Keto Diet for Beginners - Everything You Need to Know – SuperFat - Amazing Nut Butters

Keto Diet for Beginners: The Complete Guide

Table of Contents for the Keto Diet for Beginners Guide:
1. What is Keto? 2. Health Benefits 3. Health Risks 4. Macronutrients 5. Foods to Eat
6. Foods to Avoid 7. Supplements 8. Free Meal Plan 9. Getting Started 10. Keto Recipes

Beginners Guide to the Ketogenic Diet

Written by: Natalie Butler, RDN, LD, Jess Pingrey, & Toni Sicola.
Medically Reviewed by: Natalie Butler, RDN, LD
Published:  Jul. 12, 2019
Updated:  Sept. 27, 2019

Introduction to the Beginner's Guide to Keto

Keto. It’s a popular dietary trend these days but what’s all the fuss about? Are all these people eating more fats really losing weight and becoming healthier... Or is it just a flash in the pan?

The keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet that has substantial research supporting its use for many diseases and challenges such as obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, cancer, and more. We’re here to walk you through some of the benefits and make you aware of the risks associated with a ketogenic diet. Different people may go keto for different reasons -- but everyone stands to gain positive impact to their lives by going on this journey.

We’ll first give you a brief overview of the key terms frequently used within the keto universe; walk you through some of the primary benefits of keto; make you aware of some of the risks and how to avoid them; break down what your optimal macronutrient breakdown should look like on a daily basis; and help you ultimately build your grocery list highlighting foods you should consume, avoid, and supplements to consider for keto.

Finally we’ll put together a sample 5 day keto diet plan -- and give you a final high level approach to get you started on your keto journey.

The 9 Sections This Guide Will Cover:

  1. What is Keto and What Terms Should You Know - You’ll learn how the ketogenic diet isn’t just a new fad diet… it’s been around for decades and was first used to treat serious metabolic diseases! Understanding terms like ketosis, ketones, net carbs and metabolic flexibility will only support you in your ketogenic journey.
  2. Ketogenic Benefits Hundreds of studies confirm the ketogenic diet’s benefits for seven main conditions: obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, epilepsy, heart disease, brain disease and cancer. Most of us know at least one person diagnosed with one of these seven making the ketogenic diet that much more important to understand.
  3. Ketogenic Risks The ketogenic diet is a restrictive diet that even when carefully planned may result in nutrition deficiencies and symptoms such as the keto flu, constipation, worsened cholesterol, too little fiber intake and changes in gut bacteria. Being aware of potential challenges will help you have strategies in place to combat these should the need arise.
  4. Keto Macronutrient Calculations The ketogenic diet is a very different way of eating for many people. All the research and meal planning won’t help if you don’t keep your carbohydrates low enough to allow you to enter and remain in ketosis.  
  5. Foods to Consume on Keto This list will help you see that there is a wide variety of foods acceptable on a ketogenic diet. Variety ensures improved nutrition and prevents “food burnout.” Balancing plant foods with animal foods will also help you maintain optimal long-term health.
  6. Foods to Avoid on Keto Many foods are rich in carbohydrates and thus need to be avoided while on a ketogenic diet. If you continue to include high carbohydrate foods you can slow down your own progress which can lead to building frustration.
  7. Supplements on Keto Recommended supplements can help cover nutrition gaps, prevent symptoms, and help you feel your best while following a ketogenic diet. Bone broth, magnesium, probiotics, fiber and MCT oil are examples of helpful supplements to stock up on.
  8. FREE 5-Day Keto Meal Plan Now you don’t have to figure out what healthy, balanced keto meals look like! Enjoy variety and nutrient-dense foods all while following ketogenic macro-nutrient guidelines.
  9. How to Start on the Keto Diet Before you even start eating a keto diet, there are some important steps to take to make your transition and journey go smoother. Examples include cleaning out your kitchen, planning meals and grocery shopping, and brainstorming how you will handle social situations.
  10. SuperFat Keto & Paleo Recipe Book - We put together over 40 different recipes to help get you through the day, powered by SuperFat! Download the recipe book for free an enhance your dietary options today.
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What is the Keto Diet? What Key Terms Should I Know?

What is Keto?The ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet, first used as a medical dietary treatment for children with epilepsy and metabolic diseases in the 1920’s. The diet has since gained worldwide attention for its positive effects on a variety of health conditions, including weight loss. To date, over 500 published studies provide the evidence-based foundation supporting the use of the ketogenic diet as a valid medical nutrition therapy for a variety of diseases.

Key Terms in the Keto Diet & What They Mean

Start reading about keto and you’re likely to encounter many unfamiliar words. Your success, both in the short-term and long-term, is dependent on your understanding of important terms and how your body is changing through the process. Familiarity with common keto terms will also help you communicate your lifestyle changes and progress to your friends, family and medical providers. Understanding how the body uses ketones for fuel will help you make appropriate diet choices; knowing how to minimize keto flu symptoms will most certainly help you feel better during the transition period; and knowing how to count net carbs will allow you to include healthful foods without skimping on fiber.

