Endless Christmas cookies in the office breakroom and holiday gatherings filled with festive cocktails and goodies may already have you thinking about a weight-loss plan for the New Year. And if you’re thinking about cutting carbs, you may be considering whether you want to try keto or go low-carb. The diets are similar, but registered dietitianBrigitte Zeitlinsays there are some major differences, too.
First up, keto is much more restrictive. Keto is a low-carb diet, but not all low-carb diets are keto, which has followers eat 70% of their calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 10% from carbohydrates. But with low-carb diets, some people cut every kind of grain or sugar, while others may eat fruit or quinoa, it’s all relative. And with general low-carb diets, you’re not eating as much fat as you are on keto.
So which one is better? Zeitlin says for most healthy people who are trying to lose weight, a low-carb diet would be better because it doesn’t force your body into an unnatural state - ketosis. Low-carb has you cut down on foods high in sugar and starches, so you can drop pounds and still maintain a healthy form of energy for your body and brain to run on. And it can be more sustainable in the long run because you don’t have to stick to keto’s 70/20/10 ratio.
And remember that keto can come with more side effects than a regular low-carb eating plan, including “keto breath,” “keto flu,” lack of energy, iron deficiency and a weakened immune system. So if you’re on the fence, Zeitlin recommends trying a lower-carb diet.