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The world seems to keep churning out one innovation after another. The health and fitness industry is no exception. There are so many diets, weight loss products, and programs out there that it is very easy to get confused. In today’s article, we will talk about two such diet plans.
We will talk about each of the weight loss plans separately and then compare one to the other. So, let’s get this show on the road.
Bottom Line Up Front: I really LOVE the keto approach, but it’s not really a specific program. For most people – myself included – I recommend going with the 21 Day Fix here, at least to start to get the discipline and clear plan.
- 1 What Is Keto Diet?
- 2 How Does Keto Diet Work?
- 3 What to Eat When on a Keto Diet?
- 4 What Not to Eat on a Keto Diet?
- 5 Types of Keto Diet
- 6 Keto Diet for Vegetarians
- 7 What Is 21 Day Fix?
- 8 Core Difference
- 9 Mechanism
- 10 Energy Currency
- 11 Honest Opinion
What Is Keto Diet?
All the Diets fall on a certain spectrum. We have Low Fat Vegan diets to High Fat Low Carb diets. The Keto Diet falls in the High Fat Low Carb category. Keto Diet is short for Ketogenic Diet. It is also known as a low carb diet, high fat low carb diet (HFLC), low carb high-fat diet, etc. This diet is similar to the Atkins diet and the bulletproof diet.
The Keto Diet was not invented as a weight loss diet. In fact, surprisingly, the Keto Diet was first invented in the 1920s by physicians to control epilepsy. Several kinds of research at the time proved that fasting helped control epilepsy. But it is impossible to fast forever, so the researchers came up with this diet.
A decade or so later it faded to obscurity and remained in a dusty corner as it was replaced by drugs to control epilepsy. In the 1990s, when a Hollywood producer Jim Abraham’s son was diagnosed with epilepsy and the drug were not that effective, the Keto Diet was picked back up. It did give great results.
After that, it again became popular for the treatment of epilepsy and other such neural disorders. It was even featured in a movie made by Jim Abraham. A few years later it came into notice for its weight loss benefits and became the new diet plan. Atkins Diet is just a modified version of the Keto Diet. Keto Diet includes eating a high amount of fat, moderate amounts of proteins but a low amount of carbohydrates. But remember, the fat has to be good and healthy fats.
Yes, you read it right. There are good fats as well as bad fats. Good fats are unsaturated like monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Some of the examples of good fats are omega 3, dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, etc. Bad fats are any saturated fats like trans-fatty acids. Bad fats are the reason for fat accumulation in the body which leads to weight gain. Bad fats make you more likely to have diseases like high cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases and lifestyle disorders like obesity. Some of the examples of bad fats include tropical oils, poultry, and junk food and so on. You get the picture, right?
So in Keto Diet, you have to stay far, far away from bad fats but the good fats are your new best friends. You can eat them as much as you want.
Take the Metabolic Factor Quiz One of the things I really like about Metabolic Factor is that it takes a multi-disciplinary approach to health. It's not JUST about nutrition. This quiz really opened my eyes to factors that may be preventing my KETO weight loss .
How Does Keto Diet Work?
Before we dive into the rules of the Keto Diet, let us make a quick pit stop at its principle and understand the logic behind this diet. This diet works because of something called ‘ketosis’ and ‘ketones.’ In fact, the ‘keto’ in Keto Diet is due to the ‘ketones’.
Normally when you eat high carb diet, your body will break those carbs down to produce energy in the form of glucose and insulin. Glucose is sort of like the main energy currency of most living things since glucose is the easiest particle in your body to convert and use as energy.
This is the reason that normally your body will choose glucose over other molecules. Insulin is produced in the bloodstream. The main and only function of the insulin is to make sure that the glucose is circulated throughout the body. Because glucose is being used, fats pretty much are not required by the body and get stored in case of an energy requirement. Fats function as alternate molecules for a breakdown of energy, so when there are times that the body needs energy but glucose is not available, then fats gets broken down into tiny bodies called ketones which then serve as energy unit instead of glucose. This is what happens when you fast.
Ketosis is a process when the fats are being broken down in the liver into ketones. With Keto Diet, this is exactly what we are trying to achieve. We want to drastically reduce the carb intake which will cause the body not to produce glucose. Instead, you are eating high amounts of good fat-rich food, and that will cause your body to break down this fat and produce ketones.
What we are trying to do here is mimic the fasting process. So instead of fats getting stored in your body, it will now start quickly burning off and resulting in weight loss. Now that we have understood the mechanism of the Keto Diet, we will talk about what to eat and what not to eat while following the Keto Diet.
