Dueling diets

Keto diets don’t measure up in key areas

In a head-to-head comparison of two low-carb diets, ketogenic versus Mediterranean, the keto diet fell short in nutrient levels and maintenance, according to a study published in May 2022 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The ultra-low-carb, high-fat keto diet drastically restricts carbohydrate intake. The low-carb, moderately high-fat Mediterranean diet emphasizes vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, olive oil and fish.

Both controlled blood glucose levels and aided weight loss, important benefits for people with or at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

But keto provided less fiber, thiamin, phosphorus and vitamins B6, C, D, and E, and was harder to follow. The takeaway?

“There’s no reason to restrict heart-healthy, quality carbohydrate foods above and beyond,” said Christopher Gardner, PhD, professor of medicine and the study’s lead author.

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Nina Bai

Nina Bai is a science writer in the Stanford Medicine Office of Communications.

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