What’s the difference between Atkins and keto diets?

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Keto and Atkins are two popular low-carb diets.

Keto and Atkins both share a central idea: You can improve your health by limiting your carb intake – cutting high-carb food groups such as whole grains, carb-heavy processed foods, starchy vegetables like potatoes and desserts.

If you are new to a low carb diet, these two diets may look quite similar. But while there are some similarities between the two, there are also some major differences that separate them from each other.

This article compares the Atkins and Keto diets to help you decide which one might fit better.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

A person who follows a keto diet will eat very little carbohydrates, a lot of fat and some protein.

The proportions of a person’s total daily macronutrient intake on a keto diet are given below:

  • 70-80% fat
  • 20-25% protein
  • 5-10% carbohydrates

Carbs are a source of fuel for the body. The keto diet involves significantly reducing carb levels so that the body can no longer use them for fuel.

When this happens, the body enters a state called ketosis, in which it starts burning fat and produces ketones – molecules that work as a new energy source. That is why many people follow the keto diet as a way to burn body fat.

Keto diet supporters recommend obtaining carbos from specific foods, including keto-friendly vegetables, such as leafy greens, and some fruits, mainly berries. The diet does not include cereals and legumes.

Have a look at: Why carbs are important on a Keto diet?

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The Atkins diet

The Atkins diet is also a low carb diet, but it works a little differently than keto.

Atkins is divided into four stages for weight loss. When you set a target weight for yourself, then go through four steps, it depends on how much weight you lose:

Induction phase. During this first step, you eat under 20 grams of net carbs a day, until you become within 15 pounds of your weight loss goal. You will almost certainly be in ketosis during this phase of Atkins.

Step 2. You increase your carb intake to 25-50 grams of net carbs a day until you are within 10 pounds of your target weight.

Step 3. To lose the last 10 pounds, you increase your carb intake to 50-80 grams of net carbs a day, until you reach your weight loss target and maintain your target weight for a month.

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Step 4. Once you stay on your target weight for a month, you can eat 100 grams of pure carbs a day. You stick to step 4 indefinitely to maintain your weight loss.

As you lose weight, with Atkins, you gradually increase your carb allowance.

You may watch this video:

Keto diet vs Atkins diet by Thomas DeLauer

Keto Vs Atkins: Similarities and Differences

Keto and Atkins are similar in some ways, but they also have key differences that make significant changes in affecting your health and weight loss goals.

Similarities Between Keto and Atkins

The emphasis on low carbs and high fat is similar, especially in the initial, most restrictive Atkins phase. In Atkin phase 1, total carbs make up only 10% of calories from daily meals. For keto, in general, total carbs are less than 7% of daily meals.

Health benefits

Losing extra pounds reduces cardiovascular risk if you are overweight or obese. In addition, research suggests that reducing carbos can help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes by reducing the body’s insulin demand, boosting low blood sugar levels and preventing blood sugar spikes.

“With the keto diet, the strongest research from a health standpoint is for blood sugar management,” says Seattle-based registered dietitian nutritionist Carrie Denette. However, she says, it becomes more difficult for people who turn the keto on and off.

According to some researches, low carb diets such as Atkins can increase good HDL cholesterol and low blood pressure, and therefore reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.


If you prefer the convenience of branded Atkins products, prices are equivalent to standard grocery store products. Atkins shake for the four-pack is priced at around $7, the snack bar costs $6 for five-packs and (low-carb) penny pasta is about $4 for 12 ounces. The Atkinson delivery meal kit options for a week’s meal range from around $75 to $90.

Keto-friendly products are becoming increasingly available in stores and online. The 12-pack of high-protein, low-carb chocolate chip cookies can cost around $18. Soy spaghetti costs around $10 for a 7-ounce pack. The cost of the Keto food delivery services ranges from about $10 to $22 per meal.


For both Atkins and Keto, health benefits from low carbs can be offset by potential health risks from their high-fat content.

Restricting entire food groups poses health risks in itself. For example, the microbiome of the intestine depends on the various types of fibres found in the flood of plants, palmer says. If you are seriously reducing carbs, you are not getting that fibre.

“Plant foods contain nutrients such as phytochemicals that are rich in carbohydrates,” says Palmer. “So when people are eating so few fruits, cereals and pulses, where are people getting all those nutrients?” Pulses include beans, peas and pulses.

“One concern is also that the people of Keto or Atkins have a very difficult time living on them,” Palmer says. Yo-yo dieting has been linked to future weight gain and body fat gain.

