Keto vs. Atkins

What’s the difference really? Both seem to be advocating a low carb diet with plenty of protein and fat.

To be fair, Atkins was the OG low carb diet. Although criticized as a fad diet, the impact of Atkins can be seen today with the popularity of low carbohydrate diets - I consider Atkins to have been the father of the popularity of low carb.

The difference is that the Atkins seems to be more focused on one goal: weight loss, compared to keto where it is not just about weight loss but other health benefits like mental focus and metabolic efforts.

In the beginning, both Atkins and Keto are very similar in that they are both aiming to keep carbohydrate intake low and advocate eating veggies, meat, healthy fats and staying away from unhealthy fats, grains and starchy foods and sugar.

After a while though, Atkins tries to get you to introduce more carbs back in to make the diet more sustainable, while Keto keeps you restricted on the carbohydrates indefinitely.

Atkins has what it calls “stages” (induction, balancing, pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance in that order) - and increase your carbohydrates corresponding


That’s a good question. I’ve considered the aspects of the keto diet and the Atkins diet in regards to your personal goals.

Winner: Atkins (for most people)
The thing that Atkins wins here is the fact that carbohydrates are reintroduced to a more manageable and sustainable level. For the majority of people, keto may be too restrictive in comparison to Atkins to do long term, and Atkins may have the upper hand in having structure built-in to transition people back to more carbohydrates.

Winner: Keto
Since the keto diet keeps you restricted on carbohydrates (while Atkins allows you to introduce more carbs in the later phases) it means that being on the keto diet will help you lose fat faster by virtue of keeping you in ketosis for a longer period of time and keeping your carbohydrates restricted for a longer period of time as well. With the carbohydrates restricted and being in fat burning mode, you’ll burn more fat over a longer period of time compared to being on Atkins.

Winner: Tie
Both Atkins and keto are all about eliminating added sugar from the diet. They also advocate for a low intake of fruit and desserts to ensure that your blood sugar levels stay steady and help to eliminate your sugar addiction.

Winner: Both
For both Atkins and keto, they both are excellent choices for athletes. With keto, you will be headed more towards a fat fueled metabolism while with Atkins you are still stuck in the carb fueled metabolism.
It depends on what you’re looking to accomplish as an athlete. There is evidence for both sides, but if you’re looking for quick bursts of anaerobic energy then it may be wiser to introduce ore carbohydrates- even if it kicks you out of ketosis. On the other hand, endurance athletes may want to look into the keto diet for fueling their endeavors.