Keto versus low carb is a debate that confuses many people…many ask what is the difference? And, there is a big difference.  So, let’s hopefully end this debate today.

Here are Some Common Questions Around Keto Versus Low Carb

What is Keto?


Keto is a way of eating that has you taking in a very low percentage of your calories from carbs.  It’s typically around 30-40 grams of total carbs per day. (This is compared to the standard American Diet of close to 300 per day). In addition, you eat a higher level of fat and a moderate level of protein.  The combination of fat, carbs, and protein you eat per day is referred to as Macros.  The amount varies per person.

In my coaching practice, I customize macros based on overall lifestyle and include things like activity level, health, lab work, motivation level, palate and more.

In addition, there are foods that are Keto approved and this is an important difference from a low carb diet.

The ultimate goal with Keto is to reach a state of ketosis, which means that your body uses fat as energy rather than carbs (This is not the case with low carb).  The fat you use for energy and weight loss, when Keto is done properly and your macros are properly balanced, isn’t the fat you consume it is your body fat. Woo hoo!  That’s a big reason Keto is so popular.

What is Low Carb?

When you eat a low carb diet for weight loss, you would typically eat between 50 grams and 100 grams of total carbs a day. You focus solely on your carbs and not necessarily the foods you eat.  You eat a moderate level of healthy fats and typically a higher level of protein.  Your goal is not ketosis, so your body does use carbs for energy on this plan.

There Are Benefits to Both

Benefits of Keto

When you are in ketosis, you tend to feel full.  There isn’t the constant feeling of hunger that so often accompanies trying to lose weight.  Eating this way stabilizes your blood sugar and your energy.  You don’t tend to have the mid-afternoon lull that makes you want to nap.  Keto has been shown to have many health benefits like:  Reducing inflammation, prediabetes, diabetes, lowering blood pressure, joint aches and pain, improves acne, protecting brain function, PCOS and much more.  One study found the keto diet improved insulin sensitivity by 76% and in a test group, 95% of people who ate keto were able to stop using diabetes medication (  That’s a WOW in my book.  I personally reversed my pre-diabetes and I’ve lost 50 pounds and gained so much more vitality.

Benefits of Low Carb

Many people enjoy low carb as a way because it’s a bit more relaxed than Keto.  You don’t need to track quite as carefully, focus soley on carbs and have more food options.  You still eat healthy fats, which helps you to feel full.

Word on the Street About Keto

People say keto is difficult to maintain long term.  This isn’t definitive and depends on the person and their health conditions and lifestyle.  I often use Keto to get people started and losing weight then transition them to a maintenance diet which is often low carb.  Either way, if you are dedicated to the health benefits, it is worth it!

Word on the Street About Low Carb

Some people find the lack of structure and rules an issue with low carb eating.  They can find themselves sliding back into eating simple carbs like white bread, sugary beverages, and baked goods because there are no set rules since they are only counting carbs.  You wouldn’t be in ketosis and this can lead to energy highs and lows.  Also, you tend to get hungry and need to eat every 3-4 hours.

Benefits of Both

Lowering your carb intake is not a bad thing, especially simple carbs.  Both ways of eating are beneficial to your heart health and other illnesses and can improve reliance on diabetes medication.  You will experience less hunger and the reduction in sugars helps your mental health.  Both will help you lose visceral fat, which is linked to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, certain cancers, and stroke.

Which One Should I Chose?

Honestly, I would encourage you to just chose one and get going with it.  Our society eats way too many carbs and the impact of that on our health is evident when you look at our obesity rates and the increase in illness.  I enjoy not feeling hungry, the consistent energy levels and the mental clarity keto provides me.  But, I do cycle in and out of both of them. Whatever you chose, your health will thank you if you just stick to it!

Do You Want a Sample of the Foods to Eat on Keto?

Please email me and I’ll send you a sample of a Keto food list and any other materials you are interested in on Keto or Low carb.

About Michelle McLaughlin: Michelle’s coaching practice is evolving with an innovative approach to Keto that goes beyond fast, sustainable weight loss. Enter: KETOish. Transformational private coaching sessions that include proven Keto and low carb principles for weight loss and how to increase your energy, longevity, confidence, mindset, passion, and overall wellness.

Michelle has been the go-to coach for Keto for women since 2018. Her 1:1 coaching program has helped hundreds of women from 25 states and 4 countries lose over 8,000 pounds while eating foods they love.

Set up a free 30-minute coaching session with Michelle at and let’s make an action plan perfect for you.