  • Ketones - the byproduct of fat breakdown the body can use for energy during periods of fasting or ketosis. Three main ketones are produced: BHBA in the bloodstream, Acetone in the breath, and Acetoacetate in the urine (for a complete guide on ketones, click here)
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis - This term refers to a state when ketones in the bloodstream rise to dangerously high levels. This is a life-threatening emergency, most commonly a risk factor for type 1 diabetics, but is rare in those undergoing nutritional or dietary ketosis
  • Dietary Ketosis - A state also known as nutritional ketosis when too little carbohydrate intake forces the body to convert dietary fat and body fat into ketones for fuel
  • Electrolytes - Sodium, potassium, magnesium are substances the body excretes more rapidly during ketosis and therefore must be replenished to avoid symptoms associated with the keto flu
  • Keto Flu - A state of flu-like symptoms when the body’s electrolytes are imbalanced during the period of time when the body is transitioning from using primarily glucose as fuel to primarily fat (for a guide on keto flu and how to avoid it, click here)
  • Net Carbs - Total carbohydrate grams minus fiber grams. Fiber is not digested as carbohydrate and does not raise blood sugar or interfere with ketosis so fiber grams are not counted in the daily carbohydrate goals. This helps keto followers to include more nutrient-rich plant foods without compromising keto benefits
  • Keto-adaptation - The point at which the body has successfully transitioned from using glucose as its primary fuel source to fat. This results in an increased utilization of the ketones in the body for fuel which means less are excreted via urine or breath
  • Metabolic Flexibility - The state in which the body can efficiently go back and forth from using glucose as fuel to using fat as fuel, depending on what fuel is available at the time
  • Mediterranean-Style Keto Diet - a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet that obtains the majority of the fats from plants and unsaturated fat sources associated with the Mediterranean region of the world (like avocado, olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, seafood) rather than animal sources (red meat, eggs, cheese, butter)
  • Standard Keto - the regular keto approach also referred to as “strict” keto that allows liberal amounts of fats, primarily in whole food form, like dairy and red meat, without an emphasis on fiber or unsaturated fats.
  • Lazy Keto - the ketogenic dietary approach that does not require tracking of macronutrients or calories and is less strict than standard keto in regards to food quality. Some packaged foods, dairy and restaurant foods are acceptable.
  • Dirty Keto - This approach emphasizes hitting macro goals and remaining in ketosis above all else. Food quality is not a priority. This approach allows liberal intake of processed and packaged low carbohydrate food, without an emphasis on vegetables or whole foods.
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6 Major Keto Diet Health Benefits

Keto Health Benefits

While there are many cure-all claims found on the internet these days many of them lack research or validation. The keto diet, however, is the exception that proves the rule: there is compelling scientific evidence that supports the efficacy of the ketogenic diet for a number of health conditions.

Click to jump to a specific section: 

1. Obesity & Weight Loss | 2. Type 2 Diabetes | 3. Heart Health | 4. Epilepsy | 5. Neurodegenerative Conditions | 6. Cancer

Medical nutrition therapy is the term used to define when dietary changes are used therapeutically to treat or improve diseases, conditions, and symptoms. Hundreds of published studies show a ketogenic diet to be beneficial for a variety of health conditions including obesity, diabetes, metabolic and brain diseases, seizures and more. Recent research is also exploring the possibilities for using the keto diet as a component in cancer therapy. The ketogenic diet, therefore, is a type of medical nutrition therapy.

Main Takeaway: 

A ketogenic diet is a powerful way to manage many diseases, and research proves it as seen above! Less studied benefits and claims not yet substantiated include prevention and remission of all cancers, long-term improvements in digestive function, and improved management of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

What is the Keto Diet?

As a quick review, the ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. When done correctly, the foods you eat contain high-quality, healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil. Meats, dairy, eggs, and animal fats ideally come from grass-fed or pasture-raised aminals to avoid consuming too many agricultural toxins or pesticides. It's also important to remember that meat coming from conventially ranched animals is much higher in pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids, due to their high soy and corn diets.

The keto diet also requires the consumption of lots of leafy greens and other low-carbohydrate fruits and vegetables. Low-carb vegetables include crucifers like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, in addition to other leafy greens like spinach, arugula, leaf lettuces, and chard. While fruits do contain some natural sugars, what matters most about your carb consumption on the keto diet are net carbs. 

Review the previous section for more details on the key terms you need to know when considering the keto diet.

1. Keto Helps Fight Obesity & Promote Weight Loss

The most common American use for the keto diet is weight loss. Most Americans follow the standard American diet (SAD for short). The main hallmarks of this way of eating are that it's

  • too high in processed carbohydrates and meats
  • too high in sodium
  • too low in nutrient-dense foods like colorful fruits and vegetables. 

The incorrect assumptions of the 1980s and 1990s that high-carb, low-fat diets are good and high-fat diets are bad are partially responsible for this trend toward the obesity-causing SAD diet. The rise in convenience foods (including packaged snacks) and overall decline in home-cooking are also major contributors. This way of eating has resulted in epidemic levels of obesity in the US. The ketogenic diet offers a solution that doesn't feel like a deprivation diet, due mostly to its high-fat requirements.

Why Does Keto Work?

The short answer is nutritional ketosis. Ketosis is the state that occurs when your body begins burning ketone bodies instead of carbohydrates for energy. The goal of the keto diet is to reduce carbohydrate consumption enough to force your body into a state of ketosis. Once this takes place, fat replaces glucose as your body's main source of energy, and you become a fat-burning machine. 

When your body is burning fat instead of carbohydrates, AND you're eating at a calorie deficit, you will begin burning your own body fat at a rate faster than your average low-carb diet like the Atkins diet.

Rapid weight loss on this diet (including up to a 10-pound drop in the first week, due to a loss of water weight) will help you stick with it. It's also a lot easier to stick to for the long term than fad diets because it doesn't leave you feeling hungry all the time. By reducing your carb and sugar intake and replacing it with fat, you'll eliminate extreme spikes and drops in your blood sugar levels, which will keep hunger at bay.

The keto diet isn't just a short-term weight loss solution. As long as you maintain ketosis at a calorie deficit, you will continue to lose weight in the longer term. Multiple studies show that continued body fat loss, even at the 24-month mark remains possible because the body converts fat to ketones for fuel in the absence of enough carbohydrates. 

Another reason for sustained weight loss on this diet is likely because it doesn't reduce your resting metabolic rate. Most extremely low-calorie weight loss plans send your body into starvation mode and dramatically reduce your metabolic rate. This is likely to sabotage your long-term success. One study showed that obese patients on a very low-calorie version of the keto-diet maintained their resting metabolic rate while on the plan, likely due to the fact that they were able to maintain lean body mass while losing body fat. Add resistance training to your routine for added benefits.

Once you've reached your goal weight, you can up your calories while remaining in ketosis in order to maintain your weight and continue reaping the health benefits of the keto diet.

