How to keto diet?

Contents

Keto Diet for Beginners: Your Complete Guide

  • The keto diet is made up of mostly fats, moderate protein and a small amount of carbs.
  • Eating a lot of fat and very few carbs puts you in ketosis, a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of carbs for fuel.
  • There are different types of keto diets, including the standard diet, cyclical keto and dirty keto.
  • Keto works for a lot of people, but it may also cause side effects like fatigue and digestive issues.

Picture this: You’re on a new diet, but instead of feeling hangry and deprived, you’re brimming with energy and the weight is melting off. Welcome to the keto diet. It’s a high-fat, low-carb eating plan that Hollywood stars and athletes like Halle Berry, Adriana Lima and Tim Tebow credit for blasting away their fat.

It seems counter-intuitive — eat fat to lose fat? But that’s exactly what happens on keto. Here’s everything you should know about this diet, including tips to reach your weight loss goals and troubleshoot common problems. Before you dive in, check with your doctor before making any dietary changes.

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is short for “ketogenic diet.” It’s a high-fat diet that has the potential to turn your body into a fat-burning machine.

The keto diet changes the way your body converts food into energy. Normally, your body turns carbohydrates (think bread and pasta) into glucose for energy. Eating a lot of fat and very few carbs puts you in ketosis, a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of carbs for fuel.

What are ketones?

When your body can’t get glucose from your diet, your liver turns body fat and fat from your diet into molecules called ketones, an alternative source of fuel. This puts you into ketosis, aka prime weight loss mode.

According to some metabolic experts, you’re in the state of ketosis when your ketone levels measure 0.5-3.0 millimoles per liter. The keto diet is one way to get your body to make ketones. Other ways to run on ketones include intermittent fasting and using up your glucose reserves by exercising.

Benefits of the keto diet

The keto diet quickly boosts weight loss because your body turns fat from your diet and your internal fat stores into ketones. And unlike glucose, ketones can’t be stored as fat because they aren’t digested the same way.

That’s surprising, right? For decades, you’ve heard that fat makes you fat. Your body is actually built to use fat as an alternative source of fuel. For most of history, people weren’t eating three square meals and snacks throughout the day. Instead, humans would have to hunt and gather their food, and they learned to thrive when there wasn’t any food available, sometimes for days on end. To keep going, their bodies used stored fat for energy. Thanks, evolution.

Keto diet benefits:

  • Burns body fat: When you’re on keto, your body uses stored body fat and fat from your diet as fuel. The result? Weight loss.
  • Reduces appetite: Ketones suppress ghrelin — your hunger hormone — and increase cholecystokinin (CCK), which makes you feel full. Reduced appetite means it’s easier to go for longer periods without eating, which encourages your body to dip into its fat stores for energy. More research needs to be done in the area of appetite and ketosis, but it seems a lot of people experience reduced hunger.
  • Reduces inflammation: Inflammation is your body’s natural response to an invader it deems harmful. Too much inflammation is bad news because it increases your risk of health problems. A keto diet can reduce inflammation in the body by switching off inflammatory pathways and producing fewer free radicals compared to glucose.
  • Fuels your brain: Ketones are so powerful that they can provide a good portion of your brain’s energy needs, which is way more efficient than the energy you get from glucose. Did you know your brain is made up of more than 60 percent fat? That means it needs a lot of fat to keep the engine humming. The quality fats you eat on a ketogenic diet do more than feed your day-to-day activities — they also feed your brain.
  • Increases energy: When your brain uses ketones for fuel, you don’t experience the same energy slumps as you do when you’re eating a lot of carbs. When your metabolism is in fat-burning mode, your body may tap into its readily available fat stores for energy. That means no more energy crashes or brain fog. Ketosis also helps the brain create more mitochondria, the power generators in your cells. More energy in your cells means more energy to get stuff done.
  • Curbs cravings: Fat is a satiating macronutrient. You eat a more smart fats on keto, so you feel fuller, longer.

How to lose weight on keto

So, how exactly do you lose weight on keto?

When you start eating more fat and cut out the extra carbs (think sugar, bread and pasta), you tend to experience fewer blood sugar swings and cravings that plague most people on the Standard American Diet. When your body runs on ketones for fuel, it has a steady supply of energy in the form of body fat. When your body relies on glucose, it needs a regular hit of carbs to keep it going.

Ketones may help control your hunger and satiety hormones so you feel satisfied and full, not hangry. That means fewer cravings, more energy and increased fat-burning. Here’s how it works.

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How ketones affect your hunger hormones

Ketones impact cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone which makes you feel full, and ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.”

  • CCK: Your intestines release CCK after you eat, and it is a powerful regulator of food intake — so much that one study injecting obese men with CCK will cause them to cut their meals short. Ketones increase CCK levels so you actually satisfied after meals.
  • Ghrelin: Ghrelin is called “the hunger hormone” because it increases appetite. It’s released from your stomach and intestines, with blood levels reaching their highest point when you fast. When you finally eat a meal, ghrelin drops in response to nutrients circulating in your blood. Ketosis suppresses the increase in ghrelin levels that occur with weight loss. So, when you’re in ketosis, you aren’t constantly thinking about your next meal.

Why calorie counting is so ineffective

One of the reasons old-fashioned, calorie-restricted diets tend to fail is because these diets make you really hungry and cause food cravings.

Cutting calories to lose excess weight changes your hormones that control hunger and satiety. After you starve yourself enough to lose some weight, your brain and gut start making your hormones work against you. Your hormones scream, “Eat more and gain that weight back!” So you do. And so begins a lifetime of yo-yo dieting.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Skip the whole calorie-restriction, hungry-all-the-time thing, and just use ketosis to its full advantage without making yourself hungry. As long as you’re eating a higher percentage of quality fats, moderate protein and just enough carbs, you’ll feel satisfied and energized — not hangry. No calorie-counting required.

What to eat on keto

The keto diet is pretty simple: Eat mostly healthy fats (about 75 percent of your daily calories), some protein (about 20 percent) and a very small amount of carbs (about 5 percent). This is the general breakdown that a lot of keto beginners follow, but you may have to adjust your numbers and test your ketones to see what works for you.

Choose lower-carb foods such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and quality fats. Check out this detailed keto food list and browse these keto recipes for meal ideas. Most people do best eating somewhere between 30-150 grams of net carbs daily.

“Net carbs” means you can subtract fiber and sugar alcohols (like xylitol) out of your daily carb count — they don’t affect your blood sugar or get stored as glycogen, the storage form of glucose.

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Types of keto diets

  • Standard keto: Standard keto dieters eat very low carb (less than 50 grams of net carbs a day), every day. Some keto followers eat as few as 20 grams per day.
  • Cyclical keto: People who follow a cyclical keto diet eat a high-fat, low-carb (less than 50 grams of net carbs per day) five to six days a week. On day seven, they will have a carb refeed day (approximately 150 grams of net carbs). The Bulletproof Diet falls into this category, but tweaks keto for even better performance with intermittent fasting, protein fasting and an emphasis on nutrient-dense, low-inflammation foods.
  • Targeted keto: You follow the standard keto diet, but eat extra carbs 30 minutes to an hour before a high-intensity workout. The glucose is meant to boost performance, and you return to ketosis after the workout. If your energy is suffering in the gym during keto, this style of eating might work for you.
  • Dirty keto: Dirty keto follows the same ratio of fats, proteins and carbs as the regular keto diet, but with a twist: It doesn’t matter where those macronutrients come from. Dinner could be a bunless Big Mac with a Diet Pepsi. Learn more about the dirty keto diet and how it works.
  • Moderate keto: Eat high fat with 100-150 grams of net carbs every day. Women who experience problems with other forms of keto sometimes do better with this diet — restricting carbs can sometimes mess with hormonal function. Also, some athletes find they burn out with fewer than 100 grams of carbs on workout days.

How to find which approach works best for you

  • First, check with your doctor before you make any major dietary changes.
  • Try different styles of keto for at least a month each.
  • Track your carbs, fat and protein using a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal and My Macros+.
  • Set goals based on fat and carb intake instead of worrying about calories. Eat until you’re full, and listen to your body.

Are you sharpest with a weekly carb refeed, or do you do better on a full ketogenic diet? Do you burn out when you dip below 100 grams of carbs per day? There’s a lot of variation within lower-carb diets, and some people feel their best with different styles of eating. Find a good balance that works best for your personal biology.

Keto side effects (and what to do about them)

Generally, a ketogenic diet is safe for many people — but there are a few side effects to watch out for. Here are some tips to try if you’re experiencing common side effects, however we recommend you see your doctor if you have any trouble.

Dehydration and muscle cramps

Carbs require water for storage. Fat does not. On a keto diet, you store less water, and your kidneys actively expel sodium instead of holding onto it. That means it’s easy to get dehydrated eating keto, especially during the first few weeks. With dehydration and low electrolytes, your muscles can start cramping, too.

Do this: Ask your doctor about supplementing with magnesium, sodium and potassium, your body’s three main electrolytes, and make sure you drink extra water. This is particularly important if you work out while on keto. Staying hydrated will also help you avoid symptoms of the keto flu (more on that below).

Decreased metabolic flexibility

A lot of people report struggling to process carbs when they eat a strict keto diet long-term, which makes sense. If you hardly ever eat carbs, you have no need to keep your insulin pathways running. It’s like keeping the lights on during the daytime — a waste of energy.

Do this: Experiment with carb cycling (aka cyclical keto) by eating approximately 150 grams of net carbs one day a week.

Insomnia

There isn’t research on keto and sleep problems, but some people report waking up in the middle of the night on keto. If you find you have trouble sleeping on keto (and Bulletproof sleep hacks don’t help), you may be better off eating some high-quality carbs at night.

These issues are common on strict keto, and are a big part of the reason why the Bulletproof Diet includes some quality carbs.

Do this: Take 1 teaspoon of raw honey before bed to provide your body with carbs through the sleep period.

Not enough fiber

If you’re eating fewer than 20 grams of carbs a day, it can be hard to get enough fiber. Fiber intake that’s lower than the recommended amount can contribute to constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Do this:

  • Be sure most of your carbs on a keto diet come from leafy, colorful vegetables.
  • Experiment with a cyclical keto diet so you can eat more foods like sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
  • Try a keto-friendly prebiotic fiber like Bulletproof InnerFuel, which feeds beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Salt your food to taste with Himalayan pink salt to make sure you’re retaining enough water to keep your bowels regular.
  • Stay hydrated, and load up on magnesium and potassium — vital electrolytes you can find in spinach, avocado and supplements.
  • Keep a food diary. Track what you eat and make a note of what you do and don’t digest well.
  • Exercise can help you stay regular and support your digestive tract.

Diarrhea

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some people experience diarrhea on keto, especially if they aren’t used to consuming a higher-fat diet.

Do this:

  • Start slowly with MCT oils: MCT oil is a saturated fatty acid that gives your body fast energy in the form of ketones. It helps fuel your body, especially as it adapts to keto. It can take a little bit of time for your digestive system to get used to MCT oils. Start with 1 tsp at a time and work your way up from there.
  • Add a digestive enzyme: You may not be properly digesting fats. Try lipase, an enzyme that digests fat in the body, or hydrochloric acid (HCL), which helps increase stomach acid and support digestion.

Keto rash

For a very small number of people who try keto, this diet change can bring on an itchy, red rash on the back, chest, neck or armpit area. Also known as Prurigo pigmentosa, keto rash is not life-threatening or dangerous. The exact causes still aren’t understood, but a small study points to differences in hormones, gut bacteria or exposure to allergens as potential triggers.

Do this: Check with your doctor, and try these tips to deal with keto rash:

  • Bring back (some) carbs: You don’t need a full-blown bread-binge, but if a sudden switch to a keto lifestyle brought on a rash, you may want to reintroduce some healthy, high-quality carbs like sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, pumpkin and butternut squash.
  • Avoid irritants: Like most rashes, keto rash can worsen with friction, sweat or heat. Avoid aggravating the irritated skin by wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothes, and avoiding perfumes, scented products or sweat-inducing exercise until the skin can heal.
  • Support your skin: Supporting your skin with anti-inflammatory foods and supplements can help boost your healing time and calm the rash. Try incorporating foods like this turmeric latte or a DHA omega-3 supplement.

Keto flu

The keto flu is a natural reaction your body undergoes as it switches from burning sugar to fat for energy. The keto flu, aka carb withdrawal, generally kicks in at the 24- to 48-hour mark. Symptoms include brain fog, headache, insomnia, irritability, muscle soreness, poor focus and sugar cravings.

The keto flu affects some people more than others. If you ate a diet low in refined sugar and starches before going keto, you’ll likely experience only mild symptoms. A diet high in sugar and carbs may set you up for greater withdrawal symptoms (especially from the sugar).

