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Low-Carb Vs. Keto: Differences, Benefits, And Food List


Two of the most popular diets among people nowadays to lose weight quickly are the low carb and the ketogenic diets.

Though both these diets may be effective for quick weight loss, you should always consult your dietitian or health care provider regarding their long-term efficacy.

Both these diet forms revolve around limiting your carb intake. However, besides some similarities, both keto and low carb diets have certain real-world differences as well.

So if you want to learn about the differences between the low carbs and the keto diet and know which diet is better, then this is the right place you have come across. 

Let’s have a glance at their differences, benefits, and food list. But before that, let’s learn about both these diets in detail.

Low Carb Diet Vs. Keto Diet Differences

  1. The Keto diet may be simpler than the low-carb diet. One of the major benefits of a keto diet over a low-carb diet is its simplicity[1].

    The major reason behind this is when you follow a keto diet, all you have to do is to avoid the carbs and sugars and just focus on fat.

    However, this is not the same as the low-carb diet. Under this diet, you have to maintain a careful track of your macronutrients and the right carbon intake.

  2. A Keto diet may help to reduce cravings[2]. Another major difference between the keto and low-carb diet is that the keto diet could help reduce your cravings.

    Due to the stressful nature of low-carb diets, they might lead to unnecessary cravings.

    On the other hand, the ketogenic diet may help you reduce your cravings because it will place your body into a fat-burning mode.

  3. The Keto diet is higher in nutrients as compared to the low-carb diet. Here is another reason why the keto diet might rule over the low carb diet it could be higher in nutrients when compared to the low carb diet.
  4. The Keto diet may provide more energy. You must know that fat is an ideal form of energy source for the human body.

    Moreover, just a calorie of fat could provide you more ATP or energy as compared to a calorie of macronutrient.

    Apart from providing more energy to the body, fat could also provide more energy to the human brain.

  5. The keto diet may be lower in anti-nutrients. The keto diet is not just higher in nutrients compared to the low-carb diet but also lower in anti-nutrients.

Keto Diet And Its Benefits

The keto diet has gained mainstream popularity in recent years. The keto diet is a very low-carb and a very high-fat diet.

Keto or the ketogenic diet may aim at placing your body into a pure fat-burning mode[3], referred to as ketosis. This is achieved by stimulating the production of ketones.

The major aim of the ketogenic diet is to help your body reach nutritional[4] ketosis. The state of nutritional ketosis is achieved only when you start consuming less than 50 grams of carbs in a single day.

The reason behind this might be that once you start consuming lesser carbs, your liver will start to produce ketone bodies from the fats instead of carbs.

These ketones will be an ideal source of fuel for both your mind and the body. The keto diet is quite beneficial because instead of just helping you lose weight, it even has certain therapeutic properties.

It could help to slow the growth of different types of cancers and even treat epilepsy. Apart from this, there are different versions of the keto diet like the Dirty keto or the modified keto.

Some people may adhere to the keto diet indefinitely, whereas others might cycle in and out. There are certain modified versions of this diet as well like the lazy keto diet or the dirty keto diet.

In short, the major aim of the keto diet is to help you slash the carbs and fill up on the fats instead.

Since your system relies mainly on the fat for energy, it could lead to quick weight loss during the keto diet.

You could substantiate whether your body has gone into the state of ketosis or not through various tests and signs.

These signs and tests may include blood tests, foggy brain, fruity breath, reduced hunger, and weight loss.

Low Carb Diet And Its Benefits

As the name itself suggests, the major aim of this diet is to reduce the percentage of calories that you could consume[3] from carbohydrates.

However, under a low-carb diet, this figure might be reduced down to just 25 to 40%. Due to this, you may choose complex[5] carbohydrates on a low-carb diet like starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, etc.

Such carbohydrates could provide you with more protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Moreover, just like the keto diet, the low-carb diet also has several[6] different versions like the[7] Atkins, Paleo, and the South Beach[8] diet. These diets may have certain similarities as well as differences.

During the Atkins diet, you could consume sugars and simple starches like potatoes, little to no rice, or white bread. The protein and fat sources may include meat and eggs, chicken, etc.

On the other hand, during the paleo diet, you may follow the diet of a caveman. If certain food items were not eaten by the cavemen, then you should even evade them in your diet.

Due to this, you may say no to refined sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, etc. However, you could consume meat, vegetables, fresh fruits, poultry, fish, etc. 

