What is the Keto Diet?

The Ketogenic Diet was started back in the 1920's as a diet for children with epilepsy to prevent their seizures.  However, now the ketogenic diet is used for a variety of reasons, with the top reason being weight loss. 

The keto diet was designed to change the body's metabolic state from one that uses carbohydrates as the main source of energy to one that uses fats.  This metabolic change is called putting your body into a state of ketosis.  

Wait, wait, changing your metabolic state?!  This already sounds pretty complex, right?  Don't worry, that's why we created this guide to the ketogenic diet.  This guide will take you through every step of keto...and by the end, you'll understand:

What the keto diet is

Why you would want to try the keto diet

How to begin the keto diet

What it will feel like to be on the keto diet


Get a head start on the keto diet.  Use our 30 Day Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Meal Plan and make the keto diet a breeze!




Everything you need to know to start the ketogenic diet

Section 1: What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is the phase your body is in when it is using fat as its main energy source. This can be fat from your body's fat stores, or fat from food, or both!  Because of this, ketosis is a great state for losing unwanted fat and weight loss.

Ketosis is a natural state of the body when it is in "starvation mode".  But there is another way to get into ketosis without starving. (Honestly, who would be able to sustain a diet without eating?) It would be great to have your body burn your fat on a regular basis, while getting to eat.

Enter the ketogenic diet and nutritional ketosis. The keto diet changes the body's way of energy utilization to using primarily fat while still getting to eat delicious food.

In a standard American diet, the diet is composed of a lot of carbohydrates - enough to keep the body using glucose as its main energy source. This is fine, but requires frequent eating (every few hours) to keep energy levels up and during this time your body stores extra glucose as fat.[1]  This state prevents the body from burning its fat stores as energy because it is constantly using glucose.

How does the body change to ketosis?

The body changes it's metabolic state by being starved of glucose for a certain period of time. A person does this by limiting their daily intake of carbohydrates to under 20 net grams per day.

During this time, the body is depleting its liver glycogen stores and changing over to ketone production in the liver. Ketones are made in the body from fat and are what give the body energy when fat is the main energy source.

After the liver is primarily making ketones instead of glycogen, the tissues and muscles in the body begin to utilize these ketones. There is an adjustment period here as well.


How long does it take the body to adjust to ketosis?

If a person is fully starving their body of glucose, it takes about 3-4 days for the body to adjust to using fat as the primary energy source.

If someone is sneaking extra carbs or eating more protein than they should, it may take up to two weeks for them to enter ketosis.

This initial adjustment period will include some side effects that when grouped together are called the keto flu. You certainly do not want to extend this period, so pay attention and keep the net carbs to under 20.  We will talk about the keto flu in a later section.

It will take longer for all of the body to become efficient at using ketones and therefore for some benefits of ketosis to be recognized.  To understand how your body will feel in the first few weeks of the diet, jump to section 3.

For example, for endurance athletes the body will not adjust to using ketones for energy during exercise for about 4 weeks. After this period you will actually feel increased energy during exercise.

Note: High intensity athletes need to understand there is more of an adjustment for them for other reasons and they should consider a variation of the keto diet, discussed in section 5.

Keto Diet Summary

You will change your diet from the standard American diet of 55% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 15% fat, to the macros of the keto diet of 65-90% fat, 5-25% protein and 4-10% carbohydrates.

For a period of 3-4 days up to 2 weeks, you will be eating the minimal amount of carbohydrates and sugar (20 grams net carbs maximum per day). After this you may be able to add in small amounts of net carbs if your body can handle it, but probably not more than 50 net carbs total per day.  This is tricky, because some people can't handle more than the 20 net carbs even after they have adjusted to ketosis.  Others can handle 50 net carbs and easily stay in ketosis.  If you feel fine at 20 net carbs and it doesn't bother you, than there's no reason to make any changes.  You can test your ketosis by how you feel, or by actually testing - which is discussed in section 3.

If you would like to read more in-depth on the ketogenic diet past what this guide offers, we've reviewed several ketogenic diet books.

Those are the most basic points to the ketogenic diet, but there's a lot more to it than that.  Starting out the keto diet can be confusing, but keep reading if you want to learn in detail.