What causes the keto flu? When you restrict carbohydrates, your body must learn how to burn its backup energy source, and in order to do so, three big changes have to happen:

  1. Water and sodium flush. When you consume fewer carbs, insulin levels drop, signaling your kidneys to release sodium from the body. This causes a loss of up to about 10 pounds of water weight as water shuttles sodium out of your body. All of this usually occurs in the first five days. The glycogen loss and low insulin levels cause dizziness, nausea, muscle cramping, headaches and gastrointestinal issues. Do your best to drink plenty of fluids and electrolytes at this point — that’ll alleviate some of these cellular symptoms.
  2. T3 thyroid hormone levels may decrease. T3 is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Dietary carbohydrates and thyroid function are closely connected, so when you cut carbs, T3 levels can fall. In conjunction with T4, another thyroid hormone, these hormones regulate your body’s temperature, metabolism and heart rate. As your body adjusts to a ketogenic diet, lower hormone levels may leave you with brain fog and fatigue.
  3. Changes in cortisol levels. The T3 hormonal change is closely connected to a third hormonal change — cortisol levels. If you experience irritability and insomnia, that’s a clue that your cortisol levels have changed. Some people adjust to utilizing fat and ketones as a new fuel source, and cortisol levels fall to their old levels.

Do this: To beat the keto flu, try these remedies.

  1. Hydrate all day. To determine the minimum amount of water you need, use your current body weight and divide it by two. That’s how many ounces you need. For instance, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should aim for 70 ounces of water a day. Bone broth adds a serving of water to your diet and a dose of electrolytes (sodium and potassium) which will offset some of the discomfort you feel at a cellular level. Get our bone broth recipe here.
  2. Supplement with electrolytes. Replenishing your electrolytes is a great way to start feeling better fast. Take note of the key players: potassium, magnesium and sodium. If you aren’t getting enough of them from your diet, which can be difficult to do on lower-carb diets, incorporate them by way of supplements.
  3. Eat more fat, especially MCTs. Upping your quality fat consumption can speed up your adaptation phase. One caveat: Most fats have to pass through your lymphatic system to your heart, muscles and fat cells before they reach the liver. Only there can they be turned into ketones for the body to use as fuel. MCT oil is different in that it goes straight to the liver after digestion — just like carbs — so it can be used immediately.
  4. Get good rest. A sound night’s sleep is a very good thing when it comes to conquering keto flu. It keeps your cortisol levels in check, which will likely lessen your flu symptoms. Aim for 7-9 hours a night.
  5. Exercise (mildly) and meditate. Note the second word: mild. Yes, mild. The goal here is to reduce cortisol levels (especially initially), so anything that relieves stress will help you. Yoga or gentle walks can do the trick. If exercise isn’t your thing, try meditating. Bottom line, it’s probably best not to go full-on in the gym until you adjust to the keto diet.
  6. Take an exogenous ketone supplement. Exogenous ketones aid with fatigue and boost energy levels by raising the ketone levels in your blood. Note that they are not a replacement for a proper keto diet, though they may help you take it up a notch — especially on the flu. If you choose to go this route, aim for smaller doses of your supplement spread throughout the day for the first three to five days of the keto flu.

If all else fails, up your carb intake. For some people, increasing fat simply won’t curb keto flu symptoms. If this is the case — and you tested your limits by adding more fat and are still experiencing flu-like symptoms — you’ll want to up your carb intake just a bit.

Keto FAQ: Troubleshooting keto diet issues and common questions about the keto diet

Whether you’re thinking about starting keto or you’re five weeks in, here are some tips and tricks for common keto concerns.

1. What foods should I eat on the keto diet?

For the best results on keto, stick to these principles:

  • An abundance of high-quality fats, like grass-fed butter and ghee, MCT oil, avocado oil and coconut oil
  • Moderate amounts of fatty proteins, like grass-fed meat, pastured eggs, wild-caught fatty fish and collagen protein.
  • Lots of nutrient-dense and low-carb vegetables, like organic broccoli, zucchini, avocado, cucumbers, cabbage and celery.

For a more detailed guide on what to eat on the keto diet, check out this downloadable complete keto food list.

2. How do I know if I’m in ketosis?

It can take anywhere from 2-3 days to a few weeks to enter ketosis, depending on your body’s ability to adapt to burning fat for fuel. Once you enter ketosis, your body will naturally produce ketones — molecules that fuel your brain and body with fat, not carbs.

You can usually tell if you’re in ketosis if you have steady, lasting energy, better focus, and a reduced appetite. For definitive answers, test your blood ketone levels. You’re in ketosis when your ketone levels measure 0.5-3 (that’s millimoles per liter).

You can test your levels using urine sticks, blood sticks or a blood meter. You can also test for acetone levels in your breath using a breath analyzer.

However, just tracking how your body feels is a simple way to know whether you’ve hit that ketosis sweet spot. Here are signs you may be in ketosis:

  • Reduced hunger: Ketones suppress your hunger hormones, helping you feel fuller, longer.
  • Keto breath: People often experience a metallic taste in their mouth due to raised ketone levels.
  • Weight loss: The keto diet burns fat, so if you’re losing weight, you’re likely in ketosis.
  • Flu-like symptoms: When you first start out, you may experience symptoms of the keto flu, like headaches, chills and lightheadedness.

3. Do I need to calculate macros, and how do I count them?

Macros, or macronutrients, are the carbs, fats, and protein that make up your food and help you create energy. It’s not essential to count macros on the keto diet, but it’s a useful way to learn more about your food and understand your body’s needs. Learn more about ideal keto macros, including the benefits (and drawbacks) of counting them.

4. Do I need to calculate net carbs?

Even if you don’t calculate macros, you should keep track of net carbs — the carbs your body actually uses for energy. Calculating net carbs can help you stay in ketosis and inform your food choices. Find out how to calculate net carbs on keto and how many net carbs vs. total carbs you need.

5. Is the keto diet healthful?

The ketogenic diet is effective and backed by science. When done properly, the keto diet has been shown to support weight loss, create more mitochondria in your brain and reduce inflammation.

However, any diet can be good or bad for you, depending on what you put on your plate. If you stick to the Bulletproof Diet roadmap, you eliminate keto foods that make you feel weak and don’t belong in a healthy diet — like processed cheese and sugar-free sodas.

6. What about “dirty keto?”

Dirty keto follows the same high-fat, low-carb structure of the standard keto diet — but it allows processed, packaged and fast foods. It’s still possible to enter ketosis and burn fat while you’re on dirty keto, but it has serious drawbacks like inflammation and weight gain. Here are the facts about dirty keto, and why you should avoid it.

8. Does the keto diet cause diabetes?

No, keto does not cause diabetes. Several studies indicate that ketosis may help manage diabetes by decreasing glucose intolerance and stabilizing blood sugar.

9. Is the keto diet sustainable long-term?

Yes and no. Some people thrive on the full keto diet without any problems. Other people run into issues from restricting carbs long-term, like insomnia and hormone imbalances. If that’s the case, experiment with keto carb cycling (aka cyclical ketosis), where you eat a moderate amount of carbs one day a week, so your body can cycle in and out of ketosis. It’s an effective modification that helps many people avoid any potential dangers and risks of a keto diet. Here’s how to do a keto carb cycling diet, and whether it’s right for you. It’s always a good idea to revisit your diet with your doctor often.

10. What are the different types of ketones?

There are three types of ketone bodies. They are:

  • Acetoacetate (AcAc): This is the first type of ketone that your body makes from fatty acids.
  • Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB): Acetoacetate converts into beta-hydroxybutyric acid. BHB isn’t really a ketone, based on its chemical structure, but it’s still considered part of the ketone family since it works in a similar way to the others. Fun fact: Brain Octane oil, a purified form of MCT oil, is a precursor of BHB.
  • Acetone: A byproduct of acetoacetate, acetone is the least abundant ketone in the blood. It exits the body through the breath or the urine.

You’ll produce more of each type the longer you fast or restrict carbs.

11. How do I know if I need more carbs?

Some people feel fine when they eat very few carbs for extended periods of time. But if you’re dealing with symptoms like dry eyes, insomnia, fatigue and mood swings, your body might be asking for more carbs — especially if you’re a woman, an athlete or dealing with lots of stress (or all of the above). Learn more about the benefits of experimenting with your carb intake.

12. Why aren’t I losing weight on keto?

You might be eating too much, not enough, or the wrong foods altogether. Here are a few reasons you’re not losing weight on keto — and what to do about it.

13. How does MCT oil work with keto?

MCT oil is a powerful tool on the ketogenic diet because it helps your body produce more ketones and stay in ketosis. However, not all MCT oils are the same, and some are more effective than others. Here’s a guide to MCT oil and keto.

14. Should I be taking exogenous ketones?

Exogenous ketones are synthetic ketones that help raise ketone levels in your blood. They’re popular supplements, but definitely not required — instead, focus on eating enough high-quality fats. Your body will naturally produce all the ketones you need to power through your day. If you want to add a supplement to your keto diet, MCT oil is a great place to start. You can read about the effectiveness of different keto supplements here.

15. Should I try intermittent fasting on keto?

Definitely. Intermittent fasting may actually make keto more effective by boosting your fat-burning and weight loss results. Learn more about keto and intermittent fasting.

16. Is keto the same thing as the Atkins Diet?

No. Whereas the Atkins Diet is extremely high in protein, a keto diet contains moderate amounts of protein. On a keto diet, large amounts of protein can turn into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis, thus taking you out of ketosis. That’s why fatty cuts of meat are better than, say, chicken breast, which is high in protein and low in fat.

17. Targeted ketogenic diet vs. standard keto: What’s the difference?

With targeted keto, you time your carb intake around workouts or times of heavy stress to give your body a little extra fuel. A lot of people on a full keto diet report “bonking” during intense workouts: They run out of fuel suddenly and don’t have the energy to keep going. Research suggests that with full keto, you’re likely to run out of energy during anaerobic workouts — any kind of short, intense workout. That includes lifting, CrossFit and high-intensity interval training.

Meanwhile, full keto seems to be good for endurance training like long runs. That said, these are super-athletes who are used to running up to 200 miles at a time. If you don’t fit that bill, you may benefit from doing targeted keto and having some carbs before a longer cardio session.

The other benefit to targeted keto is metabolic flexibility. People who stay in ketosis long-term gradually lose their ability to process carbs, and can actually develop insulin resistance. That’s fine as long as you never eat carbs, but if you want to have maximum metabolic flexibility, you’re better off occasionally breaking ketosis with a targeted keto diet or a cyclical keto diet.

The trick with the targeted ketogenic diet is to eat just enough carbs. You want to burn through them during your workout and go back into ketosis a couple hours post-workout.

This is one of the rare times when you want higher-glycemic carbs. Your goal is to burn through them for quick energy during your workout, and have them out of your system by the time you finish. With that in mind, a few good options for carbs are:

  • White rice
  • Cassava
  • Baked sweet potato
  • Beets (you’ll get a nitric oxide boost as a bonus, which gives your muscles more oxygen)
  • White potato (if you tolerate nightshades)

Note: you don’t want to eat high-fructose carbs on targeted keto. Fructose goes straight to your liver instead of your muscles, so you’ll end up dropping out of ketosis without giving your muscles extra energy. Higher-fructose carbs include fruit, honey and agave. Steer clear of those for targeted keto.

For the ultimate boost, drizzle Brain Octane MCT oil on your pre-workout carb source, so you have ketones alongside the carbs for maximum energy and metabolic flexibility.

There are tens of thousands of articles about the ketogenic diet on the web, and yet there’s still confusion when it comes to the details.

If you’re looking for a complete, easily-understood intro to keto for beginners, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ll start with what keto is and how it works, and take a brief look at the fascinating history of the diet.

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Then we’ll dive straight into the incredible, scientifically-proven health benefits that are possible when you’re in ketosis.

Keep reading to massively upgrade your knowledge of all things keto, and learn how to reach ketosis ASAP while avoiding common beginner mistakes.

What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is a very-low-carb, high-fat diet.

Compared to other diets, keto is unique because it forces your body to rely on fat for fuel. (Not every low-carb diet is ketogenic, either.)

As a result, your liver produces ketones, which are responsible for most of the fantastic health benefits of keto.

Typically, the keto diet uses the following macronutrient ratios:

  • 20-30% of calories from protein
  • 70-80% of calories from healthy fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter)
  • 5% or less of calories from carbohydrates (for most people, that’s at most 30 to 50 grams of net carbs per day)

Medical keto diets, such as the ones doctors prescribe for children with epilepsy, are more severe. They usually include approximately 90% fat, 10% protein, and as close to zero carbs as possible.

But unless you are using keto for preventing seizures, there’s no need to be that extreme.

When you eat plenty of healthy fats and hardly any carbohydrates, your body becomes much more efficient at burning stored fat. (That’s why keto is incredibly effective for weight loss.)

The standard keto macros shown above will boost your fat-burning through the roof, and you’ll produce plenty of ketones.

And as you continue your keto journey, you’ll have plenty of room to experiment and figure out what works for your body and goals.

What are Ketones?

The ketogenic diet puts you into a state of ketosis, which means your body makes ketones for energy.

Ketones, also called ketone bodies, are high-energy molecules your liver produces when you restrict carb intake.

This production of ketones is what sets the ketogenic diet apart from all other diets.

According to science, ketones are an ancient “backup” energy system for mammals that goes back hundreds of millions of years.

Scientists think that evolution harnessed ketones as a reliable way for our bodies to produce energy when carbs aren’t available.

In other words, ketones were useful during times of starvation, extended fasts, or in winter when plants don’t grow abundantly.

There are three primary ketones:

  • Acetone
  • Acetoacetate
  • Beta-hydroxybutyrate (usually abbreviated BHB)

But don’t worry–you don’t have to memorize the different types of ketones!

In a state of ketosis, ketones take the place of carbs for most purposes. Your body also relies on gluconeogenesis, the conversion of glycerol, lactate, and amino acids into glucose, to keep your blood sugar levels from getting dangerously low.

