long term effects must be further investigated for surer results(8).
One of the biggest problems of the keto diet is that it stops the supply of large many important nutrients to the body. Even if carbohydrate makes us gain weight, it has its own benefits for the human body. Keto diet is a form of diet that restricts many types of important food elements like fruits, legumes, many types of vegetables and so on. This can create a serious deficit of nutrients in the body if the diet is followed for a very long time.
In this context, it can be said that Atkins diet allows a much more moderate intake of a wider variety of food elements which allows the supply of important nutrients in your body as compared to keto and is thus better with respect to following the diet for a long time perspective.
On a closing note, it can be said that although keto diet can give you faster results it also deprives you of a large number of nutrients that is important for a healthy system. Following a very strict keto diet can frustrate you over time. Atkins diet is a much more relaxed and easy to follow if you are planning for a long term dietary plan. However, the affectivity of either of the plans depends on the nature and the constituency of your body. When it comes to the human body no two bodies are alike. Hence the way your body will react to either of the dietary plans is not something that can be concluded on the basis of a general example. You must observe the effects of the diet on your body and the take a call of either continuing it or switching to another alternative and also which is better for you.
- Atkins R. Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution. Harper Collins; New York, NY, USA: 2002.
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