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Benefits of the Keto Diet

There are reasons a strange diet like this has stuck around since the 1920's.  A diet like keto that is low in sugar lowers blood glucose and insulin levels has several positive effects on the body, especially in overweight or obese people. The ketogenic diet gives your body the chance to re-adjust its glucose and insulin levels.  In addition, there are health benefits that will enhance daily life, as well as help treat disease.  Check out these benefits of the ketogenic diet:

1.  Weight Loss Benefits

Weight loss is a huge benefit to the ketogenic diet.[i] It is probably the top reason people use keto.

The keto diet causes increased satiety and therefore is associated with decreased consumption of calories - leading to weight loss.[ii] Ketosis causes a reduction in fat storage and an increase in use of bodily fat stores as energy. The keto diet can even cause an increase in metabolic rate of fats.

Read in-depth about weight loss here.

2.  Reduction of inflammation and pain

Inflammation is a root cause of a lot of diseases, so anything to lower inflammation is helpful. This is another top benefit to using the keto diet.

Compared to glucose metabolism, ketone metabolism produces fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS)- which are known to contribute to inflammation.[iii] ROS actually hurt the body in several other ways, so reducing these is super beneficial.

Read more about how the keto diet can reduce inflammation here.

3.  Cholesterol Levels and Cardiovascular Disease

The keto diet has shown in studies to lower total cholesterol levels but increase HDL, the good cholesterol.

The effect of the ketogenic diet on lowering insulin and glucose levels in the body can also decrease production of LDL, the bad cholesterol. The lowering of LDL causes decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.[iv]

4.  Reduce Insulin levels and Diabetes- Type 2

Because of the reduction of glucose in the bloodstream from the keto diet, insulin is not as active.

It's been shown in studies that people with type-2 diabetes can begin to reverse it by using the ketogenic diet.  Read more about it here.

5.  Brain Fog and Increased Focus Benefits

One of the first benefits noticed by keto dieters is increased focus and decreased brain fog.  This can be seen in the first week.

6.  Reduced Cravings and Hunger Pangs

The keto diet has been associated with increased satiety.

Sugar is known to increase cravings and hunger. With the keto diet your food cravings will subside. Because your body will be running on fat, including the fat stores in your body, you'll be able to go hours without eating and not even notice.

7.  Brain Neurodegenerative Diseases

The keto diet has been noted to improve symptoms in many neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers, ALS, MS and traumatic brain injuries.

There could be several reasons for the therapeutic treatment for brain diseases.

8.  Increased Energy for Endurance Athletes on Keto

If you're an endurance athlete, you'll notice that you can go farther for longer when your body is in ketosis.  In addition you may notice improved recovery times.[v]

It does take some getting used to, but after about 4 weeks you'll notice the increased energy. If you're exercising above 85% maximum intensity, you'll want to use a variation of the keto diet for exercise purposes. Read more about variations of the keto diet in section 5.

9.  PCOS Benefits of Ketosis

Improvements in women with PCOS. One study noted that 2 out of 5 women that completed 24 weeks on the keto diet actually became pregant when they previously could not conceive. Other results from this study were reduced free testosterone and reduction in fasting insulin.[vi]

If you are interested in treating PCOS, read more here.

10.  Cancer Patients in Ketosis

Firstly, as metioned above, a ketogenic diet is shown to create less ROS than a normal diet. Increased ROS have been linked to cancer.

In addition, a ketogenic diet can be used with radiation and chemotherapy to treat cancer. It will aid in these treatments because it weakens the cancer cells. [vii]

If you are interested in treating cancer with the ketogenic diet, read more here.

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Our Favorite Book For Beginners

Our Favorite Keto Diet Book

Our Favorite Book For Weight Loss

Our Favorite Book For Athletes

Our Favorite Book For Treating Disease

Our Favorite Book For Food Restrictions

Section 2: How do you start the keto diet?

Purge your pantry of carbohydrate foods!
First, let’s start with the fact that most of the food in your cabinets just won’t work anymore. They’re not keto. Period. Lock them up, throw them out, donate them to a neighbor – whatever you have to do to get them out of the house. In the first week, when you’re craving carbohydrates, these foods will be the death of your ketogenic diet. Purge your pantry of carbohydrate foods!

