Keto vs Other Diets: An Unbiased, And Fresh Review

Last Updated: September 23, 2020

Introduction

Being healthy isn’t only achieved through significant hours at the gym or an exceptional series of training from your athletic career. But, your food intake also has a major contribution to your diet. Avoiding processed and sugary food oftentimes do not suffice. More often than not, your nutrient-intake is what you should really monitor.

There are many types of diets that are becoming a boom in the current generation. This varies from its benefits and the variety of food. Moreover, the individuals who also apply this diet in their eating lifestyle have different objectives as well.

There are individuals who prefer a certain diet because of their weight loss goal, while others prefer a certain diet because it helps them with their diagnosed condition. Regardless of the reason, we subscribe to a diet that is deemed helpful to us.

One famous diet is the Ketogenic Diet. It has become a booming diet now that a number of celebrities are endorsing it. Moreover, there are numerous success stories on the internet that can truly convince you.

A Ketogenic Diet has its own wonders and benefits, as well as disadvantages and setbacks. It has a different perspective on diet and bodily processes. But, what is really a Ketogenic Diet, and what makes it different from the other diets?

Keto Diet

keto diet

If you have been introduced to the Ketogenic diet, then you might already know that this is a low-carb, high-fat diet. According to Rudy Mawer of the Healthline, there have been over 20 studies that show that this diet has numerous benefits.

Mawer highlighted that Keto Diet can help you with your weight loss and also help you when it comes to improving your health. Moreover, there are also benefits that are against diabetes, cancer, and whatnot.

If you’re only beginning to research about the Keto Diet, then you might want to prepare yourselves with this long journey. Because of its low-carb, high-fat diet, Keto Diet drastically reduces your carbohydrate intake.

Big carb-eaters may have a hard time investing in this diet. I understand the confusion regarding the idea of cutting down so much of your carb intake. You might start wondering where you will be getting your energy and fuel.

Worry not because the Ketogenic Diet provides another method to get a new source of energy, instead of your usual carbohydrates. Reducing carbs will automatically call your body into a metabolic state called ketosis (hence the name!).

In this biological process, your body will start burning fat for energy and will also make this fat into ketones in the liver. It may sound complicated but trust me, this process ensures that it is perfectly supplying your brain some energy it needs.

Types Of Keto Diets

Ketogenic isn’t just blatantly cutting down your carbs and increasing your fats. This is also percentage-sensitive to give you easier monitoring.

There are different types of Ketogenic Diets. The differences lie in the percentage of fat, protein, and carb intake. This might be challenging for some, but the percentages allow you to have your diet somewhat personalized to your body’s capability.

According to the Healthline, the are numerous versions of the diet, and here are just some:

  1. Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) follows a very low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet. It contains 75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% carbs.
  2. Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) follows periods of higher-carb diets, like five ketogenic diets which are then followed by two high-carb days.
  3. Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) allows you to add carbs around workouts.
  4. High-Protein Ketogenic Diet is somehow similar to the standard ketogenic diet, however, more protein is added. This leaves a ratio of 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.

SKD and the High-Protein Ketogenic Diet are the most known and are usually the ones that are being practiced by many. Only these two diets have existing individual studies, unlike the CKD and TKD—which are being used by most bodybuilders or athletes.

Benefits Of A Keto Diet

If you’re planning to lose weight and lower risk factors of diseases, the Ketogenic Diet is believed to be one of the good diets that can help you with those. The increased protein intake also provides good benefits for the body.

The increased ketones play a key role in the benefits you can acquire. This is because it lowers blood sugar levels and it improves insulin sensitivity.

Keto Diet Side Effects

There are identified side effects when transitioning to the diet. Though you follow a gradual transition, side effects are sometimes unavoidable. Have you heard of Keto Flu? Yes, this is one side effect that can be seen when transitioning to this diet.

Poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, digestive comfort, and decreased exercise performance are just some of the signs and symptoms of the Keto Flu. Fear not though, because you can totally minimize this through a managed meal plan!

Pros And Cons Of A Keto Diet

As usual, there are possible advantages and shortfalls that can be found in the diet. However, this is a mere scratching of the surface, and consulting your trusted dietician or doing extensive research is still a must

There are possible pros that you can acquire from subscribing to this diet and these are: Weight loss and health benefits for individuals diagnosed with epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. 

