The difference between Keto and Low Carb Lifestyles

Keto and low carb are often used interchangeably. While keto is low carb, low carb as a way eating tends to have a slightly higher carbohydrate macro range than ketogenetic ranges.

What is keto

Keto (short for “ketogenic”) is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that puts your body into a metabolic state called “ketosis.” When the body is in ketosis, it burns fat instead of carbs for energy. For some people, this helps them lose weight and has a growing body of research to support its benefits with managing chronic pain and inflammation.

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Isn’t keto a fad?

In the 1920s, Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic came up with the ketogenic diet as a way to treat epilepsy. The diet was made to duplicate the biochemical changes that happen when you fast, which were known to lower the number of seizures. Dr. Wilder and his team discovered that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet could have similar effects. This led to the creation of the ketogenic diet as a way to treat epilepsy.

Keto is still a common in the management of epilepsy and has evolved as a popular way to lose weight, improve metabolic health, and help with many other health problems.

As keto has become more main stream as a weight-loss method, there is a surge of keto labelled products flooding the market. We talk a lot about pre-made keto and sugar free products, what’s worthwhile and what to avoid. For the moment, let’s leave it at just because it has keto on the label does not mean that it is actually food. Some fad keto products contain ingredients that trigger amazingly painful flares (based on personal experiences and reactions).

Research into the effects of keto on pain management is still emerging, but several studies have investigated their potential benefits, particularly in chronic pain conditions.

Who’s doing the research

Medical schools and universities worldwide, including the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School, and Johns Hopkins University, are actively studying ketogenic diets and pain management.

Dr. Robert Silverman’s book, Inside Out Health, discusses case studies from his clinic. He highlights the diet’s role in healing and pain management throughout the book.

Dr. Katinka van der Merwe of The Spero Clinic explores the link between chronic pain and digestive health on her blog and podcast. Her book, “Putting Out the Fire: New Hope for RSD/CRPS,” dedicates a chapter to diet, emphasising a clean keto diet.

Angela Stanton, a scientist and migraine sufferer, delves into the effects of carbohydrates on neuropathic pain in her book “Fighting the Migraine Epidemic: Complete Guide.” She draws connections between migraines, glucose reactions, and neuropathic pain treatment.

In conjunction with other treatments, Meglio Advanced Therapeutics in Noosa recommends a low carb, high protein diet for CRPS management.

Additionally, there’s a growing body of evidence supporting the positive impacts of ketogenic diets in the treatment and management of cancer.

What keto is and is not

Keto has evolved from its therapeutic origins. And now people use terms like clean keto vs dirty keto vs strict keto. Carnivore and ketovore have gained popularity for weight loss over the past few years. These terms boggle the mind when you’re just trying to work out what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

One thing that remains universal in any form of keto is that foods high in carbohydrates, such as grains, sugary snacks, starchy vegetables, and most fruits, are limited or avoided altogether. We typically aim for foods that contain 5g or less of carbohydrates per 100g. When we start looking into low carb macros we focus on low GI fruits and vegetables.

Different forms of keto

Strict keto

Strict keto, also known as standard or traditional keto, is a specific approach to the ketogenic diet that involves strict adherence to certain macronutrient ratios. The goal of strict keto is to induce and maintain a state of nutritional ketosis, where the body primarily burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Strict adherence to the macronutrient ratios is essential for achieving and maintaining ketosis on a strict keto diet.

Clean keto

Clean keto refers to a version of the ketogenic diet that focuses on quality over just macronutrient ratios and whole, minimally processed foods. Traditional keto diets may include processed and artificial ingredients. Clean keto, on the other hand, focuses on foods that are high in nutrients. Clean keto tries to improve health and wellness by focusing on nutrient-dense foods while still following the low-carbohydrate, high-fat rules of the ketogenic diet. This method might have benefits besides just losing weight, such as more energy, better digestion, and better health in general.

Dirty keto

Dirty keto is a variation of the ketogenic diet that focuses solely on macronutrient ratios without emphasizing food quality. Unlike traditional keto, which encourages whole, nutrient-dense foods, dirty keto allows for processed and low-quality options as long as they fit within the prescribed macronutrient ratios. While dirty keto may offer short-term benefits in terms of weight loss and ketosis, it is generally not recommended for long-term health and may pose risks due to its reliance on processed and low-quality foods. Opting for a clean, whole-food approach to keto is generally considered a healthier and more sustainable option in the long run.


Ketovore is a dietary approach that combines elements of both the ketogenic diet and the carnivore diet. It emphasizes low-carbohydrate, high-fat eating, similar to keto, while also focusing on consuming primarily animal-based foods, as seen in the carnivore diet. Most carbohydrates from plant-based sources are eliminated, although some low-carb vegetables may be included in moderation. Processed foods, grains, sugars, and most fruits are restricted or avoided altogether.

The No Spoons approach to Keto

So low effort as possible

While we respect that some people need to track their food diaries and macros for medical reasons or personal preference, it’s not a heavy emphasis for us. All our recipes walk through the ingredients and macros to help make this easier.

We focus on using whole fresh ingredients and don’t get too hung up it. The cold truth of being a spoonie is that sometimes just eating takes priority over stressing about eating the ‘wrong’ things. Our recipes focus on whole foods with the least amount of processing as possible to take that thinking out of it. The simple reason being is processed foods contain ingredients that are inflammatory. It doesn’t mean we don’t use packaged foods, because we do. It’s about making the best choices for the least amount of effort. We walk through this in each of our recipes.

Leigh also nerds out in articles about different ingredients and brands of things that are cleaner and why we avoid others.

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