Understanding your Macros

Knowing what you should be eating is one of the first things you should figure out before starting the diet.  So this means knowing what you should eat when it comes to how much fat, protein and carbs – aka macronutrients.

The macronutrient ratios for the keto diet can range between 65-90% fat, 5-25% protein, 4-10% carbohydrates depending on the person. Those are actually pretty large ranges, so they deserve an explanation.  There are a lot of details that come into play to calculate your macros for ketosis including your current weight, target weight, exercise frequency, and more.

Keto Diet Macronutrient Quick Facts:

  • Calories are based on basal metabolic rate (BMR)
  • BMR is dependent on height, weight, age, sex
  • Protein: based on your health goals, health concerns and/or disease treatment
  • Protein: 5-25% of your daily calories
  • Carbs: 20 grams net carbs/day for beginners equating to 4-10%
  • Carbs: advanced keto dieters can increase or decrease net carbs with experimentation based on exercise and weight
  • Fat: makes up the rest of the caloric requirements
  • Fat: 65-90% makes it the highest macronutrient

Protein Percentage of Daily Calories on Keto Diet

The amount of protein you eat depends on if you are firstly, treating disease, and secondly, wanting to maintain or build muscle.

Here’s my shortcut table equations to determining your protein. Remember, these values are in grams protein per kg lean body weight. So to figure this out, you need to have an idea of your % body fat (the rest is lean tissue). Or just use the keto calculator.

Health Concern
Protein (grams/kg lean body weight)
Kidney disease (pre-dialysis)*
Cancer Therapy**
Maintain muscle***
Max protein for ketosis***


Carbohydrate Percentage of Daily Calories on Keto Diet

If you are a beginner and just starting the ketogenic diet, we recommend the minimum amount of carbohydrates (20 grams net carbs) for the fastest induction into ketosis. On a 2000 calorie diet, that’s 4% of your daily calories.

Net carbs are used because fiber is not fully digested as energy, and does not impact your blood sugar the same as a regular carb.  This is why you should still eat plenty of high fiber, low net carb vegetables…your body needs that fiber, and it won’t hurt your ketosis.  Still confused on what a net carb is? Check out how to read a nutrition label on the keto diet.


Fat Percentage of Daily Calories on Keto Diet

Finally, the amount of fat makes up the rest of your daily caloric needs. Fat will come out to be the highest macronutrient of the three (remember 65-90%), which is why the keto diet is a high fat diet.  One of the biggest mistakes of a beginner is to center your meal around protein (since you’ve obviously eliminated carbs).

Don’t be this person.

High protein can 1) Keep you out of ketosis and 2) Have other health consequences.  Pay attention and calculate the macros in your meals, or use a keto meal plan with all of that done for you.

For a full explanation of the macros, go here.


Keto Calculator for Macronutrients

Use our keto calculator to calculate the exact macros you should be eating. Remember, substituting more fat for carbs or protein is almost always ok. In fact, if you’re worried about losing muscle mass because of decreased protein consumption, you may not need to worry. There has been evidence that while in a state of ketosis your body actually maintains protein better than in a standard diet.


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Cookbook For Beginners

Best Slow Cooker/CrockPot Recipe Book

Best Fatbomb Recipe Book

Best Recipe Books for Meals in Under 30 Minutes

Easiest Recipe Book

Our Favorite Book For Food Restrictions

What You Can Eat on Keto


Fats making up the majority of your diet should be healthy, non-hydrogenated.  Ideally they will be a variety of high polyunsaturated omega-3 fats, monounsaturated fats and even saturated fats like coconut oil.  Here's our top fatty foods to incorporate:

  • Virgin coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Organic grass-fed butter or ghee
  • Heavy cream
  • Avocados and avocado oil
  • Fatty cheeses
  • Olives
  • Low-carb nuts and nut butters like almonds, walnuts and pecans.
  • Peanuts only in moderation
  • Seeds like chia and flaxseed


5-25% of your daily macronutrients should be made up of healthy proteins like those listed below.  Of course, your body can get into ketosis on summer sausage and processed meats, but if you're going healthy, why would you taint your diet with food with additives?  Here's what we recommend:

  • Organic red meats
  • organic poultry
  • organic dairy (although most cheeses are a little more fat than protein)
  • High omega-3 fish like salmon and tuna
  • Free-range eggs
  • Free-range pork

Net Carbs

Carbohydrates should come from low-carb vegetables and nuts.  A few of your carbs can come from condiments or dairy products like sour cream and cream cheese.  Here's our top carb foods for keto:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Nuts like almonds, pecans and walnuts

For a comprehensive low carb vegetable list, go here.