2. Keto Helps Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Most of what we've outlined above is applicable to type 2 diabetes prevention and reversion. While it's possible to look thin on the outside while struggling with your blood sugar levels, most type 2 diabetes patients also struggle with their weight. And chances are, if you're thin with diabetes, you're "TOFI" (thin on the outside, fat inside) – meaning you have more visceral fat hiding under your muscles than you think (and it's likely contributing to your disease). 

Visceral fat (fat that collects in your midsection and in your organs) is a hallmark of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome can lead to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It's more dangerous than subcutaneous fat (visible fat that sits atop muscle and feels soft to the touch) because of the effect it has on your body systems. One study showed that a low-carb diet was more effective at reducing visceral body fat than a low-fat diet.

We've already mentioned the positive effects that the keto diet has on blood sugar control. When compared to low-glycemic diet, the keto diet is more effective, at least in the case of this study of online participants. That's likely because the very low-carb nature of this diet reduces the need for the body to create insulin. 

Type 2 diabetes is not actually the result of an insulin deficit; it's due to insulin resistance, which takes place because of an abundance of insulin, which damages the walls of blood cells. In other words, a reduction in insulin production (due to the low-carb nature of the keto diet plan) gives your blood cells a chance to regain some insulin sensitivity. The increase in insulin sensitivity will actually help prevent or even reverse diabetes (or metabolic syndrome) over time.

An important note: ketosis is not the same thing as ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a risk factor in uncontrolled diabetes patients (both types). It happens when there's an unhealthy build-up of ketones and your insulin levels are critically low. The result is extreme dehydration (sometimes to the point of being fatal), so it's important to have a doctor monitoring you if you have diabetes. A standard ketogenic diet or low-carb diet should not trigger ketoacidosis

3. Keto Contributes to a Healthy Heart

Again, the evidence we've already outlined above applies to this section as well. A reduction in the risks for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome is also a reduction in the risk of heart disease or other cardiovascular diseases like stroke. But that's not the only reason the keto diet supports a healthy cardiovascular system. 

In addition to providing major benefits to blood sugar levels and a reduction of visceral body fat, the keto diet has also been shown to dramatically reduce triglyceride levels in the blood and increase the size of LDL cholesterol particles. 

For a quick review of cholesterol, we know that having high levels of small, very dense LDL cholesterol particles in the blood is associated with a greater risk of heart disease. The larger your LDL particle size, the less sticky it is and the less potential there is for it to create blockages in your arteries and increase blood pressure. 

We also know that a high ratio of HDL to LDL is beneficial for heart health. While there's still more work to be done in this area, preliminary studies indicate that a ketogenic diet can help improve that ratio. 

Contrary to conventional advice from dietitians, reducing your dietary cholesterol doesn't actually have much effect on your cardiovascular risk. That's because dietary cholesterol and saturated fats (the kind that comes in delicious, keto-friendly foods like eggs, coconut oil, and animal fats) doesn't actually raise your blood cholesterol levels in a way that's detrimental to your cardiovascular health. 

In fact, tons of research shows that high-fat diets (especially monounsaturated fats like the kind you find in olive oil and avocados) actually raise HDL levels. And dietary carbohydrates do just the opposite, especially highly processed, high-glycemic ones. It's the processed carbs that impact the HDL to LDL ratio and negatively affect LDL particle size.

It would then follow that a low-carbohydrate diet would necessarily be beneficial for overall heart health, as long as it's rich in nutrient-dense foods. 

4. Keto Has Been Shown to Treat Epilepsy

One of the original uses of the keto diet dating all the way back to the 1920s is for the treatment of drug-resistance epilepsy, especially in children. More recent studies have shown greater than a 50% reduction in seizure occurrence for children on a ketogenic diet. That's a major change! The explanation for these effects is due in part to a disruption of signaling in the hippocampus and liver. A study on rats supports this theory, in addition to the many studies on epileptic humans.

Side effects reported after kids were on the diet for three months included constipation, vomiting, hunger, and lethargy.

5. Keto Shows Promise with Neurodegenerative Conditions

Other incredibly promising research shows that the ketogenic diet can have seriously protective effects against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, ALS and Parkinson’s

In the case of Alzheimer's, the keto diet's effectiveness is, in part, due to the protection of hippocampal neurons by ketones. Hippocampal neurons are largely responsible for memory and learning and are vulnerable to degeneration in Alzheimer’s. 

In the case of ALS, much more work needs to be done. The findings are somewhat inconsistent, but the overall evidence shows that dietary fats can have a protective quality for mitochondrial function, and ALS is a mitochondrial disorder. In other words, if dietary fats can help improve mitochondrial function (the part of your cells that helps you create energy), and ALS is the result of mitochondrial dysfunction and degeneration, it would follow that a high-fat diet could help ALS patients. The research hasn't totally borne this out just yet, but the preliminary findings seem promising. 

While more research needs to be done, a promising study comparing the effects of a low-fat diet and a keto diet on 47 Parkinson’s patients showed significant improvements in nonmotor symptoms in the keto group over the low-fat group. This is an especially exciting finding because nonmotor symptoms are less responsive to the widely used Parkinson’s drug, levodopa. Nonmotor symptoms include urinary problems, pain, fatigue, daytime sleepiness and cognitive impairment. Both groups showed improvements in motor symptoms.

6. Keto Gives Hope to Cancer Patients

Cancer cells feed on glucose, just has healthy human cells do. However, research has uncovered a critical detail that could bring the keto diet into the standard treatment plan for many cancer patients: cancer cells can’t burn ketones for fuel the way healthy human cells can. They need the glucose and can’t reproduce without it. 

A study done on mice with metastatic cancer demonstrated that the keto diet decreased tumor viability and actually prolonged the lives of the mice. Scientists believe that one factor in why this is happening is the mitochondrial dysfunction in tumor cells. The dysfunction inhibits the cells from using ketones as energy and prevents them from growing or reproducing. And because the healthy cells surrounding the tumor are ketone-adapted, they create an unfavorable environment for the cancer cells. This leads researches to hypothesize that the ketone bodies themselves might have anti-cancer properties. 

Ketone supplementation was part of this study, and more work needs to be done before these methods become the standard recommendation, but this research is exciting news for cancer patients looking for strategies to bolster the efficacy of their current treatment plan.

