Low Carb Diet Versus Keto

low carb diet versus keto

Understanding the differences between low carb diet versus keto can be tricky. Both diets are similar in many ways and are both famous for offering weight loss benefits. While the keto diet is a type of low carb diet, these two diets are different from each other.

People following the keto diet must enter into a state of ketosis for the diet to be effective. To achieve this, you must restrict your consumption of carbohydrates to as low as 20 grams per day.

On the other hand, the low carb diet does not necessarily require you to go into ketosis, but you must minimize your consumption of carbs. Yes, it can be confusing, especially if you are new to low carb diets.

So, let us try to look at the low carb diet versus keto diet to understand how these two diets are different from each other.

Low Carb Diet Pros and Cons

To understand how a low carb diet differs from the keto diet, let’s define what a low carb diet is and determine its pros and cons.

A low carb diet is any diet that restricts the consumption of carbohydrates. By restricting your consumption of carbs, you will be eliminating many high calorie foods from your diet, which could lead to weight loss.

Related reading: Best Carbs to Eat for Weight Loss

The amount of carbs that one can eat on a low carb diet will vary, but it generally requires eating less than the amount of carbs on a standard American diet. There are no rules to follow on the amount of carbs you can eat, but most of these are somewhere around 50 – 100 grams per day.

Related reading: Are Slow Carbs Better Than Low Carbs for Weight Loss?

Aside from weight loss, a low carb diet may also improve your overall health. High carb diets can cause a spike in your insulin levels and lead to a number of health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart diseases. By lowering your intake of carbs, you could minimize your risk of developing these diseases.

To differentiate a low carb diet versus keto, let’s look at the pros and cons of a low carb diet.


  • Can help with weight loss.
  • May help improve overall health and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
  • Allows you to easily meets your fiber needs since you can eat a wider variety of fruits and veggies.
  • Less restrictive compared to the keto diet.


  • Difficult to maintain if you are used to eating carbs all your life.
  • Can make it difficult for you to meet your nutrient needs since you need to eliminate some food groups from your diet.

Related reading: Is it Hard to Stick to a Low Carb Diet?

Keto Diet Pros and Cons

For those who are not aware of what a keto diet is, this diet is a type of low carb diet but is very restrictive. While most low carb diets require consuming about 50 – 100 grams of carbs per day, a keto diet will require eating no more than 50 grams of carbs per day. Others will even go as low as 20 grams.

Related reading: What are the Basic Rules of Keto Diet?

In exchange for carbs, followers of the keto diet consume lots of healthy fats. This is the main difference between a low carb diet versus keto. When you’re on a low carb diet, you will not get most of your calories from fat.

But with the keto diet, you are encouraged to eat lots of healthy fats to replace the carbs on your diet.

Here are the pros and cons of a keto diet:


  • Can lead to quick weight loss due to the increased fat burn.
  • Allows you to switch between burning fats and burning glucose for energy without any problems. But this will only happen once you have been on the diet for a while and your body becomes “fat-adapted“.
  • Helps improve several health conditions, including heart diseases, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.


  • It can be very restrictive and more difficult to sustain than the low carb diet.
  • Could trigger symptoms like keto flu, especially at the start of the diet. These include headaches, irritability, fatigue, and lack of motivation.
  • Can be difficult to meet your body’s fiber needs.

Related reading: Keto Diet Pros And Cons

Low Carb Diet Versus Keto – Key Differences

When deciding between a low carb diet versus keto, there are many factors you need to consider. The biggest difference between the two is the amount of carbs you’re allowed to eat in a day.

On a low carb diet, your daily carb intake is somewhere around 50 to 100 grams per day. But in a keto diet, your daily carb intake should not go beyond 50 grams. In addition, fat intake is significantly higher on keto since fats will replace carbs.

Achieving the state of ketosis is the main goal of a keto diet. Some people following the low carb diet may get into ketosis, but that is not the main goal. In keto, you must enter into ketosis in order for your body to start burning fats in order to lose weight.

Related reading: Best Way to Lose Weight? Try the Keto and Low Carb Switch!

Another factor to consider when choosing between a low carb diet and the keto diet is protein intake. With the low carb diet, protein intake could be higher compared to keto. In keto, protein should be in moderation, which is around 20% of the overall calories.

Related reading: Can You Have Too Much Protein On Keto?

Excessive protein intake on keto could keep you from reaching the state of ketosis. Remember, the only way you can reap the benefits of the keto diet is when your body is in ketosis. At this state, your body starts using fats for energy instead of carbs.

Final Thoughts

So which diet is better for you? A low carb diet may be a better option to get started with the low carb lifestyle. When comparing a low carb diet versus keto, it’s easy to see that keto is more restrictive.

If you have been used to eating carbs your whole life, cutting them down to less than 50 grams per day can be extremely difficult. If you follow a low carb diet, you can eat up to 150 grams per day, so it’s more manageable.

Once your body gets used to the low carb diet, you can consider switching to the keto diet. But then again, make sure to consult your healthcare provider before you start to follow any type of diet, especially if you are suffering from any particular health condition.

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