Keto Diet: Discover the surprising similarities with Atkins

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Posted by Linda O'Byrne (Atkins Nutritionist)

The keto diet, also called the ketogenic diet, is becoming increasingly popular. It is a scientifically proven, effective way to get rid of your excess pounds quickly. But more and more people also see the keto diet as a real lifestyle change. Discover the benefits of the keto diet and the surprising similarities with Atkins.

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What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is a diet where you eat few carbohydrates and your diet comprises of natural fats & moderate protein intake. In general, the limit is around 40 carbohydrates per day, mainly from vegetables. The name Keto Diet comes from the fact that you limit the number of carbohydrates in ketose. You can read here what ketosis is and why it works so well to lose fat.

As you may have noticed already, this diet has many similarities with the Atkins lifestyle.

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What are the similarities between the ketogenic diet and Atkins, and are there differences?

The ketogenic diet is most similar to Phase 1 of Atkins. Usually, you will go into ‘ketosis’ if you eat less than 40 grams of carbohydrates per day. So phase 2 is also ketogenic for many people. But this can vary from person to person. For example, someone who does a lot of sports can probably eat a little more carbohydrates than someone who is less active.

Atkins differs slightly as you add more carbs as you go into phase three.  In addition, your fat intake reduces as you increase the amount of ‘good’ carbs you eat, as you go through the phases. Depending on the goal, Atkins gradually introduces more carbohydrates into your diet. That is why it is generally easier to maintain Atkins and easier to make into a lifestyle. Unlike the keto diet, Atkins is divided into four phases. Click on the phase to get more information about that phase.

Where does the keto diet come from?

The keto diet originated in the 1920s. At that time it was mainly used as a treatment for epilepsy and was hardly used as a diet for weight loss. This only happened in the 70s, when it was discovered that the keto diet is also very effective for weight loss.

How and why does the keto diet work?

With a traditional Western diet, which consists largely of carbohydrates, your body mainly burns carbohydrates to get energy. This process works as follows: The carbohydrates that you ingest are converted into glucose by your body. Your pancreas then makes insulin to ensure that the glucose is absorbed by the muscles. When you consume too many carbohydrates, the insulin ensures that that extra energy is stored, in the form of (belly) fat.

But if you limit the number of carbohydrates, as with a ketogenic diet, your body will not use your carbohydrate reserves, but will use your fat reserves to get energy. In other words: fat burning! This fat-burning process then releases so-called ketones. That is why this process is called ketosis. In general, it takes a few days before you get into ketosis.

The image below shows exactly how this process works.


Ketogenic food / products

Commonly used products in the keto eating pattern include meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, eggs, cheeses and oils. But Atkins products also fit very well into a keto diet for the most part. Vegetables, especially vegetables that grow above the ground, are naturally low in carbohydrates. Legumes and many vegetables that grow underground are starchier and higher in carbohydrates.

To help you on your way, you will find below products that you should and should not eat.

Eat in abundance:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Nuts
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Pecans
    • Brazil nuts
  • Seeds
  • Eggs
  • Cheeses
  • Oils
  • Vegetables, mainly growing above the ground
    • Lettuce
    • Tomato
    • Cucumber
    • Spinach
    • Asparagus
    • Avocado
    • Cabbage
    • Aubergine
    • Cauliflower
    • Green beans
    • Pepper
    • Kale
  • Limited number of fruits:
    • Strawberries
    • Raspberries
    • Blackberries

Beware of:

  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Kidney
  • beans White beans Green
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Red beets
  • Carrots
  • Blueberries
  • Coconut
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Plums

Products to avoid with a keto diet:

  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Bread and breakfast cereals
  • Biscuit, sweets, cakes and ice cream
  • Juices and sugary soft drinks
  • Banana
  • Mango
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple
  • Pear

To show how well Atkins fits a keto diet, we have prepared a special keto diet plan for you, including Atkins product! The daily menu below contains approximately 25 grams of carbohydrates.

  • Breakfast: 125 ml Greek yogurt with a crumbled Atkins bar of your choice. Put the bar in a plastic bag and roll over it with a rolling pin.
  • Snack: 1 celery stalk spread with peanut butter.
  • Lunch: Roasted Tomato Soup, view the recipe here.
  • Snack: 30g cubed cheese
  • Dinner: Cod, baked in herb butter served with 200 grams of broccoli. Tasty with olive tapenade.
  • Evening snack: 30 grams of mixed nuts.

Need more recipe inspiration? View all keto-friendly Atkins recipes or the keto-friendly weekly menus here.

Atkins products in the Keto diet

To stay in ketosis, the total amount of carbohydrates per day is important. This can be a little different for everyone but is on average between 20 and 40 grams per day. Within this amount you could include a low-carb Atkins bar. To do this, add the net carbohydrates from the bar to the rest of the carbohydrates you eat that day. Tip: Use our handy carbohydrate counter for this

Products such as Atkins breadmuesli and pasta contain slightly more carbohydrates per serving than a bar. It is a matter of trial and error and see what works for you.

When you register at Atkins we will keep you informed of the latest tips, trends and you will receive a discount on your first order. All to help you on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

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The keto food pyramid

With a keto diet you eat less carbohydrates, you will not get a hunger feeling. Limiting carbohydrates is more than compensated by eating fats and proteins.

Below you can see a view of the keto food pyramid. This pyramid shows what the proportions of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in your diet should be if you want to follow the keto diet. This pyramid is again very close to the proportions that we recommend at Atkins.

Keto food pyramid

The benefits of the keto diet at a glance

  1. Fast fat loss

The body is forced to use fats as fuel. Because of this, this diet ensures that you can lose weight quickly.

  1. Less hunger

In contrast to a low-calorie or low-fat diet, a keto diet is much less likely to cause you to feel hungry. And that is often what makes dieting so difficult. In addition, due to the lack of carbohydrates, you no longer suffer from fluctuations in your blood sugar level.

  1. Can help reduce conditions such as Diabetes and Epilepsy

Following a ketogenic diet has a proven effect on the treatment of diseases such as epilepsy and type 2 diabetes.

Disadvantages keto diet / what should you take into account if you opt for the keto diet?

  1. Give your body time to adjust to the keto diet.

You can feel 'weak' or 'headachy' during the first few days. This is a sign that the body is switching to ketosis, or fat burning. Replacing salt will help, such as a cup of broth daily to supplement the salt loss. You can also use a multivitamin daily.


  1. Nutrient deficiency

While following this diet, a nutrient deficiency may occur. A common shortage is a shortage of fibre. To prevent this kind of deficiency, it is wise to eat enough fibre-rich vegetables and to take a multivitamin twice a day.


  1. Bad breath

Bad breath can result from ketosis. It is annoying to be confronted with this odour, but this is a sign that someone is in ketosis and that the diet works. Fight bad breath as well as possible by drinking plenty of water, brushing your teeth often and using sugar-free gum.

Does the keto diet suit everyone?

Everyone can eat less carbohydrates. Some people are motivated to do this in the strictest form, the ketogenic diet. If you want to lose weight or improve your health, eating less carbohydrates or a ketogenic diet may be suitable for you. Sign up for Atkins today and discover why we have already helped more than 40 million people live a healthier lifestyle!