Most importantly, our brains and other organs can use ketones for energy more easily than carbs.

That’s why most people experience increased mental clarity, improved mood, and reduced hunger on keto.

These molecules also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which means they can help reverse and repair the cellular damage often caused by overeating sugar, for example.

While most people rarely go into ketosis because they eat too many carbs, anyone can harness ketones for better health by adopting a ketogenic diet.

And when your carb intake is sufficiently low, you can stay in ketosis as long as you want, even all the time.

Before we learn more about the health benefits of ketosis, let’s take a step back in time to learn more about the background of the keto diet.

The History of The Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet goes back over 100 years, when doctors began using it to treat epilepsy in children. The first description of keto in scientific literature occurs in 1911.

Researchers had stumbled upon the remarkable idea that cutting carbs could dramatically reduce seizures.

Keto is still in use for epilepsy today, and can reduce seizures by as much as 85%.

In the meantime, while plenty of dietary fads came and went (remember margarine, low-fat diets, skim milk, and egg whites?), the peer-reviewed evidence for keto continued to grow, slowly and quietly at first.

Then, around the year 2017, both the popular press and scientific journals sat up and took notice of the ketogenic diet–the proven benefits could no longer be ignored or brushed aside as coincidence.

It’s been trending upward ever since, but keto is no fad diet.

Keto is the only popular diet backed by thousands of peer-reviewed papers that is effective for weight loss as well as potentially useful for treating a wide variety of diseases and disorders.

Recently, credible scientific journals have published papers investigating the benefits of ketosis and ketones for health problems like:

Not only that, researchers have also discovered that you can get some of the benefits of ketosis by merely taking keto supplements like BHB and MCT oil, even if you don’t fully adopt a keto diet.

Top 5 Keto Health Benefits: Just the Facts

  • #1: Weight Loss With Minimal Hunger
  • #2: Improved Mental Clarity, Focus, and Mood
  • #3: Healthier Blood Sugar Levels
  • #4: Reduced Inflammation
  • #5: Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases

#1: Weight Loss With Minimal Hunger

Numerous studies prove that on the ketogenic diet, most people can lose weight without counting calories.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Not only that, hunger–usually the biggest challenge faced on restrictive diets–is rarely an issue.

For example, a 2008 randomized controlled trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that obese men following the keto diet lost more weight than people following a moderate-carbohydrate diet, and they ate ad libitum.

In other words, the keto dieters in the study lost more weight while eating as much as they pleased.

Other scientific papers have found similar results.

Because keto enhances insulin sensitivity and boosts fat oxidation, you can rely on your stored body fat for fuel, often without intentionally limiting your food intake.

Additionally, the lack of carbs translates to lower appetite, fewer cravings and no “sugar crashes,” so it’s easy to stay on track.

You get to stay full all the time, and still burn unwanted fat.

Along with ramping up fat oxidation and improving your metabolic health, keto also helps eliminate visceral abdominal fat or “belly fat” more effectively compared to other diets.

Excess belly fat is linked with a higher risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses, so that’s excellent news if you want to look after your long-term health (and who doesn’t?!).

Bottom line: keto is astoundingly safe and effective for weight loss, even in children and adolescents.

#2: Enhanced Mental Clarity, Focus, and Mood

What happens when you eliminate sugar from your diet and replace it with healthy, anti-inflammatory ketones?

Answer: less brain fog, improved cognitive performance, and a more balanced mood.

Unlike glucose (a simple sugar), ketones are the perfect brain fuel source.

They’re easily absorbed and create far fewer toxic byproducts than carbs, which means that in a state of ketosis, your brain won’t lack for clean energy.

Say goodbye to mental fatigue and hello to sustained mental energy levels.

During aging, insulin resistance in the brain and related issues can lead to decreases in cognition. Some studies suggest that this is associated with eating unhealthy processed foods high in refined carbs.

As a result, the brain becomes increasingly inefficient at using carbs for energy. However, brains don’t appear to lose the ability to use ketones for energy.

And that’s probably why studies of aging brains show that ketones can enhance mental function in senior citizens.

But no matter what your age is, evidence strongly suggests that ketones are incredibly brain-healthy.

There’s an excellent chance that going keto can help prevent cognitive decline and promote recycling of aging brain cells in younger people, too.

Finally, going keto helps balance your neurotransmitters, leading to better mood and other psychological benefits.

As a result, it’s currently being studied for conditions like depression, anxiety, ADHD, and autism.

While many people are initially drawn to keto for easier weight loss, the boost in brainpower and other health benefits are remarkable, and a great reason to stay keto long-term.

#3: Healthier Blood Sugar Levels

If you eat the Standard American Diet (SAD for short), you likely experience spikes in blood glucose, followed by dips or “crashes” several times per day after meals.

Over time, this leads to problems with your metabolism. Eating too many carbs can cause high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and toxic effects in cells and organs.

High blood sugar and related problems are also the primary culprits when it comes to unwanted fat gain, junk food cravings, and lethargy.

But evidence indicates that going keto helps lower blood glucose, increase insulin sensitivity, and reverse the toxic effects of hyperglycemia (excessively high blood sugar).

For example, in a 2016 trial published in Nutrition & Diabetes, obese participants with type 2 diabetes were randomized to one of two groups: low-calorie keto diet or low-calorie diet.

The keto diet group in the study not only lost more weight–they also experienced statistically significant improvements in insulin sensitivity.

Other studies have shown similar effects, as well as reducing or eliminating participants’ dependence on diabetes medications

Translation: the ketogenic diet is not only fantastic for fat loss, but is also a top pick for reversing the harmful metabolic effects of high-carb diets.

And that’s great news when it comes to reducing inflammation in your body, as well as lowering your risk of chronic diseases, which we’ll discuss more in the next two sections!

#4: Reduced Inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to certain types of cellular stress. It involves swelling, changes in gene expression, and the loss of tissue function.

Conditions like infection, injury, and high blood sugar all lead to inflammation. If you’ve ever had a fever, or a joint that swelled up after a sports injury, then you’ve experienced inflammation.

Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing, because it gives your body a chance to heal the affected tissues.

However, as opposed to acute (short-term) inflammation, chronic (long-term) inflammation is harmful to your health.

Chronic inflammation is associated with conditions like allergies, autoimmune disorders, chronic pain, and even headaches.

Going keto helps reduce inflammation in two ways:

  • Eating less sugar reduces your body’s inflammatory response
  • Producing ketones (or taking exogenous ketones) activates natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant pathways in your body

When you pair these facts, it’s no surprise that the keto diet is anti-inflammatory, unlike high-carb diets.

As a result, studies have shown keto may decrease pain, provide energy to heal compromised cells, and even help you clear up your skin.

Even if your chronic inflammation isn’t caused by high blood sugar or a high-carb diet, there’s reason to believe keto may have beneficial anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce it.

That’s why early studies of keto in inflammatory autoimmune conditions, allergies, and conditions like migraine headaches are showing very promising results.

And as you’ll learn in the next section, addressing chronic inflammation is also absolutely essential if you want to reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

#5: Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases

Even though the keto diet has been around for over 100 years, there isn’t much evidence (yet) of how it directly impacts serious chronic diseases.

That’s because the scientific community can be slow-moving and conservative, and randomized controlled studies often cost tens of millions of dollars.

However, there’s rock-solid evidence that keto lowers the risk factors of many different chronic diseases.

A risk factor is simply a marker that predicts your risk of particular diseases.

For example, high fasting blood glucose predicts an increase in cardiovascular disease risk of up to 300%. If you have high blood sugar and lower it to normal levels, you’ve just decreased your risk of cardiovascular disease dramatically.

And as it turns out, keto lowers fasting blood glucose. But that’s not the only way going keto can reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Here are other science-backed ways keto may lower your risk of serious diseases:

  • Keto may reduce blood pressure, which is shown to reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Ketosis is neuroprotective. It helps reduce the effects of concussions and may reduce the risk of degenerative neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
  • Similar to fasting, ketosis promotes autophagy and mitophagy, which can reduce your risk of cancer.
  • The ketogenic diet helps eliminate visceral fat (belly fat), meaning it very likely lowers your risk of heart disease and premature death.
  • The ketogenic diet improves insulin sensitivity, which is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other dementias.

So far we’ve defined the ketogenic diet, peeked at its history, and learned how it can help you lose weight safely, boost brainpower, lower your blood sugar and inflammation levels, and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Keep reading to learn how to get into ketosis ASAP!

How to Get Into Ketosis Quickly

It’s not hard to get into ketosis quickly.

In fact, you can do it in less than a week. However, if this is your first time, it’s a good idea to take a few days to prepare first to ensure you do it the right way.

If you want to go keto as soon as possible, here’s what you need to do first:

  • Choose your macronutrient ratio
  • Get your hands on some ketone test strips
  • Consider purchasing exogenous ketones and MCT oil to make your transition faster and easier

Now, here’s a very simple fact about keto that can also be a huge source of frustration.

At the end of the day, you’re either in ketosis, or you’re not.

The standard keto macros are a starting point, but they don’t come with a guarantee of ketosis. You have to use trial and error and make sure you eat foods that work for your body to achieve ketosis.

Most people can get there by eating at most 30-50 grams of net carbs per day, but the only way to know for sure is by testing your ketone levels.

Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for people to “go keto” for a few months, then test, only to discover they were never in ketosis at all!

If you want to prevent this problem, make sure you stock up on test strips from the start. That way, you can test and tweak your macros and food selection to stay in ketosis 24/7.

Last but not least, ketogenic supplements serve two key roles:

  • Speeding up ketosis
  • Making the switch to keto easier by addressing side effects like keto flu

In other words, ketogenic supplements are optional, but you should certainly consider them for better results and an easier transition.

That’s the big-picture view of getting into ketosis quickly and painlessly.

Keep reading for more helpful tips you need to know as a keto beginner!

Do’s and Don’ts for Ketogenic Diet Beginners

Do: Test Your Ketone Levels

Once again, you can start the keto diet without testing ketones…but why would you?

Don’t make the common beginner mistake of skipping ketone testing, only to find months later you aren’t getting results because you aren’t in ketosis.

For less than the cost of a ride share service, you can know for sure.

Keto test strips are useful for other reasons, too. You can test your ketone levels after taking ketogenic supplements, know for sure which foods kick you out of ketosis, or figure how long it takes you to get back into ketosis if you stray from the diet.

Pro-tip: if you want to nerd out and truly optimize your keto results, testing your blood ketone levels is a great idea. This testing method allows you to calculate your Glucose-Ketone Index (GKI), for example.

Test strips are fine if you’re just starting out, though.

If you literally can’t order test strips for some reason, check out 5 Signs You’re Fat Adapted and look for the Top 10 Ketosis Symptoms.

Don’t: Buy the “Dirty Keto” Hype

The keto diet is simple, but it’s not always easy, especially at first.

Shopping for groceries, meal prep, and cleanup can all be hard work.

As a result, some people opt for a shortcut called “dirty keto.”

Essentially this means you eat whatever you want, as long as you stay in ketosis. Think cheap hot dogs, sugar-free candy, processed low-carb foods, and fast food.

Does this really sound like a good idea?

Think about it. Just because you’re in ketosis doesn’t mean you can magically thrive on sketchy junk food.

If you’re traveling away from home, it’s probably better to eat this way temporarily than to cheat and go off keto entirely.

On the other hand, you could always take advantage of those situations to try intermittent fasting.

Bottom line: to be healthy long-term, your keto menu should consist primarily of low-carb organic whole foods, ethical pastured and grass-fed or wild-caught protein sources, healthy fats, and minimal to zero mass-produced and processed foods.

To learn more about why dirty keto is a bad idea, check out What is Dirty Keto and Is It Good For You?

Do: Drink Lots of Water

When you first start keto, you will most likely drop some water weight.

Carbs in your diet contribute to glycogen storage in your muscles and liver. And for each gram of stored glycogen, your body holds up to three or four grams of water.

When you cut carbs, your body depletes its glycogen stores, which results in a “flushing” effect of water from tissues.

And sometimes, the water weight you lose also shuttles electrolytes from your tissues.

Electrolytes are minerals that are vital for your cells and organs to function.

Electrolyte imbalances can be a big problem–they can cause fainting and heart arrhythmias, among other things.

You can avoid this potential issue by drinking plenty of water and taking an electrolyte supplement early in your keto journey.

The good news is that once you’re fat-adapted, dehydration is unlikely to be an issue.

When you burn fat for fuel, your body makes about 1.1 grams of water for every gram of fat you burn. This “metabolic water” hydrates cells from the inside out, which is why a lot of people who stay in ketosis all the time rarely deal with thirst.

Bottom line: to be on the safe side, drink extra water and take electrolytes as you start out on keto. .

Don’t: Count Calories (Usually)–Count Net Carbs Instead

If you’ve tried other diets in the past, you may be used to counting calories religiously.

One of the most remarkable benefits of keto, however, is that it typically doesn’t require calorie-counting, even for losing unwanted body fat.

Counting calories doesn’t work well for long-term weight loss all by itself, and studies have proven that most people can lose weight while eating as much as they want on the keto diet.

The reason you can easily lose weight on keto is because it cranks your fat oxidation sky-high. It also reduces your appetite, meaning you don’t have to go hungry all the time to get incredible results.