The Keto Diet Benefits Your Health

The ketogenic diet is a powerful way to manage many diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative diseases. While there’s more work to be done, research supports keto’s efficacy in a number of important areas of human health. Further areas of study that haven't yet been rigorously investigated include the keto diet's effect on the prevention and remission of all cancers, long-term improvements in digestive function, and improved management of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

For now, it’s well-established that the keto diet is an excellent tool for weight loss, blood sugar control, mid-section fat loss, and the treatment of epilepsy. To learn about some of the risks of the keto diet, continue to our next article.

 

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Keto Diet Risks: What You Need to Know

Ketogenic Diet Risks

Low carb diets such as the ketogenic diet have a myriad of long-term benefits, such as weight loss, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and improved heart health. However, they also carry some risks if not managed appropriately. The benefits often outweigh any potential risks with proper preparation and knowledge, especially if you are managing a complex medical disorder or history.

In addition, if a ketogenic diet is not well-planned with an emphasis on nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, plant fats such as nuts and avocados, and whole, unprocessed foods, nutrient intake may be inadequate and could result in a variety of negative effects

Main Takeaway: 

While a ketogenic diet has many benefits, it is not without risks. Preparation is key to help you manage your health while following, and after, a very low carbohydrate diet. 

Risk Area

Cause for Concern

Keto Flu

Flu-like symptoms due to imbalanced electrolyte levels in the body. The keto-flu is primarily a result of the kidneys excreting excess electrolytes during ketosis and must be replenished daily to prevent symptoms during the first few months.

Digestive Issues

Change in bowel movements and a risk of chronic constipation due to low fiber intake.

Gut Bacteria

Negative changes in gut bacteria due to a decreased intake of soluble and fermentable fibers that act as fuel for healthy bacteria. (Learn about the importance of probiotics here)

Exercise Performance

Decreased performance and early fatigue during high-intensity exercise and sports. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel for high intensity exercise and optimal oxygen consumption therefore athletes’ performance may be affected.

Cholesterol Levels

Increased total and LDL cholesterol levels (though particle size of LDL cholesterol may increase in some which may reduce heart attack risk).

Cholesterol Particle Size

Decrease in cholesterol particle size, which raises heart disease risk in certain people.

Regaining Weight

When returning to an unhealthy diet, or alternating between cycles of low carbohydrate intake and then high carbohydrate intake, this may lead to rapid body fat accumulation.

Muscle Mass Loss

When body weight or resistance training exercise is not included. Ketones have been shown to be more protein-sparing than reduced calorie diets, but leaner individuals with limited fat stores are at higher risk of muscle loss or delayed muscle growth.

Increased Mortality Risk

When a very low-carbohydrate diet is followed long-term. Risk is likely multifactorial and due to changes in gut bacteria, lack of fiber, genetics-influenced metabolism of nutrients, increased intake of animal proteins, decreased intake of nutrients, and more.

 

Ketogenic Diet Risks 

Even with a healthy keto diet, unwanted side effects may still occur and could include some of the following described in this article. 

The Keto Flu

Keto flu is common in the beginning stages of starting a ketogenic diet. If you get it, you'll experience flu-like symptoms due to imbalanced electrolyte levels in your body as part of getting used to burning ketones (a byproduct of eating high-fat foods) instead of glucose due to decreased carbohydrate intake. The keto-flu is primarily a result of the kidneys excreting excess electrolytes during ketosis and must be replenished daily to prevent symptoms during the first few months.

Some people have significant keto flu symptoms a few days after starting a ketogenic diet and some have very few–it all depends on the person. Symptoms may include: 

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Conspitation 
  • Headache 
  • Irritability
  • Decreased focus 
  • Craving sugar 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Keto flu can be quite uncomfortable–but it's temporary as your body adjusts to a new diet. On average, it's a short term issue and lasts about one week. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help manage the side effects and get through it. 

  • Stay hydrated–this helps with muscle cramping and weakness. Plus, drinking water is just a good best practice on any diet, especially if you are trying to lose weight.  
  • Take it easy. Exercise is important for weight loss and overall health, but save the intense cardiovascular workouts for when the keto flu has passed. Try yoga or walking during this time. 
  • Replenish your electrolytes. When you start a ketogenic diet, your insulin and blood sugar levels go down and your kidneys flush out excess sodium. Furthermore, many potassium-rich foods bananas and beans are restricted in a keto diet. Try salting keto-approved foods like nutrient rich, leafy vegetables and avocados to replace those electrolytes.
  • Get enough rest. Help combat any sleep difficulties you have during the keto flu by establishing good sleep habits. Don't watch TV two hours before bed, develop a calming nighttime routine, such as taking a bath and reading, and go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day. 

Digestive Issues

Many people who start a keto diet experience a change in bowel movements or chronic constipation due to a meal plan with low fiber intake. Bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and stomach cramping are all fairly common. However, it's important to know what's normal and what is a cause for concern. 

Due to the decreased fiber intake in a keto diet, you might notice you defecate less, which is normal when you're eating fewer carbs–as long as you aren't uncomfortable. However, if you feel gassy, gloated, are straining to make a bowel movement, or have frequent diarrhea, you should take action. Try the following: 

  • Reduce your intake of coconut products and MCT oil–they are great for helping you get into the state of ketosis and stay there, but your body also digests them quickly–which can lead to stomach cramps and diarrhea, especially if you haven't eaten them often prior to starting a keto diet. Back off and introduce them gradually as your body tolerates it. 
  • Bump up your fiber intake. Soluble fiber acts as a lubricant for your colon, making it easier to move things along, especially if you have diarrhea. Focus on getting fiber from keto-friendly foods, such as broccoli and spinach. You can also supplement your diet with psyllium husk, which is approved on the keto diet
  • Take probiotics. Thy help combat the negative changes in gut bacteria due to a decreased intake of soluble and fermentable fibers that act as fuel for healthy bacteria. Learn about the importance of probiotics

Decreased Exercise Performance

Adopting a ketogenic diet can lead to decreased exercise performance and early fatigue during high-intensity exercise and sports, especially if you've just started the diet. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel for high-intensity exercise and optimal oxygen consumption, therefore, athletes’ performance may be affected.