If you need help starting the ketogenic diet, we offer a 28 Day Meal Plan for Weight Loss.

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Section 3: How do you know you’re in ketosis?

So, with all this being said, is there a way to know if you're in ketosis?  The answer is: definitely.  Firstly, you can know just by some body signs:

  • sugar cravings are reduced
  • sustained energy throughout the day
  • increased focus
  • reduced hunger

However, these symptoms aren’t entirely reliable. As you reduce carbohydrates, and increase fat, you’re going to naturally experience some changes in how you feel. But those changes don’t necessarily confirm ketosis.

To be confident about being in ketosis, especially at the beginning when you're not quite sure how you should feel, it’s best to measure your ketone levels.  By monitoring your ketone levels, you can assure that you’re doing the diet correctly and make dietary adjustments based on what you measure. People also respond to diet and exercise differently, so the best way to cater the keto diet to your own biology is to measure.

Measuring ketones/ketosis

Before we discuss how to measure ketone levels, let’s set some guidelines for optimal ketone levels. Nutritional ketosis is detected when levels begin to read at 0.5 mmol/L of ketones in the blood, but your optimal ketone level will depend on your personal goals. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, your target ketone level will be lower than someone who wants to improve mental performance.  The following table provides some general guidelines based on your goal.

Your Goal Target Ketone Level (in mmol/L) Target Ketone Levels (mg/dL)
I want to lose weight 0.5 mmol/L or more 9 mg/dL or more
I want to improve my athletic performance 0.5 mmol/L or more 9 mg/dL or more
I want to improve my mental performance 1.5 – 3 mmol/L 27 – 54 mg/dL
I’m treating an illness 3 – 6 mmol/L 54 – 108 mg/dL


It can be very difficult to obtain some of the very high levels of blood ketones on this table - especially as you become "fat adapted" or "keto adapted" or whatever you want to call it.  Once your body is efficient at using ketones, it makes only what it needs.  Beginners may see very high levels of ketones, and then they see them drop off.  This isn't because you are making a mistake and are out of ketosis - your body is no longer overproducing them.

For someone treating an illness who wants really high levels of ketones, it may require supplementation throughout the day by exogenous ketones or MCT oil (for our review of exogenous ketone products click here).

Measuring your ketones can be done with 3 different methods:

  • urine strips
  • blood test monitors
  • breath analyzers

Each of the above methods is good for its own reason; however, we would suggest only one: the blood test.  The urine strips are cheap, yet not accurate.  The breath analyzer is expensive, difficult to find and has definite quirks.  The blood tests, while somewhat expensive, are fully reliable and testing your blood - the most accurate place to measure your ketones.

Read more about why we recommend the blood test here

If you would like to check out all the types of ketone measurement test kits we recommend, go here.

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First 4 weeks on the Keto Diet…

Week 1

Fatigue, food cravings and exhaustion will start out the week.  You may enjoy eating high fat foods like cheese and bacon, but the lack of carbs will make you crave them.  And no sugar?  What do you do for flavor?  Substitute flavored herbal teas for a "sweet" beverage.

You have to go to the bathroom, a lot.  As your body flushes out glycogen, you also lose water.  Make sure to drink enough water to compensate.  In addition, as you're peeing, you're losing electrolytes.  This is why we recommend supplementing with certain electrolytes in the first week at a minimum.
You are probably experiencing some symptoms of keto flu discussed later.

You may smell a sweet flavor on your breath and in your urine.  These are excess ketones that your body is producing.  First off, yay, this is the first sign you are entering ketosis.  Second, this does not last long.  You are excreting ketones because your body is overproducing them and is not yet efficient at using them.

You may also find you have trouble sleeping and are restless.  Don't worry, these symptoms will pass.