The key to using fat for fuel is to carefully track your net carbs and make sure you’re in ketosis 24/7.

Focusing on calorie-counting early on overcomplicates things, and if you undereat, you’re more likely to struggle with carb cravings, too.

Occasionally, calorie-counting is beneficial on keto, but only if you hit a weight loss plateau.

To learn more about calories and the ketogenic diet, check out Do Calories Matter on Keto?

And for another way to break through plateaus without obsessing over calories, read Fasting for Weight Loss: How Intermittent Fasting Takes The Mind Games Out of Dieting.

Do: Make It a Habit

Lots of people believe it takes about 21 days to form a new habit.

While this idea isn’t exactly backed by rigorous research, new habits sure don’t form overnight (at least not healthy ones!).

Like any lifestyle change, going keto requires knowledge, a bit of willpower, and follow-through.

It’s hardly shocking: to realize the long-term benefits of the keto diet, you need to stick with it long-term.

Here are some tips to make the keto diet a habit:

  • Plan your grocery shopping ahead of time
  • Set aside plenty of time for meal prep
  • Use a macro tracking app (or keep a food diary if you’re old-school) for the first few weeks
  • Remember your goals and the many benefits of keto to stay motivated
  • Measure your results for even more motivation
  • Have a plan for how to deal with cravings, temptations, and social events

If you’re going through a rough patch, remember that things will get easier the longer you stay consistent.

Most importantly, if you get sidetracked, don’t give up! Take some MCT oil and BHB and track your ketone levels, and you’ll be back in ketosis in no time.

Don’t: Make These Common Beginner Mistakes

We’ve already discussed a few beginner mistakes, like not testing ketone levels, or obsessing over calories. Here are some other newbie mistakes to avoid:

#1: Weighing in every day

Stepping on the scale each day doesn’t give you an accurate picture of your results, and can even kill your motivation. Instead, weigh in once or twice per week at most. If you really want to track progress, try measuring your stomach, hips, arms, and legs with a soft measuring tape. Or track how you feel and your sleep quality.

#2: Eating too many net carbs

Net carbs are a calculation of total carbs minus fiber and (sometimes) sugar alcohols. But eating too many net carbs can and will kick you out of ketosis. Watch your net carb intake and use the Keto Macro Calculator to figure out exactly how many calories, carbs, fat, and protein you should eat on a daily basis.

#3: Not eating enough protein

Keto is a moderate-protein diet, not a high-protein diet. Still, many people (especially women) have a hard time getting enough protein every day. Not only can protein help you feel fuller longer, but it also helps you build muscle, hormones, and neurotransmitters. All of which helps with recovery. Make sure you’re getting enough high-quality, bioavailable protein every day. Whey protein isolate and collagen protein can help.

#4: Not eating the right amount of fat

On keto, you don’t have to be afraid of eating plenty of fat. Typical keto macros include over 70% of calories from healthy fats. And if the idea of eating a lot of fat spooks you, remember that dietary fat doesn’t make you fat. However, calories still matter on a keto diet — especially if you’re doing it to lose weight. Figure out your ideal macros and stick to them.

#5: Eating too many (or too few) calories

Ok, we just told you not to count calories… And sure, calories aren’t everything. Counting net carbs and focusing on healthy, whole foods is your #1 priority on a keto diet. But overconsuming calories on a regular basis makes it impossible to lose weight over the long-term.

And chronically under consuming calories can make it tough to recover from workouts and can even affect your hormones and sleep cycles. If you’re not losing weight on keto, or you feel low on energy, you might want to track calories for a few days. Again, find out your ideal macros and calorie goals and stick to them.

For an in-depth guide to measuring your progress, take a look at How to Track Ketogenic Diet Results.

These mistakes may seem obvious, but if so, you’d be surprised how often keto beginners misunderstand how to track progress or ensure they eat the right macros.

Do: Prepare for Keto Flu and Minor Side Effects

Keto flu and other minor side effects are not uncommon for keto beginners.

As we’ve already discussed, you can avoid most of these issues by using ketogenic supplements, drinking plenty of water, and taking electrolytes.

However, there’s a chance you may still experience symptoms like brain fog, irritability, or digestive issues.

Fortunately, these problems are temporary. People sometimes notice them in the first couple of weeks after starting keto, and they generally fade away in a matter of days.

That’s why it would be a mistake to let a few minor side effects discourage you early on!

Hang in there, be kind to yourself, and the keto flu symptoms will be gone in no time.

For more insight, check out The Keto Flu: Why It Happens and How to Get Rid of It.

If you experience symptoms that last longer than a week or two, schedule an appointment with a doctor.

Keto flu usually doesn’t last very long, so if you have long-lasting symptoms, you might be dealing with an unrelated health issue that requires medical attention.

What to Eat On a Keto Diet

Aside from the fact that you eat very few carbs, the keto diet is incredibly flexible.

That means you get to experiment with different foods to see what works best for your body and goals.

However, decisions around food selection can also be overwhelming.

Here are the basic ingredients you’ll need:

  • Whole food sources of protein
  • Low-carb vegetables
  • Keto-friendly fruits
  • Healthy fats
  • Low-carb fiber sources

And of course, it’s best for your body and the environment to eat ethical, organic, and local foods whenever possible.

To make your grocery shopping easy and stress-free, you can print out copies of The Full Ketogenic Diet Food List and The Ultimate Low-Carbohydrate Food List!

High-quality supplements like MCT oil, exogenous ketones, grass-fed ketogenic whey protein, krill oil, and grass-fed collagen protein are a fantastic way to round out your diet and enhance your results, too.

Occasional cravings for sweets? No problem–use healthy, keto-friendly sweeteners to make delicious ketogenic desserts.

Finally, if you’re an athlete, don’t miss Nutrition for Athletes 101.

What Foods To Avoid on a Keto Diet

The most important foods to avoid on the keto diet are foods high in net carbs.

All you need to do is look at the label, figure out if you can stay within your macros, and make your decision on the spot. (But remember: net carbs and total carbs are not the same thing.)

Generally speaking, that means foods like starchy vegetables, grains, legumes, and most processed foods are out.

Some fruits are off-limits, while others are not.

Here’s a full list of Ketogenic Diet Foods to Avoid: 108 Foods That’ll Slow Your Fat Loss.

Over time, your decisions will become more automatic, but it’s always a good idea to double-check the label to be 100% certain.

And when it comes to optimizing your health, carbs aren’t the only thing to avoid. Watch out for unhealthy food additives, too.

Finally, some dairy products are keto-friendly, while others aren’t. If you have severe dairy allergies, check out The Ultimate Guide to Dairy-Free Keto.

Sample Keto Diet Meal Plans With Recipes

If you want to take all the guesswork out of going keto, meal plans are an excellent option.

Because you aren’t faced with dozens of decisions every day, meal plans with recipes can also make your new diet less overwhelming.

Use this Keto Meal Plan For Beginners as a quick start guide to going keto immediately with zero headaches.

Or if your main goal is weight loss, but you aren’t sure where to begin, The 7-Day Keto Eating Plan for Weight Loss won’t let you down.

If you’ve been on the keto diet for a while but your results have stalled, The Easiest 7-Day Keto Meal Plan Under 1,900 Daily Calories is perfect for breaking through your plateau.

Read more about how to break keto plateaus here.

Final Thoughts

Being a keto beginner can be confusing at first, but it’s also thrilling.

Everyone’s keto journey is different, but you really can’t go wrong as long as you follow the proven tips laid out here.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t rush things!

Keep coming back to the how-to sections of this article, gather your supplies and resources, and take meaningful steps at your own pace.

Has this guide inspired you to go keto for the first time? Did it leave you with any unanswered questions? Let us know in the comments!

When followed well, a ketogenic diet is a very nutritious diet. It should be based around real foods with a strong vegetable intake, particularly leafy greens.

The aim of ketogenic diets is to allow ketosis to happen through the day. Ketosis is the process of burning body fat for energy and, for this to happen, insulin levels in the body need to be low.

So, by sticking to foods that won’t cause a surge of insulin, you give your body a chance to go into ketosis and burn body fat.

What does a ketogenic diet plan look like?

The content of the diet will vary, depending on an individual’s goals, personal health and financial situation. But, the focus should invariably be on eating nutritious minimally processed, real foods.

A ketogenic diet will usually be:

  • Low carbohydrate
  • Moderate protein
  • High fat

The challenge can sometimes be to get enough fat without having too much protein.

Energy balance

Whilst there are different ways to follow a ketogenic diet, the following is a good guide for people with diabetes, looking to control their sugar levels and lose weight.

This will determine the nutrient density of the ketogenic diet as well as how to follow it, as different foods will have different effects on insulin and blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrate

Carbohydrate intake should be low. Usually carbohydrate intake will be under 50g per day to maintain ketosis.

Some people may restrict themselves to under 30g of carbs per day to maximize the chance of maintaining in ketosis through the day.

Protein

Protein intake should be moderate at around 40 to 50g per day for women and around 50 to 60g of protein for men.

These are rough guidelines. If you are struggling to lose weight, despite having very little carbohydrate, the next step to look at is whether you are having too much protein. Note that foods such as cheese and nuts have significant protein in that some people may miss.

Fat

Fat is generally free to have on a ketogenic diet, within reason. You can afford to have a good amount of fat on a ketogenic diet, except it’s advisable not to snack between meals on a ketogenic diet.

Low-carb veggies

We’ll start with vegetables as research shows that all truly healthy diets share one thing in common, they have a good foundation of vegetables to provide a range of nutrients.

Aim to eat vegetables at every meal. Vegetables are also a great way to get more fat into the diet with, for example, high-fat salad dressings, avocado, nuts, olive oil or butter.

People following a stricter ketogenic diet can limit their vegetable intake to those containing less a very-low-carbohydrate content, such as leafy greens, tomatoes, asparagus and broccoli.

Watch out for starchy root vegetables such as any form of potato, parsnips and beetroot.

150g of boiled broccoli ( non-starchy vegetable ) contains about 5g of carbohydrate whereas 150g of boiled sweetcorn (starchy vegetable) contains 30g of carbs.

Meat and eggs

You’re good to have meat on a ketogenic diet and this includes fatty meat such as pork belly, lamb and poultry with the skin on. This is good news for the taste buds as fat helps to add a lot of flavour.

Eggs are a staple for most ketogenic dieters. They’re low in carbohydrate, filling, a good source of protein and very versatile.

Note that it is possible to come out of ketosis if you’re having a large amount of protein. This is because a high protein intake can cause the liver to convert the protein into glucose – a process known as gluconeogenesis.

For this reason, try to keep your intake of meat to a moderate level.

Fish

Fish provides a good source of protein and oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines, trout or herring, contains essential omega-3 fatty acids.

The consumption of significant amounts of fatty fish is widely advocated for heart health and longevity.

Dairy products

Dairy products are a strong source of fat so are another staple of ketogenic diets.

People going onto a ketogenic diet after coming from a low-fat diet will be pleased to know that cream and full fat dairy are back on the menu.

Avoid low-fat dairy as this is has no benefit for people on a ketogenic diet.

Note that some dairy, such as milk and yoghurt, will have some carbohydrate, in the form of lactose, and very-low-carb dairy such as cheese has a significant amount of protein.

Where possible pick butter that comes from grass fed cows. Grass-fed butter is higher than grain-fed butter in omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin E than non-grass fed butter.

Grass-fed butter is also high in butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that can both prevent and decrease inflammation. It has also shown some benefits to protect against mental illness, improve body composition, increase metabolism , and improve gut health.

Avoid margarine as this is a form of processed food.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are high in fat, low in carbs and have moderate protein and so match the energy requirements of a ketogenic diet very well. Nuts and seeds are also a good source of dietary fibre and magnesium.

Whilst nuts are generally a good choice, it is possible to overeat nuts and seeds if you graze on them through the day. Choose unsalted nuts as salted nuts can become addictive and lead to overeating.

The nutrient content of nuts and seeds can vary. Whilst Brazil nuts, macadamias, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are low in carbohydrate, other nuts, such as cashews, have significantly higher carbohydrate content.

How to Start a Keto Diet: 7 Tips for Beginners

If the tenets of a keto diet—high in fats and low in carbs—sound familiar, you’re not wrong. Atkins and keto are not dissimilar. The goal of both diets is to help you lose weight more efficiently by reaching a metabolic state in which your body burns fat (instead of carbohydrates) and sugar (for fuel). Classic keto diets are very high in fat, can be quite restrictive, and are often done with medical supervision. But this ultra-high level of fat may not be necessary for you to maintain the fat-burning state of ketosis. Atkins is a ketogenic diet, but one with more food choices and a greater balance of macronutrients.

Consuming a well-constructed keto diet with adequate fiber from vegetables, moderate protein, approximately 40 grams of net carbs or less a day, and about 65% of your daily calories coming from healthy fats—as you do on Atkins 20® or Atkins 40®—has shown to be safe and effective. If you’re new to the keto diet, here are a few easy tips to getting your diet plan started.

Keto Diet for Beginners

  1. Decrease carbs (but eat more veggies)
  2. Eating a very low carb diet is important to achieving ketosis, but low carb does not mean no carb. With Atkins 20, net carbs are restricted to 20g or fewer per day for about two weeks to guarantee that ketosis is achieved. After this induction phase, you will gradually add small amounts of net carbs back into your diet while still burning fat. You can easily count the net carbs you are consuming with the Atkins® app or this guide.

