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Keto, Low Carb, and Mediterranean…Which One Is Right for You?

January 30th, 2024

In recent years, three approaches to eating have gained a lot of attention:

  • Keto
  • Low Carb
  • Mediterranean

Each of these eating strategies comes with its own pros and cons. And where one approach may be great for some people, another may be more effective for a different population.

Read on to learn more about the various features of these three diets.



The keto diet (with “keto” coming from the word “ketogenic”) is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat diet that is designed to induce a metabolic state called ketosis.

When in ketosis, your liver releases molecules called ketones, which signal your body to burn fat.

A keto diet generally consists of a high percentage of healthy fats (70-75% of total calories), a moderate percentage of protein (20-25%), and a low percentage of carbohydrates (5-10%).


Quick Weight Loss—because the keto diet is so effective at getting the body to burn fat, it can result in weight loss that happens faster than might happen with other approaches to dietingI

mproved Mental Acuity—many people report enhanced concentration and focus while on the keto diet. This is attributed to the shift in energy metabolism from carbs to fat.

Stabilized Blood Glucose—because it takes fat longer to metabolize than carbohydrates, the keto diet can help to stabilize blood sugar levels. This can be beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes, people who are prediabetic, and people who are insulin resistant.

Sustained Energy Levels—the dips in energy that many people experience throughout the day are often due to the crashes that come after consuming carbohydrates. Because blood sugar is stabilized while on the keto diet, these energy crashes are eliminated.

Stabilized Mood—just as your energy level can be affected by swings in blood sugar, your mood can be likewise impacted. As a result, people on the keto diet often report more even moods.


Nutritional Deficiencies—the keto diet is restrictive with regard to the foods you can eat. Careful meal planning and supplementation are needed to avoid nutritional deficiencies.

“Keto Flu”—during the initial adaptation to this diet, some people will experience fatigue and irritability, a phase known as the keto flu. This transition can often be avoided or minimized with strategic supplementation of specific minerals (like magnesium and potassium)

Limited Food Choices—due to its restrictive nature, some people will struggle with the limited variety of foods available while on this diet.

Social Challenges—unless the rest of your household is eating keto, this approach to diet can be difficult to sustain. Likewise, it can be difficult to find food options when eating at someone else’s home or when at a restaurant.

Low Carb


As the name would suggest, a low carb diet simply focuses on reducing carbohydrate intake, with an emphasis on nutrient-dense foods.

The primary goal while on a low carb diet is to minimize reliance on carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates), while prioritizing protein, low carb fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats.


Sustainable Weight Loss—a low carb diet can make sustained weight loss more manageable

More Stable Blood Glucose—similar to the keto diet, reduced carbohydrate intake while on a low carb diet contributes to better blood sugar control. This makes it a good choice if you suffer from type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or insulin resistance

Flexibility—low carb diets are generally more flexible than the keto approach to eating, allowing you to adjust your carb intake based upon your personal preferences and goals.


Initial Adjustment—the transition to a low carb lifestyle may involve an adjustment period where cravings and fatigue can be a challenge

Nutritional Gaps—depending upon your food choices, nutritional deficiencies can be an issue while on a low carb diet. These deficiencies can be minimized by choosing from a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods.

Social Challenges—while eating low carb is less restrictive than keto, it can still be challenging to find low carb options when not eating at home.

Mediterranean Diet


Back in the late 1950s, researchers discovered that the traditional diet within Mediterranean countries correlated with a lower risk for developing heart disease.

The eating habits that were identified amongst these populations emphasized whole, plant-based foods, healthy fats (particularly olive oil), moderate protein consumption, and a focus on fresh produce. Later, this approach to eating came to be known as the Mediterranean diet.


Heart Health—thanks to its emphasis on heart-healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Plentiful Antioxidants—the fruits, vegetables, and herbs frequently eaten while on this diet provide a rich source of antioxidants, which helps to reduce inflammation and contributes to overall health.

Mindful Eating—this diet encourages you to slow down and focus on the enjoyment of meals as a social activity.


Portion Control Is Necessary—for those who are accustomed to the standard American diet, it can be easy to overeat on while on the Mediterranean diet; so portion control can’t be ignored. This pitfall can be overcome by eating until you feel like you’re about 80% full. Most people will feel 100% full within 20 minutes.

Slower Weight Loss—it may take longer to lose weight on this diet compared to keto or low carb. The emphasis here is on having a healthy diet overall, more so than it is on weight loss.

Access to Fresh Ingredients Is Needed—to be effective, the Mediterranean diet requires access to fresh, high-quality produce, meat, and fish. This can be a challenge depending upon where you live and depending upon time of year.

Which Diet Is Best for You?

Which diet is ideal for you will depend on your needs and your preferences.

Keto or low carb may be preferable if weight loss is your primary objective. However, some people will find these diets hard to maintain for the long term.

The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, may be the best option if heart-health is your priority.

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