Keto vs Atkins Diet – Which is The Best for You?

Atkins is a very popular diet that has been followed by millions of people worldwide and has been proven effective in many ways.

But Ketogenic diet is stealing the show for the last few years and people have been losing more weight following it, so keto vs atkins diet – Which way should you go?

Keto vs Atkins diet – The truth

Here’s something you probably didn’t expect;

Truth Bomb! Atkins is a type of Ketogenic diet!!!!

If you were expecting an article about who wins? Keto or Atkins, we are sorry to disappoint you! Atkins and keto diets are more similar than you know! Let’s see how?

  • Keto diet is a low carb diet, Atkins diet is a low carb diet.
  • Keto diet is a high fat diet, Atkins is a high fat diet.
  • Keto diet is a moderate protein diet, Atkins is a moderate protein diet.

Of course, they are not identical or they would have been called keto and keto!!

The main difference comes from the fact that in Ketodiet you must hit the ketonic state throughout the whole diet plan! Unlike Atkins where you pass through 4 phases of carb cutting to lose the excess weight.

Low carb diets – How Are They Different?

The normal carbohydrates intake for a normal adult of a 2000 calories daily value could reach 50% of his daily diet. This means he could have 200-300 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Going on a low carb diet means decreasing this percentage significantly. In Atkins this percentage or caloric value is adjusted into 4 phases with a minimum of 20 gm to a maximum of 100 gm per day of carbs (5-30% of his daily intake).

While in Ketodiet the carbohydrates intake drops to 5% (less than 50 grams of carbs) and stays there as long as the candidate is following the Ketodiet.

What are the 4 phases of Atkins?

The standard Atkins diet also known as Atkins 20 has 4 phases of carbohydrates counting so you can lose the extra weight.

  • Phase 1: You cut carbs to become less than 20 gm/day. This is the induction phase. You follow this phase for one week at least.
  • Phase 2: You increase your carbs intake to a good 25-50 grams/day gradually. You remain in this phase for as long as you wish to lose weight.
  • Phase 3: You can eat up to 80 grams of carbs a day and lose weight slower.
  • Phase 4: You go on a 100 gram per day load of carbs for as long as you wish to keep your current weight. Also known as maintenance phase.

These numbers are adjustable according to your BMI, your goal, your preferences and your nutritionist’s recommendation.

In Ketodiet:

In ketogenic diet it is quite the opposite direction, to avoid keto-flu symptoms and to gradually adjust your body to ketosis, you gradually decrease your carbohydrate percentage in your diet and replace it with fats!

But you are not considered following a ketogenic diet till you decrease your carbohydrates to intake to less than 50 grams per day! And reach the ketonic state.

So, you can find that phase 2 of Atkins and Ketogenic diet are identical! In this phase, they both promote weight loss of pure fats without affecting your muscle mass or compromising your health. But studies have shown that weight loss following a ketogenic diet is more evident and with less cravings.

Similarity check:

Both diets promote weight loss among other related benefits, like:

  1. Healthy lifestyle:

keto vs atkins diet for health

Both Atkins and Ketodiet promote a healthier lifestyle by cutting off all the sugar-laden foods and drinks.

When you learn to eliminate processed food and sugary food from your diet, you get your energy from more natural sources, so your body cleanses itself and stops craving these harmful junk foods. You eat more fresh leafy vegetables, more organic foods and avoid frizzy, factory-made and frozen food.

  1. Improving your heart’s health:

Losing the extra weight has a direct effect on your heart’s strength, as it lowers your elevated blood pressure.

It improves your good cholesterol and decreases the bad cholesterol levels, eliminating an important risk factor for cardiac problems.

  1. Improves your blood sugar levels:

Both diets have a very positive effect on your insulin sensitivity, improving your blood glucose levels, avoiding sudden spikes in your glycemic index.

This means that If you are at risk for diabetes type 2, then this risk is off your shoulders now.

And if you are already a diabetic type 2, you will no longer suffer from sudden hyperglycemic attacks, you are no longer at risk for most diabetes complications. In fact, some studies claim that following a low carb diet can be a lifestyle treatment for diabetics, and they would decrease their medications gradually till they no longer need any.