    When limiting your carb intake on a keto diet to 20–40 net grams per day, it is important to eat plenty of foundation vegetables to ensure you’re getting all of your necessary vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. Reach for nutrient-dense, non-starchy veggies like kale, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, and peppers. Another bonus: the combination of eating whole foods plus gradually adding net carbs as you maintain ketosis also helps prevent setbacks, hunger pangs, and cravings for processed foods.

    Bonus tip: Swap in low carb ingredients to make your favorite meals. For example, use zucchini noodles to replace regular noodles in your favorite pasta dish!

  3. Decrease stress

    We know that sometimes this is easier said than done! High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can elevate your blood sugar levels and get in the way of your body’s ability to achieve ketosis. If your job or personal life is currently more stressful than usual, you may want to wait to start a keto diet. You can also help reduce stress by getting lots of sleep, exercising regularly, and trying relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.

    Bonus tip: Prioritize sleep by sticking to a set bedtime schedule, and aim for a consistent 7–9 hours of sleep every night.

  4. Increase healthy fats

    Low carb keto diets replace your reduction of carbs with an increase in fat, which typically accounts for at least 60% of your daily calories. Because we’ve been told for so long to avoid fat, most people under eat fat when trying a keto diet. It is important to choose healthy fats from high-quality plant and animal sources, such as olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil as well as cheese, eggs, nuts, and fish.

    Bonus tip: If you find yourself getting hungry between meals, you may not be consuming enough healthy fats.

  5. Increase exercise

    As with any diet, increasing your activity levels can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Regularly exercising while on the keto diet, however, can also help you achieve ketosis and transition into a low carb, high fat lifestyle more quickly than you would otherwise. That’s because to achieve ketosis, your body needs to get rid of any glucose, and the more often you exercise, the quicker your body uses up its glycogen stores before turning to fat for energy.

    Bonus tip: It’s not uncommon to feel a bit sluggish when starting a keto diet. Ease into any new workout regimen, and be sure to include plenty of low intensity exercises as you adapt to your new diet.

  6. Increase your water intake

    Water is crucial to supporting your metabolism and regular body functions, and low carb diets like keto have a diuretic effect on the body. Not consuming enough water, especially during the induction phase, can lead to constipation, dizziness, and cravings. In addition to drinking enough water, make sure you’re getting all of your electrolytes by adding some broth to your diet or a little extra salt to your food.

    Bonus tip: Stay well hydrated and drink a minimum of 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Drink even more if you have upped your exercise or if it’s a hot day.

  7. Maintain your protein intake

    A keto diet requires eating enough protein to supply the liver with amino acids to make new glucose for the cells and organs, such as your kidneys and your red blood cells, that can’t use ketones or fatty acids as fuel. Not consuming enough protein can lead to loss of muscle mass, while consuming an excessive amount can prevent ketosis.

    Bonus tip: When following a keto diet such as Atkins 20, aim for 20-30% of your diet to be made up of protein.

  8. Maintain your social life!

    Starting a keto diet doesn’t mean you have to eat every meal at home. Make smart choices when dining out by checking the menu ahead of time, asking the restaurant for nutrition information, sticking to meat and veggie options, and opting for a side salad instead of a starchy side like fries.

    Bonus tip: Replace sugar-laden condiments like BBQ sauce and ketchup with yellow mustard, ranch dressing, hot sauce, or butter. Also, meet up with your friends at these keto-friendly restaurants!

Sample Keto Diet Plan for Beginners

This sample keto diet for beginners provides 21.4g of net carbohydrates. Atkins has even more plans personalized to your lifestyle, as well as an incredible library of delicious low carb recipes.

Breakfast: 4.6g net carbs

Eggs scrambled with sautéed onions and cheddar cheese

Snack: 1g net carbs

Atkins French Vanilla Shake

Lunch: 6g net carbs

Grilled chicken over baby spinach, tomato, and avocado salad

Snack: 4.4g net carbs

1 cup sliced red bell pepper with 2 tbsp ranch dressing

Dinner: 5.4g net carbs

5 oz hamburger, 1 oz pepper jack cheese, 1 small tomato, ½ Hass avocado, 2 romaine lettuce leaves

2-Week Ketogenic Diet Plan for Beginners

Are you looking forward to reaping the benefits of ketosis, but you aren’t sure how to get there?

The ketogenic diet is the go-to diet for people who are looking to lose weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, help treat diabetes and even protect against neurological diseases (1, 2, 3, 4). But, if you are a beginner, the thought of completely turning your kitchen upside down and training your body to eat in a different way may seem overwhelming.

One of the most effective ways to ease into the ketogenic diet is by following a diet plan, which will provide you with a shopping list and basic recipes that give you clear guidelines on what you can and cannot eat on the ketogenic diet.

Do you want something you can easily refer to as you begin your journey? Make sure you download our 2-week ketogenic diet plan in PDF at the end of this article.

Review of the Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

It’s time to get into the right mindset for making a big shift in your diet. If you’ve landed on this page, you are most likely aware of at least one benefit the ketogenic diet provides you – the one you are interested in taking advantage of.

Just in case you need some extra motivation, here is a list of potential benefits of the ketogenic diet:

  1. Promotes weight loss: The low-fat diet is often recommended for weight loss, but research shows that a high fat, moderate protein, and low-carbohydrate diet is much more effective at promoting weight loss, thanks to the beauty of ketone bodies (5).
  2. May lower risk factors for disease such as high blood sugar and insulin levels.(6).
  3. Protects from muscle loss: a very low carbohydrate diet with adequate amounts of protein may be protective against the loss of muscle mass (7).
  4. Helps reduce blood sugar for those with type 2 diabetes: Studies have shown that a ketogenic diet can be an effective way to reduce blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. It also can help promote weight loss and increased insulin sensitivity which is beneficial in the management of diabetes (3,8).
  5. May help slow tumor growth for certain types of cancer: Early research shows that a calorically-restricted ketogenic diet shows promise as an effective alternative therapy for malignant brain cancer. Because high levels of circulating glucose in the blood are needed for tumor growth, the glucose-reducing effects of the keto diet can help to slow tumor growth (9).
  6. Improves symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease: The ketogenic diet may help to reduce the symptoms and slow the progression of degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (10, 11).
  7. Helps treat factors causing polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is the most common cause of infertility among women (12). One of the aggravating factors of PCOS is high levels of insulin. The ketogenic diet can help reduce insulin and glucose levels in the blood as a dietary therapy for PCOS (13).
  8. Boosts recovery from brain diseases: Initial animal studies show that the keto diet may boost recovery from traumatic brain injuries in younger subjects (14).

The reasons mentioned above are just the beginning! Scientists have only begun to delve into their interest in the ketogenic diet for a range of potential positive impacts on human health.

What You Can and Can’t Eat on a Ketogenic Diet

The biggest questions that come to mind for anyone who is beginning the ketogenic diet are:

What can I eat? What can’t I eat?

The stress that arises when you think of having to eliminate your precious powdered doughnuts or grape soda can be overwhelming at first. How will you ever feel satisfied?

While there will be a short adjustment period, research has found that reducing carbohydrate (especially sugar) intake and instead eating a fat-rich diet instead can actually increase satiety and therefore reduce food intake (15).

Here is a list of foods you can refer to anytime to check out what you can and can’t eat on the ketogenic diet to achieve nutritional ketosis.

What you can eat

Meats

If you don’t have any other dietary restrictions (like vegetarianism), then you have a wide variety of meats to choose from.

Beef

Chicken

Turkey

Duck

Veal

Wild Game

Rabbit

Pork

Lamb

Goat

Giblets

Liver and other organs

Fresh Ham

Bacon

Eggs

Seafood and Fish

Tuna

Salmon

Mackerel

Cod

Halibut

Mahimahi

Flounder

Catfish

Oysters

Shrimp

Lobster

Mussels

Clams

Crab

Squid

Octopus

Eels

Swordfish

Roe

Monkfish

Haddock

Tilapia

Pike

Fats and Oils

Saturated and monounsaturated fats are important to ensure a steady energy supply.

Butter

Ghee

Olive oil

Coconut oil

Avocado oil

Dairy fat

Lard

Duck fat

Avocado

MCT oil

Vegetables

On the keto diet, stick to non-starchy vegetables grown above ground. Vegetables that grow above ground are generally lower in carbs than below-ground vegetables.

Lettuce

Kale

Spinach

Olives

Tomato

Eggplant

Swiss chard

Bok choy

Celery

Asparagus

Cauliflower

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cucumber

Endives

Chives

Red and green peppers

Mushrooms

Zucchini

Brussels sprouts

Green beans

Dairy

Stick to full-fat dairy for all of your keto-friendly meals since fat is fuel on the keto diet.

Hard Cheeses

Parmesan

Swiss

Cheddar

Colby

Colby-Jack

Gouda

Gruyère

Pecorino Romano

Manchego

Monterey Jack

Edam

Emmental

Provolone

Hard Mozzarella

Soft Cheeses

Brie

Fresh mozzarella

Feta

Goat cheese

Cream cheese

Munster

Ricotta cheese

Gorgonzola

Fontina

Fougerus

Buchette

Cottage Cheese

Others

Sour cream

Latin cream

No-sugar whipping cream

Full-fat yogurt

Heavy cream

Butter

Fruits

All of the fruits you eat on the keto diet should be lower in sugar and have a high fiber content to make overall net carbs low (<10 grams per serving).

Strawberries

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Cranberries

Mulberries

Cherries

Coconut

Lime

Lemon

Rhubarb

Nuts and seeds

Most nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. Choose raw or roasted varieties, but make sure you aren’t eating varieties that contain sugar or processed seasoning.

Macadamia nuts

Pecans

Almonds

Pine nuts

Walnuts

Peanuts

Hazelnuts

Brazil nuts

No-sugar-added nut butter

Chia seeds

Flax seeds

Hemp seeds

Drinks

Keto-approved drinks are low in sugar and are extremely important to provide hydration, electrolytes, and other beneficial components like antioxidants.

Water

Lemon and lime juice with still or sparkling water

Teas, without sugar

Bone Broth

Coffee

Red wine (dry, in moderation)

Coconut water (natural, no sugar added)

Flours and others

When we talk about flours on keto, they are made from nuts and fiber instead of grains.

Almond flour

Coconut flour

Psyllium Husk

Coconut powder

Oat fiber

Spices like curcumin, garlic, ginger, basil, cilantro, and others

Supplements

Supplements can be a good way of making sure you have a good nutritional balance, especially if you have other dietary restrictions such as avoidance of dairy or meat.

Protein powders (from whey or hemp)

Electrolyte supplements

MCT oil

Exogenous ketones

If you can, make sure to consult with a registered dietitian before making any drastic change to your diet or before taking supplements.

What you can’t eat

After seeing what you can eat on the ketogenic diet (which is A LOT!), the list of foods you can’t eat will seem much less daunting.

Remember, the point of the ketogenic diet is to enter ketosis by limiting your carbohydrate intake to about 5% of your total calorie needs and consuming about 75% of your calories in the form of fats. Vegetables and fruits naturally contain carbohydrates, and the ones included in the list above are lower in carbohydrates without skimping on nutrients.

In short, we want to avoid any foods that are high in carbohydrates, foods that undergo processes where the fat is removed, and foods that are highly processed or contain lots of additives.

Below is a comprehensive list of foods to avoid:

High-carb foods and grains

This is the biggest food group to avoid. All of these foods are mostly carbohydrates, either in the form of grains or added sugar. If you eat these foods, your body will use them to make energy for its cells rather than using fats. This will prevent you from going into ketosis and reaping the benefits of the ketogenic diet.

Wheat

Bread of all forms

All grains

Bran

Breakfast cereals of any kind

Buckwheat

Cakes

Biscuits

Buns

Corn products

Couscous

Quinoa

Crackers

Millet

Pasta and rice

Rye cakes

Sorghum

Thickening agents (starch, instant powders)

Dairy and dairy-like products

The dairy and dairy-like products on this list are here because they have had all of the fatty goodness removed through processing, or because they have added sugar or other additives.

Fat-free or partially-skimmed dairy

Ice cream

Cheese spreads

Creamers

Rice milk

Soy milk

Pudding

Condensed milk

Starchy or higher-carb vegetables and legumes

Most starchy or higher-carb vegetables are either those that grow underground or those that fall into the legume category. While legumes have significant protein, they are also high in carbohydrates.

Beetroot

Beans and other legumes

Parsnips

Peas

Potatoes

Sweet potatoes and yams

Yucca

Carrots

Onions

Fats

The fats and oils to avoid are those that undergo significant processing and have the risk of containing trans fats, or that are derived from other foods on the do-not-eat list.

Seed oils
(sesame, soy)

Margarine

Vegetable oil

Corn oil

Shortening

Sweeteners

This part probably doesn’t need much of an explanation since sweeteners are pure carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Artificial sweeteners can cause digestive issues in some people and may have some other unwanted side effects.

Agave

Artificial sweeteners

Cordials

Dried fruit

Fructose

Honey

Milk

Sugar (brown, white, powdered)

Candies and sweets

Syrups

We usually don’t think of drinks being the main problem when it comes to our sugar consumption. However, even seemingly “healthy” choices can contain just as much sugar as regular sodas. The drinks on the list below are packed with carbs and should be avoided.

