Low GI vs. Keto: Which is best for weight loss?
Keto may seem like a new phenomenon but it’s a diet that’s been around for decades.
In this blog post, we’re going to compare the keto diet with a low glycemic diet so you can make an informed decision on which one is best for you.
What is the Keto diet?
A ketogenic or “keto” diet focuses on eating high-fat, low-carbohydrate foods to promote weight loss.
First used in the 1920s to treat epilepsy in children, it became touted for weight loss decades later.
What separates a keto diet from the rest is its high-fat content; typically 70% to 80% of foods are high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbs.
How it works
Following a diet centered around fatty foods to lose weight sounds counterintuitive. How can you lose weight when the majority of your foods are from fat sources?
Let’s break it down.
For a keto diet to work for weight loss, a process called ketosis has to happen. This means depriving your body of glucose so that an alternative fuel source called ketones can be produced from stored fat.
And because you get glucose through carbs, you have to eliminate them from your diet as much as possible.
When you start to eat very little carbs, your body pulls stored glucose from your liver and temporarily breaks down muscle to get even more glucose.
Continue this for a few days and your supply of glucose depletes and your body starts to use fat as its primary fuel source.
Keto & weight loss
A study evaluating the role a keto diet plays in curbing obesity found it to be effective at rapid weight loss when compared to low-fat diets.
Moreover, as a nutritional ketosis state continues, hunger pains stop, and the reduction of calories helps to further weight loss.
It was also observed that a diet that restricts carbs instead of fats is better at retaining an individual’s basal metabolic rate, which is the average amount of calories the body uses when at rest.
In other words, the quality of calories consumed may affect the number of calories burned.
Get started with our Low GI Meal Plan & Kitchen Checklist
Why a Keto diet can be problematic
While a keto diet is attractive to those who are looking to lose weight quickly, “more research is needed to understand the long-term health implications as safety and efficacy are not well understood,” says Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Some common short-term risks associated with this diet are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Brain fog
In addition to the risks, there are a number of drawbacks to consider. These include:
- A keto diet isn’t sustainable as it’s very restrictive, making it difficult to maintain in the long term.
- You’re not receiving the necessary nutrients your body needs to function healthily such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals you get from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Following a diet that is too restrictive will cause you to binge-eat later, gaining back all the weight you had lost.
Let’s talk about ketoacidosis
Ketoacidosis happens when a large number of ketones are produced, making a toxic level of acid in the blood.
This is a dangerous, life-threatening condition that often occurs in people with type 1 diabetes, but in rare cases, it has also happened to nondiabetics after following a diet very low in carbs.
If you’re someone with insulin resistance, prediabetes, or diabetes, it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting a keto diet as you’ll need to monitor your health and watch for warning signs of ketoacidosis.
Low GI vs. Keto
A low glycemic diet aims to curb overeating and maintain steady blood sugar levels with foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale; while the ketogenic diet aims to deplete your glucose storage and use fat as your main energy source to lose weight.
Recommended reading: Low Carb Diet vs. Low Glycemic Diet - which is best?
What you can eat on a Keto diet
A keto diet is very restrictive, i.e., there aren’t a lot of options to choose from. To follow this diet correctly:
- 75% of your calories have to come from fat sources such as avocado, butter, and oil.
- 20% of your calories have to come from protein such as eggs, meat, and cheese.
- 5% of your calories have to come from carbs such as non-starchy vegetables and some leafy greens.
Additionally, you cannot eat grains, fruit, legumes, and starchy vegetables.
What you can eat on a Low GI diet
To contrast the keto diet, a low GI diet is abundant in its options. As long as the foods have a low or moderate glycemic index you can have:
- Whole grains such as multigrain bread, steel-cut oats, quinoa, and wheat pasta.
- Fruit such as grapefruit, apples, berries, and tomatoes.
- Non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini.
- Legumes such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas.
- Dairy and dairy substitutes such as plain yogurt, almond or soy milk, and low-fat cheese.
- Protein such as turkey and chicken, and soy products.
Why Low GI is the way to go
Well + Easy gets it — when it comes to dieting, weight loss is the ultimate goal. But there’s a way to do it that leaves you feeling healthy in your body and is sustainable for years to come.
Unlike keto, a low GI diet doesn’t deprive you of nutrients or restrict your carbohydrate intake. With this diet, you can enjoy a variety of foods while losing weight naturally.
If you’re ready to free yourself from restrictions, join the waitlist for Well and Easy’s 28-Day Whole GI Protocol. You’ll receive expert guidance on how to transition to a low GI diet and feel good in your body, naturally.