Keto vs Low Carb: Which Diet Are You REALLY Following?
I am a huge fan of researching every detail of any subject that is able to snag my attention. I mean ANYTHING. My google search history is random AF. So when the ketogenic diet sparked my attention in 2018, I fully submerged myself into finding out as much about this diet as I could. The first place I searched? Instagram.
I know. *hangs head in shame*
In retrospect, this wasn’t the smartest place to start. But I was so blown away by the hundreds of thousands of drastic weight loss transformation pictures that I saw on IG, that OF COURSE the people running these accounts HAD to be experts with vast sources of knowledge and expertise. I knew very little about keto, so I initially took their word for it. Every single word. Until..
I decided to dig deeper. My thirst for accurate keto knowledge wasn’t quenched via hashtags and transformation pics. I wanted the facts!
I began watching documentaries, such as The Magic Pill, That Sugar Film reading books such as “Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet” by Jimmy Moore with Eric Westman MD, and listening to informative YouTube videos by Dr. Eric Berg, who was also a great attribute to the knowledge I was gathering about keto.
Armed with the education I gained about keto, paired with the multiple errors I’ve made and corrected throughout my journey, I realized more and more that so many were jumping into the depths of the keto ocean without so much as a life jacket, myself included. A lack of research has caused many to blindly follow and emulate what they see on social media.
One of the biggest mistakes? Confusing keto and low carb. Although they can both be greatly beneficial to your health and results, they are not one in the same. I’ll elaborate:
FOLLOWING A KETOGENIC DIET INVOLVES MORE THAN BEING AWARE OF THE AMOUNT OF CARBS AN ITEM HAS.
Do you want to verify if something is keto friendly? Look beyond the carb count. The ingredients are just as important to consider, if not more. For instance, I’m constantly seeing keto Instagram accounts promote and consume low carb tortilla wraps. These would be perfectly fine for a low carb diet! But on a strict keto diet? They are a no no.
I know what you’re saying. “But how are they not keto? They only have x amount of carbs!”
Simple solution to your question. Read the ingredients.
On a strict ketogenic diet, starches, grains and processed foods are restricted. As pictured above, those wraps contain bleached wheat flour, cornstarch, modified food starch, and tons of preservatives, all of which contribute to raising your blood pressure and glycemic index. Not to mention, if you continue to eat things that can trigger your addiction to food, you may not ever receive the full benefits of keto. A clean keto diet will help minimize a lot of the cravings that we have. For healthy keto recipes, click here.
THE GOAL OF A KETOGENIC DIET IS FOR YOUR BODY TO BE IN A STATE OF KETOSIS.
When your body is in a state of ketosis, it is burning nutritional ketones instead of glucose as its primary source of energy. In order for your body to produce nutritional ketones and sustain a state of ketosis, you must eliminate sugar, and keep your carbohydrates at 20 grams or less per day. Your main source of carbs should come from vegetables. You protein intake should be moderate, (contrary to popular belief, keto is not protein heavy) and your fat intake should be 75% of your daily consumption. This specific breakdown of fat, protein, and carbs, aka macros, must be adhered to in order to maintain a state of ketosis.
If you are low carb, and not keto, there is no specific macro breakdown you must follow. Your protein intake will also be higher on a low carb diet. Because of this, your body will not be in a ketogenic state. However, the reduction of carbs will still be beneficial to your overall health and weightloss efforts.
I’m sure someone reading this is calling me all types of “keto police” right now, and that’s fine. These are the facts. We can’t change the definition of keto to suit your cravings and habits. If you’re low carb, great! If you’re keto, great! Neither is an incorrect way to live. Just make sure you are correctly doing whatever it is that you are doing. Also, make sure you are well versed on whatever you choose to do. Your body is nothing to play with.