All fruit juices

Sports drinks

Protein shakes

Vegetable juices

Aloe vera juice

Beer

Cider

Regular soda

Diet drinks (artificial sweeteners)

Did you know that many processed types of meat contain sugar as an additive? We need to make sure to avoid meats that have been seasoned, prepared, or combined with other foods on the do-not-eat list.

Meats cured with sugar

Vienna
sausages

Meats with
soy fillers or texturizers

Breaded meats

Over-processed meats
(e.g. deli meats)

General

This is a big category, but we need to make sure to avoid anything that has undergone multi-step processing or that contains significant additives.

Manny canned foods

Most bottled sauces

Ketchup

Most fast food

Most packaged snacks

Any food with added sugar

Many salad dressings

Shopping List for Our 2-Week Ketogenic Diet Plan

Below you will find shopping lists and diet plans for people on a standard keto diet, a lacto-ovo-vegetarian (eats eggs/dairy) keto diet, and a dairy-free keto diet. The first plan is the standard keto plan, and the next two are modifications of the standard diet plan to meet your specific needs.

These diet plans are meant to be general guidelines for people beginning the keto diet. Note that depending on your sex, weight, activity level and specific nutrient needs, the portions and servings could change significantly. For a keto diet that suits your specific nutritional needs, seek out a registered dietitian.

Below are some shopping list options for your diet plan, depending on your specific nutritional needs.

Standard keto diet plan shopping list

Meats and eggs

✔ Free-range eggs ✔ Fish (salmon is best due to fat content) ✔ Bacon ✔ Beef ✔ Salami/sausage ✔ Pork ✔ Chicken/poultry ✔ Wild game

Vegetables and fruits

✔ Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, arugula, etc.) ✔ Mushrooms ✔ Blueberries ✔ Artichoke hearts ✔ Tomatoes ✔ Avocado ✔ Cucumber ✔ Zucchini ✔ Fresh spices ✔ Strawberries ✔ Blackberries ✔ Raspberries ✔ Bok Choy ✔ Cabbage ✔ Radishes ✔ Lemons ✔ Limes ✔ Asparagus

Fats and oils

✔ Olive oil ✔ Coconut oil ✔ Avocado oil ✔ Butter ✔ Canola oil

Cheese and Dairy

✔ Soft cheeses (Brie, Camembert, Parmesan, etc.) ✔ Hard cheeses (cheddar, Colby, Swiss, etc.) ✔ Cream cheese ✔ String (mozzarella) cheese ✔ 4% fat cottage cheese ✔ Whole milk yogurt ✔ Sour cream ✔ Goat cheese

Spices and condiments

✔ All plain spices ✔ Mayonnaise

Nuts

✔ Macadamia nuts ✔ Almonds ✔ Brazil Nuts ✔ Walnuts ✔ Pine nuts ✔ Peanuts ✔ Unsweetened nut butters

Other

✔ Coconut cream ✔ Coffee ✔ Keto-approved flour ✔ Oat fiber ✔ Unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond, coconut, etc.)

Vegetarian (lacto-ovo) keto diet plan shopping list

Protein sources

✔ Tofu ✔ Tempeh ✔ Other soy products ✔ Eggs

Vegetables and fruits

Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, arugula, etc.) ✔ Mushrooms ✔ Blueberries ✔ Artichoke hearts ✔ Tomatoes ✔ Avocado ✔ Fresh spices ✔ Cucumber ✔ Zucchini ✔ Strawberries ✔ Blueberries ✔ Blackberries ✔ Raspberries ✔ Bok Choy ✔ Cabbage ✔ Radishes ✔ Lemons ✔ Limes ✔ Asparagus

Fats and oils

✔ Olive oil ✔ Coconut oil ✔ Avocado oil ✔ Butter

✔ Canola oil

Cheese and Dairy

✔ Soft cheeses (Brie, Camembert, Parmesan, etc.) ✔ Hard cheeses (cheddar, Colby, Swiss, etc.) ✔ Cream cheese ✔ String (mozzarella) cheese ✔ 4% fat cottage cheese ✔ Whole milk yogurt ✔ Sour cream ✔ Goat cheese

Spices and condiments

✔ All plain spices ✔ Mayonnaise

Nuts

✔ Macadamia nuts ✔ Almonds ✔ Brazil Nuts ✔ Walnuts ✔ Pine nuts ✔ Peanuts ✔ Unsweetened nut butters

Others

✔ Keto-approved flours ✔ Coconut cream ✔ Coffee ✔ Oat fiber ✔ Unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond, coconut, etc.)

Dairy-free keto diet plan shopping list

Meats and eggs

✔ Free-range eggs ✔ Fish (salmon is best for fat content) ✔ Bacon ✔ Beef ✔ Salami/sausage ✔ Pork ✔ Chicken/poultry ✔ Wild game

Vegetables and fruits

✔ Leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, arugula, etc.) ✔ Mushrooms ✔ Blueberries ✔ Artichoke hearts ✔ Tomatoes ✔ Avocado ✔ Fresh spices ✔ Cucumber ✔ Zucchini ✔ Strawberries ✔ Blackberries ✔ Raspberries ✔ Bok Choy ✔ Cabbage ✔ Radishes ✔ Lemons ✔ Limes ✔ Asparagus

Fats and oils

✔ Olive oil ✔ Coconut oil ✔ Avocado oil ✔ Canola oil

Spices and condiments

✔All plain spices ✔Mayonnaise

Nuts

✔ Macadamia nuts ✔ Almonds ✔ Brazil Nuts ✔ Walnuts ✔ Pine nuts ✔ Peanuts ✔ Unsweetened nut butters

Others

✔Keto-approved flours ✔ Coconut cream ✔ Coffee ✔ Oat fiber ✔ Unsweetened non-dairy milks (almond, coconut, etc.)

Standard Keto Diet Plan

This what a 2-week diet plan might look like for someone who is following the standard keto diet with no other significant dietary restrictions.

Week 1

Monday

Breakfast: Two-egg omelet with spinach and mushrooms cooked in coconut oil
Snack: Handful of blueberries
Lunch: Chicken salad with artichoke hearts + tomatoes + mixed greens + boiled egg + olive oil
Dinner: Seared salmon and a mixed green salad with avocado and olive oil

Tuesday

Breakfast: Two fried eggs in olive oil and 1/2 of avocado with tomato and cilantro salsa
Snack: Soft cheese with cucumber slices
Lunch: Bacon-Lettuce and Tomato (BLT) on cloud bread
Dinner: Zoodles with ground beef and homemade tomato sauce

Wednesday

Breakfast: Bacon and eggs cooked in bacon fat
Snack: Handful of macadamia nuts
Lunch: Roast beef, brie, arugula, pesto, and olive plate
Dinner: Shrimp, tomato, and avocado salad with olive oil and lime

Thursday

Breakfast: Frittata with broccoli
Snack: Celery and peanut butter
Lunch: Turkey slices + almonds + avocado + cucumber + blueberries
Dinner: Lamb chops with herb butter

Friday

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs in butter with tomato and cilantro
Snack: Green peppers with cream cheese
Lunch: Salami and mayo + string cheese + radishes + avocado and olive oil
Dinner: Chicken salad on lettuce with tomato

Saturday

Breakfast: Boiled eggs with mayonnaise
Snack: Pork rinds
Lunch: Chicken salad in a jar with greens of your choice + olive oil
Dinner: Roasted chicken and cabbage with mayo

Sunday

Breakfast: Eggplant hash (eggplant seared in olive oil) topped with fried eggs.
Snack: Homemade zucchini chips
Lunch: Salami + roasted pepper + mixed green salad
Dinner: Baked salmon with pesto and Brussels sprouts

Week 2

Breakfast: Huevos rancheros (fried egg with tomato salsa, avocado and sour cream on the side)
Snack: Handful of strawberries
Lunch: Pepperoni and cream cheese rolls + celery slices +cherry tomatoes + almonds
Dinner: Beef in cream sauce and steamed zucchini
Breakfast: Keto coconut porridge (coconut flour + egg + coconut oil + coconut cream mixed together over a saucepan – try this recipe) topped with raspberries
Snack: Cheese
Lunch: Bacon, avocado, and French onion dip sandwich on cloud bread with almonds and blueberries
Dinner: Pan-fried pork
Breakfast: Blackberry and strawberry smoothie with coconut milk and lemon juice
Snack: Fresh ham & cheese roll-ups
Lunch: 2 boiled eggs + string cheese + avocado slices + cucumber + cottage cheese for dipping
Dinner: Cooked chicken meatballs with zoodles and parmesan cheese
Breakfast: Two fried eggs over kale sautéed in olive oil
Snack: Butter melted into coffee
Lunch: Tuna salad with mixed greens dressed with olive oil + handful of raspberries
Dinner: Chicken stir-fry in canola oil with bok choy and cabbage
Breakfast: Low-carb blueberry pancakes (eggs + cream cheese + butter + almond flour + oat fiber + lemon zest + baking powder + blueberries – or try this recipe)
Snack: Celery and cream cheese
Lunch: Sautéed chicken and broccoli, two pieces of Babybel cheese, celery, and cream dipping sauce
Dinner: Bacon-wrapped asparagus and brie
Breakfast: Baked eggs with tomato and sausage
Snack: Cucumber and mayo
Lunch: Smoked salmon and avocado plate
Dinner: Scallop avocado salad
Breakfast: Green smoothie (avocado + MCT oil + cucumber + spinach + parsley + hemp seeds + turmeric + lemon)
Snack: Handful of Brazil nuts
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich with cloud bread + macadamia nuts + blackberries
Dinner: Zucchini lasagna (ground beef + mozzarella + parmesan + zucchini slices)

Vegetarian Keto Diet Plan

Note that the Vegetarian Keto Diet plan assumes that dieters are lacto-ovo vegetarians meaning they consume eggs and dairy.

Note that in order to get enough protein, soy, tofu, and tempeh are included, but do try to choose less-processed options when possible.

Here is the above diet plan modified for a vegetarian keto diet plan.

Breakfast: Two-egg omelet with spinach and mushrooms cooked in coconut oil.
Snack: Handful of blueberries
Lunch: Eggplant salad with artichoke hearts + tomatoes + mixed greens + boiled egg + olive oil
Dinner: Seared tofu and a mixed green salad with avocado and olive oil
Breakfast: Two fried eggs in olive oil and 1/2 of avocado with tomato and cilantro salsa
Snack: Soft cheese with cucumber slices
Lunch: Fried tofu lettuce and tomato (TLT) on cloud bread
Dinner: Zoodles with mushrooms and homemade tomato sauce
Breakfast: Eggs cooked in coconut oil with asparagus and roasted peppers
Snack: Handful of macadamia nuts
Lunch: Tempeh, brie, arugula, pesto, and olive plate
Dinner: Goat cheese, tomato, and avocado salad with olive oil and lime
Breakfast: Frittata with broccoli
Snack: Celery and peanut butter
Lunch: Seared tofu + almonds + avocado + cucumber + blueberries
Dinner: Roasted portobello mushroom with herb butter and broccoli
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs in butter with tomato and cilantro
Snack: Green peppers with cream cheese
Lunch: Cauliflower hash and mayo + string cheese + radishes + avocado and olive oil
Dinner: Mixed green salad with tomato, mushrooms and eggplant cooked in olive oil
Breakfast: Boiled eggs with mayonnaise
Snack: Cucumber slices and avocado
Lunch: Sliced almond salad in a jar with greens of your choice + olive oil
Dinner: Grilled veggie plate with cheese
Breakfast: Eggplant hash (eggplant seared in olive oil) topped with fried eggs
Snack: Homemade zucchini chips
Lunch: Fried cheese + roasted pepper + mixed green salad
Dinner: Baked portobello with pesto and Brussels sprouts

Breakfast: Huevos rancheros (fried egg with tomato salsa, avocado and sour cream on the side)
Snack: Handful of strawberries
Lunch: Roasted zucchini slices and cream cheese rolls + celery slices and cherry tomatoes + almonds
Dinner: Tofu in cream sauce and steamed zucchini
Breakfast: Keto coconut porridge (coconut flour + egg + coconut oil + coconut cream mixed together over a saucepan) topped with raspberries
Snack: Slice of cheese
Lunch: Tomato, avocado, and French onion dip sandwich on cloud bread + almonds and blueberries
Dinner: Pan-fried tofu with steamed asparagus
Breakfast: Blackberry and strawberry smoothie with coconut milk and lemon juice
Snack: Coleslaw
Lunch: 2 boiled eggs + string cheese + avocado slices + cucumber + cottage cheese for dipping
Dinner: Tofu “meatballs” with zoodles and parmesan cheese (or try this keto meatless meatball recipe)
Breakfast: Two fried eggs over kale sautéed in olive oil
Snack: Butter melted into coffee
Lunch: Roasted mushroom with mixed greens dressed with olive oil + handful of raspberries + almonds
Dinner: Creamy lemon green beans and roasted cabbage
Breakfast: Low-carb blueberry pancakes (eggs + cream cheese + butter + almond flour + oat fiber + lemon zest + baking powder + blueberries) – try this recipe
Snack: Celery and cream cheese
Lunch: Sautéed broccoli and tempeh, two pieces of Babybel cheese, celery and cream dipping sauce
Dinner: Eggplant-wrapped asparagus and brie
Breakfast: Baked eggs with tomato and avocado
Snack: Cucumber and mayo
Lunch: Deviled eggs and avocado plate
Dinner: Butter-fried broccoli and avocado salad
Breakfast: Green smoothie (avocado + MCT oil + cucumber + spinach + parsley + hemp seeds + turmeric + lemon)
Snack: Handful of Brazil nuts
Lunch: Sautéed mushroom and pesto sandwich on cloud bread + macadamia nuts + blackberries
Dinner: Zucchini lasagna (mozzarella + parmesan + zucchini slices)