  1. Improve your skin:

Many researches have studied the effect of low carbs diet on your skin, it has been suggested that they have a potential to treat acne. wanna know how? Check this link?

  1. Stay focused and sharp:

Many low carb diets, leaves you drowsy and tired. but in ketogenic diet and in Atkins diet you can still remain mentally focused and sharp with no dizziness or fatigue.

This effect is stronger in ketogenic diet because your brain is always fueled with ketone bodies so it doesn’t feel tired not physically nor mentally.

So how are they different? And why would you prefer one of the others?

  1. Restrictions:

Atkins diet is more lenient on its carbs intake and you can replace the deficient carbs with proteins and fats not fats only like Ketodiet. So, the more you go forward with the Atkins diet, the more relaxed you become eating your carbs.

  1. Ketosis:

In ketogenic diet, you must hit ketosis to make sure you are totally benefiting from the diet. This means you have to cut carbs almost completely and rely on fats almost exclusively.

You also have to check for the ketonic state almost on a daily basis by buying breath analyzers and urine strips so you can be sure you are still in ketosis. This is not a necessary step in Atkins at all.

  1. Long term effects:

The long-term efficacy of Atkins in its maintenance phase is established in many scientific studies. While long term efficiency of Ketodiet is not proved yet, in fact many studies advise against following Ketodiet as lifestyle because restricting your carb intake for longer than a year may have more negative effects than positive.

  1. Fruits:

keto vs atkins diet Fruit

Yes, some people depend on fruits as an available energy source that is fresh, organic and sweetly. In ketogenic diet all fruits are off the table (except for berries) while in Atkins you can gradually introduce fruits into your diet.

  1. Calorie counting:

In ketogenic diet, you don’t have to count your calories, since you depend more on fats and feel full faster. But in Atkins it is advisable to count your calories to properly calculate your carb intake. This is very hectic for some people who can’t check every ingredient of every meal!

  1. Side effects:

Ketogenic diet is a highly restrictive diet, so it may have more side effects like keto-flu symptoms, nutrients deficiency and keto breath. (know more about Ketodiet disadvantages here). While Atkins diet has been altered many times through the decades to reach its best formula with the minimum side effects possible like fatigue.

Dietlife advice:

When following a new diet, you’ve got to do your research. Read about the diets you are interested in following. know about its benefits and side effects. Compare diets and chose what suits you best!

But remember to check with your healthcare provider which diet is good for you? Because he/she will provide you with the best option to match your health condition and avoid any unseen complication.

n Keto vs Atkins diet although they are very similar, and while studies reported that weight loss with Keto diet is more evident, the fine-tuning of their maintenance phase and long-term effects may hold some advantages for one over the other.

Do you want to know more about other diets? Are you curious to find out whether you should try intermittent fasting?  Have you always wondered why the gluten free diet is so popular? Do you know what is the difference between paleo and keto? Then check out our diet guides!


  • Gjuladin-Hellon, Teuta, et al. “Effects of carbohydrate-restricted diets on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Nutrition reviews3 (2019): 161-180.
  • Brandhorst, Sebastian, and Valter D. Longo. “Dietary restrictions and nutrition in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.” Circulation research6 (2019): 952-965.
  • Wright N, Wilson L, Smith M, Duncan B, McHugh P. The BROAD study: A randomized controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischemic heart disease or diabetes. Nutr Diabetes. 2017;7(3): e256. Published 2017 Mar 20. doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.3.
  • Atallah R, Filion KB, Wakil SM, Genest J, Joseph L, Poirier P et al. Long-term effects of 4 popular diets on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 2014; 7: 815–827.
  • Johnston BC, Kanters S, Bandayrel K, Wu P, Naji F, Siemieniuk RA et al. Comparison of weight loss among named diet programs in overweight and obese adults: a meta-analysis. JAMA, 2014; 312: 923–933.
  • Berkow SE, Barnard N, Eckart J, Katcher H. Four therapeutic diets: adherence and acceptability. Can J Diet Pract Res 2010; 71: 199–204.

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