Many people believe that there is no difference between a Ketogenic Diet and a High Fat Low Carb Diet (HFLC). However, these people are just misinformed. The two diets might sound similar but there are a number of critical core differences that separate them.
Many people mistake the two diets because they do not fully understand the difference between them. A lot of people think they are going into Ketosis just by eating fewer carbs and more fats. This is not the case and so let’s firstly lay out the definitions of both diets.
High Fat Low Carb
Avoiding or eating fewer carbohydrates and replacing with high-fat foods.
Aiming to go into a state of Ketosis, which is a metabolic state where the body has an increased number of ketones. In this state, the ketones breakdown fatty acids and use them as energy.
The High Fat Low Carb Diet is randomly eating fewer carbs and more fats, whereas the Ketogenic Diet is actually aiming for the body to be in the metabolic state of ketosis.
The Ketogenic Diet Under Fire
Many people put the Ketogenic Diet under fire because they believe it does not work. These people actually tried the Low Fat High Carb Diet, rather than the Ketogenic Diet. Ketosis is not like “vegan” where you eat certain foods, Ketosis is a measurable, traceable and precise metabolic state. The body’s ability to go into the metabolic state of Ketosis is a scientific fact, not a fad diet, and therefore the possible results are undisputable – if you do the diet right.
Those who are on a High Fat Low Carb Diet will actually experience many side effects, and most of them not good. When you randomly choose how much carbs and fats to eat, you can actually upset the normal function of your body, including hormones, energy levels, digestion, the immune system and more. So what are the negative side effects of going on a High Fat Low Carb Diet? Let’s take a look:
- Low energy levels and feelings of fatigue all day long.
- Receiving adequate sleep but still feeling tired.
- Mood swings and easily irritated.
- Hormone imbalanced, especially in women.
- Extreme feelings of hunger and inability to be satisfied, even after a meal.
- Weight gain can occur and an appearance of looking sickly.
- Inability to concentrate, make decisions and perform.
All these side effects happen because the body is still using carbohydrates or proteins as its primary energy source, rather than fats. The body’s shift to using fat as energy is not automatic when going low carb, the Ketogenic formula needs to be used.
How to Avoid Low Carb & Strive for Ketosis
So how do you know if you are successfully in Ketosis and not just on a low carb diet?
Well, firstly you need to make sure that you are correctly balancing your macronutrients with 60% fats, 35% proteins, and 5% carbohydrates. Your carbohydrate intake should not exceed 50 grams daily. This should not be a guessing game; you need to use a program like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt to track your macronutrients.
Secondly, you can use a product called Ketostrix to check the ketone levels in your urine. Ketones are excreted from the body when the body is in Ketosis. So this product will show you if your body is in Ketosis or not.
A High Fat Low Carb Diet is not going to help you lose weight, it is only going to cause some very negative side effects. If you want to correctly undertake the Ketogenic Diet then be prepared to measure and track everything you eat, so that your body can go into the metabolic state of Ketosis.