Dairy-Free Keto Diet Plan

Breakfast: Two-egg omelet with spinach and mushrooms cooked in coconut oil.
Snack: Handful of blueberries
Lunch: Chicken salad with artichoke hearts + tomatoes + mixed greens + boiled egg + olive oil
Dinner: Seared salmon and a mixed green salad with avocado and olive oil
Breakfast: Two fried eggs in olive oil and 1/2 of avocado with tomato and cilantro salsa
Snack: Celery and almond butter
Lunch: Bacon-Lettuce and Tomato (BLT) on cloud bread
Dinner: Zoodles with ground beef and homemade tomato sauce
Breakfast: Bacon and eggs cooked in bacon fat
Snack: Handful of macadamia nuts
Lunch: Roast beef, arugula, pesto, and olive plate
Dinner: Shrimp, tomato, and avocado salad with olive oil and lime
Breakfast: Frittata with broccoli
Snack: Celery and peanut butter
Lunch: Turkey slices + almonds + avocado + cucumber + blueberries
Dinner: Lamb chops with coconut oil
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs in MCT oil with tomato and cilantro
Snack: Green peppers with herb-infused olive oil for dipping
Lunch: Salami and mayo + macadamia nuts + radishes + avocado and olive oil
Dinner: Chicken salad on lettuce with tomato
Breakfast: Boiled eggs with mayonnaise
Snack: Pork rinds
Lunch: Chicken salad in a jar with greens of your choice + olive oil
Dinner: Roasted chicken and cabbage with mayo
Breakfast: Eggplant hash (eggplant seared in olive oil) topped with fried eggs.
Snack: Homemade zucchini chips
Lunch: Salami + roasted pepper + mixed green salad
Dinner: Baked salmon with pesto and Brussels sprouts

Breakfast: Huevos rancheros (fried egg with tomato salsa and guacamole)
Snack: Handful of strawberries
Lunch: Pepperoni + celery slices and cherry tomatoes + almonds + blueberries
Dinner: Beef in olive oil tomato sauce and zucchini sautéed in canola oil
Breakfast: Keto coconut porridge (coconut flour + egg + coconut oil + coconut cream mixed together over a saucepan) topped with raspberries
Snack: Seasoned tomatoes with olive oil
Lunch: Bacon, avocado, and avocado oil sandwich on cloud bread + almonds and blueberries
Dinner: Pan-fried pork and Brussels sprouts
Breakfast: Blackberry and strawberry smoothie with coconut milk and lemon juice
Snack: Fresh ham and zucchini roll-ups
Lunch: 2 boiled eggs + avocado slices + cucumber + spritz of lemon juice
Dinner: Cooked chicken meatballs with zoodles seasoned with olive oil and baked cherry tomatoes
Breakfast: Two fried eggs over kale sautéed in olive oil
Snack: Coconut oil melted into coffee + almonds
Lunch: Tuna salad with mixed greens dressed with olive oil + handful of raspberries
Dinner: Chicken stir-fry in canola oil with bok choy and cabbage
Breakfast: Low-carb blueberry pancakes (eggs + butter + almond flour + oat fiber + lemon zest + baking powder + blueberries)
Snack: Celery and peanut butter
Lunch: Sautéed chicken and broccoli/celery and herb-infused olive oil for dipping
Dinner: Bacon-wrapped asparagus
Breakfast: Baked eggs with tomato and sausage
Snack: Cucumber and mayo
Lunch: Smoked salmon and avocado plate
Dinner: Scallop avocado salad
Breakfast: Green smoothie (avocado + MCT oil + cucumber + spinach + parsley + hemp seeds + turmeric + lemon)
Snack: Handful of Brazil nuts
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich with cloud bread + macadamia nuts + blackberries
Dinner: Zucchini and walnut salad

Conclusion

The ketogenic diet can come with many benefits. However, our society is usually not so keto-friendly. For this reason, it can be hard to make the shift into the keto lifestyle. Luckily, general guidelines and tools such as the basic meal plans Kiss My Keto provides can make the transition much easier.

  1. Sumithran P et al. Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss. 2013 May 1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23632752
  2. Hession M et al. Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of low-carbohydrate vs. low-fat/low-calorie diets in the management of obesity and its comorbidities. 2008 August… View all references

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The Complete Ketogenic Diet Guide For Beginners

This guide was designed to help you kick-start your keto diet and get you into ketosis! Below are the basics of the ketogenic diet, how to get started and how to guarantee success. Best of all, you get a free 14-Day Keto Meal Plan with full step-by-step recipes to help you kickstart your keto diet!

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  • 2 Full Weeks of Delicious Recipes!
  • Leftovers and Bulk Preps Included
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Jump To

  • BASICS
    • What is the Keto Diet?
    • Calories & Macros
    • Nutritional Revolution
    • Benefits
    • Keto Flu
  • STARTING KETO
    • Part 1: Out With The Old
    • Part 2: In With The New
    • Part 3: Meal Plan
    • Life After Meal Plan

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Ketogenic Diet Basics

What Is The Keto Diet?

The keto diet (also known as ketogenic diet, low carb diet and LCHF diet) is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet. Maintaining this diet is a great tool for weight loss. More importantly though, according to an increasing number of studies, it helps reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more1-6.On the keto diet, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. While in ketosis your body is using ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose. Ketone bodies are derived from fat and are a much more stable, steady source of energy than glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates.

Entering ketosis usually takes anywhere from 3 days to a week. Once you’re in ketosis, you’ll be using fat for energy, instead of carbs. This includes the fat you eat and stored body fat.

Testing For Ketosis

You can test yourself to see whether you’ve entered ketosis just a few days after you’ve begun the keto diet! Simply use a ketone test strip and it will tell you the level of ketone bodies in your urine. If the concentration is high enough, you’ve successfully entered ketosis! Note: Any change to the strip color indicates that you are in ketosis.

There are other ways of telling you’re in ketosis, though – look for changes in your mood and alertness, as well as a stronger smell in your breath and urine. Many people also report better sleep and decreased appetite when they’re in ketosis.

The Truth About Fat

You may be thinking, “but eating a lot of fat is bad!” The truth is, dozens of studies and meta studies with over 900,000 subjects have arrived at similar conclusions: eating saturated and monounsaturated fats has no effects on heart disease risks7,8.

Most fats are good and are essential to our health. Fats (fatty acids) and protein (amino acids) are essential for survival.

Fats are the most efficient form of energy and each gram contains about 9 calories, compared to 4 calories per gram of protein and carbohydrates.

There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate.

The keto diet promotes eating fresh, whole foods like meat, fish, veggies, and healthy fats and oils as well as greatly reducing processed and chemically treated foods the Standard American Diet (SAD) has so long encouraged.

It’s a diet that you can sustain long-term and enjoy. What’s not to enjoy about bacon and eggs in the morning?

You’ll Love Our Keto in Five Cookbooks!

We believe that the key to success is simplicity and satisfaction with your diet. That’s why we created our Keto in Five ecookbook series which includes Breakfast in Five, Lunch in Five, Dinner in Five, and Dessert in Five.

Each book contains 30 recipes. Every recipe is made with just 5 ingredients and has up to 5 grams of net carbs. That means you can have seconds of any meal and you’ll still be within your daily carb limit!

Calories & Macronutrients

How Calories Work

A calorie is a unit of energy. When something contains 100 calories, it describes how much energy your body could get from consuming it. Calorie consumption dictates weight gain/loss.

If you burn an average of 1,800 calories and eat 2,000 calories per day, you will gain weight.

If you do light exercise that burns an extra 300 calories per day, you’ll burn 2,100 calories per day, putting you at a deficit of 100 calories. Simply by eating at a deficit, you will lose weight because your body will tap into stored resources for the remaining energy it needs.

That being said, it’s important to get the right balance of macronutrients every day so your body has the energy it needs.

What Are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients (macros) are molecules that our bodies use to create energy for themselves – primarily fat, protein and carbs. They are found in all food and are measured in grams (g) on nutrition labels.

  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram
  • Protein provides 4 calories per gram
  • Carbs provide 4 calories per gram

Read our full What Are Macros guide for more information about macronutrients and how they affect your body and health.

Net Carbs

Many low carb recipes will write “net carbs” when displaying their macros. Net carbs are total carbs minus dietary fiber and sugar alcohols. Our bodies can’t break down fiber and sugar alcohol into glucose so they generally don’t raise blood sugar. For this reason, many people on a low carb diet don’t count them toward their total carb count.

Note: Dietary fiber is sometimes listed as soluble or insoluble.

How Much Should You Eat?

On a keto diet, about 65 to 75 percent of the calories you consume daily should come from fat. About 20 to 30 percent should come from protein. The remaining 5 percent or so should come from carbohydrates.You can use our Keto Diet Calculator to figure out exactly how many calories and which macros you should be eating every day!

It asks you for basic info like your weight, activity levels and goals and instantly tells you how many grams of fat, protein and carbs you should be eating each day.

Calculate!

A Nutritional Revolution

Carbs: What Exactly Are They?

Carbohydrates (carbs) are a macronutrient found in things like starches, grains and foods high in sugar. This includes, but isn’t limited to, bread, flour, rice, pasta, beans, potatoes, sugar, syrup, cereals, fruits, bagels and soda.

Carbs are broken down into glucose (a type of sugar) in our bodies for energy. Eating any kinds of carbs spikes blood sugar levels. The spike may happen faster or slower depending on the type of carb (simple or complex), but the spike will still happen.

Blood sugar spikes cause strong insulin releases to combat the spikes. Constant insulin releases result in fat storage and insulin resistance. After many years, this cycle commonly leads to prediabetes, metabolic syndrome and even type 2 diabetes9.

In a world full of sugar, cereal, pasta, burgers, French fries and large sodas, you can see how carbs can easily be overconsumed.

Where We Are Today

According to the 2014 report by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. (86 million people) have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose is always high and commonly leads to type 2 diabetes and many other medical problems10.

Today, almost 1 in 10 people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes compared to almost 1 in 40 in 1980. Fat has been blamed as the bad guy and companies have been creating low-fat and fat-free, chemically-laden alternatives of nearly every type of food in existence, yet obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates are still increasing.

Nearly 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. has type 2 diabetes, almost 4 times more than 30 years ago.

Fat is Making a Comeback

We’re starting to understand that carbs in large quantities are much more harmful than previously thought, while most fats are healthy and essential.

The nutritional landscape is changing. Ketogenic diet and low carb diet groups, as well as similar dietary groups like paleo, are growing and a nutritional revolution is beginning. We are starting to realize the detrimental effects of our relationship with excess sugar and carbs.

Benefits of the Keto Diet

Long-Term Benefits

Studies consistently show that those who eat a low carb, high fat diet rather than a high carb, low fat diet:

  • Lose more weight and body fat11-17
  • Have better levels of good cholesterol (HDL and large LDL)18,19
  • Have reduced blood sugar and insulin resistance (commonly reversing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes)20,21
  • Experience a decrease in appetite22
  • Have reduced triglyceride levels (fat molecules in the blood that cause heart disease)19,23
  • Have significant reductions in blood pressure, leading to a reduction in heart disease and stroke24

Eating a keto/low carb diet helps you lose more weight than eating low fat.

Day-to-Day Benefits

The keto diet doesn’t only provide long-term benefits! When you’re on keto, you can expect to:

  • Lose body fat
  • Have consistent energy levels during the day
  • Stay satiated after meals longer, with less snacking and overeating

Longer satiation and consistent energy levels are due to the majority of calories coming from fat, which is slower to digest and calorically denser.

Being on a low carb diet also eliminates blood glucose spikes and crashes. You won’t have sudden blood sugar drops leaving you feeling weak and disoriented.

Entering Ketosis

The keto diet’s main goal is to keep you in nutritional ketosis all the time. If you’re just getting started with your keto diet, you should eat up to 25 grams of carbs per day.

Once you’re in ketosis for long enough (about 4 to 8 weeks), you become keto-adapted, or fat-adapted. This is when your glycogen decreases (the glucose stored in muscles and liver), you carry less water weight, muscle endurance increases and your overall energy levels are higher.

Another benefit of being keto-adapted is that you can eat ~50 grams of net carbs a day to maintain ketosis.

Type 1 Diabetes & Ketoacidosis

If you have type 1 diabetes, consult with your doctor before starting a keto diet. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous condition that can occur if you have type 1 diabetes due to a shortage of insulin.

Avoiding The Keto Flu

What is the Keto Flu?

The keto flu happens commonly to keto dieters due to low levels of sodium and electrolytes and has flu-like symptoms including:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Cough
  • Sniffles
  • Irritability
  • Nausea

It’s important to note that this isn’t the real flu! It’s called keto flu due to similar symptoms but it is not at all contagious and doesn’t actually involve a virus.

