Let’s start by explaining the difference between the keto and the low carb diet. Although both are limiting carbs intake, the keto diet is more restrictive than the low-carb diet.
The ketogenic – or keto diet has become super popular lately, but this diet started back in the 1920s, and it was meant to treat epilepsy. Patients who followed a low carb, low sugar, and started fasting, had notable improvements on their health.
What is ketosis?
When you reduce your sugar, carbs, and protein considerably but increase your fat intake and combine your diet with intermittent fasting, your body goes into a state of ketosis. This is a metabolic process where your body doesn’t have enough glucose (sugars) or carbs on your body for energy; therefore, it looks for other energy sources, and that’s when it starts burning stored fat. This is the main reason why you can lose weight so fast. So basically, the liver produced ketone bodies as a result of starvation or if you follow a diet rich in fat and low in carbohydrates.
It’s hard to tell when you are in ketosis, but there’s a lot of products available that would tell you if you are and there are a few noticeable symptoms:
- Weight loss (however you can still lose some weight but not necessarily be in ketosis)
- Some have experienced bad breathe
- fatigue- also known as keto flu
- Appetite suppression
- More energy and focus
I couldn’t sense any of these symptoms, but the weight loss, which was my main objective. So I decided to give it a try to one of those strips products that can measure your ketones level in your body, and yes, I was in ketosis. You can find this product here, I haven’t tried this brand, but it seems similar to the ones I used to have.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
They used to say breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Well, not in a keto or low carb diet. Professionals strongly recommend to aligned your new lifestyle with an intermittent fasting pattern.
Intermittent fasting or IF is an eating pattern that tracks your eating and fasting periods. It is not specific as to what you should be eating or not, during these windows, but it tells you it is time to do so. The recommendation is to fast between 14-16 hours. For example, For day one, your first meal of the day would be around noontime. So you are skipping breakfast. It should be ok to drink water, coffee, and tea but without any sugar. Your last meal of that day would be around 8 pm, giving you 16 hours of fasting (from 8:00 pm-12:00 pm). During the eating window from 12:00 pm-8:00 pm, it is not clear how many meals you can have, so it is totally up to you. However, they still need to be healthy meals.
What should be my macros intake during the Keto diet?
It is challenging to know for sure the exact macro split per person, as this will vary, given the age, calorie intake, weight, height, goals, physical activity, among many others. Here’s a general overview so you can have an idea of how this would look if your goal is losing weight. These were my macro split when I was doing full keto:
- Fat: 145g
- Protein 64g
- Net Carbs: 25g
There are so many macros calculators out there if you would like to get yours, here’s an option to check your own results.
Keto diet pros:
- Weight loss: If you followed this diet strictly, you would see tremendous and prompt results if you are looking to lose considerable weight. It is guaranteed.
- Blood levels: It keeps and maintains sugar levels in your blood, so this is a good option for people with some diabetes types.
- Reduce Appetite: Because you are consuming minimal carbs and sugars, it helps you to reduce your appetite. The more of these macros you consume, the more hungry you get.
Keto diet cons:
- Intestinal issues: Some people experience diarrhea or the opposite, constipation.
- Keto flue: Fatigue, headache, grumpiness, brain fog.
- Increases the bad cholesterol: Some studies have determined that it can increase the bad cholesterol level, low-density lipoprotein (LDL). While doing full keto my basic metabolic panel was perfectly within normal range.
- Limits fruits intake: that are very healthy but contain a lot of sugars and carbs, like bananas, mangos, papayas, among others.
- Not sustainable: last but not least, in my opinion.
What is a low carb diet?
I won’t go into much detail on the low carb diet, because it is very similar to the keto one, with a couple of key differences:
- A low carb diet restricts your carbs intake, processed food, sugar, grains, colas, bread, and some fruits.
- However, it allows you to have more net carb grams per day than its cousin, the keto diet.
- It also allows you to increase your protein intake.
- Your main goal is not to go into ketosis.
- Since fasting is a pattern, it can perfectly be combined with this diet too.
During a low carb diet is very usual to increase your intake of protein, veggies, and healthy fats. There’s a lot of benefits to following a low carb diet such as weight loss (not as fast as the keto one), and less digestive issues.
In my case, this is my actual macros split intake for my low carb lifestyle:
- Fat: 140g
- Protein 87g
- Net Carbs: 40g
If your goal is to lose weight, I would recommend adjusting your macros, for example, reducing net carb to 30g, but the calculator will help you with that. The macros you will see above is to maintain my actual weight.
Long story short, I’m not a super fan of the full keto diet because of all that fat intake. I’m sure it will cause you some health issues in the long term. I could never eat those fat bombs nor drink the bulletproof coffee with MTC oil. It was something I was just not comfortable with, so I skipped them along with a bunch of other stuff. In my opinion, the full keto diet lifestyle is not sustainable in the long term, so don’t feel bad if you start keto and switch to a low-carb diet. That’s precisely what I did, and I feel great because I’m doing a diet I’m happy with, over a diet that I have some reservations. Also, as I mentioned before, the key to any diet is eating things that you like, and I love fruits and sweet potatoes. Of course, I’m more conscious now of the amounts and frequency. I’m proud to have been able to sustain my low carb and healthy lifestyle.
Here’s an interesting article I found about the best and worst diets for 2020, and here all you need to know about the low carb diet. Please consult your doctor before starting any diet as he would be the best person to guide you during this journey.
That’s why all the recipes you’ll see here are mainly low carb but could be perfectly used for a keto diet as well. Some of the keto recipes have a decent amount of net grams of carbs and fat count and are very easy to follow. When I did full keto, there were some delicious recipes that I continue cooking until this day.
*This blog is based on my own experience and thru all the reading and research I did before starting these diets.