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Weight-loss effects

People are ready for keto as they want to lose weight faster, says Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian and author of a plant-powered dietician blog. “They suffer just so they can lose weight quickly,” she says. “There is no doubt that when you are significantly limiting your diet, you are going to lose weight – and it is dramatic weight loss that is difficult to achieve in other diets. “

Read here: Indian low carb diet for weight loss

Keto vs Atkins Differences Between Keto and Atkins

Differences Between Keto and Atkins
Keto vs Atkins

There are also some differences between Atkins and Keto.

While keto is a moderate-protein approach, in which about 20% of calories come from protein, Atkins allows up to 30% calories from protein based on the diet phase.

In addition, on a keto diet, you want to keep your body in ketosis by limiting your carb intake immensely.

On the other hand, in the Atkins diet, you gradually increase your carb intake, which will eventually flush your body out of ketosis.

Due to this flexible carb limit, Atkins allows more types of foods, such as more fruits and vegetables and even some cereals.

Overall, Atkins is a less restrictive approach, as you don’t have to monitor ketones or stick to certain macronutrient targets to stay in ketosis.


Cost variation with Keto and Atkins depends on your personal food options. With keto, you can opt for prime beef from grass-fed cattle or pork roast for sale. Similarly, with Atkins, you can opt for organic free-range chicken or chicken thighs in economy packs.

Health benefits

Because Atkins is more established, more research is available to support its safety and lack of major side effects.

Following the keto diet can help endurance athletes, although more research is needed to return it.

One issue is whether Keto’s followers are actually reaching the stage of ketosis. “A lot of people think they’re doing keto but they’re not,” says Seattle-based registered dietitian nutritionist Carrie Denette. “They’re not actually eating less enough carbs and high enough fat to go into the ketosis. “


For Atkins, some short-term health effects have been reported beyond some minor side effects such as weakness, nausea, irritability and bad breath.

Keto can pose health risks for people with certain medical disorders and is not considered safe for people with kidney or liver conditions. Hormonal changes can include dramatic effects on insulin and reproductive hormones. Keto’s use for people with diabetes, especially among insulin takers, remains controversial.

Which is better keto vs Atkins?

Keto could do a better job for those who are keen to make dramatic changes to their diet to get ketosis, while Atkinson may be a better fit for those looking for less restrictive, more familiar planning.

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Restrictive diets can help short-term weight loss or fitness goals, but they may not be as healthy in the long term as other options.

Consult a healthcare provider before making any major dietary changes. It is especially important for people with chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension.

When following any diet that eliminates food groups, make sure to avoid deficiencies by meeting the daily nutrient needs in other ways.

Once a person reaches their target weight goals, switching to a low restrictive diet can be a good idea that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Getting the right amount of daily physical activity can also help maintain a healthy weight.

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Is Atkins keto-friendly?

Although keto diet requires dieters to consume plenty of healthy fats to help with ketosis, the Atkins diet limits fat and instead encourages protein consumption. There is no problem with processed food in the Atkins diet, but the keto diet favours whole, fresh foods.

Modified Atkins diet macros?

Modified Atkins Diet is a lower ratio ketogenic diet that induces ketosis. It usually follows the 1:1 ratio of fat: carbohydrates + proteins However, there may be variations up to the ratio of 2:1, traditional ketogenic diets are usually the ratio 4:1 or 3:1.

Is modified Atkins diet plan appropriate for weight loss?

The Atkins diet is a low carb diet, which is usually recommended for weight loss. Proponents of this diet claim that you can lose weight while eating as much protein and fat as you want, as long as you avoid high foods in carbos.

Can you lose weight on a low-carb diet without ketosis?

However, a low carbohydrate diet can be beneficial for weight loss, diabetes and cardiovascular risk, even if a person does not enter ketosis. Because of the need for people to limit carbohydrates to 10% or less, the lazy keto diet can help them avoid highly refined foods and excess sugars.


Carrie Dennett, MPH, RDN, CD

Dennett is a Pacific Northwest-based registered dietitian and owner of Nutrition by Carrie.

Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN

Palmer, aka the plant-powered dietitian, is a registered dietitian nutritionist with more than 18 years of experience in the field of plant-based nutrition and sustainability. Her first book, published in 2012, was “The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today.” Her latest is “California Vegan.” Palmer is based in Ojai, California.

What’s the difference between the keto and Atkins diets? (*)

Keto vs. Atkins (*)

Atkins vs Keto Diet: What’s the Difference? (*)

Difference Between Keto and Atkins? (*)

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