This diet was actually first concocted to treat seizures for epileptic patients. This resulted in good feedback and benefits back in the day when the medicine for a seizure wasn’t as known as today. 

Carb restriction can have a direct impact on glucose concentrations. This could help your diabetes be under control. However, this strategy must still be consulted with your registered dietician.

The Warburg effect has established that glucose can break down faster from the tumor cells. This results in “starving” the tumor cells of glucose, which can inhibit growth and may prevent cancer.

Harvard’s School of Public Health has identified some negative effects of the diet. According to them, there could be risks of kidney stones, osteoporosis, and increased blood levels of uric acid.

Moreover, they have mentioned that there could as well be a significant nutrient deficiency in your body. Since you’ve been excluding numerous whole food groups, this can lead to certain deficiencies.

You can also have an increased chance of cardiovascular disease. When eating high amounts of saturated fats, you’re enabling bad fats in practice. Thus, this can be a negative impact on your heart health.

Other than the aforementioned Keto-Flu, gut health can as well be a risk. This is because there’s a significant restriction of whole grain and fruit in your diet.

You can as well consider the diet as a challenging diet to adhere to as one of the cons. I mean, restricting yourself from eating pleasurable foods? That’s tough!

Source: Harvard

Paleo vs Keto

Paleolithic Diet

The Paleolithic (or Paleo) Diet is also known for being the ancestral diet. This is believed to be patterned from the diet of our hunter and gatherer ancestors during the Paleolithic era.

This diet specifically emphasizes whole foods. This includes organic vegetables and fruits, meats, fishes, and nuts and seeds. This as well omits all grains, dairy products, and beans and legumes.

keto vs paleo

The Paleo Diet offers different benefits to the body. Since you’re most likely to eat a cleaner diet without additives, preservatives, or chemicals, you’re acquiring anti-inflammatory benefits because of the variety of food that you have like fruits, vegetables, oils, and nuts and seeds.

If you’re concerned with your iron intake, worry not because you can actually get more iron with this diet because you’re eating more red meat. If you’re monitoring your food intake due to your weight loss journey, then this is also a good diet to subscribe to because of the limited food choices!

Comparison Between the Paleo and Keto Diet

The Paleo Diet and the Keto Diet both focus on high-quality and nutrient-rich foods. They are also alike when it comes to eliminating grain and legumes.

If you prefer a high-fat diet, then you may prefer subscribing to the Keto Diet. But, if you prefer a high-carb diet, then Paleo is the way to go. However, if you prefer dairy, these two aren’t necessarily dairy-friendly diets because they’re both cutting out most of the dairy products.

It is a fact that fruits and starchy vegetables are high in carbs. Hence, if you’re not willing to give these two up. Then you might want to check Paleo more because Keto totally excludes this from its diet.

For overall digestive health and athletic performance, Paleo is superior because, again, you depend on your carb-intake for your energy supply. It is also more sustainable and long-term than Keto.

In comparison, Keto is better short-term and for controlling diseases like epilepsy. This is best followed with instruction and assistance from your registered dietitian or doctor since there’s a major elimination of food groups in your diet.

Lastly, Paleo is more concerned with what you eat and what you don’t eat. On the other hand, Keto strictly follows the percentages of your fat, carbs, and protein to achieve the ketosis process.

Which Is Better? Paleo Or Keto?

If you’re looking for a more flexible diet, then the Paleolithic Diet could be better for you. You’re definitely allowed to eat starchy vegetables and fruit and foods that contain healthy fats.

Individuals who are into the weight loss journey can choose any between the two. After all, these two have their own pros and cons, and how you work your way around these is what matters most.

These two diets are good for losing weight in the short-term as well because of the amount of food you’re eliminating. You’re restricting a good amount of your usual food intake, hence, it is no doubt that you can really see significant weight loss.

Of course, if you’re a person suffering from a certain disease and Ketogenic’s meal plans and its general diet helps you, then, you can conclude that Keto is better for you. I’m assuming that this is the diet for you because you were advised and assisted by your trusted dietician.

Diabetic patients can find keto beneficial. With the carb-restriction and reduced insulin sensitivity, it is undoubtedly true that you can reap advantages from this diet.

For athletes, these two each have their pros which you can benefit from depending on your athletic type. If you’re an endurance athlete, you can benefit from the fat-adaptation that can be found in the Keto diet.

