Keto or Calorie Counting – Which Diet Reigns Supreme?


Keto vs. Calorie Counting is a debate that never gets old or boring. These two diets have nothing in common except that they promote weight loss.

Calorie counting has been around for a long time, and so has keto, but the latter’s popularity is more recent. Comparing keto and calorie counting is simply low carb vs low calorie, and the choice gets tougher as you explore both options.

Is keto better than low calorie diets? Perhaps in some aspects, but it’s certainly not for everyone. Both diets work on distinct principles; only you can decide what suits you and whichever you can commit to for the long term. 

The Keto Diet

The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate protein lifestyle that shifts your body’s metabolism into a state called ketosis. When your body enters ketosis, it burns fat for energy instead of breaking down carbohydrates.

Keto does not work unless you reduce carb intake to as low as 5-10% of total calories consumed in a day. The body cannot enter ketosis if your carbohydrate consumption is higher than that.

During keto, low carb vs low calorie can be of importance if you want to induce rapid weight loss. Low carbs is clearly a primary requirement for keto, but lowering calories can also help accelerate the process of shedding extra pounds.

Counting calories on keto diet is typically un-called for, but useful when dealing with obesity or other weight-related health problems. When looking at keto vs calorie deficit, establish your health conditions, eating habits, and stamina first. 

Nutritional Differences of Keto vs. Calorie Counting

The keto diet primarily focuses on macronutrient composition, emphasizing a high fat, low cab, and moderate protein intake. The standard macronutrient ratio is 70-80% of calories from fat, 15-25% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrates.

Calorie counting adheres to overall calorie intake regardless of macronutrient composition. Hence, you may adjust the carbs, fats, and protein ratio based on personal preference and nutritional goals.

Potential Health Benefits and Risks of Keto vs. Calorie Deficit

So, is keto better than low-calorie diet? It’s not uncommon to compare the two, given both have similar health benefits, if exercised properly.

Potential Health Benefits of Keto

  • Aids weight loss by reducing appetite, lowering insulin levels, and accelerating the burning of fat.
  • Improves blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, making it suitable for many diabetics.
  • The high-fat diet may provide therapeutic benefits to patients with epilepsy and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Potential Health Benefits of Calorie Restriction

  • It can lead to efficient weight loss by creating a calorie deficit.
  • May extend lifespan and delay markers of aging.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and obesity.

Potential Risks of Keto

  • Initial side effects of ketosis may lead to symptoms including fatigue, dehydration, and headaches.
  • Nutritional deficiencies may develop if meals are not well-balanced and carefully planned. 
  • Low fiber in the diet may cause constipation and digestive discomfort.

Potential Risks of Calorie Restriction

  • Severe calorie restriction can cause malnutrition.
  • Heightened cravings and hunger pangs lead to unhealthy eating habits.
  • Low-calorie intake slows down metabolism over time, making it more difficult to lose weight.
  • Psychological stress and eating disorders.

Foods to Eat

In the following section, you’ll discover best food choices in terms of keto vs. calorie restriction diet.

Best Food Options for the Keto Diet

  • High-Fat Foods – Avocado, Coconut oil, Olive oil, Butter and ghee, Fatty fish, Nuts and seeds 
  • Low-Carb Vegetables – Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Bell peppers
  • Low-Carb Fruits – Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
  • Moderate Protein sources – Poultry (chicken, turkey), Eggs, fatty Beef, Pork, Tofu
  • Dairy Products – Cheese, Heavy cream, Greek yogurt 

Best Food Options for the Calorie-Counting Diet

  • Lean Proteins – Skinless chicken breast, Turkey, White Fish, Lean cuts of other meats 
  • Complex Carbohydrates – Whole grains, Legumes/Lentils, Brown rice, Quinoa
  • Fruits and Vegetables – all kinds (can include high-carb options)
  • Dairy – Low-fat or fat-free products 
  • Healthy Fats – Plant-based unsaturated fats

Foods to Avoid

Food choices vary in both approaches, though it all comes down to low carb vs low calorie. Keto demands a strict low-carb diet, while calorie counting encourages clean eating with moderate carb intake. 

Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet

  • High-Carb Foods – Grains, Legumes, Pasta, Cereals, Bread, and Sugar
  • High-sugar fruits – Bananas, grapes, apples, figs, mangoes, etc.
  • Starchy Vegetables – Potatoes, Corn, Pumpkin, etc.
  • Processed Snacks – Candy, Sodas, Fruit juice, Biscuits, Sauces, Dressings, etc.
  • Sweetened Dairy Products

Foods to Avoid on the Calorie-Counting Diet

  • Calorie-Dense Foods – Fried foods, Packaged snacks, Desserts, etc.
  • Preserved Foods – Processed meats, Fast food, Frozen meals, etc. 
  • Alcoholic drinks


Now that you’ve explored the ins and outs of both dietary approaches, what’s your take on it? Is the Keto Diet better than Counting Calories?

If carbs dominate your day-to-day meals, the ketogenic lifestyle is likely to seem extremely restrictive and unsustainable. On the contrary, if you don’t want to eat any less than you do at present, keto might appear to be the unambiguous winner.

Your unique preferences and circumstances determine which kind of diet is best for you. If you’re up for a bigger challenge, you can do keto and count calories at the same time.