If you frequently participate in intense, short-duration physical activity, studies showketo diet might not be right for you. Your body needs whole grains to support athletic activities such as sprinting, basketball, and soccer. 

On the other hand, endurance athletes might fare better on a keto diet. But, it can take several months for your body to adapt to burning ketones rather than glucose for energy. Allow for an adaption period and work your way back into endurance activities. 

Keto Diet Health Risk Image

Cholesterol Levels and Weight Gain

Ketogenic diets are typically higher in saturated fat intake and can result in a larger cholesterol particle size, which raises the risk of heart disease risk in some people, especially in people who have a family history of heart disease. While most keto dieters experience an increase in HDL cholesterol and a decrease in triglycerides, this isn't always the case. 

When some people adopt a keto diet, they see a rise in total cholesterol in general, especially if they are eating a diet very high in fat. Genetic conditions also play a critical role in high cholesterol levels and heart disease. The bottom line? Work with your doctor to test your levels on a regular basis, especially if you start any new diet. 

If you're going keto and want the best results, you have to be consistent with your eating habits and diet plan. If you only practice a ketogenic diet when it's convenient, you won't reap the health and weight loss benefits. In fact, if you cycle between a low carbohydrate intake and then high carb intake, it can lead to rapid body fat accumulation and weight gain. 

When You Should Avoid a Ketogenic Diet

Most people experience a broad range of long-term health benefits when they choose a keto lifestyle–but as with anything, there are exceptions. When a very low-carbohydrate diet is followed long-term, some individuals have an increased mortality risk– due to multifactorial changes in gut bacteria, lack of fiber, a genetics-influenced metabolism of nutrients, increased intake of animal proteins, decreased intake of nutrients, and more that comes with following a high fat, low carb diet

Also, if you are living with existing liver or kidney disease, are pregnant, have type 1 diabetes,  or genetic metabolic diseases or deficiencies, you should obtain clearance from your physician to discuss risk factors before starting a ketogenic diet due to higher potential risks. Communicate with your doctor, listen to your body, and make dietary changes as needed. 

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Healthy Keto Macronutrient Calculator

Keto Macro Calculations

The ketogenic diet derives its energy primarily from fat - from body stores as well as dietary fat. Understanding your macronutrient goals will help you more easily follow a ketogenic diet to obtain health benefits. If you eat too many carbohydrates and too little fat, you likely won’t be in ketosis and therefore risk wasting your time and effort.

What do you do when you are on the run or away from home? Use these simple visual aids to stay within your macros when you are eating your next meal:

  • 2 cups non-starchy vegetables (about the size of 2 medium fists) - examples include broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini
  • 4-5 oz. protein (about the size of the palm of your hand with outstretched fingers) - this could be a combination of animal proteins like salmon and plant proteins like tofu
  • ½ cup additional fat (about half of your fist) - this could be a combination of several kinds of fat like cheese, oil, nuts, and/or avocado and is in addition to what may be already included in your protein and on your vegetables

A common macronutrient breakdown is as follows:

Keto Macro Breakdown Pie Chart

10% of calories from carbohydrates
25% of calories from protein
65% of calories from fat (<10% from saturated fat for a Mediterranean-style keto diet)
25+ grams of fiber per day

       Grams Per Macro Per Day

      This would be your macronutrient breakdown if you include ~25 grams of daily fiber in your carbohydrate allotment.

      Grams Per Macro Per Day Including Fiber

      This would be your macronutrient breakdown if you exclude ~25 grams of daily fiber in your carbohydrate allotment.

       

      For a 2,400 calorie diet, this would equal:

      • 60g total carbs (yielding about 35g net carbs assuming fiber intake is 25g)
      • 150g protein
      • 173g total fat (<27g saturated fat)
      • 25+ grams of fiber per day

      For a 2,000 calorie diet, this would equal:

      • 50g total carbs (yielding about 25g net carbs assuming fiber is 25g)
      • 125g protein
      • 144g total fat (<22g saturated fat)
      • 25+ grams of fiber per day

      For a 1,600 calorie diet, this would equal:

      • 40g total carbs (yielding about 15g net carbs if fiber is 25g)
      • 100g protein
      • 116g total fat (<18g saturated fat)
      • 25+ grams of fiber per day
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      Foods to Eat on the Keto Diet

      Foods to Eat on Keto

      There a wide variety of foods that can be consumed on a ketogenic diet. The more varied your diet, the broader your nutrient intake, which can help prevent deficiencies. Emphasize fiber-rich low carbohydrate foods to nourish gut bacteria while staying within your ketogenic macronutrient goals. Some foods are classified as low carbohydrate foods, but still may contain more carbohydrate grams than other foods within that category. Small portions of these foods may still be able to be consumed regularly while maintaining ketosis. Fiber grams also vary depending on the food source. A higher fiber food will yield a lower net carb amount which can allow more liberal intake.  The food list below includes low carbohydrate foods from a variety of sources that can help form a balanced and healthy ketogenic diet.

      Chart of Foods to Eat on Keto

      Fat-rich foods

      • Avocado
      • Butter/ghee
      • Coconut (shreds, milk, cream and butter)
      • Dairy: cheese, heavy cream
      • Nuts: especially macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds, pinenuts and walnuts
      • Oils: avocado oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, sesame oil
      • Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flaxseed, hemp

      For a complete guide to nuts and their health benefits, click here.

