Keto VS Whole 30 – Which One Is Right For You?

Even if you’ve never tried any type of diet before you’ve probably heard of both Keto and the Whole 30 diet. These diets have had their share of media attention with celebrities and nutrition experts touting the health and weight loss benefits of both Keto and the Whole 30 diet. But which of these dietary superstars is right for you? The following article will explain the basic differences and similarities of Keto and Whole 30 so that you can figure out which one fits your lifestyle the best.

What is Keto?

Keto is an extremely low carbohydrate diet. While on Keto it’s recommended that the majority of your nutrients come from healthy fats with a moderate amount coming from protein and very few coming from carbs. For example, this might look like 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs. The reasoning behind the ultra-low-carb count on Keto comes from the goal it’s trying to achieve.

On the average diet, your body sources its fuel and energy from glucose that is created from the carbs that you eat. Glucose is a very fast form of energy; however, it’s also burned up rather quickly resulting in your body sending you hunger signals asking for more food. Any glucose that isn’t used instantly is turned into fat and stored for later. The problem is, that later date never comes because you keep responding to the hunger signals that your body is sending with more food.

The goal of Keto is to enter a state known as ketosis where your body switches from burning glucose to burning that stored fat as fuel. To do this you need to create ketones out of your fat cells by restricting the number of carbs that your body can turn into energy. Your body is a survival machine and it recognizes the need for energy.

There are many benefits of Keto including weight loss, management of diabetes and increased energy. You lose weight on Keto because you’re literally burning away your stored fat and your body stops sending frequent hunger signals. Fat is a plentiful energy source and your body has all that it needs to convert into fuel. This is what regulates your energy as well. Instead of the sugar high after a high carb meal that’s followed inevitably by the crash, Keto allows your body a steady source of fuel and in return, you get a steady source of energy.

What is the Whole 30 Diet?

The Whole 30 diet has only been around since 2009. During that time it’s grown in popularity thanks to social media. The idea behind the Whole 30 diet is that you severely restrict the foods that you eat for 30 days. This gives your body a rest from some of the foods that it might not have the greatest relationship with. Processed foods and sugars are not allowed on this diet alongside grains, legumes, alcohol and dairy. This is supposed to reset your digestion.

After the end of the 30 days, you gradually start introducing some of those banned foods back in while paying close attention to what your body agrees with and what causes bloating, headaches, acne, weight gain or other food intolerance symptoms. A lot of people do lose weight on the Whole 30 diet due to the elimination of sugars and processed foods; however, it’s easy to gain the weight back again the next month. The point of the Whole 30 diet isn’t necessarily to help you lose weight. It’s more geared towards helping you understand the food choices you make so that you can see how they positively or negatively impact your body.

What are the similarities between these two diets?

The most obvious similarity between these two diets is the fact that they’re both low carb. Keto is low carb in order to put you in a state of ketosis while the Whole 30 diet eliminated all bread and sugars which cuts down on your carb count dramatically. They both also emphasize healthy fats as part of a balanced diet and neither diet allows for the consumption of processed foods or junk food.

Both the Whole 30 diet and Keto require you to plan ahead in order to be successful. They’re both restrictive diets (although the Whole 30 diet is more restrictive) and it takes some advance preparation in order to see results. Figuring out what carbs are allowed and tracking how many carbs you can eat on the Keto diet can take some effort. Similarly, it takes effort in order to plan meals that don’t involve grains, legumes and dairy since it can be hard to get the required fibre and nutrients without these foods.

What are the differences between these two diets?

There are some major differences between the two diets. For starters, the Keto diet has been around for a long time and it was originally created by doctors back in the 1920s as a treatment plan for people with diabetes. There has been a multitude of scientific studies on the benefits of the Keto diet since then and studies show that Keto is great for helping you lose weight, increase energy and decrease mental fog all while being a possible treatment for diabetics and those suffering from seizures. The Whole 30 diet, on the other hand, is relatively new. It was created by a husband and wife team in 2009 and there haven’t really been any scientific studies to show whether or not it’s a healthy or effective diet.

Another big difference is the foods that you’re allowed to eat on the two diets. The Keto diet doesn’t allow you to eat any more than 25g of net carbs a day; however, there is some freedom in determining where you source those carbs from. You can eat some fruits, vegetables and legumes as long as your net carbs for the day don’t knock your body out of ketosis. The Whole 30 diet, on the other hand, eliminates entire groupings of food with no wiggle room.

If you’re wondering which foods specifically you can eat on both diets, the following lists should give you a good starting place.

What can I eat on Keto?

  • healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil and coconut oil
  • non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers and tomatoes
  • low-sugar fruits such as blackberries, avocado and starfruit
  • full-fat dairy such as cheese, greek yogurt and cream cheese
  • meat such as chicken, beef and seafood
  • eggs
  • some alcohol is allowed depending on the carb count
  • leafy green vegetables
  • nuts
  • some legumes depending on the carb count

What can I eat on the Whole 30 diet?

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • meat
  • healthy fats
  • eggs

What foods are banned on Keto?

  • starchy vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and parsnips
  • high sugar foods such as melons, peaches and plums
  • grains such as pasta, bread and rice
  • low-fat dairy
  • processed foods
  • sugar

What foods are banned on the Whole 30 diet?

  • legumes such as beans and peas
  • processed foods
  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • dairy
  • grains

Which one is better for weight loss?

If your main goal is to lose weight then both of these diets can help you do so. Keto is more sustainable over the long run and you might have better weight loss results if you have a large amount of weight to lose and the time to invest in following a diet for several months. The Whole 30 diet, on the other hand, will help you lose weight for the month that you’re doing it. It’s up to you whether that weight loss extends past the original month. You can continue to lose weight on the Whole 30 diet if you put a lot of time and focus into recognizing your relationship with food and eliminating the foods that cause any kind of negative reaction in your body.

Which one is right for you?

Which diet is right for you depends a lot on what your individual goals are. If you’re looking to drop a ton of weight quickly while learning how your body reacts to trigger foods then the Whole 30 diet might be right for you. If you’re more interested in a long term diet plan that will produce weight loss, increased energy, less mental fog and possibly treat other health issues as well with the help of your doctor then Keto might be right for you.

If you can’t bear the idea of giving up your favorite bean burrito (on gluten-free bread of course) or you love cheese more than life itself then Keto is definitely the way to go. On the other hand, if you don’t mind giving up a few of your favorite foods in order to understand how your body reacts to them then you should try the Whole 30 diet for a month.

The other consideration is the science that backs these two diets. There are plenty of studies to back up the Keto diet’s health claims. The Whole 30 diet doesn’t have these studies yet. That’s not to say that studies won’t someday show that it has health benefits as well, the diet is just too young to have proven itself in the scientific community yet.


Both the Keto diet and the Whole 30 diet can be used in order to see weight loss results and both are low carb diets; however, the differences between these two diets are vast and might play a large role in which one is right for you. Remember to talk to a doctor before beginning any new diet plan. Using the above information you can make a decision with your doctor as to whether you want to try the Whole 30 diet or Keto.

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