Week 2

You may be experiencing loser clothing.  This is for two possible reasons: 1) You've depleted a lot of water during your transition to ketosis.  2)  You've started losing weight.

You should be experiencing increased focus and brain energy as your body is probably now in ketosis.  This gives you sustained energy throughout the day.

You are probably still experiencing fatigue during exercise.  Lighten your exercise intensity until week 4 if it is too frustrating.

Week 3

Your breath and urine may no longer smell.

You may be waking up and not feeling hungry, and are able to skip meals without noticing a drop in energy or increase in hunger.

Your sleep may be returning to normal.

You may be experiencing slightly more energy during exercise.

Week 4

Any symptoms of keto flu should have passed.  Your body should begin becoming efficient at using ketones, known as being "fat adapted".

Your body will have less fatigue during exercise as it is better at producing ketones for energy when you need it.

You hunger cravings for carbs should be less and less every week.

If you are measuring ketones, they may actually be decreasing to a stable number between 0.5-1.0 mmol/L in your blood measurements.  This does not mean you're not in ketosis, it means your body no longer overproduced ketones and has become efficient at producing and using them.

At 4 weeks you should be feeling pretty darn good.  If you are feeling better, but not awesome, give it a little more time.  If you have not felt better throughout this time and have stuck strictly to your low carbs and high fat, your body may not align with the keto diet.  If you only feel bad because you're craving bad food, this may be a mental "block" that you need to deal with.  Coaching can help.

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Coconut Oil

Keto Chocolate Bar

Low Carb Hamburger Buns

Our Favorite Exogenous Ketones

Our Favorite MCT Oil

Recommended Ketone Measurement Kit

Magnesium Supplement

Section 4:  Side Effects/Misconceptions

Before beginning the ketogenic diet, it is best to know everything...including any side effects or possible complications.  The keto diet does not fit every person, and you should know if it will create complications beforehand.  To begin, let's talk about the side effects collectively known as the keto flu.

Keto Flu

During week 1 (and sometimes week 2) your body is transitioning to this whole new metabolic state, and there may be some initial side effects.  These are collectively known as the "keto flu".  The good thing is that if you don't take them for granted and think you're "superman" and that your body will be different, you can easily prevent these symptoms.

Symptoms of the keto flu people may experience during this period are:

  • dehydration
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • food cravings and irritability
  • constipation

Some of these symptoms will depend on the person. It may depend on the diet a person was eating previous to keto, or even their daily activity level.

Here are a few of our tips to beating the keto flu:

  1. Drink a lot of water. Like, a lot of water.
  2. Watch your minerals and supplement with proper electrolytes - here are our recommendations 
  3. Eat keto foods high in potassium and magnesium.
  4. Supplement with exogenous ketones or MCT oil for increased energy
  5. Eat to your heart's (or stomach's) content.  There's no reason to quit in just a few days only because your sugar cravings haven't stopped.
  6. Supplement with fiber and eat a lot of low-carb vegetables.

To read more in detail about the keto flu and why these recommendations will help, go here.

In addition, there are more possible side effects that should possibly be taken more seriously.  Here are the top side effects for the ketogenic diet:

1.  High Fat Leads to Diarrhea

When eating high amounts of fat, or coconut oil and MCT oil by themselves, diarrhea and/or upset stomach can occur. You need to ease your body into eating high fat, especially by itself.

2.  Low-Grade Acidosis

It's natural when beginning a keto diet to eat a high amount of foods that are acidic like meats and dairy. This can turn into heart burn, upset stomach and/or gastroesophageal reflux.

Prevent this by eating plenty of alkaline vegetables like spinach and cauliflower, or nuts like almonds and almond milk.

3.  Constipation

Similar to the causes of low-grade acidosis, if you're not eating enough vegetables you may not get enough fiber. This will definitely increase your chances of constipation.

Prevent constipation by eating high fiber/low carb foods like whole avocados or vegetables. Or supplement your diet with a fiber supplement like psyllium husk.

4.  Dehydration

Dehydration does not usually occur after the first week of the diet, but it is possible. You should be drinking a lot of water on the keto diet, especially if you're exercising. We also recommend supplementing your water with extra salt, especially around exercise times.

