High Protein Diet vs Keto
The verdict on “which low carb diet is best” is yet to come in. The reason? Truth be told, the best diet is the one that works for YOU. As with almost everything in nutrition, the eating plan you stick to depends entirely on your goals and lifestyle.
There’s been a lot of buzz lately around whether the keto diet or high protein diet is better. Since low-carb dieters can go either the high-protein or high-fat diet route, let’s take a look at the differences, health benefits, limitations, and when you should try one versus the other.
Before we get to that, we first need to cover why you would want to go on a low carb diet in the first place.
Low Carb Diet Weight Loss
Due to an overabundance of carbs in our diets such as cakes, pizza, pasta, rice, and corn, the average person’s pancreas produces an overabundance of insulin. The reason is when you eat carbs, your body breaks down the carbs into glucose, which is a sugar. The glucose enters your bloodstream, raising your blood sugar levels. When glucose enters your bloodstream, your body produces insulin. Insulin is the body’s way of balancing its sugars. It does this by removing extra sugar from your bloodstream and storing it away. The first place insulin stores sugar is in your muscles as packets of energy called glycogen. When your muscles have all the glycogen they need insulin will store the sugar in your fat cells. This results in unwanted weight gain. Low carb diets are designed to minimize the amount of glucose entering your system, thereby minimizing insulin production.
There are many different low carb diet options. Each one restricts carbs in different amounts. Carb intake ranges from the least extreme diet from 45% to as low as 5%.
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Low Carb Diet Benefits
- Effective weight loss
- Rapid initial weight loss. This is due to the lowering of insulin levels. Also, low carb diets tend to rid the body of excess water.
- Reduced risk of heart disease. This is due to increased levels of good HDL cholesterol and also lower levels of triglycerides (which are fat cells that circulate in your bloodstream).
- Reduced appetite. Studies show that eating higher quantities of fat and protein results in fewer calories consumed overall.
- Effective in treating symptoms of metabolic syndrome. This helps prevent the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Long term sustainable weight loss.
- Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels. This is particularly good for people who are insulin resistant.
When Not To Go on a Low Carb Diet?
Even if they are effective and incredibly popular, low carb diets are not for everyone. People who are suffering from liver or kidney disease should consult their doctor before attempting a low carb diet. Also pregnant or breastfeeding women should not embark on a low carb diet. People who are underweight or need to gain weight should think twice before starting a low carb diet. This is because restricted carbs make maintaining or gaining weight difficult.
Now that we have explored low carb diets in general, we will now cover the keto diet.
Keto Diet Explained
What is Keto, anyways? The keto diet, as it has become known, comes from the term ketosis, a metabolic state in which the body is put in when it burns fatty acids. When the body does this, it releases ketones. Ketones are packets of energy the body uses to fuel itself when sugars are not available.
Keto Diet Macros
To explain the keto diet, it’s easier to think about what you can and cannot eat. Keto is about as low-carb as you can get, suggesting a very low-carb intake of around 5-10% (think kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and brussels sprouts), a moderate amount of protein intake of between 15 and 25%, and high fat consumption of between 65 and 80%. Protein intake is also limited. This is because your body will convert high protein intake into sugar.
To get its energy, the body first looks at burning carbohydrates (a process known as glycolysis or burning of glucose), but when the body has no carbohydrates to run on, it resorts to getting its energy from fat (a process known as ketosis). The main idea behind keto for weight loss is that when you keep your body in a state of ketosis for prolonged periods of time your body gets used to getting its energy from fat.
While keto has been proven successful for many, the restrictive nature of the diet and the fact that some people need a little more carbohydrates or protein, has inspired several keto diet tweaks.
Different Types of Keto Diet – How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!
Targeted Keto Diet
The targeted keto is ideal for people who do intense, muscle-building workouts. It essentially allows you to eat about 25gms of carbohydrates 45 minutes ahead of exercising, which your body will burn during the workout before returning to a state of ketosis after your body cools down. Adapting to this spin of the keto diet is suggested only after you’ve been doing strict keto for a while and your body has gotten used to resorting to fat for energy.
For people who need to protect their body mass, such as bodybuilders or older people, a higher-than-suggested protein intake of around 30% of the total daily calorie consumption is a good option. Protein sources should come from both animals and plants.
Many people find restrictions of food the doom of dieting, therefore the cycling keto, which suggests bouncing in and out of keto (5 days in keto, 2 days out) is a perfect balance. Think keto during the week and eating the carbs your body craves during the weekend.
Counting calories, fat, and protein intake may be too complicated for some, so in lazy keto, you are only required to count carbs. As long as your carb intake is low and you don’t overdo your proteins, you should still see keto-like results.
What About a High Protein Diet?
High Protein Diet Macros
High protein diets, which encourage eating mostly protein such as meat, fish, dairy, beans, legumes, eggs, and vegetables rich in protein, such as asparagus and spinach, have the potential to contribute to weight loss for several reasons. For starters, eating meals high in protein have a tendency to make you feel full and satisfied for hours. This is because it increases the production of hormones such as PYY and GLP-1, which are hormones that reduce appetite. The result is a reduction in the total amount of food you consume daily.
Protein also reduces the level of ghrelin in your body which is known as the “hunger hormone”. One study shows that people following a high-protein diet consume an average of 441 fewer calories a day, and reduce thoughts about food by 60%. Additionally, high protein intake has the ability to increase the number of calories burned because protein boosts your metabolic rate by an impressive 20–35%, compared to carbs which boost the metabolic rate by 5–15%.
Benefits of a High Protein Diet
In addition to its beneficial effects on metabolic rate, weight, and body composition, protein can help improve your overall health in several other ways:
- Protein is the main component of your muscles, bones, skin, and hair. Consuming protein allows these tissues to be continuously repaired.
- Higher protein intake has been shown to strengthen muscles and increase muscle size when combined with resistance exercise.
- Adding a high protein intake to your diet can help protect muscle health as you get older as well as promote bone health. In fact, one study shows that older women with the highest intake of animal protein experienced an incredible 69% reduced risk of hip fracture.
- High-protein diets can also improve the healing of wounds related to surgery or injury.
High Protein Diet vs Keto – What’s The Difference?
The main differentiator between these two diet plans is the amount of fat and protein they each suggest you consume. Keto diets are high in fat, with a controlled amount of protein, and low carbohydrate intake. The high protein diet consists of low fat, low carb foods, and high protein intake. While keto suggests high-calorie, high-fat meals, high-protein diets suggest meals that contain approximately 20 grams of protein and come in under 200 calories per serving.
Another important differentiator is that while keto can be a “self-directed” diet, a high-protein diet should come with the accountability of a professional for support and monitoring.
So, what’s the right diet for you?
While both keto and high-protein diets have advantages, working with a nutritional professional to determine which diet is right for you is key. What’s more, if you suffer from diabetes or any nutritional deficiency, it’s important you consult with a doctor before beginning any diet.