What to Eat When on a Keto Diet?
While on a Keto Diet, the majority of your calorie intake should be from fats, moderate from proteins and very less from carbs. The typical calorie ratio with the Keto Diet is 75% of fats, 20% of proteins and the remaining 5% of your total calorie intake should be from carbs.
Some of the Keto-friendly foods are:
- Pastured or organic eggs are rich in omega 3 and therefore make the best choice as a Keto-friendly food.
- Meat like grass-fed beef, pork, red meat, ham, bacon, sausages, turkey and other fatty organic meats.
- Fish also makes great Keto-friendly food. Just make sure that the fish should be fatty fish containing low mercury. Fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, and trout are excellent options for a healthy Keto meal.
- Poultry like chicken, turkey, goose, and duck are also keto-friendly.
- You can have dairy products while on this diet. Your option includes high-fat dairy like butter, milk, yogurt, and cream. Just make sure it comes from grass-fed animals.
- You can also have full-fat cheese which is unprocessed like goat cheese, cheddar cheese, mozzarella, blue cheese, etc.
- You have the options of eating nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds and so on. You can also have high-fat nut butter like almond butter, peanut butter and so on.
- Cook your food or dress your salads with healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil.
- You can have lots of vegetables that are low in starch. Green leafy veggies like spinach, coriander, and greens, tomatoes, broccoli, avocados, mushrooms all make a good option as Keto-friendly foods.
- You can also have fruits containing low sugar like berries such as blueberries, strawberries, etc. and citrus fruits, apples and so on.
- Keto-friendly condiments include salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary, turmeric, and other herbs and spices.
Keto Diet emphasizes consumption of grass-fed meat and dairy products. This is because pastured animals have low levels of toxins in their fats as well as they are also high in omega 3 fatty acids, which is a type of good fats. While animals who feed on industry produced food have high levels of toxins, accumulate in their fat tissues, and they also have a high level of bad fats like omega 6 fatty acids.
You also have the option of having various beverages when you are on the Keto Diet.
Some of the Keto-friendly beverages are:
- You need to have a copious amount of water throughout the day to keep your system hydrated.
- You can have sparkling water. Sparkling water is a far healthier and better option instead of sodas. So whenever mood strikes, instead of grabbing a soda, have some sparkling water.
- You can have tea as long as it is unsweetened. You can have it warm or iced; it is up to you. But caffeine and tannin in tea are also reported to help in weight loss. Unsweetened green tea is an even better option.
- Sweetened coffee is also a great idea when practicing the Ketogenic Diet. The caffeine assists in weight loss as well give you an extra boost of energy. You can have it as a latte with full-fat milk or cream or you can have your coffee any way you want as long as it is unsweetened.
- You can even incorporate bulletproof coffee into your diet if you want. Bulletproof coffee is a cornerstone of the bulletproof diet that is similar to the Keto Diet. Bulletproof Coffee is basically just coffee with unsalted, grass-fed butter and a special coconut extract oil called Brain Octane. This is totally optional and not strictly necessary.
What Not to Eat on a Keto Diet?
This category will involve foods that are low in good fats and high in carbs.
When following keto diet you should avoid:
- Grains and products that use grains as an ingredient should be avoided. So cereals, rice, oats, wheat, etc. are not keto-friendly.
- Avoid bread and baked goods like cakes, macarons, whole wheat bread, etc.
- Since most pasta and noodles are made of grains, they are also not allowed in this diet.
- Starchy vegetables like most tubers such as potatoes, sweet potato, squash and other veggies like peas, corn, etc. are not included in the Keto Diet.
- Avoid beans and legumes.
- Sweet and sugary foods like white sugar, brown sugar, candy, ice cream, custards, maple syrup or any sugar alcohols are also not allowed when following the Keto Diet.
- Avoid eating any low fat or zero fat items like low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, etc.
- Fruits having high sugar content like bananas, pineapple, cantaloupe, etc. are a big no-no in this diet.
- Avoid sauces and salad dressings that have high carb content like barbecue sauce.
- Do not consume unhealthy fats like mayonnaise, industry-fed meats, margarine. Also avoid eating processed foods and diet foods that contain artificial agents like stabilizers, sweeteners, and preservatives.
- Some beverages do not allow your body to remain in the state of ketosis. These drinks are usually filled with carbs, and you should definitely avoid them. Some non-Keto-friendly beverages are:
- Sugary drinks such as store made juices or sports drink. Even sweetened coffee and tea is not allowed.
