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How Does The Atkins Diet Compare To The Keto Diet?
Updated on May 12, 2023
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Diet / Weight Loss
Meal Replacements
How Does The Atkins Diet Compare To The Keto Diet?

The Atkins and the ketogenic diet, or Keto, are two of the most popular diet trends. Atkins is a less restrictive ketogenic type of diet. 

Both diets focus on low-carb consumption, limiting your intake of sugar and other high-carbohydrate foods.

But despite their similarities, these diets are different in important ways. Find out in this article which one is best for you. 

How Does The Atkins Diet Compare To The Keto Diet? 2

What Is The Atkins Diet? 

The Atkins diet is a way of eating that promotes high-fat and low-carb intake. This eating plan was introduced by a cardiologist named Dr. Robert C. Atkins.1

The diet focuses on the right balance of your carb, protein, and fat intake. Since it was created, it has evolved into two versions. But the original approach remains the most popular among dieters. 

How Does The Atkin Diet Work?

The Atkins diet has four phases. You can choose to start from any of the four phases depending on your weight goal

  • Phase 1 (Induction): You’ll consume 20 to 25 grams of net carbs daily until you're about 15 pounds away from your goal weight.
  • Phase 2: Increase your net carb intake to 25 to 50 grams per day until you're 10 pounds from your goal weight.
  • Phase 3: You'll up your net carb intake again to 50 to 80 grams daily until you reach your goal weight and maintain it for a month.
  • Phase 4: This is the ongoing maintenance phase, where you'll consume 80 to 100 grams of net carbs daily.

With the Atkins diet, you can enjoy more variety of food as you progress through the phases, making it less restrictive than Keto. 

However, remember that the diet limits your daily carb intake to 100 grams of net carbs even during maintenance. This could last a lifetime

The average American consumes around 250 grams of carbs per day.2  So, while the Atkins diet seems more flexible than Keto, it still significantly reduces carbs compared to the typical American diet.


The Atkins diet is a high-fat, low-carb eating plan with four phases. Its carb limit gradually increases during each phase. Atkins has more food variety than the Keto diet but still significantly cuts down carbs compared to the average American diet.

What Is The Keto Diet?

The Keto or ketogenic diet is similar to Atkins, but it’s meant to last longer. It is also considered a very low carbohydrate diet

The Keto diet encourages you to limit your carbs and replace them with fat to trigger your body to burn fat for energy. 

How Does The Keto Diet Work?

The Keto diet aims to induce a metabolic state called ketosis in your body. During ketosis, your body uses its fat stores or ketone bodies for energy instead of the glucose typically derived from food.

It speeds up the fat-burning process, leading to weight loss and other health benefits.

People who follow the Keto diet limit their intake to  20 to 50 grams of carbs daily. The average macronutrient breakdown for a keto dieter is as follows:

  • Carbs: 5 percent
  • Protein: 10 to 30 percent
  • Fat: 65 to 90 percent


The Keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan that follows a daily carb limit of 20 to 50 grams. The low carb intake triggers ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body burns fat for energy instead of glucose.

What are the Similarities Between Atkins and Keto?

Both the Atkins and Keto diets share several similarities. Here are some overlapping vital points:

Both are low-carbohydrate diets

Both Atkins and Keto are low-carb diets. They cut down or eliminate sugar and high-carb foods like bread, pasta, and starchy vegetables.

Both trigger ketosis 

Atkins’ initial phase and the Keto diet limit your daily carb intake to around 20 to 25 grams. 

The carb restrictions trigger your body to enter ketosis. Both diets change the way your body uses food for energy. 

Both help with weight loss

Atkins and Keto diets encourage you to cut down your consumption of refined carbohydrate foods, leading to a lower overall calorie intake.

Most people lose weight and lower their body fat percentage when they follow these diets.3

Both are high-fat diets

Keto and Atkins diets encourage more consumption of high-fat foods to make up for the lessened carb intake. It includes healthy fat sources, like:

  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • olive oil
  • Saturated fats from animal sources

A high-fat diet can help speed up your weight loss through ketosis. Studies also show that fats can affect your satiety and keep you full for extended periods by regulating your appetite.4

Both promote moderate protein intake

Both Atkins and Keto include a moderate amount of protein in their meal plans, despite having different ratios of macronutrients.

Shares the same potential health benefits

The potential health benefits associated with both Atkins and Keto include:

  • Improved blood sugar management 
  • Better mental clarity 
  • Increased energy levels 
  • Improved insulin resistance

Consequently, they share many common food choices. Some of these include:

  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Low-carb vegetables or non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, and bell peppers
  • Full-fat, unprocessed cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, and goat cheese
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy fats
  • Full-fat dairy products such as heavy cream, sour cream, and Greek yogurt but in moderation
  • Spices and herbs


Atkins and Keto are both low-carb, high-fat diets that promote weight loss and share potential health benefits such as improved blood sugar management. They have many common food choices like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-carb vegetables, and healthy fats.

What are the Differences between Atkins and Keto?

Despite how similar they are, these diets have their differences.

Phased Approach vs. Long-term Eating Plan

Diets like Atkins and Keto require your commitment to low carb regimen to achieve optimal weight loss. However, your carb intake increases over time with Atkins since it has a phased approach

On the other hand, the Keto diet is a long-term eating plan that requires you to maintain a very low carb intake consistently.

Some may even argue that it’s more of a lifestyle than a diet plan. You need to eat low-carb continuously to keep your body in ketosis indefinitely.

Protein Intake

Atkins encourages more protein intake, allowing for up to 30 percent of your daily calories from protein. Keto, on the other hand, limits your protein intake to 20 percent.

Food Options

Many dieters consider Atkins more flexible since it allows for a wider variety of food as you go through the phases.

On the other hand, the Keto diet can be more restrictive regarding food choices. It is because it promotes a consistently low carb intake.

Maintenance Phase

Atkins has a maintenance phase (Phase 4) with a daily carbohydrate intake of 80 to 100 grams. The Keto diet indefinitely maintains a daily carb intake of 20 to 50 grams.


Atkins and Keto have different approaches to carb and protein intake. They also have different lenience on food choices. Lastly, they have distinct daily carb maintenance.

What are the Benefits of Atkins and Keto?

Atkins and Keto diets offer a range of benefits for a healthier lifestyle. Some of the advantages include:

Weight loss

Low-carb diets can contribute to weight loss mainly because they make you more aware of your food choices. 

Monitoring your macronutrient intake can help prevent overeating. And cutting out processed carbs—often high in calories—also contributes to shedding excess weight.

Besides, studies show that reducing your carb intake results in rapid weight loss within the first six to 12 months.5

Better Blood Sugar Management

Many people choose the Atkins or Keto diet to help them manage their type 2 diabetes. Studies show that ketogenic diets help manage type 2 diabetes by lowering your blood sugar level

The American Diabetes Association considers low-carb diets safe and effective for people with type 2 diabetes.6

Potential Improvement in Heart Health

Some studies show that low-carb diets can help lower triglyceride levels and boost HDL (good) cholesterol, despite the increased saturated fat intake.7

Additional Health Benefits: 

Low-carb diets like Atkins and Keto have been linked to a variety of positive health outcomes, such as:

  • Improved digestion8
  • Improved mental health9
  • Better sleep quality10

Remember that each person may experience varying effects from both diets. It's always important to talk to your healthcare provider before making significant changes to your diet.


The Atkins and Keto diets share several benefits, including weight loss, better blood sugar management, and potential heart health improvement. Low-carb diets can also improve digestion, mental health, and sleep quality.

Is One Better than the Other?

It may be difficult to choose which diet is better since our bodies respond differently to eating plans.

However, when choosing between the two diets, you must consider your preferences, lifestyle, and health goals. 

Both diets can help you lose weight and improve your overall health when you follow them properly. But remember to choose the eating plan you can consistently follow. 

Whichever you choose, remember that both diets still require a significant reduction in your carb intake.

It’s also essential to work with your doctor deciding which diet plan to follow. They may need to consider factors like your current health.


Choosing between Keto and Atkins depends on your preferences, lifestyle, and health goals. Both diets can lead to weight loss and improve your health when you do them properly.

Key Takeaways

  • The Atkins and Keto diets are low-carb diets that can help you lose weight and improve your overall health.
  • The choice between a ketogenic diet versus a more flexible high-fat diet like Atkins comes down to your preference and how well you maintain the chosen diet.
  • The Atkins Diet offers a more flexible, phased approach, while the Keto Diet is a consistently low-carb eating plan focused on maintaining ketosis.
  • Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet.
Updated on May 12, 2023
Kelly Jamrozy
Kelly Jamrozy
Content Contributor
Kelly has experience working with clients in a variety of industries, including legal, medical, marketing, and travel. Her goal is to share important information that people can use to make decisions about their health and the health of their loved ones. From choosing the best treatment programs to improving dental and vision health to finding the best method for helping anyone who is struggling with health issues, she hopes to share what she learns through informative content.
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