Resistance athletes can look into the Paleo diet. Resistance athletes such as bodybuilders may prefer Paleo because the carbs can be utilized and broken down for your high-intensity training sessions.

Overall, if you were to choose one that you deem is better, Dietician Keri Gans, RD said that paleo is technically healthier. This is because you have a wider option and full fat isn’t the source of the majority of your calories.

Paleo Diet is also easier to maintain and doesn’t pose as many risks as the Keto diet. It focuses more on what you can and what you can’t eat, rather than the amount of what you should eat like what Keto follows.

If you’re interested in reading more on these two specific diets, check out my full review on Paleo vs Keto.

Intermittent Fasting vs Keto

Intermittent Fasting

One of the most known health trends at the moment is intermittent fasting, or also known as IF. You might have heard of this certain trend from your favorite celebrities like Beyonce, Miranda Kerr, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

With the promise of weight loss and health improvement, it’s so easy to fall into following the diet. I mean…you can clearly see how this benefits the famous personalities—most especially with their current body forms! Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern rather than a restricting diet. It follows a certain pattern cyclen in between periods of fasting and eating.

Conventionally, it is not exactly a diet because it doesn’t dictate which to eat and to avoid. Instead, it imposes an eating pattern that you can inject into your schedule. So in short, this is a goodbye to your in-between meal snacks.

You don’t have to worry about the risks of not being able to eat within the next 24 hours. This has been a practice over centuries. This is also observed by religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism during their special spiritual occasions.

There are different IF methods that you can follow. There is a 16/8 method which involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to only 8 hours. This is then followed by a fast for 16 hours in between. Eat-Stop-Eat is another fasting method that involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. And lastly, the 5:2 diet method is when you only concede 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days; but you can go back to your normal diet for the other five days.

Comparison Between Intermittent Fasting And The Keto Diet

Comparing Intermittent Fasting and the Ketogenic Diet is quite difficult because by definition, IF is not really a diet, rather an eating pattern. So, if you prefer counting calories and resisting the urge to say no to sugar foods, then IF could be for you.

Instead of comparing and showing you which works best for you, I think the best question is: Can IF and Keto work together? By this, you can incorporate IF with your keto diet by creating a pattern. This could be really of big help if you’re on a weight loss journey.

According to Dr. Anthony Gustin, as stated in Popsugar, IF and Ketosis can work together in harmony. The level of ketones through ketosis can increase through IF by keeping your level of insulin low. Being in Ketosis while following the IF eating pattern can help you burn fat for fuel and decrease appetite.

Another interview from a licensed physician, Dr. Josh Axe, said that it is actually highly recommended to incorporate the two eating lifestyles together. When you’re fasting, the effects of Keto can help you decrease your hunger and cravings.

Which Is Better? Intermittent Fasting Or Keto?

Since we have already established the fact that the two can go together and comparing it isn’t really a good idea, the green light now lies in the decision of your trusted physician. After all, we’re talking about a major change in your eating lifestyle.

Registered dietician Janelle Walter of Baylor University, however, has a disagreeing thought in mind. She mentioned in an interview in Newsweek that these two are not the best options if you’re planning to equip it in your weight loss journey.

Other than the previously mentioned risks of the Keto diet, Walter also discussed that it is not really a good diet for health (unless it’s prescribed). Fasting, on the other hand, is only good if practiced short term, she said.

If you’re planning to subscribe to IF, make sure that you’ve consulted your medical practitioner or you have thoroughly researched this. Walter said that starving is not a good behavior to adopt when trying to lose weight.

Truly, both have their own advantages and you can benefit from either. However, if you’re only practicing this for weight loss or you have a pre-existing health condition, always make sure you have the go-signal from your doctor.

Source: NewsWeek

There is also a great video on Intermittent fasting vs Keto from Dr. Sam Bailey available here:

Low Carb Diet vs Keto Diet

Low-Carb Diet

For beginners, a low-carb diet is a restriction of carbohydrates that can be primarily found in sugary foods, pasta, and bread. You replace your carb intake with eating whole foods like natural proteins, fats, and vegetables.

If you’re scrolling through the Instagram accounts of famous social media influencers, you might probably see photos of aesthetic foods marked as a low-carb diet. Probably because this has been widely promoted by many due to many doctors approving of this.

This has been a common diet for decades because of its simple and easy to follow the system. Essentially, since it’s a low-carb diet, you don’t really need to do a calorie-count or use special and expensive products or ingredients.

