Difference between Keto and Atkins

Because of the diverseness of people and their diet,  different diet styles had to be introduced. Two of such that have gain media exposure in recent years is Atkins and Keto . Enthusiasts of both dieting style have often drawn comparisons in the differences between Keto and Atkins seeking to highlight the merits of both diet style and even demonize the any. Why is the Atkins dieting style good? How it compares to Keto diet? Which you need to stick with? This and other question would be answered in this article.

What is the major difference between Keto and Atkins?

If you have wanted to lose weight healthily you would have been told to reduce the calorie content of your food and watch your weight and lifestyle over time. But the truth is weight is more than just a pack of calorie it is something that is more complex than that.

When one is overweight the person tends to be looked as one who have a lot of fats in their body. Although that is partially true because the fats is actually bad fats. The major contributory factor is not eating fat per se but the carbohydrates level in the body.

Different studies have shown that a high carb-low fats diet does not aid weight loss but rather repress it. Sadly, most people take the high carb-low fat approach to losing weight and keep watching their weight without improvement.

Atkins and Keto diet came from similar circumstances but different scenarios. While Keto, the oldest, was developed as a response to patients improved health conditions during fasting at the John Hopkins Hospital, Atkins was developed by the cardiologist Robert C. Atkins who wanted a healthy weight loss program for his patients.

Both diet system are similar only that Atkins diet has a different approach from Keto.  Since both system are same high fats-low carbs, it would make sense to compare both.

How do they work?

Although they have same premises which is that when someone avoid taking carbohydrates the body turns to another source of energy. In this case, the closest source of energy after carbohydrates in the body is fats. When the body converts this fats into energy generating substances it burns the fats which hitherto would be stored in the body. This state is called Ketosis.
Both favors Ketosis. After that they have different approaches and would prefer to remain like that. We would separate them and talk about how they work in different sections.

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Atkins diet have two variants the Atkins 20 that is the traditional one and the Atkins 40 which is recently introduced.

Atkins 20 has a four phase plan which starts with the first phase also called induction requiring you to eat carbs under 20g. Atkins diet is also largely vegetarian. Here are the steps.

  • Phase one – Induction: Here you are to keep your carbs daily intake below 20 grams for two weeks. You would also take foundation vegetables that are low carbs, high fat and high-protein as part of your meal.
  • Phase two – Balancing: At this stage you would begin to slowly add low-carb vegetables, small fruits, legumes, tomatoes juice, nuts and seeds and whole milk Greek yogurt. At this stage your weight loss would balance compared to the first phase that it is accelerating.
  • Phase three – Fine Tuning: Add more healthy carbs to your diet, like 50g – 80g. Add cheese, Ricolla, additional fruits. Keep at it until your weight loss slows down.
  • Phase four – Maintenance: You should take many healthy carbs at this stage without regaining weight. These includes whole grains and starchy vegetables.

Atkins 40 limits many of these restrictions even allowing you to take as much as 3 – 4 servings of lean protein daily. You can start with as much as 40 grams of carbs daily. This Atkins 40 is not for those who want to lose more than 40lb of weight.


Keto diet simply wants you to focus on a high fats and low carbs diet with moderate protein. The outlawed carbs include those from fruits, only fatty fruits is allowed. Grain fed livestock are a no-no, only those that are grass fed. Wild fish especially those that contains Omega-3 fatty acids should be part of your diet.

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Since it is a high fats diet much emphasis is put on saturated fats which can be used for cooking. Polyunsaturated fats are welcome but should be used in light cooking – cooking that does not require too much eat. Monounsaturated fats should be used to a limit and mostly cold use that is not requiring heat.

Diet should not exceed a carb content of 20% rather the goal is to keep it below that limit. High fat is encouraged.

Points to note in the difference between Keto and Atkins?

The benefits of an Atkins diet is similar to that of Keto although their approaches differs. This five benefits are inclusive to both of them.

  1. More Weight loss – High fats diet is a sure way to lose weight. Different studies over the years support this assertion.
  2. Reduced Blood Sugar – When your carbs level is low, the sugar content in your blood becomes balanced. High fats diet do not remove carbohydrates completely from your body as little carbs is necessary.
  3. Healthy Heart – Keto and Atkins diet lead to a healthy heart. It increases the level of HDL (good cholesterol) and reduces LDL (bad cholesterols). A higher HDL is necessary for the proper functioning of the heart.
  4. Reduced inflammation – Atkins and Keto diets support many food that are anti-inflammatory in nature.
  5. Higher Energy Level – Studies have shown that a high fats-low carbs diet reduces the need for too much eating that not only stresses your system but put you out of shape.

What to eat?

For Atkins,

  • Low Carbs Vegetables, Healthy Fats.
  • Nuts and Seeds.
  • Berries, Melons and Cherries.
  • Whole Milk Greek Yogurt, Ricolla and Cottage Cheese.
  • Tomato Juice.
  • Small fruits with low sugar.
  • Starchy Vegetables and Whole grains.
  • Lean protein is advisable in Atkins 40.
READ  How to lose weight on Ketogenic diet

For Keto,

  • Grass fed livestock meat.
  • Cage- free eggs.
  • Wild fish.
  • Organ meat like liver.
  • Non-starchy vegetables that includes leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, cucumber, zucchini, celeries and herbs.
  • Medium starchy vegetables, full-fat dairy, fruits, legumes, seeds and nuts should be taken occasionally.

What to avoid.
Both requires you to avoid processed substances, sugar, packaged food items and any high carb substance. However, they varies as Atkins especially the Atkins 20 variant is largely vegetarian and requires one to abstain from meat.

Final Words

Any Difference between Atkins and Keto should not really matter because Atkins and Keto are not only diets for losing weight but for a healthy life. When starting out at first it would be hard to start, therefore it is important that you seek the help of a professional. For instance, in the early stage of the Keto diet you might get what is known as Keto Flu. This condition causes weakness, sleeping disorder and other physical and psychological weakness. It usually last for 1 – 2 weeks. It would decrease as you get used to it.

These dieting patterns require that you use good judgment in accessing many claims as you could be misled. You also need to look for great bargain to save more as without which you might give up saying it is too expensive.

One thing to note that it can still be possible to practice both Atkins and Keto diet simultaneously. It is just some little switch.

It is also necessary that you follow the difference between keto and atkins to keep learning about them. This blog is a place to learn more about good healthy dietary pattern. You can also read our previous post on Paleo vs Keto for better understanding.



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