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Low Carb vs. Ketosis – What’s The Difference?

If you try to do a quick keto diet google search, around 147 million results will appear for you.

In fact, keto is the most googled diet! This is a considerable amount of information that can result in confusion.

Well, if you are ready to stop by on one single piece of content on this internet, this might be it!

This article will help you digest lots of details (pun intended) related to the ketogenic diet so you can have crystal clear concepts from an unbiased opinion.

Once you understand that, you will decide whether keto is the right for you or maybe something else.

Let’s get started!

Keto: What Exactly Is It?

Our bodies break down carbohydrates (like sugars, rice, bread) into glucose, which is the fuel for our cells.

But what happens if you don’t eat enough carbohydrates? Well, your body will find another resource to use: ketone bodies (ketones).

A ketogenic diet is a diet that forces your body to limit the utilization of glucose and start using ketones as the primary fuel.

The idea here is that ketones arise from fat. Therefore, if your body needs to produce ketones, it has to break down some fat, and, thus, you lose weight! (if you’re in a caloric deficit)

Is Keto The Same As Low Carb?

Short answer: no.

A ketogenic diet is a diet that is low in carbohydrates (less than 50 grams per day) and high in fat (more than 60% of your daily calories).

Think of the keto diet as the extreme type of low-carb diet.

If you consume between 50 and 150 grams of carbs, you are on a low-carb diet.

If you consume below 50 grams of carbs, you are on a ketogenic diet.

Here is a summary of the carbohydrate intake for different diets (Table 1).

table one keto vs low carb

Nevertheless, please understand that the rule of 50 grams of carbs doesn’t exactly apply to every single person.

Some people may have a threshold for ketosis at 30 grams of carbs, while others might have it at 80 grams.

What Are Ketones and Ketosis?

We now understand that, in the keto diet, we force our body to produce ketones and use them instead of glucose.

Let’s dig deeper and understand ketones and how our bodies produce them.

When we are starving, we start breaking down our fatty tissue in the form of triglycerides.

These compounds travel to our liver and are converted to ketones (in a process known as ketogenesis.)

Once produced, ketones travel in the blood to the various organs to be utilized as an energy source.

But wait… What is ketosis, then?

Your body is in ketosis when your blood has very high levels of ketones.

In mixed diets, we usually have 0.1 mmol/L of ketones in our bodies. Under ketosis, the ketones level is >0.2 mmol/L.

Don’t confuse nutritional ketosis (explained above) with pathological ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition that happens when our ketones level reaches 12-15 mmol/L, which is a very high number that cannot be reached unless you have a medical condition (typically type 1 diabetes).

How Do You Know If You Are In Ketosis?

There are two ways:

1- Some people, when they are in ketosis, develop “keto breath.” Keto breath is an odour similar to nail polish remover and is slightly fruity. This happens as a result of the excretion of some ketones through breath.

2- By measuring your ketones level via blood or a urine test.

Is Keto The Best For Fat Loss?

Please understand that there is no such thing as “the best diet for fat loss.” Different diets work differently for different people.

Keto is the best for you if it has the following two qualities:

1- Sustainability: it fits your preference and lifestyle enough so that you can stick to it. If keto does not sound durable for you, don’t force yourself to it because it is very unlikely that you will stick to it.

2- Hypocaloric: If you are able to eat less then your body needs to maintain its mass.

Will Keto Suppress My Appetite?

A pervasive thing you will hear is how powerful keto is in suppressing appetite.

Is that actually true? Somewhat yes.

Many studies report that participants on keto tend to experience a decrease in the desire to eat. This may be true for 2 reasons:

1- Keto diet means lesser carbs and more fat and protein. A protein-rich food is very satiating
2- Ketones can have an appetite-suppressing effect.

Keto & Its Effects On Different Health Parameters: A Summary

Health peramaters keto
Final Thoughts

Low carb or keto? It’s a question that has been debated for years.

The answer is not as cut and dry as you might think, but the best way to find out what works for your body is by experimenting with both diets over time.

Your health should be your number one priority when making these decisions, so make sure it fits into your lifestyle before deciding on any diet changes. Keto WA always recommends consulting with your health professional before changing or commencing a new diet change

 

 

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