The only key in the low-carb diet is whole foods. This variant in your diet is complete, nutritious, and definitely filling. By the name itself, you don’t have to fear natural fats. You’re not completely disregarding fat, rather, you’re minimizing your intake of sugar and starches.

This could be a good weight loss diet because when you avoid sugar and starches, it helps your blood sugar to stabilize and your fat-storing hormone insulin can drop. With this, you can expect that there will be an increase in fat burning and you can feel more satiated.

Essentially, you’re eating all the food that you basically eat—only avoiding the sugary and starchy foods. So, if you’re a huge rice-eater, you might want to consider other alternatives.

Comparison Between the Low-Carb Diet and the Keto Diet

When comparing two diets, you always look into what your body needs rather than what you personally want and what is commonly promoted by famous personalities. After all, your body will be the one reaping the benefits of your shift in your eating lifestyle.

You should make informed choices when choosing between low-carb and keto. If you’re noticing that your energy crashes a couple of hours after eating, the keto diet can help you.

Keto observes the cutting down of carbs which can greatly contribute to balanced blood sugar. This ensures that you have a steady energy level throughout your day. Also because of ketosis, your body focuses on the fat stores for energy instead of carbs.

If you’re experiencing decreasing inflammation, then Keto could be an answer. Ketone metabolite called beta-hydroxybutyrate is known to help lower inflammation.

If you’re a non-endurance athlete, a low-carb diet is great for you. Despite being named as a low-carb diet, this diet still requires more diet compared to Keto. Hence, if you are into intense workouts, the high quality and complex carbs can definitely help you.

The high protein intake from a low-carb diet also has a more significant contribution to a non-endurance athlete. This is definitely better compared to a moderate protein-intake as advised in the keto diet.

If you want a more relaxed diet and something you can easily follow, then a low-carb diet is for you. Keto’s diligent avoidance of carbs (because you’re closely monitoring your ketosis process) isn’t really everyone’s best friend. So, low-carb is really the way to go if flexibility is your concern.

Which Is Better? Low Carb Or Keto?

As usual, there are several factors to consider when choosing between the two. When you look closely, the difference usually lies in the carbohydrate intake.

Low-carb intake usually promotes eating under 100-150 grams of carbs per day while Keto restricts more of your carb-intake by fewer than 50 grams. Protein intake is also very different because low-carb requires high protein, while the other requires a moderate intake.

According to Daniel Preiato, RD, CSCS, a low carb diet is likely a better option for most people because the keto diet is too restrictive for most. A restrictive diet can lead to poor long-term adherence.

Keto also has a higher fat intake which could lead to some health risks with your heart health and is also most likely to cause unwanted side effects. Hence, low-carb is most recommended by dieticians.

According to Brigitte Zeitlin, a registered dietician, a low-carb diet would be the better fit if you’re aiming to lose weight. This is because a low-carb diet still follows a natural bodily process unlike the ketosis that the ketogenic diet promotes.

You’re also incorporating your favorite vegetables and some of your fruits in your low-carb diet. Also, high protein intake is as well recommended in this diet, which is really helpful in maintaining weight loss.

Conclusion

When it comes to health and nutrition, you always have to consider yourself and your body since these are a personal thing, and it’s not just something you can be based on the internet. It is true that there are proven benefits for each of the diets discussed, however, you should still take note that these certain diets are definitely not for everyone.

This information only lets us scratch the surface of specific diets. Hence, it is still better to consult your dietician or physician when it comes to choosing which diet to subscribe into. Close monitoring of the new eating lifestyle is best done with a professional.

If you’re looking for some great keto recipes, check out the post I did previously on the best keto cooking books. If the paleo diet is of interest I’ve also done a review on the best paleo cooking books. If diets aren’t your thing, special diets that is – then check out my post on a generic list of popular fitness cookbooks, which includes details on how to to cook for portions!

The better option will always be focusing on healthy foods that you can have, and not the ones you can’t. So, if you see yourself not coming into terms with the restrictions of the Ketogenic diet, then maybe you might want to look into the other diets. I mean, at the end of the day, you should always get back to actually enjoying what you’re eating.

Sources:
https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/nutrition/pros-and-cons-of-ketogenic-diet
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/paleo-diet-meal-plan-and-menu
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/low-carb-vs-keto#low-carb-vs-keto
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-most-common-low-carb-mistakes

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