All keto is low carb but not all low carb is keto.
Low carb diets are all about lowering carbohydrate consumption. The ultimate form of low carb is keto.
Keto differs from low carb because it induces a metabolic state known as ketosis. Yet, lowering carb consumption may not put everyone into ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process the body begins to help us survive when carb intake is low. When carbs are lowered, blood glucose is lowered. Glucose is the most readily utilised fuel source for the body. Fat has historically been the body’s primary fuel source until modern diets. A keto diet, like low carb, focuses on burning fat for body fuel instead of carbohydrates.
Getting into ketosis can be difficult. Staying away from our beloved carbs is hard. It takes a lot of commitment to turn away from those foods. Adding ketosis on top of that can be especially difficult. Some have found achieving ketosis particularly arduous, while others reach ketosis easily. Why? Simply, ketosis is a natural process. Everyone is naturally different. Some people can eat more carbs and be in ketosis, while others have to nearly remove carbs from their diet to achieve the same result. For many, understanding the often subtle differences between low carb and ketogenic diets may help them reach ketosis.
To understand the difference between the diets, you should be aware of the three energy sources for our bodies: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Of the three fuel sources, carbohydrates are the worst for the body. Carbs raise blood sugar levels. Constant high blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes, difficulty concentrating, bloating, and other symptoms. Raising blood sugar levels is not necessarily bad as long as the levels are kept low.
Any excess carbs will become fat. When carbs are the main source of fuel, fat is hard to burn. Even if exercise is a big part of your daily routine, getting the body to use fat for energy is difficult. There is a simple way to get your body to use fat for fuel – cut carbs from your grocery list. Easy!
Going cold turkey on carbs when it is a big part of your diet may cause carb cravings. When beginning any low carb diet, go slow. Start with transferring your carbs to slow-burning carbs mainly from vegetables that grow above ground. Slow-burning carbs will help you feel full longer. They also will not spike your blood sugar levels as much. Make sure you lessen your carb intake. With slow-burning carbs, it is easy to still consume the same amount of carbs. The goal is to lessen carb consumption gradually. This gradual process will help the body to not crave carbs when you reach keto level. Again, everyone’s body is different. Use this process to figure out the unique blend of the nutrients your body needs.
Protein is essential for the repair of muscle tissue and the health of connective-tissue. A sufficient serving of protein is between 0.8 and 1.2 x ideal body weight . Our bodies really don’t need more than that.
Protein, like carbohydrates, raises blood sugar levels. Protein does not raise blood sugar nearly as much as carbs though. This is good for our health but must not be over used. Too much protein can raise blood sugar levels too high.
Fat is the best nutrient for you since it does not raise blood sugar levels. Fat makes you feel full longer and it will lessen the temptation to snack. Fat will keep you feeling good throughout the day because your energy levels will be consistent.
Even if you are not doing a low carb diet or keto, finding a balance of these three nutrients for your body will make you feel better. Most people find that high-fat, low carb diets make them feel better, increase stamina and energy levels and improve mood swings (no more feeling “hangry”)
The low carb dieter’s goal is to utilize fat as an energy source. Low carb dieters lower the amount of carbs they eat significantly. Low carb has different levels of commitment. There is a liberal diet: 50-100 grams per day. Moderate diet: 20-50 grams per day. Ketogenic diet: under 20 grams per day.
Other low carb diets emphasise protein. These diets suggest protein either be a bigger part of the diet or equal to fat. This emphasis on protein is a bad idea. Protein, like carbs, raises blood sugar levels. If too much protein is consumed and not utilised, it can turn into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis, which can cause a spike in blood sugar. Proteins are still necessary for any diet, but low carb dieters should not rely on protein as a compensation for carbs. Although, the low carb diet emphasises protein, a low carb dieter would be mistaken in thinking they can eat all the protein they want. Low carb diets are about using fat for fuel. If you over indulge in protein, you will be missing out on the benefits of a low carb diet.
The trick with any diet is to find your balance. For some people, a liberal diet will make them feel great. For others, a liberal diet will make them feel terrible. You can tell if your balance is off with several signs your body will give you:
- Low energy and fatigue
- Mood swings
- Hormonal disruptions
- Hunger pangs
- Weight gain
- Lessened physical performance
These are signs your body is still primarily using carbs for energy and not getting enough of them. If you are experiencing these symptoms, adjust your nutrient proportions. You are either consuming too many carbs or too much protein. When adjusting your macro proportions, always add more fat, rather than protein.
Finding the balance of the macros for your body is key.