        Fruits

        • Avocado
        • Blackberries
        • Coconut
        • Lemon
        • Lime
        • Raspberries
        • Strawberries

         

        Vegetables (nutrient-rich lower carb choices)

        • Cruciferous Family: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, watercress
        • Leafy greens (the darker the better): lettuce, spinach, arugula, collard greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, dandelions
        • Peppers: jalapenos, bell peppers, serranoes
        • Sprouts: from broccoli, alfalfa, onions, mustard greens, radish, beet 
        • Artichoke hearts
        • Asparagus
        • Celery
        • Chives
        • Cucumbers
        • Eggplant
        • Garlic
        • Green beans
        • Okra
        • Olives
        • Onions
        • Radish
        • Sauerkraut
        • Snow peas
        • Tomatoes
        • Yellow Squash
        • Zucchini

        These vegetables are higher in carbohydrates and should be consumed moderately:

        • Carrots
        • Winter Squash
        • Pumpkin

        Protein-rich foods:

        • Beef
        • Buffalo
        • Chicken (white and dark meat)
        • Deer/venison
        • Eggs
        • Fish (sardines, salmon, herring, snapper, trout, etc.)
        • Pork (bacon, ham, sausage)
        • Turkey (white and dark meat)
        • Protein powders (check label for carb grams)
        • Seafood (shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, crab, etc.)
        • Tofu

        For a Mediterranean-style ketogenic diet, consume more seafood, fish, eggs, and tofu over red meat and pork to consume less saturated fat and more omega-3 fats.

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        Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet

        Foods to avoid on keto

        On a keto diet, you want to aim for a low-carb diet breakdown of about 70-80 percent fat, 5-10 percent carbs, and 20-15 percent protein. Some foods are much higher in carbohydrates and may jeopardize your ability to stay in ketosis and restrict weight loss. 

        Certain foods are rich in nutrients and fiber and may be able to be included in your diet in small enough quantities. However, these foods cannot be consumed liberally and should not be your staple food choices. Careful attention must be paid to serving sizes of these higher carb foods.

        Keep reading to learn more about what foods you can incorporate into a ketogenic diet in moderation, and which ones you should avoid to yield the results you want.  

        Foods to Avoid on Ketogenic Diet

        Grains You Should Avoid

        One agreed-upon truth about the keto diet is that you should avoid these flour-based, carbohydrate-rich foods–even whole grains. Consuming them can prevent ketosis and may increase blood sugar and insulin levels–which promotes body fat storage. To get the results you want, you're going to have to cut out grains. Avoid grains such as: 

        • Wheat
        • Oats
        • Rice
        • Quinoa
        • Millet
        • Rye
        • Corn
        • Buckwheat
        • Barley

        Remember, you should stay away from breads, pasta, pizza crusts, cookies, or crackers made with any of these grains. Try out a cauliflower pizza crust or zoodles if you want a keto-friendly alternative! 

        Beans and Legumes to Avoid 

        While beans are legumes are chock full of nutrients and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and folate, most are fairly starchy with too many carbs. For example, one serving of black beans contains 41 grams of total grams of carbs and 26 grams of net carbs. Chickpeas have a whopping 45 grams of total carbs and 32 grams net carbs! Cut out the following from your diet: 

        • Pinto beans
        • Black beans
        • White beans
        • Kidney beans
        • Lentils
        • Pinto beans
        • Lima beans
        • Black-eyed peas
        • Fava beans

        For a lower-carb option, try green peas. They have ten grams and six grams of net carbs, making them a much safer choice. If you're after the consistency of beans, try making beanless refried beans–made with bacon, eggplant, and seasonings. 

        Dairy Products to Avoid

        While you don't have to avoid all dairy on a keto diet, you should be strict about limiting: 

        • Low-fat milk–stick to two percent or above, and don't drink more than one serving per day. Even better, opt for full-fat, raw milk. Heavy cream is also permitted. 
        • Shredded cheese–sometimes it contains potato starch to keep the shreds separate. Stick with slices or block cheese. Always choose whole milk, high-fat cheese rather than reduced-fat or fat-free cheese. 
        • Fat-free butter alternatives
        • Low-fat whipped cream
        • Low-fat cream cheese
        • Ice cream

        Fruits to Avoid

        Like beans, fruit has a lot of benefits–but they also have a lot of naturally occurring sugars, and therefore, carbs. Steer clear of fruits such as: 

        Check out our keto foods to consume page to learn more.

        • Apples
        • Bananas
        • Grapefruit
        • Grapes
        • Honeydew melon
        • Oranges
        • Pineapple
        • Watermelon
        • Fruit juices
        • Dried fruit
        • Smoothies
        • Papaya
        • Mangos
        • Tangerines

        Some fruits can be enjoyed sparingly. Add fruits with a lower sugar content into your meal plan, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. 

        Starchy Vegetables to Avoid 

        A good rule of thumb in avoiding starchy, carbohydrate-rich veggies is where they are grown. If a vegetable grows underground, it's a most likely high-carb. Avoid starchy veggies such as: 

        • Potatoes
        • Sweet Potatoes
        • Corn
        • Cherry tomatoes
        • Potatoes
        • Parsnips
        • Yucca
        • Carrots

        Focus on incorporating lots of green, leafy, low-carb vegetables into your diet. Fill up on vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, zucchini, and broccoli. 

        Sugars to Avoid

        In general, sugars are a no-go on a ketogenic diet. However, did you know there are 56 different types of sugar you may encounter on nutrition labels? They are hiding everywhere you look, so you need to be vigilant. Avoid things that list any of the following: 

        • Cane sugar
        • Honey
        • High-fructose corn syrup
        • Agave nectar
        • Turbinado sugar
        • Maple syrup
        • Raw sugar
        • Sucralose
        • Palm sugar
        • Coconut sugar
        • Aspartame
        • Saccharine

        If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, you're not out of luck. Try low-carb, healthy sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit in your favorite recipes. Here 75 of the healthiest keto-friendly desserts you can test out at home. 

        Nuts to Avoid 

        While nuts are not traditionally viewed as carbohydrates, some types have a higher carb content that may prevent you from consuming less than 30 grams of net carbs per day, so be careful. Read our complete guide to the health benefits (and nutritional analysis) of nuts here.

        • Cashews
        • Peanuts
        • Pistachios
        • Chesnuts

        The good news most nuts are perfectly acceptable on a keto diet–and they're packed with healthy fats that foster ketosis. Remember to eat them in moderation and dole yourself out a serving size before sitting down with an entire bag. The lowest carb nuts are pecans, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and walnuts. Try out our delicious array of nut butters, too! 