Why Does It Happen?

The main cause for keto flu is your body lacking electrolytes, especially sodium. When starting keto, you cut out lots of processed foods and eat more whole, natural foods. Although this is great, it causes a sudden drop in sodium intake.

In addition, reducing carbs reduces insulin levels, which reduces sodium stored by kidneys25.

Between your reduced sodium intake and stored sodium flushed by your kidneys, you end up being low on sodium and other electrolytes.

The keto flu can be avoided by consuming enough electrolytes, especially sodium.

Ending the Keto Flu

The best way to avoid (or end) the keto flu is to add more sodium and electrolytes to your diet. Here are the most effective (and tasty) ways to get more sodium:

  • Adding more salt to your food
  • Drinking soup broth
  • Eating plenty of salty foods like bacon and pickled vegetables

Try to eat more sodium as you start the keto diet to prevent the keto flu entirely. If you do catch it, just remember that it’ll go away quickly and you’ll emerge a fat-burning machine!

Read our Full Guide to the Keto Flu for more information on how to prevent it when starting your keto diet or feel better immediately if you already have it.

Help Others Start Keto

Starting Your Keto Diet

Part 1: Out With The Old

Having tempting, unhealthy foods in your home is one of the biggest reasons for failure when starting any diet. To maximize your chances of success with the keto diet, you need to remove as many triggers as you can. This crucial step will help prevent moments of weakness from ruining all your hard work.If you aren’t living alone, make sure to discuss with your family or housemates before throwing anything out. If some items are simply not yours to throw out, try to compromise and agree on a special location so you can keep them out of sight.

Starches and Grains

Get rid of all cereal, pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, corn, oats, quinoa, flour, bagels, rolls, croissants and wraps.

All Sugary Things

Throw away and forget all refined sugar, fruit juices, desserts, fountain drinks, milk chocolate, pastries, candy bars, etc.

Legumes

Discard or donate any beans, peas, and lentils.

Vegetable & Seed Oils

Stop using any vegetable oils and seed oils like sunflower, safflower, soybean, canola, corn and grapeseed oil. Get rid of trans fats like margarine.

Read Nutrition Labels

Check the nutrition labels on all your products to see if they’re high in carbs. There are hidden carbs in the unlikeliest of places (like ketchup and canned soups). Try to avoid buying products with dozens of incomprehensible ingredients. Less is usually healthier.Always check the serving sizes against the carb counts. Manufacturers can sometimes recommend inconceivably small serving sizes to seemingly reduce calorie and carb numbers.

At first glance, something may be low in carbs, but a quick comparison to the serving size can reveal the product is mostly sugar. Be diligent!

For example: Deli ham can have 2 or 3 grams of sugar per slice as well as many added preservatives and nitrites!

Part 2: In With The New!

Now that you’ve cleaned out everything you don’t need, it’s time to restock your pantry and fridge with delicious and wholesome, keto-friendly foods that will help you lose weight, become healthier, and feel amazing!

General Products to Have

With these basics in your home, you’ll always be ready to make healthy, keto-friendly meals.

Meat, Fish & Eggs

Just about every type of fresh meat and fish is good for a ketogenic diet including beef, chicken, lamb, pork, salmon, tuna, etc. Eat grass-fed and/or organic meat and wild-caught fish whenever possible.

Eat as many eggs as you like, preferably organic from free-range chickens.

Eat plenty of non-starchy veggies including asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, cucumber, lettuce, onions, peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, garlic, Brussels sprouts and zucchini.

You can eat full-fat dairy like sour cream, heavy (whipping) cream, butter, cheeses and unsweetened yogurt.

Although not dairy, unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk are both good milk substitutes.

Stay away from regular milk, skim milk and sweetened yogurts because they contain a lot of sugar. Avoid all fat-free and low-fat dairy products.

Oils and Fats

Olive oil, avocado oil, butter and bacon fat are great for cooking and consuming. Avocado oil is best for searing due to its very high smoke point (520°F). Coconut oil is also widely used in keto recipes and works particularly well in keto-friendly desserts.

Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc. are allowed in small amounts. Avocados are great because they’re low carb and very high in fat!

Stevia and erythritol are our great choices for low-carb friendly sweeteners. Learn more in our full guide to erythritol.

Miscellaneous

  • Lots of water, coffee, and unsweetened tea
  • Condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, pesto, and sriracha
  • Broths (beef, chicken, bone)
  • Pickles and other fermented foods
  • Seeds and nuts (chia seeds, flaxseeds, pecans, almonds, walnuts, macadamias, etc.)

Part 3: Meal Plan

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Cheddar Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

Pepperoni Pizza Omelet

Tuna Avocado Salad

Easy Blender Pancakes

Green Breakfast Smoothie

Creamy Coffee Shake

Quick Asian Crack Slaw

14 Delicious Days!

To get you started with your diet, we’ve created a 14-Day Keto Meal Plan with delicious recipes for you to enjoy every single day!

Using a meal plan when you start the keto diet can greatly help you succeed. If you know what’s coming up next, you’re much less likely to give up and order food from your favorite takeout restaurant.

We’ve also included macronutrient and calorie counts as well as leftovers to take the guesswork out and make the start of your keto diet a breeze!

Download a FREE copy of our
14-Day Keto Meal Plan

  • 2 Full Weeks of Delicious Recipes!
  • Leftovers and Bulk Preps Included
  • Maximize Your Keto Diet’s Success

Customizing Your Meal Plan

The daily caloric goal in the meal plan is about 1600 calories, +/- 100 calories.

If you need to eat more or fewer calories per day, you can adjust accordingly by simply taking out or adding a bit more of the ingredients already included in a recipe. For example, adding/removing a tablespoon of olive oil or butter will add/remove about 100 calories. If you like or dislike certain recipes, feel free to shift things around. Make sure to keep an eye on the calories so you’re still falling within an acceptable range of your daily goal.

Although the meal plan is for two weeks, you can easily extend and reuse it as many times as you like. Staple recipes are critical for success in your low carb diet!

Our hopes are that you like a few recipes so much they become staples in your keto diet. Staples are critical for success because they’re something you can get really excited about multiple times a week!

You should continue to try new recipes every week. You’ll get more familiar with ingredients, your own taste buds and will be surprised by just how good some things are! Soon enough, you’ll be trying to convince your friends and family to try what you’re eating because they’re missing out on how delicious your lifestyle has become!

Life After Meal Plan

Keep eating low carb to continue losing weight, feeling good and becoming healthier!Try making any of our hundreds of recipes available on the site. We make sure each and every recipe is delicious, nutritious and will keep you under your daily carb limit, even if you go for seconds. In addition, we provide step-by-step instructions to make the process as easy as possible. If you ever run into any issues or have any questions, be sure to leave a comment or contact us directly! We’re always happy to help.

Do you have something specific in mind? Use the search below:

Get Our Keto in Five Cookbooks!

We believe that the key to success is simplicity and satisfaction with your diet. That’s why we created our Keto in Five ecookbook series which includes Breakfast in Five, Lunch in Five, Dinner in Five, and Dessert in Five.

Each book contains 30 recipes. Every recipe is made with just 5 ingredients and has up to 5 grams of net carbs. That means you can have seconds of any meal and you’ll still be within your daily carb limit!

Learn More About The Keto Diet

Discover even more about the keto diet through our in-depth, science-backed articles. You’ll be surprised how many benefits you get from living a low carb lifestyle. Be sure to read our low carb food list for a complete list of foods you should eat and which you should avoid.

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About the Author: Rami

Rami co-founded Tasteaholics with Vicky at the start of 2015 to master the art of creating extremely delicious food while researching the truth behind nutrition, dieting and overall health. You can usually find him marketing, coding or coming up with the next crazy idea because he can’t sit still for too long. His favorite book is The 4-Hour Workweek and artist is Infected Mushroom.

How to get into ketosis fast

Ways to get the body into ketosis include:

1. Increasing physical activity

Share on PinterestA person can get into ketosis by increasing physical activity.

The more energy that a person uses during the day, the more food they need to eat for fuel.

Exercise helps a person deplete the glycogen stores in their body. In most cases, the glycogen stores become replenished when a person eats carbs. If a person is on a low-carb diet, they will not be replenishing their glycogen stores.

It can take some time for the body to learn to use fat stores instead of glycogen. A person may experience fatigue as their body adjusts.

2. Significantly reducing carbohydrate intake

Ketosis occurs when a lack of carbohydrate forces the body to use fat as its primary energy source instead of sugar.

A person looking to reach ketosis, whether for weight loss, to reduce the risk of heart disease, or to maintain and control blood sugar levels, should aim to reduce their carb consumption to 20 grams (g) per day or less.

However, this is not a set number. Some people may be able to eat more carbohydrate and still get into a state of ketosis, while others will need to eat less.

3. Fasting for short periods

Fasting, or going without food, can help a person achieve a state of ketosis. Many people can actually go into ketosis between meals.

In some controlled cases, a doctor may recommend a longer fasting period of between 24 and 48 hours. A person should speak to their doctor before deciding to fast for longer than a few hours at a time.

Fat fasting is an alternative form of fasting. Fat fasting involves significantly reducing calorie intake and eating a diet consisting almost entirely of fat for no more than 2 or 3 days.

Early research indicated that this might have a positive effect on weight loss. However, fat fasting is difficult to maintain and may not be the best option for most people.

Very small sample sizes and the lack of more robust evidence mean that people should be cautious about taking this approach.

4. Increasing healthful fat intake

As carbohydrate intake decreases, most people replace the loss of carbohydrates with an increase in healthful fats. Some fats that a person can eat include:

  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • avocados and avocado oil
  • flaxseed oil

However, for people looking to lose weight, it is important to keep the total calorie count in mind as well. Eating too many calories in a day can make it harder to lose weight.

5. Testing ketone levels

One method that can help a person achieve a state of ketosis is monitoring the levels of ketones in the body. There are several tests available for this, including:

  • urine
  • breath
  • blood

Using one or more of these tests can help a person track their progress, allowing them to make educated adjustments to their diet.

Ketone test strips are available to purchase online.

6. Protein intake

The keto diet limits the amount of protein a person can eat in comparison with fat.

While recommended amounts vary, one standard keto diet recommends consuming 20% of calories as protein.

A low protein intake is necessary for a person to reach ketosis.

7. Consuming more coconut oil

Coconut oil may help a person reach or maintain a state of ketosis.

According to a study focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, adding coconut oil to the diet may help people increase their ketone levels.

Coconut oil contains fats called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. The body can absorb MCTs quickly and easily. It then sends these fats directly to the liver, which turns them into either ketones or energy.

Should you try the keto diet?

It’s advertised as a weight-loss wonder, but this eating plan is actually a medical diet that comes with serious risks.

Updated: December 12, 2019Published: October, 2018


In the world of weight-loss diets, low-carbohydrate, high-protein eating plans often grab attention. The Paleo, South Beach, and Atkins diets all fit into that category. They are sometimes referred to as ketogenic or “keto” diets.

But a true ketogenic diet is different. Unlike other low-carb diets, which focus on protein, a keto plan centers on fat, which supplies as much as 90% of daily calories. And it’s not the type of diet to try as an experiment.

“The keto diet is primarily used to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. While it also has been tried for weight loss, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed. We don’t know if it works in the long term, nor whether it’s safe,” warns registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

How does it work?

The keto diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.

Burning fat seems like an ideal way to lose pounds. But getting the liver to make ketone bodies is tricky:

  • It requires that you deprive yourself of carbohydrates, fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day (keep in mind that a medium-sized banana has about 27 grams of carbs).
  • It typically takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis.
  • Eating too much protein can interfere with ketosis.

What do you eat?

Because the keto diet has such a high fat requirement, followers must eat fat at each meal. In a daily 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 75 grams of protein. However, the exact ratio depends on your particular needs.

Some healthy unsaturated fats are allowed on the keto diet — like nuts (almonds, walnuts), seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil. But saturated fats from oils (palm, coconut), lard, butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.

Protein is part of the keto diet, but it doesn’t typically discriminate between lean protein foods and protein sources high in saturated fat such as beef, pork, and bacon.

What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.

Keto risks

A ketogenic diet has numerous risks. Top of the list: it’s high in saturated fat. McManus recommends that you keep saturated fats to no more than 7% of your daily calories because of the link to heart disease. And indeed, the keto diet is associated with an increase in “bad” LDL cholesterol, which is also linked to heart disease.

Other potential keto risks include these:

Nutrient deficiency. “If you’re not eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains, you may be at risk for deficiencies in micronutrients, including selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B and C,” McManus says.

Liver problems. With so much fat to metabolize, the diet could make any existing liver conditions worse.

Kidney problems. The kidneys help metabolize protein, and McManus says the keto diet may overload them. (The current recommended intake for protein averages 46 grams per day for women, and 56 grams for men).

Constipation. The keto diet is low in fibrous foods like grains and legumes.

Fuzzy thinking and mood swings. “The brain needs sugar from healthy carbohydrates to function. Low-carb diets may cause confusion and irritability,” McManus says.

Those risks add up — so make sure that you talk to a doctor and a registered dietitian before ever attempting a ketogenic diet.

What about the other diets?

The popular low-carb diets (such as Atkins or Paleo) modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? “They’re everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work,” McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. “But again, we don’t know about the long term,” she says. “And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return.”

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