People talk about “Keto” like it’s a specific diet plan. Like the Atkins Diet. The Caveman Diet. The Bernstein Diet. What is actually means is a Ketogenic state. It’s not a specific diet, rather a new way of eating.
Is there a difference between “Low-Carb” and “Keto”? Yes and no, and it depends on your personal goals. Eliminating simple carbs from your diet is across the board. They’re unhealthy and we don’t need them. Is your goal to lose weight and reverse some health issues associated with being overweight? If so, then you must first go ketogenic, which is basically strict low-carb (20g or under a day), and you need to watch your caloric intake. Once you have achieved your goals and want to maintain your weight and overall health, you can switch your body out of a ketogenic state and maintain by eating a proper, low carb diet. At this point, you will be considered Fat Adapted.
What does it mean to be Fat Adapted? You have made the transition to being a fat burner rather than a sugar burner. Fat adaptation is the preferred metabolic state of the human body. We evolved by storing and burning fat (not sugar), as necessary.
Fat-adaption means Metabolic Flexibility. It means that your body is now trained to see fat as it’s primary fuel source, and will easily switch between burning fat and glucose, as necessary.
Here are some other the terms you will run across, and what they mean –
Keto – A diet that induces a ketogenic state in the body. For most people that means 20g of carbs or under in a day.
Strict Keto – A Keto diet that aims to eliminate or avoid as much as possible known inflammatory ingredients from your diet such as Artificial sweeteners (not including monk fruit, stevia, or erythritol), legumes (peas, soybeans, peanuts), added sugars (maltodextrine, dextrose for example), and starches.
Dirty Keto – Keto diet that focuses on maintain carbs under 20 and while there may be some foods you avoid because YOU react poorly to them, just because a food has added sugar or starch or wheat or whatever it is not off limits if it fits your macros. They generally still try to keep to the spirit of limiting inflammatory items but it’s not a hard line.
IIFYM (If it fits your macros) – ANY food is an option as long as you keep your daily carbs under 20g. It is by definition dirty keto, but however you want to spend your carbs is up to you.
Lazy Keto – Keto diet where the only thing your counting is carbs, not worried about fats and protein macronutrients. They can be strict or dirty keto in terms of ingredients.
LCHF – Low Carb/High Fat – simply a low carb diet, generally 50g or less? Not necessarily concerned with maintaining nutritional ketosis although some can stay at that carb level and still be in ketosis. I say 20g of carbs for keto because that’s the level that virtually guarantees ketosis, some may be slightly higher or lower.