The Real Difference Between Low-Carb And Keto Diets

These days it seems as if everyone has sworn off bread in favor of eating a low-carb diet. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're eating the keto way, as there are some notable differences between the two diets. A low-carb diet is restrictive, but you can still enjoy many of your favorites, like pasta and bananas, in moderation. In fact, low-carb defines any diet in which your intake of carbs is below average, dietician Samantha Cassetty explained (via SELF). For Americans, the recommended daily nutritional goals call for 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories to come from carbs. Anything less than that is considered low carb.

By comparison, the keto diet restricts carb intake to fewer than 50 grams per day, according to Healthline. Additionally, it calls for a much higher consumption of fat and very moderate intake of protein. Someone following the keto diet is encouraged to get 70 to 80 percent of their daily calories from fat and only 10 to 20 percent from protein. The goal of this is to induce a condition called ketosis, which forces the body to burn fat for fuel rather than carbs.

So what foods are approved on the keto diet?

Some critics of the keto diet worry that it cuts out too many foods that are ordinarily dietary staples. Fruits, starchy vegetables, and even beans all contain higher amounts of carbs, according to Men's Health, and should be limited. To get the recommended percentage of fats in your diet, high-fat foods like bacon, avocados, cheese, and some nuts are encouraged. The balance comes in trying to limit protein intake while getting enough calories from fat. Eating too many calories via protein can stop the process of ketosis, undermining the goal of the diet.

Both low-carb and keto diets are good for weight loss but might be difficult for some people to follow. The absence of refined carbs and sugar can be hard to get used to, although most people say they adjust fairly quickly. As with all diets, it's a good idea to talk with your healthcare practitioner prior to starting to pinpoint the diet that works best with your health needs.