In the end, the South Beach Diet believes that there are both good and bad Carbs and fats. The major aim behind weight loss using this diet is to choose the best of both carbs and fats.

Therefore, under this diet, you may focus more on non-starchy vegetables, full fat, dairy, whole grains, nuts, eggs, and protein like chicken and Turkey.

Food List: Low Carb Diet Vs. Keto Diet

Low Carb Diet

You could include the following food items in your low-carb diet.

  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peaches
  • Lean meat
  • Raspberries
  • Leafy greens
  • Cheese
  • Strawberries
  • Fats and oils[9]
  • Apples
  • Cruciferous vegetables[10]
  • Grapefruit
  • Dairy products
  • Watermelon
  • Blackberries
  • Nectarines

Keto Diet

You may include the following food items in your keto diet.

  • Cauliflower
  • Apples
  • Whole dairy foods[11]
  • Strawberries
  • Bacon
  • Grapefruit
  • Pork roast
  • Nuts
  • Nut butter
  • Watermelon
  • Cucumbers
  • Blackberries
  • Ribeye steak
  • Tahini
  • Broccoli
  • Nectarines

Thus these are the different food options that you might include in your keto or low-carb diets. This food list is enough to show paleo Vs keto diet difference, the low-carb diet might be less restrictive.

This is because it could allow you to consume more nutrients and hence include more items in your meals.


Thus, this was all you need to know about both the keto diet and the low-carb diet. However, whenever you focus on one particular diet form, make sure to avoid any drastic changes.

This means your transformation to either a ketogenic or low carb diet should be gradual instead of brutal.

Changing drastically to a diet form could be brutal for your body and it may instead pose certain risks to the health of your body. 

Moreover, the ultimate question of whether the keto diet is better than the low-carb diet is answered only by assessing your particular preferences and objectives.

For some people, not having rigidity might work out. However, for others, adhering to a strict schedule may work.

Hence the efficacy of both these diet forms depends on your particular circumstances.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Wajeed Masood1, Pavan Annamaraju, and Kalyan R. Uppaluri. Ketogenic Diet. Date of Update: June 11, 2022. Date of Publication: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
  2. Caroline W. Cohen, Kevin R. Fontaine, Rebecca C. Arend, et. al. Favorable Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Physical Function, Perceived Energy, and Food Cravings in Women with Ovarian or Endometrial Cancer: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018 Sep; 10(9): 1187. Published online 2018 Aug 30. doi: 10.3390/nu10091187.
  3. Jennifer T Batch, Sanjay P Lamsal, Michelle Adkins, et. al. Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article. Cureus. 2020 Aug; 12(8): e9639.
    Published online 2020 Aug 10. doi: 10.7759/cureus.9639
  4. Victoria M. Gershuni, Stephanie L. Yan, and Valentina Medici. Nutritional Ketosis for Weight Management and Reversal of Metabolic Syndrome. Curr Nutr Rep. 2018 Sep; 7(3): 97–106. doi: 10.1007/s13668-018-0235-0.
  5. Robert Oh, Brian Gilani, and Kalyan R. Uppaluri. Low Carbohydrate Diet. Date of Update: June 11, 2022. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537084/
  6. Carbohydrates. Available from: https://www.nutrition.gov/topics/whats-food/carbohydrates
  7. Effectiveness of Atkins Diet for Weight Loss. Date of Publication: September 8, 2000. Available from: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00006193.
  8. Effect of South Beach Diet (SBD™) Using SBD™ Products Compared to a Calorie-Restricted Diet in Women. Date of Publication: july 3, 2009. Available from: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00932516#wrapper
  9. Fats. Available from: https://www.nutrition.gov/topics/whats-food/fats
  10. Duygu Ağagündüz, Teslime Özge Şahin, Birsen Yılmaz, et. al. Cruciferous Vegetables and Their Bioactive Metabolites: from Prevention to Novel Therapies of Colorectal Cancer. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2022; 2022: 1534083. Published online 2022 Apr 11. doi: 10.1155/2022/1534083.
  11. Hanna Górska-Warsewicz, Krystyna Rejman, Wacław Laskowski, et. al. Milk and Dairy Products and Their Nutritional Contribution to the Average Polish Diet. Nutrients. 2019 Aug; 11(8): 1771. Published online 2019 Aug 1. doi: 10.3390/nu11081771.

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