5.  Cholesterol Levels

Over the long term, a benefit of the ketogenic diet is that it will actually decrease your total cholesterol levels while increasing your good cholesterol. However it is important to note that there may be an initial increase in cholesterol and free fatty acids over the first 1-2 weeks.

6.  Development of Kidney Stones

There have been research studies[i] on children on ketogenic diets that specifically note that some children developed kidney stones while on the diet. This would be a very unpleasant side effect of the keto diet.

A separate study[ii] did conclude that by taking a potassium citrate supplement, these kidney stones can be prevented.

People Who Should Not Try The Ketogenic Diet

There are also people with specific conditions that should not try the ketogenic diet because their body will not tolerate it well.  Again, every person is different, but if you have one of the following conditions, you should consult with your physician before starting:

  • Patients with Kidney Disease
  • Patients with Type-1 Diabetes
  • Women who are Breastfeeding

Long Term Use

You should know that the side effects of a ketogenic diet are still being studied. In addition, there have not been significant studies for long term dieters.  There are plenty of people that have used the diet long term (10+ years) and very happy with it.  It is up to the unique individual, so regular checkups with your doctor are recommended to check that "everything looks good".

To read more about side effects of the ketogenic diet, go here.

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Section 5: Variations of the Keto Diet

There are variations of the ketogenic diet that are implemented for a variety of reasons.  One of the top reasons these variations are used are for athletes who are not getting the necessary energy required for their intense workouts.  There are also those who enjoy the benefits of ketosis, but they just do not feel the same without a carb refeed day every now and then.

It should be noted that beginners should not be trying variations of the ketogenic diet.  Why?  Because you are not yet fat adapted.  Adding in carbs at the end of the first week will set you back on entering ketosis and becoming fat adapted.

If you are considering the ketogenic diet but are an athlete who engages in intense workouts throughout the week, you will probably find that one of the variations of keto discussed below will be what you need to overcome fatigue and exhaustion from your workouts.

The two variations that stem from a standard ketogenic diet discussed in this article are the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) and the Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD).

The CKD and TKD variations were designed for athletes, but for separate and unique purposes.

A cyclical ketogenic diet variation is for those people on a standard ketogenic diet doing heavy resistance training throughout the week, typically training bodybuilders. The athletes using a CKD will burn and replenish their muscle glycogen throughout a weekly cycle.

A targeted ketogenic diet variation is for those people doing exercise that requires high intensity intervals or heavy resistance training. This includes athletes competing in sports that require sprinting at their highest intensity.

If you'd like more information on either of these two variations, check out our in-depth article.

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Section 6: Tips for Beginners

The ketogenic diet is a different way of eating than most of the present world is used to. Once you understand a few basics, it can be crazy to think this kind of high fat diet can have so many benefits. We're going to give you our list of the top 8 things to know about the ketogenic diet as a beginner.

1. The keto diet is NOT the same as the Atkins or Paleo diets

The keto diet is high fat, moderate protein, low-carb. The Atkins diet focuses on low-carb. The Paleo diet, while focusing on low-carb, allows carbs from whole foods like potatoes.

The special part of the keto diet is that it brings your body into a state of ketosis (a state which your body efficiently uses its fat stores for energy).

This is not the main goal of Atkins or Paleo. It's possible to get into ketosis on Atkins, but not the main goal.

If you're deciding between low-carb diets, check out our low-carb diet comparison.

2. The ketogenic diet is a high fat, adequate protein and low carb diet

Your diet will consist of 65-90% fat, 5-25% protein and 4-10% carbohydrates. This is a percentage of your daily calories. This is quite a change from the high carb standard American diet. It is NOT meant to be high protein; it is high fat.

The percentages of fat, protein and carbohydrates that you eat on the keto diet will depend on your health goals and amount of daily exercise. We've developed specific keto diet meal plans for a variety of health goals.

3. There are more benefits to the keto diet than just weight loss

Most people find keto to aid in weight loss. However, there are several other health benefits to the keto diet not to be ignored: decreased brain fog, increased brain energy, increased focus and decreased food cravings.

Some people with disease or bad health may see benefits like decreased risk of cancer, improvements in type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and improvements in brain diseases.