        Avoid Meat and Fish Farmed in Factories

        When possible, choose organic animal meats and seafood that are grass-fed rather than grain-fed–they have more valuable nutrients. You should also avoid processed meats that have a lot of nitrates and additives that add no nutritional value to your diet. In general, avoid: 

        • Hot dogs
        • Packaged sausages
        • Canned meat
        • Beef jerky and bacon–they are acceptable in limited quantities but have a high sodium content, so eat them in moderation
        • Salami
        • Chicken nuggets and fish sticks–unless they are homemade and breaded in coconut flour or another keto-friendly flour alternative

        Oils to Avoid

        While all oils have plenty of fat which is an important component of a keto diet–your body needs fatty acids to produce energy especially when you aren't eating many carbs. However, they aren't all created equal. You need to consume quality oils made from a healthy food source. Avoid processed or inflammatory oils, including: 

        • Sunflower oil 
        • Safflower oil 
        • Soybean oil 
        • Peanut oil
        • Corn oil
        • Grapeseed oil 
        • Sesame oil

        The best types of oil for your body are virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil. Plus, they are delicious! 

        Beverages to Avoid

        Like most diets, you should drink a lot of water when following a keto diet. However, if we are trying to limit carbs (and sugars) there are several drinks you should steer clear of, but it can be tricky to know what's acceptable. Avoid the following high-carb beverages: 

        • Beer–especially heavy beers such as stouts, porters, and ale. It's like drinking liquid bread. 
        • Most wine, especially sweet wines. Go for a dry red or white if you're having a glass or two. 
        • Cocktails–many spirits are fairly low in carbs but the mixers can do you in. Avoid mixers such as cranberry or pineapple juice and simple syrup. Club soda is a good zero-calorie, low-carb mixer. 
        • Flavored liquors
        • Fruit and vegetable juices
        • Soda
        • Diet sodas–many of the artificial sweeteners upset blood sugar, ketosis, and cause cravings
        • Sweetened milk-based drinks, including coffee-based drinks and milkshakes
        • Tea drinks with added sugar

        Keep in mind, alcohol is ethanol, which your liver will focus on breaking down–and your body doesn't prioritize burning fat during that. So, drinking can seriously slow down weight loss even if you're following a strict keto diet. Check out this informative guide about drinking on a keto diet.

        The Bottom Line 

        Just because a particular food appears healthy, it doesn't mean it's keto-approved. You have to retrain your thinking about the traditional food pyramid if you want to live a keto lifestyle and reap the benefits of this particular diet. 

        In general, avoid grains, starchy vegetables that grow in the ground, beans and legumes, processed oils, and fruits high in sugar. Limit alcohol and stay away from carb-heavy beers, wines, and mixers, and other sugary beverages. Focus on low-carb foods such as organic meats and seafood, green, leafy greens, water, low-carb nuts, soda, artificial sweeteners, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

         

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          Keto Supplements to Ensure Balanced Health

          Keto Supplements

          A restricted diet plus the process of ketosis may increase your need for specific supplements. These may include:

          Electrolytes

          The kidneys excrete excess fluid and electrolytes during ketosis so replenishing electrolytes is crucial to feeling well and energetic while minimizing muscle cramps.

          • Sodium: Sodium must be kept in a delicate balance in the body to avoid excess water loss or retention, maintain adequate blood flow and keep the nervous system running optimally. Sodium can be obtained through pickled foods, salted nuts, broths, brothy soups, and simply salting food on your plate.
          • Potassium: This electrolyte helps blood vessels to relax and calms heart rate. Potassium is rich in these keto-friendly foods: avocado, nuts, seeds, Swiss chard, cocoa powder, and mushrooms.
          • Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that helps muscles relax and may be needed to prevent constipation on a ketogenic diet. Two of the best forms of magnesium for oral intake are magnesium glycinate and magnesium threonate. This form is better absorbed than magnesium citrate. Magnesium sulfate is the form found in Epsom salt and is readily absorbed by the skin to soothe sore muscles. While food sources of magnesium are only absorbed by about 40%, it is still important to include magnesium-rich food sources like: hemp seeds, Swiss chard, Mackerel, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and dark chocolate.

          Fiber

          A review of 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials has found that 25-29 grams of fiber per day results in a 15 to 30 percent reduction in death from all causes. Even more benefit was observed in those consuming even more fiber per day.
          • Insoluble: This type of fiber passes through the intestines to the colon where it adds bulk to the stool making it easier and quicker to pass. Examples of insoluble fiber supplements include psyllium seed husks and Metamucil (though these contain a higher percentage of soluble rather than insoluble fiber). Insoluble fiber is not recommended for those suffering from diarrhea.
          • Soluble: Soluble fiber attracts water, forms a gel, slows digestion and is absorbed into the blood stream through the intestines. This fiber improves nutrient absorption and can help improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Grains, fruits and beans are high carbohydrate foods rich in soluble fiber. With a keto diet, you may not be eating enough of this type of fiber for benefit. Examples of soluble fiber supplements include Benefiber, Citrucel (methylcellulose), psyllium seed husks and Metamucil. This type of fiber supplement is ideal when battling constipation because it can soften or loosen stools making them easier to pass.
          • Prebiotic: Inulin, chicory root, wheat dextrin and acacia gum are examples of prebiotic soluble fibers that feed healthy gut bacteria. It is especially important to protect your healthy gut bacteria from dying off which may jeopardize your long term health.

          MCT Oil

          MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides also known as medium-chain fatty acids, a type of quickly and easily absorbed fat primarily found in coconut and palm. For more on the benefits of MCT oil click here.

          MCT’s can help you meet your fat macronutrient goals while simultaneously improving health. MCTs have been shown to reduce weight, body fat and food intake, improve metabolism and gut health, enhance insulin sensitivity, reduce lactic acid build up after intense exercise, improve brain function in those with Alzheimer’s disease, reduce CRP, an inflammatory marker, improve heart health and more! MCTs are most often available in oil and powder forms and make a great addition to coffee, smoothies, salad dressings, and cooked vegetables.

