Keto Diet vs Atkins Diet for Weight Loss

Keto Diet vs Atkins Diet for Weight Loss

Keto Diet vs Atkins Diet for Weight Loss Main Image Blog

Traditionally, weight loss has been predominantly approached through dietary interventions, with American physician and cardiologist Robert Atkins revolutionizing the landscape with the popularization of the low-carbohydrate Atkins Diet. This influential dietary regimen, advocating for reduced carbohydrate intake while prioritizing protein and fat as primary sources of calories, gained immense commercial success, catapulting Dr. Atkins to Time magazine’s list of the most influential people in 2002. Surprisingly, the diet even recommended limiting carbohydrate intake from vegetables, a departure from conventional dietary wisdom [1].

Atkins Diet based on Carbohydrate-Insulin Hypothesis

The Atkins diet was based on the premise of the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis of obesity. This hypothesis is couched in the belief that control of insulin is necessary for weight loss, and that by reducing carbohydrate intake, the diet could reduce post-prandial insulin fluctuation, as well as other disease states associated with obesity.

Although the diet was low-carb, it was high-protein and therefore fundamentally different from the high-fat ketogenic diet used for seizure control.  Unfortunately, many amino acids can be incorporated into the glycolysis pathways and can still influence insulin secretion.  This is not true for fatty acids which make up the bulk of the ketogenic diet.  Consequently, the low-protein, ketogenic diet is far more likely to achieve the goals of the Atkins diet than the Atkins diet.

Atkins Diet vs Ketogenic Diet for weight loss

Comparing weight loss outcomes, the Atkins Diet has demonstrated results comparable to conventional hypo-caloric diets in adults, with an average loss of 5 kg over 12 weeks. Interestingly, adolescents seem to respond more favorably to a very-low-calorie ketogenic diet, showcasing an average loss of 15.4 kg over 8 weeks, compared to a modest 2.3 kg loss over 12 weeks on a low-calorie non ketogenic Atkins diet [3, 4].

While the Atkins diet is clearly outperformed by the ketogenic diet in terms of weight loss, it may be more of a sustainable choice.  The Atkins Diet actually begins with a Ketogenic Diet, which is simply called the “induction phase.” During this phase, it is recommended that you maintain your low-carbohydrate diet for the first few weeks or longer depending on personal goals.  Then, dieters are encouraged to add carbohydrates slowly back into their diet, leaving the results in the hands of the individual.


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