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Keto vs Low Carb: what's the difference?

Many of us have jumped aboard the bandwagon of at least one diet in our lifetime. There’s the frantic summer body slim-down, a constant battle between beer gardens and being beach ready *eye roll*. And don’t forget those impossible New Year’s resolutions many of us make each January, promising to jump onto the latest fad diet in a desperate bid to melt away the mince pies we've inhaled during the festivities.

From the baby food diet (just why?), to the cabbage soup diet, there are so many different diets out there, it’s no wonder we’re all, well, a little confused.

Two of the most popular, yet most confused diets are, undoubtedly, the ketogenic diet and the low carb diet. Some say they’re both the same, while others beg to differ, arguing that they both offer very different results. We’ve dug a little deeper.

What is a low-carb diet?

Ah, carbs. Admit it, we’ve all got home after a bad day and devoured the hugest bowl of *insert delicious carby food here*. As well as making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, carbs are actually an essential part of our diets, providing us with energy and many nutritional benefits. But, too much of a good thing isn’t always great and consuming too many carbs can lead to weight gain.

A low-carb diet is simply the cutting down of carbohydrates in your diet. Or, some people choose to eat more complex carbs, such as wholegrains, fibre-rich fruits and vegetables and beans.

Dietary guidelines recommend that carbs make up around 45-65% of your daily calorie intake, so if you’re trying to lose weight, most people will naturally lower this percentage in order to be in the relevant calorie deficit needed to lose weight.

It’s pretty simple – low carb dieting means lowering your daily intake of carbs or switching to complex carbs, which provide more nutrients and often keep you feeling fuller for longer.

What is a keto diet?

Now, the ketogenic diet is a little more confusing. When following a keto diet, the goal is to get the body into a state of ketosis – this is when the body’s metabolism switches to burn fat for energy instead of sugar.

In order to reach a state of ketosis, you must consider the following:

- Your carb intake must not spike blood sugar or insulin levels
- Your body must not convert excess dietary protein into glucose
- There needs to be enough dietary fats in your body to act as an energy source

All of the above is only possible if you consume the correct balance of your macronutrients. Keto diets are known to be quite high in fat, with experts recommending a daily fat intake of 70% of your diet. 25% of your diet should then be made up of protein and just 5% of carbs.

Everyone is different but this balance should help you reach a state of ketosis and this, in turn, will help you burn fat. But, it’s worth considering your lifestyle before referring to the above as gospel – for example, someone who regularly weight trains may be able to up their protein intake and still reach ketosis.

How does ketosis work?

So, you’re set on reaching that state of ketosis but how will this affect your body? Let us explain.

- Lower carb intake will cause your glucose levels to drop
- Lipase, a type of protein made by your pancreas, releases stored triglycerides, a type of fat found in your blood
- These fatty acids then travel to your liver
- Your liver then produces ketones, an acid produced when the body burns fat

So, which diet is the best?

In simple terms, a low-carb diet is harder to measure than a keto diet. Due to this, many believe that a keto diet is more effective, as they can literally measure the results.

However, for some, following such a measured diet like keto can feel restrictive and can have a negative impact.

Here at Grenade®, we’re all about balance. Get those nutrients in, get your body moving and if you want the cake, eat the cake! Some find the only way they see results is by following a diet and that’s cool too – just be sure to consult your doctor or a health specialist before embarking on any dietary and nutritional changes.

For more foodie posts and nutritional tips and advice, visit our blog, where we deliver our 5 tips to help you ace your meal prepping and offer our favourite 3 high protein breakfast recipes.