- Sodas should be avoided at all costs as they have carbs and are artificially sweetened and also have a lot of added sugar.
- Avoid alcohol while you are following the Keto Diet. So beers, wines, cocktails, etc. all have to be given up.
Types of Keto Diet
If you thought that there was only one type of Keto Diet, then you are wrong.
There are four types of Keto Diet, and these are:
- Standard Ketogenic Diet – This is your regular high fat, low carb, and moderate protein diet. This is the most common type of Keto Diet.
- Cyclic Ketogenic Diet – This diet involves normal high fat diet which is interrupted by days of diet where the amount of carb consumed is high.
- Targeted Ketogenic diet – In this type of diet, you can have carbs only during certain times like when you are working out.
- High-protein Ketogenic Diet – This type of diet is usually very popular in the sports industry. In this diet, the amount of protein consumed is higher than in the standard diet. The caloric ratio is 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
- Keto Diet with Intermittent Fasting – While this is not exactly a type of Keto Diet, it is becoming very popular in the weight loss industry. This is standard Keto Diet paired with periods of fasting. It gives faster results and has a lot of benefits like memory improvement, muscle gain, and toning.
Keto Diet for Vegetarians
While it is very clear that the entire Keto Diet revolves around meat, it is not impossible to follow this diet being a vegetarian. But before you jump on the Keto bandwagon, you should be aware of your nutritional demands. Make sure that your omega-3, Vitamins and minerals level is optimum. Make sure that you are hydrated.
You can have foods like zoodles which is noodles made with zucchini. You can load up on fruits like berries and apples. Try to eat salads more and some nuts and seeds. Do not forget to get enough fats in the form of butter, cheese, tofu and any vegetarian food containing healthy fats.
What Is 21 Day Fix?
Maybe you are tired of starving yourself with the latest diet the Hollywood is getting behind. Or maybe despite trying your utter best you just cannot seem to lose those extra pounds or maybe your goal is to tone your body but you are confused about how to do that.
Well, do not worry because in our today’s article we will talk about the new wholesome way of losing weight while still eating. We will talk about the 21 Day Fix plan that has gained so much popularity. This diet broke the internet in 2015 by being the highest searched diet as well by being the highest pinned diet on Pinterest. Naturally, that got our attention. What was so great about this diet that so many men and women swearing by it? We decode that answer for you here.
The 21 Day Fix was created by Autumn Calabrese, a single mother and bikini competitor. She is also National Academy of Sports Medicine certified trainer who usually works with celebrities. The 21 Day Fix is not really a diet but it is a way of living. The diet is all about learning how to eat in portion control while also eating healthy. The motto of this diet is ‘Simple fitness, simple eating, and fast results.’ And it does stay true to that motto.
The entire 21 Day Fix concept revolves around the fact that it takes 21 days to form a habit. So if you eat healthy in a controlled portion and pair it with a good half an hour of exercise than that habit is more likely to stick. Did I forget to mention the exercise? Well, the 30-minute workout is the cornerstone of this weight loss plan and is just equally as important as the food you eat.
Autumn Calabrese believes that when it comes to being healthy, it is not just about the gym and how much and how long you workout. What you eat and how much you eat is also equally important. This 21 Day Fix program can help you lose up to 15 pounds in three weeks by simply making you exercise and follow the simple micro nutrition plan.
Portion Control Containers
So instead of starving you or placing extreme restrictions on your diet, the 21 Day Fix plan teaches you how to manage the quantity of your food by providing you with Portion Fix color-coded portion control containers. Each container is allotted for different groups of food.
There are total 7 containers, teaspoons and a Shakeology shaker that you can get for an additional cost. But it is all worth it. These portion control containers are color-coded to help make planning your diet easy and effective. The green container is for veggies, the purple is for fruits, the red portion container is allotted for proteins, the yellow container is for complex carbs, the blue container is for healthy fats and cheese and the orange container is for seeds and oils. You can also get a tablespoon for measuring oil, sauce or other condiments and a Shakeology shaker to measure your shakes, juices, water, etc.
These portion control containers are a really great idea as you do not have to measure the number of calories you are eating. Whatever fits the specific container is okay to eat. It takes the entire calorie counting concept out of the equation.
If that was not good enough, then you can use these containers according to the number of calories you want to lose. Always remember to calculate your calorie goal. To calculate your calorie goal, multiply your current weight in pounds with 11. Add 400 to it. The result will give you the amount of calorie you need to function. Subtract 750 from this number and that will give you the number of calories you need to lose weight.
