However popular keto has proven to be over the last few years, for some people, it’s just not a realistic diet they feel they can stick to. Whether due to health conditions, willpower, or simply the inability or lack of desire to give up some of their favorite carbs and treats.
So, what are the alternatives to a keto diet when this is the case?
To properly follow a keto diet, you need to up your fat intake, so much so that up to 80% of your daily calories will come from nutritional fatty foods like avocado, fish, oil, butter, and nuts. This also means your carbs consumption will be as low as 20g daily.
This can be an unreachable goal for some people, which can mean you might be looking for similar diets but still get the same outcome regarding weight loss.
Whether you’re looking for a diet similar to keto but with a little more freedom or are unwilling to restrict your carbohydrate intake, these alternatives will also help you see positive weight loss results.
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6 Keto Diet Alternatives
Throughout this guide, we will look at a couple of variations of keto and some other diets that are proven to have similar results but have different restrictions.
1. The Cyclical Keto Diet
The cyclical keto diet is a health regime often used by bodybuilders wishing to follow keto. Of course, bodybuilders need to eat a lot more calories than the average person and often need to bulk up on carbs.
This diet is basically carb cycling. So, it means that most of the week, you would restrict carbs as you would on a standard keto diet, but one to three days a week, you would eat carbohydrates. These are known as “re-feeding days.”
To ensure that your diet remains nutritious and to avoid overeating on these days. However, you should ensure that your carbs are sourced from wholesome foods like grains, beans, lentils, wholemeal, sweet potatoes, etc.
2. Mild Keto
Mild keto is another diet that focuses more on micronutrients and nutritional value. Some people believe the keto diet cuts out some vital nutrients needed for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. However, this is a good option for those who don’t want to restrict an entire food group.
On mild keto, instead of 70% – 80% of your calories coming from fat, it would be more like 60% – 65%, then 20% from protein, leaving up to 20% allowance for carbohydrates.
Like the cyclical keto diet, ensuring your carb sources are high-value in terms of nutrition is still essential.
This diet is much less restricted, which means you can still eat anything you like as long as it’s balanced.
It also reduces the need for supplements that might be used to replace essential vitamins and minerals lost when following a standard keto diet.
3. High-Protein Keto
The high-protein keto diet doesn’t change how many carbs you can have; instead, it focuses on increasing your protein intake to around 35% of your daily calories instead of the 20% on regular keto.
Adding more protein to your diet means you’re more likely to feel fuller for longer, therefore reducing the urge to snack, binge, or crave sugary foods.
High-protein diets are well-suited to people trying to build muscle mass while losing weight, making them popular with bodybuilders.
4. Paleo Diet
The paleo diet takes things back to basics. Also referred to as the “Caveman Diet,” it focuses solely on eating foods that can be either hunted or gathered. Now, we don’t mean you need to dig out your crossbow and start tracking down the game.
All it means is that you will only eat foods that are totally unprocessed and can be grown or harvested naturally. This includes foods such as meat, fish, eggs, natural oils, fruit, vegetables, and natural sugars such as honey or maple syrup.
Paleo can be carb-restrictive if you choose it to be, and it can be combined with a keto diet or done alone with equally successful weight loss results.
You can examine these diets more closely in this guide to keto vs. paleo.
5. Atkins Diet
Atkins is quite similar to keto. It involves high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs. Like the keto diet, it can put you in the metabolic state needed to produce ketones, known as ketosis. During ketosis, the body uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
The difference with the Atkins diet is that it’s more relaxed regarding what you can eat.
Another dissimilarity between Atkins and keto is that you’ll go through phases on Atkins.
Phase one is like keto in many ways, with low carb consumption, but during phase two, you’ll start introducing more vegetables and fruit. In phase three, you’ll add in a few more carbs. Once you’re close to your target weight, and during phase four, you can pretty much return to whatever macros you’d like as long as it’s within a maintenance calorie goal.
6. Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)
The targeted keto diet is often favored by athletes or highly active people who like to exercise vigorously. It means you can still perform well during high-intensity workouts and replenish glycogen without slipping out of ketosis.
This works differently for moderately active people who only partake in standard cardio exercises. It will only benefit professional athletes, long-distance runners, or those participating in hardcore workouts like CrossFit.
The Bottom Line
While there are four different types of keto diets, which means they can be adapted to suit various lifestyles, there are also very similar diets, such as Atkins and Paleo, which will give you the same results regarding weight loss without as many restrictions.
Which type of keto or similar diet you choose to follow typically depends on your lifestyle, willingness to change, and dedication to follow and stick with your goals.
The keto diet is one of the most successful diets for weight loss of its time; however, only some are comfortable with the level of restraint and restriction it requires. Therefore, if you’re new to keto or don’t feel confident with such a huge commitment, there are plenty of alternatives to keto that might better suit your personal circumstances.