Atkins and Keto are two of the most popular diets that follow carbohydrate restriction. Both of them are well known for their contribution to weight loss.

As the popularity rises, there has been a growing number of Atkins vs. Keto discussions across the wellness forums and among people. While these diets share a lot in common, they are not the same.

Both diets restrict high-carb food, including sugar, bread, legumes, potatoes, etc. However, some specific differences distinguish them from each other.

Continue reading to explore the similarities and differences between Keto and the Atkins diet. This article also helps you to determine which diet is the best for you.

Atkins vs. Keto

Atkins Vs. Keto: An Overview

The Keto Diet

A ketogenic or keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein-based diet plan. Although it was initially introduced to treat children with seizures, scientists found that it can provide other health benefits as well. [1, 2]

This diet puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, in which it uses fat as its main source of energy instead of sugar from carbs. [3]

Your body runs on ketones when you’re in ketosis. These components are formed upon the breakdown of fat stored in your body or the food you eat. [4]

You need to limit your total carb intake to 20-50 grams per day to achieve this metabolic state. The macronutrient ranges for this diet plan are usually 5% of calories from the carb, 20% from the protein, and 75% from the fat. [5]

The Atkins Diet

Atkins diet is another popular diet plan that is recommended for weight loss. Like ketogenic, this diet also restricts carbohydrates and emphasizes protein and fats. [6]

Atkins diet consists of four phases. Your daily allowance of carb intake increases as you approach your goal weight and pass through these phases.

Phase 1 (Induction): In this phase, you will have to eat 20-25 grams of net carbs every day until you are 15 pounds from your goal weight.

Phase 2 (Balancing): This phase allows to slowly add nuts, berries, as well as around 15 grams of low carb vegetables.

Phase 3 (Pre-Maintenance): During this phase, you are allowed to gradually increase the intake of carbs, fruits, whole grains, and starchy vegetables. It’s a fine-tuning phase that will slow down your weight loss process.

Phase 4 (Lifetime Maintenance): You know you’re in phase 4 when you reach your goal weight. You need to eat 80-100 grams of carbs every day to maintain your ongoing weight.

Atkins Vs. Keto: Similarities & Differences


Ketogenic and Atkins are quite similar as both of them are low-carb diets.

In fact, the first phase or the induction phase of Atkins diet resembles the keto diet as it limits the carb intake to 25 grams per day. In this phase, your body is likely to ketosis in which it uses fat as its primary fuel source.

Both Atkins and keto diets promote weight loss by restricting foods like chips, sweets, sugary beverages that are high in calories. [7]

No matter which diet plan you follow, you need to eliminate carb-rich, high-calorie foods.


While keto and Atkins have a lot of similarities, they have certain differences as well.

Depending on the phase, you can take up to 30% of calories from protein when you’re following the Atkins diet. On the other hand, keto allows for up to 20% of calories coming from protein.

The goal of a keto diet is to keep your body in ketosis by limiting your carb intake, whereas Atkins will kick out your body out of ketosis by gradually increase the carb intake.

Compare to keto, Atkins is less restrictive, and you’re allowed to try a wide variety of foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and some grains.

Atkins Vs. Keto: Health Benefits

1. Both Atkins and Keto Promote Weight Loss.

Both ketogenic and Atkins are low-carb diets, meaning that they may result in more weight loss than other diet plans.

A 2014 study reviewed six popular diet plans, including Atkins. After six months, Atkins showed better weight loss compared to others. [8]

Another research published in the journal Nutrients found that Atkins was one of those 7 popular diets to promote meaning weight loss 6-12 months after starting it. [9]

Constant hunger is one of the biggest barriers to weight loss, in which the keto diet may work better than Atkins.

Several studies have proved that being in ketosis can reduce your appetite and prevent you from overeating. [3, 10, 11]

As keto diet preserves your muscle mass, most of your lost weight is likely to be a result of fat loss. [12, 13]

Unlike other diets that cause your resting metabolic rate (RMR) to decrease, the keto diet can maintain the RMR. [13]

2. Both of Them Can Control Blood Sugar.

If you have high blood sugar, following a low-carb diet may help you. 

In fact, a report published by the American Diabetes Association suggests that following a low-carb diet can be a safe and effective option for those with type-2 diabetes. [14]

Besides, low-carb diets may reduce your need for diabetes medications and improve hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1c) level, a marker of long-term blood sugar control. [15, 16, 17, 18]

Fourteen obese adults with type-2 diabetes attended a clinical trial, where they followed Atkins diet for 24 weeks. The result shows that they experienced lower HgbA1c levels and decreased the need for medications, in addition to weight loss. [18]

A 12-month study on obese adults following a keto diet showed a similar result. [17]

3. They are Good for Your Heart.

Several studies suggest that a diet plan consists of low-carb and high-fat foods may reduce the risks of certain heart diseases. [19, 20, 21]

Having a high triglyceride-to-HDL ratio indicates that you may have poor heart health with a risk of several cardiovascular diseases. [22, 23, 24, 25]

Low-carb diet can increase HDL (good) cholesterol and decrease triglyceride levels, meaning that you will have a lower triglyceride-to-HDL ratio. [26, 27]

In fact, a study on over 1300 people published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that those who followed Atkins diet have reduced triglycerides and increased level of HDL cholesterol. [26]

Which Diet Is The Best Fit for You?

Both keto and Atkins come with some benefits and downsides.

However, following an extremely restrictive diet like keto can be challenging, particularly in the long run. It’s because this diet limits your protein intake to 20% of calories, while you have to maintain a very low-carb and high-fat meal plan.

You may also suffer from nutrient deficiencies if you don’t monitor the quality of food you’re eating in a keto diet.

What’s more, the long-term health risks of a keto diet is still unknown as there is lack of evidence on its safety and effectiveness in the long run.

Besides, you can still get most of the benefits of a low-carb diet without being in ketosis. Hence, a diet like Atkins that follows moderate carb-restriction can also help you lose weight in a healthy way.

Moreover, some studies suggest that higher-carbs diets that focus on whole foods are just as helpful as the low carb diets. [28, 29, 30]

Regardless of the ratio of carbs, protein, and fats, it’s important to choose healthy foods. You can also benefit your health in numerous ways by following a high-carb diet rich in plant foods, such as vegetables and fruits.


Both Atkins and keto diets are beneficial for your health as they promote weight loss, improve heart health, and help in diabetes management.

However, if you find it challenging to follow an extremely restrictive diet like keto, a less restricted one such as Atkins can be enough to experience the benefits of a low-carb diet.

No matter which eating pattern you choose for yourself, your dietary preference, weight loss goals, and overall health should be taken into account.

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