Once you get that number, you can plan your meals accordingly. When you buy the 21 Day Fix pack, you also get other resources with it. One of them is the Fix Container Plan. It gives you a different plan based on the number of calories that you are trying to lose.
Suppose if you want to lose 1,200 to 1,499, then you have to follow plan A. This includes 3 servings from green container, 2 servings from purple container, 4 servings from red container, 2 servings from yellow container and one serving each of blue and green container along with one tablespoon of oil or sauce or whatever you prefer.
Similarly, there are different plans according to your calorie target. It is a highly specific plan designed just for your ideal calorie target. Along with the containers, you also have tally sheets that can be used to track your daily portions, some easy recipes as well as frequently asked questions.
You can even personalize your 21 Day Fix guidebook by making meal plans and attaching your favorite recipes as well as tracking your hydration levels. Unlike the Keto Diet, there is no do or die rules here. If you want you can even eat a muffin in exchange for the yellow container. With this system, you will get a wholesome, nutritional and balanced diet.
Let’s talk about the exercises. The 21 Day Fix plan is incomplete without the coupled exercises. There are specific routines that are designed for this plan. So you have to follow them. You can get the CD along with the containers.
The workout routine is a 30 minutes routine consisting of different exercises for each day of the week. These exercises are specifically designed to burn calories and tone muscles. Some exercises are for stretching, some for muscle toning, cardio, and some exercises are modified versions of some yoga poses.
You have a total body cardio workout which helps you burn fat. The exercise routine also consists of upper fix which is basically exercises that will help tone your upper body. These exercises tone your upper body with targeted resistance training. So say goodbye to flabby arms.
Next comes lower fix so exercises aimed at toning your lower body while also helping to burn fat. You also have Pilates fix which is a form of active recovery workout which helps to strengthen your muscles, just like your normal run-of-the-mill Pilates.
Cardio Fix is another exercise on the 21 Day Fix regime. This helps in the rapid burning of fats while leaving your heart pumping. Get ready to sweat a lot. We also have Dirty 30 which is a bonus workout that makes you do four rounds of calorie-blasting exercises to make you leaner.
The 10-minute ab workout is aimed towards firming your abdominal area and then you have plyo fix which is another bonus workout. It is a pretty hard routine which you can do as a cardio workout. If you want, you can even swap your normal cardio workout, with this routine. And then you also have yoga fix for overall flexibility and peace of mind.
These exercises are spread throughout the period of 21 days. So each day you will do different exercises aimed at a different part of your body.
To do the exercises, you will require a few things. You will require a set of light and heavy dumbbells. For women, the light set of dumbbells should weigh about 3 to 5 pounds while the heavy set should weigh about 8 to 10 pounds. For men, the light set should weigh about 8 to 10 pounds while the heavier set should weigh about 15 to 20 pounds. A yoga mat is also a great idea.
We saw the basics of the Keto Diet as well as the 21 Day Fix. They are both used as a weight loss or body toning plan but if we pitch them against each other, which plan is better for losing weight in a healthy way?
The main difference between the two is that one is a diet while the other is a lifestyle habit. The Keto Diet is a strict high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet. There are certain foods that you cannot eat while certain that you can.
However the 21 Day Fix is not a diet, it is a weight loss plan. There are no strict diets to follow as long as what you eat is healthy and you burn it off later.
The Keto Diet works by maintaining your body in a state of ketosis. As we discussed, it is a metabolic state where your body is a fat burning machine. To lose weight with Keto Diet, your body needs to remain in the ketosis state.
This is not the case for the 21 Day Fix plan. Here, you learn the importance of portion controlled eating and exercise. This plan revolves around the plan idea that any habit needs 21 days to stick. So following the portion-controlled meal plans and workout regimes for 21 days makes sure that it becomes a way of you living.
In Keto Diet, as we mentioned earlier in the article, the fats are broken down into ketones, which works as energy fuel. But in the 21 Day Fix plan the body uses its natural energy unit which is glucose and insulin.
The Keto Diet is located on the High Fat Low Carb spectrum. So you take very few amounts of carbs but high quantities of fats. The 21 Day Fix allows eating everything but in moderate quantities. The amount of fats consumed is very low and the carbs consumed are complex carbohydrates.
Quantity vs. Quality
The Keto Diet is more about the quality of your food. The quantity is considered a secondary factor. In the case of the 21 Day Fix plan, the most important factor is quantity. The quality of the food is the second factor. 21 Day Fix is all about portion control.