4. What are the side effects of the keto diet?

Near the beginning of the keto diet (first few days to a week), you will most likely experience a period of feeling unwell called the keto flu. Symptoms of keto flu are fatigue, light headedness, headaches, hunger and thirst. But, it is very manageable if you understand the cause. Check out what causes and ways to prevent the keto flu.

If you are an endurance athlete there will be a break-in period of fatigue for about a month until you experience the benefits of sustained energy through your workouts. Athletes involved in high intensity exercise will eventually want to adapt their diet to a variation of the keto diet called the targeted ketogenic diet.

5. What foods you cannot eat on the keto diet...Purge your cabinets!

Let's be honest. Most of the foods in your cabinets you will probably not be able to eat on the ketogenic diet.

Purge any foods that will tempt you.

Purge list: packaged/processed chips, candies, desserts, breads, pastas, sugary sauces, potatoes, corn.

Remember: just because it is labeled a vegetable does not mean it is low-carb, and just because you buy it at Whole Foods does not mean it's healthy.

6. What foods you can eat on the keto diet...go grocery shopping!

There's a good amount of food you still can eat, but it is doubtful that you have more than enough in your refrigerator.

You will eat lots of fat.

High fat foods are: dairy products like cheese, butter and heavy cream; nut products like almonds, pecans, walnuts; low carb vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower; and fat products like avocados, coconut oil, olives and olive oil and butter again.

You can still eat protein too, but stay away from any processed meats with added sugar or carbs.

7. Ketosis from the ketogenic diet is safe*

The state of ketosis is different than the dangerous state of ketoacidosis seen in those with diabetes. Ketosis brings your body's level of ketones to a safe state, much lower than that of ketoacidosis. In fact, it is probably not possible for your body to attain ketone levels even remotely close to those of ketoacidosis.

*As always, if you have any health concerns or health risks, consult your regular physician or better yet, a nutritionist or dietitian skilled in the ketogenic diet.

8. The keto diet is best as a lifestyle change - not a quick fix.

It takes time to get your body into ketosis (4 days to 2 weeks to a month).

It takes seconds of a high carb splurge to take your body out of ketosis and negate any progress.

Cycling in and out and back into ketosis quickly is not possible except for the highly practiced.

It is possible to see benefits of decreased insulin and glucose levels in 2 weeks, so short term use to "reset" your body is a possibility.

It is a commitment, but the thousands of people enjoying the keto diet will say the positive benefits outweigh the negatives.

9.  Use a Meal Plan and a Coach

We'll talk about this in the next section, but a keto diet meal plan could not be more valuable to begin the keto diet.  Are you still confused about the diet and have read all of this?  Save yourself time and purchase a meal plan.

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Meal Plans & Coaching

A keto meal plan will save you time, money, effort and confusion.  Can I eat this?  Is this going to hurt my diet?  This website says I can have peanuts, this one doesn't.  HELP ME!

A meal plan literally can take all of the work out of this diet.  A good meal plan will have recipes, macros calculations, calories and even exact quantity grocery lists for your use.  Does this sound interesting?  Check out our 4 week meal plans here.

Don't get overwhelmed.  There's a lot of conflicting information out there.  Having access to a keto coach to help you along your journey is an awesome way to go.  Take a look at our plans here.

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Check out this FREE 7 Day Sample Keto Meal Plan:

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January 1
Day 1
January 2
Day 2
January 3
Day 3
January 4
Day 4
January 5
Day 5
January 6
Day 6
January 7
Day 7
Fried Eggs in Butter (1)
Scrambled Eggs with Butter (1)
Fried Eggs in Butter (1)
Scrambled Eggs with Butter (1)
Fried Eggs in Butter (1)
Scrambled Eggs with Butter (1)
Fried Eggs in Butter (1)
Cindy's Chicken Salad (8)
1x 1/2 avocado avocado (1)
Mild Thai Peanut Chicken (8)
Asian Broccoli (4)
Feta Chicken Casserole (6)
1x 1/2 avocado avocado (1)
Keto Chicken Tortilla Soup (12)
Keto Burgers (4)
Mushrooms & Onions (Burger topping) (4)
Cauliflower "Seasoned Fries" (4)
Keto Italian Meatballs Dish (9)
Sauteed Zucchini & Onions (4)
Keto Fajitas (8)
1x 1/2 avocado avocado (1)
Mild Thai Peanut Chicken (8)
Asian Broccoli (4)
Feta Chicken Casserole (6)
1x 1/2 avocado avocado (1)
Keto Chicken Tortilla Soup (12)
Keto Burgers (4)
Cauliflower "Seasoned Fries" (4)
Mushrooms & Onions (Burger topping) (4)
Keto Italian Meatballs Dish (9)
Sauteed Zucchini & Onions (4)
Keto Fajitas (8)
1x 1/2 avocado avocado (1)
Baked Parsley Salmon (4)
Creamy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (4)
1x 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (1)
1x 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (1)
1x 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (1)
1x 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (1)
Nutrition Facts Per Serving
Calories (kcal)
Fat (g)
Carbohydrates (g)
Protein (g)
Fiber (g)
Recipes without nutrition data: Recipes without nutrition data: Recipes without nutrition data: Recipes without nutrition data: Recipes without nutrition data: Recipes without nutrition data: Recipes without nutrition data:
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Ingredient Quantity

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Section 1: Ketosis


[i] "Ketosis, ketogenic diet and food intake control: a complex relationship" Antonio Paoli, Gerardo Bosco, Enrico M. Camporesi and Devanand Mangar

[ii] "Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets" A Paoli, A Rubini, JS Volek and KA Grimaldi

Section 2: Benefits

[i] Hussein M Dashti, MD PhD FICS FACS, Thazhumpal C Mathew, MSc PhD FRCPath, Talib Hussein, MB ChB, Sami K Asfar, MB ChB MD FRCSEd FACS, Abdulla Behbahani, MB ChB FRCS FACSI PhD FICS FACS, Mousa A Khoursheed, MB ChB FRCS FICS, Hilal M Al-Sayer, MD PhD FICS FACS, Yousef Y Bo-Abbas, MD FRCPC, and Naji S Al-Zaid, BSc PhD. "Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients"

[ii] Sumithran P, Prendergast LA, Delbridge E, Purcell K, Shulkes A, Kriketos A. "Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss."

[iii] Susan A. Masino, Ph.D. and David N. Ruskin, Ph.D. "Ketogenic Diets and Pain"

[iv] Hussein M Dashti, MD PhD FICS FACS, Thazhumpal C Mathew, MSc PhD FRCPath, Talib Hussein, MB ChB, Sami K Asfar, MB ChB MD FRCSEd FACS, Abdulla Behbahani, MB ChB FRCS FACSI PhD FICS FACS, Mousa A Khoursheed, MB ChB FRCS FICS, Hilal M Al-Sayer, MD PhD FICS FACS, Yousef Y Bo-Abbas, MD FRCPC, and Naji S Al-Zaid, BSc PhD. "Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients"

[v] Caryn Zinn, Matthew Wood, Mikki Williden, Simon Chatterton and Ed Maunder. "Ketogenic diet benefits body composition and well-being but not performance in a pilot case study of New Zealand endurance athletes"

[vi] John C Mavropoulos, William S Yancy, Juanita Hepburn and Eric C Westman. "The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome: A pilot study"

[vii] Bryan G. Allen, Sudershan K. Bhatia, Carryn M. Anderson, Julie M. Eichenberger-Gilmore, Zita A. Sibenaller, Kranti A. Mapuskar, Joshua D. Schoenfeld, John M. Buatti, Douglas R. Spitz, and Melissa A. Fath "Ketogenic diets as an adjuvant cancer therapy: History and potential mechanism"

Section 3:

*Dr. Stephen D. Phinney "Ketogenic Diets and Physical Performance"

**Dr. Mercola "How and Why Too Much Protein Triggers Aging and Cancer"

***The Nephron Information Center "Dietary Protein for the Person with Chronic Kidney Disease"

Side Effects

[i] Kang HC, Chung DE, Kim DW, Kim HD. "Early- and late-onset complications of the ketogenic diet for intractable epilepsy."

[ii] McNally MA, Pyzik PL, Rubenstein JE, Hamdy RF, Kossoff EH. "Empiric use of potassium citrate reduces kidney-stone incidence with the ketogenic diet."

[iii] A Paoli, A Rubini, JS Volek and KA Grimaldi, "Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets"