Keto vs Paleo vs Whole30 vs Atkins

The Ultimate Guide to Keto vs Paleo vs Whole30 vs Atkins

Cutting carbs is all the rage for weight loss and health, but with so many low-carb diets, how do you decide which one is best? This ultimate guide compares the top 4 low-carb diets - keto, paleo, Whole30, and Atkins. Learn the key differences, similarities, and food rules to determine the best low-carb diet.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic or "keto" diet aims to get the body into nutritional ketosis, a fat-burning state reached by eating very low carbs (usually under 50g net carbs per day). On keto, 75% of calories come from fat, 20% from protein, and just 5% from carbs. Keto has been used therapeutically since the 1920s for epilepsy and, more recently, gained popularity for weight loss.

Keto Macros

  • 75% calories from fat
  • 20% calories from protein
  • 5% calories from net carbs

Keto Foods

Keto staples include meat, fish, eggs, full-fat dairy, healthy oils, low-carb veggies, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, and berries. Keto eliminates sugar, grains, legumes, fruit, starchy veggies, and unhealthy fats. Check out our approved keto shopping list for more details.Β 

All About the Paleo Diet

The paleo diet aims to mimic the eating patterns of Paleolithic-era hunter-gatherers. That means no processed foods, sugar, dairy, grains or legumes. Paleo centres around meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. Unlike keto, paleo does not restrict carb intake but focuses on getting carbs from produce.

Paleo Macros

No specific macronutrient ratios, but higher protein and produce intake.

Paleo Foods

LEAN meats, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds. No grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, salt, or processed oils.

What is Whole30?

The Whole30 diet is a 30-day plan that eliminates grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, and additives. The rules go beyond food, restricting weigh-ins, tracking, and food substitutes during the 30 days. Whole30 is designed to help identify problematic foods or reset unhealthy eating habits.

Whole30 Rules

No grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, alcohol, or food additives. No tracking or weighing yourself. No slip-ups or "treats".

Whole30 Foods

Meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, some fruit, natural fats. No substitute sweeteners are allowed.

All About the Atkins Diet

Dr Robert Atkins created the Atkins diet, which is a diet that is low in carbohydrates. Atkins emphasizes protein, healthy fats, and under 20-50g net carbs per day in 4 phases. The initial phase is strictest at under 20g carbs. Atkins helps achieve ketosis but allows foods like dairy and artificial sweeteners.

Atkins Diet Macros

20-50g net carbs per day depending on phase, high protein, high fat.

Atkins Diet Foods

Protein foods, healthy fats, leafy greens, and some dairy. No sugar, grains, starchy veggies, or caloric beverages.

Diet Carb intake Food restrictions Ketosis
Keto Very low carb, <50g net carbs No grains, sugar, starchy veggies, most fruit Yes
Paleo No set limit No dairy, grains, legumes, processed foods No
Whole30 No tracking No grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, additives No
Atkins Low, in phases No grains, starchy veggies, sugar Yes

The Verdict: Which Low-Carb Diet is Best?

The "best" diet depends on your goals and preferences. Keto and Atkins are great for achieving ketosis for rapid weight loss or medical conditions. Paleo focuses on whole, minimally processed foods but does not explicitly induce ketosis. Whole30 helps eliminate problem foods and reset habits. For most weight loss, keto and Atkins offer rapid results. Pick the low-carb diet that fits your needs and is sustainable in the long term.

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