Since the Keto Diet is a proper diet in every sense of the word, it obviously has strict rules regarding what foods you can eat and what you cannot eat. There are not as many restrictions on the food consumed in the 21 Day Fix plan. As long as you are eating healthy, it really does not matter much.
The Keto Diet does not sufficiently provide all the nutrients and vitamins that are biologically needed for the body. Like potassium, Vitamin C, A, K and many more. The Keto does not fill all the holes. The carbohydrate is always deficient and that could lead to serious problems.
The 21 Day Fix program, on the other hand, makes sure that all your nutritional needs are satisfied as it promotes a balanced diet that is not lacking in any food groups.
The Keto Diet can cause serious problems like gout, hormonal disorders leading to thyroid, estrogen imbalance, and bad breath and so on. Keto Flu is the most common side effects while on a Keto Diet. There are no side effects in the case of 21 Day Plan. It promotes wholesome eating in limited quantity.
Temporary vs. Permanent
The Keto Diet is a temporary solution for obvious reasons. No one can live on high fat and extremely low carbs diet forever. The 21 Day Fix, however, can be a permanent option. It teaches you the importance of a balanced diet and portion control. For this reason, you can adopt it as a natural part of your lifestyle.
While it is good to exercise when following a Keto Diet, it is not a necessity. Exercise is not a key factor of the Keto Diet, while exercise is the cornerstone of the 21 Day Fix plan. The workout is included in the program and without the specific exercise, this plan is incomplete.
Vegetarians and Vegans
The Keto Diet is very difficult to incorporate into a vegetarian lifestyle and probably impossible for a vegan. It revolves around meat eating. The 21 Day Fix diet plan due to its flexibility, is an amazing option for meat-eaters, vegetarians and even vegans. It is highly flexible and the only rule it has is clean and healthy eating in a limited proportion.
Personally, I loved the 21 Days Fix plan. It is highly malleable, and there are not a ton of rules and regulations that you have to follow. I loved the ideas of the containers. It is not necessary to use them, you can forego them. But they are a really good innovation and they help you to forego the need to measure everything and count your calories.
The exercises coupled with the 21 Day Fix regime are not difficult. They are fun to do and really lift your mood. Exercise is scientifically proven to make you feel good by producing feel-good hormones like oxytocin and endorphins. These hormones make you feel happy, productive and more focused.
I think if you are overweight to the point that doing light exercises takes a toll on you, then first lose some weight with the Keto Diet and once you feel like you can exercise without as much difficulty, switch to the 21 Day Fix plan.
I like how even a vegetarian or a vegan can use the 21 Day Fix program to trim down. The options for a vegetarian is limited in case of Keto Diet and options for a vegan is almost non-existent. So out of the two, 21 Day Fix seems like an excellent option for people who are not meat-eaters.
The Keto Diet may not be the best option for people suffering from conditions like thyroid, PCOD or any other such conditions. But 21 Day Fix due to its focus on healthy eating is an ideal weight loss method.
So many people I know who have tried the Keto diet usually complain about experiencing fatigue. This is probably due to the fact that instead of glucose, ketones are used to power your system. And before you achieve ketosis, you are burning very few carbs. While ketones are alternative energy units, they are not the first choice of your body. Your body will always first go for glucose.
The 21 Day Fix also has an app that you can use to get even more benefits out of the program. It helps you compile a grocery list, add your favorite recipes and so much more.
Before you choose any options, always do plenty of research and if needed, consult a physician or a dietician.
So that was our in-depth review for 21 Day Fix diet plan and the Keto Diet. I really hope that we have made you less confused about the two and helped you select an option perfect for you! Always remember to listen to your body and take things slow when needed. You will not be able to become healthier if you are injured.
Bottom Line: While I do like the principles of the Keto Diet, it’s really just a set of dietary rules. Not a comprehensive program. That’s why I personally chose to go with the 21 Day Fix structured program here.
Take the Metabolic Factor Quiz One of the things I really like about Metabolic Factor is that it takes a multi-disciplinary approach to health. It's not JUST about nutrition. This quiz really opened my eyes to factors that may be preventing my KETO weight loss .
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Ben has been a certified personal trainer for several years now and has a passion for wellness, health, fitness like no other. He’s been educating himself on nutrition since he was in high school. His girlfriend is a professional herbalist and food healer, so he takes the health and wellness discussions into the homefront. Not only is Ben a seasoned, professional writer, but he also uses and tests health products, protein supplements, and more personally and shares his insights on topics such as protein, diets, muscle recovery, muscle building, supplements, and naturally-sourced products.