          Probiotics

          Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can be taken in supplement form (or by eating fermented foods). For more on the benefits of probiotics click here.

          In some cases of a carbohydrate restricted diet, healthy bacteria in the colon does not receive enough fibrous fuel to stay alive which may jeopardize long term health. Probiotic supplementation may help to minimize this risk.

          Protein Powder

          For ketogenic dieters who limit their meat consumption or feel more satiated by a higher protein intake, protein powders are a valuable supplement.

          • Bone broth: Bone broth protein, yes, contains protein, but it provides so much more - collagen type 2, potassium, sodium, chondroitin, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. This combination of nutrients works together to improve joint pain, skin aging, inflammation and weight management. This type of protein is easily mixed with hot or cold beverages and is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and keto-friendly.
          • Collagen: Collagen protein is derived from the bones, skin and cartilage of animals, but is not sourced from dairy like whey protein so it is suitable for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergy. Collagen protein offers an advantage over whey protein because it is high in glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These amino acids help the body create its own collagen, the main protein in the human body, which supports healthy skin, hair, nail, joints, gut function, immunity, and strong bones. Make sure to consume collagen types I, II, III, IV and V for the most benefits. Like bone broth protein, collagen protein is easily mixed with hot or cold beverages and is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and keto-friendly. 
          • Egg: This type of protein is obtained from egg whites and is keto and paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and soy-free. Egg whites’ protein provides all essential amino acids making it an excellent choice for muscle repair, recovery and growth.  
          • Whey: Whey protein is the most studied form of protein powder with substantial research supportings its use for muscle gain, repair, recovery and lean mass preservation. It is quickly absorbed and contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), key amino acids for muscle growth. While whey is sourced from cow dairy, and thus is not suitable for vegans, those with lactose intolerance or milk allergy, it is an excellent choice for many others. Choose grass-fed whey protein for improved nutrient profiles and a cleaner protein fuel. 
          • Vegan: Vegan protein powders often combine several sources of plant protein to form complete proteins and provide all essential amino acids. Common combinations include pea, hemp and rice proteins. In addition, vegan protein powders often add superfood powders, digestive enzymes, probiotics and other plant ingredients to provide a nutrient-packed supplement. Vegan protein powders are typically higher in carbohydrates, and therefore must be considered and counted when following a keto or low-carbohydrate diet.
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          Free 5-Day Keto Meal Plan

          Keto Meal Plan

          A well-planned ketogenic diet will provide a wide variety of fats, vegetables, colors, flavors and sources to help meet nutrient, antioxidant, and fiber needs while staying under a carbohydrate threshold, often no more than 30 grams of net carbs.

          Meal

          Day 1

          Day 2

          Day 3

          Day 4

          Day 5

          Breakfast

          Egg Meal

          2 large eggs, 1 thick slice bacon, 1/2 avocado, 1 cup braised spinach, 1/2 cup blackberries 

          (23g carbs, 15g fiber)

          Omelet

          2 eggs, tomato, onion, garlic, basil, 1/2 cup spinach, goat cheese, 1 Tbsp oil, 1/2 avocado 

          (14g carbs, 9g fiber)

          Creamed Coconut Bowl

          1/2 cup creamed coconut milk, cinnamon, 1/4 cup raspberries, 1 oz. almonds 

          (18g carbs, 8g fiber)

          Green Eggs

          2 eggs scrambled + 1/2 avocado + 2.5 cups mixed greens with olive oil, garlic and chives

          (11.5g carbs, 9.5g fiber)

          Chocolate Chia Pudding

          1/4 c coconut milk, stevia, 1/4 c chia seeds, 1/2 c almond milk, 1 T cocoa, 1 T erythritol, 1/2 T cocoa nibs, 1 scoop protein powder

          (26g carbs, 16g fiber)

          Lunch

          Loaded Salad with Shrimp

          7 oz. shrimp with 1 T ghee, 2 cups leafy greens, 1/4 cup olives, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 2 T EVOO, feta cheese 

          (16g carbs, 6.5g fiber)

          Sardine Sampler

          1 can sardines, ¼ cup olives, 1 oz. cheddar cheese, 1 cup raw broccoli, 1 oz. macadamia nuts

          (11.5g carbs, 7g fiber)

          Boiled Egg Salad

          1/2 avocado, 1 small head lettuce, 2 boiled eggs, 1 spring onion, 1 Tbsp EVOO (13g carbs, 8g fiber)

          Loaded Greek Salad with Smoked Salmon3 oz. smoked salmon + 2 cups dark leafy greens + 1/4 cup olives + 1/2 cup artichokes + 2 T EVOO & vinegar + feta cheese + 2 T pecans 

          (11g carbs, 5g fiber)

          Chicken Eggplant Curry

          Chicken and eggplant cooked in a coconut cream curry sauce served over 1 cup cauliflower rice

           

          (6g carbs, 3.5g fiber)

          Snack

          1/2 cup sauerkraut + 2 T sunflower seeds (9g carb, 5g fiber)

          1 cup celery + 1/4 cup guacamole (9g carb, 3g fiber)

          1 cup kale chips + 1 cup bone broth 

          (8g carbs, 3g fiber)

          ½ cup cottage cheese + ½ cup cherry tomatoes + 2 T pumpkin seeds

          (11g carbs, 2g fiber)

          1 oz. pecans + ¼ cup raspberries 

          (11g carbs, 6.5g fiber)

          Dinner

          Salmon Meal

          3.5 oz. salmon with 1 T ghee + 2 cups steamed broccoli + 1 T EVOO 

          (12.5g carbs, 5g fiber)

          Pork Chops

          In 1 T ghee + 1 large bunch asparagus with salt, lemon juice, 1 T ghee

          (8g carbs, 4g fiber)

          Chicken Thighs

          With 1 cup sautéed cauliflower, 1 cup sautéed green beans, 1 oz. (14g carbs, 7g fiber)

          Blackened Trout

          5 oz. trout cooked in 1 T ghee, 2 cups sautéed greens beans with 1 oz. slivered almonds

          (25g carbs, 11g fiber)

          Pesto Zucchini Pasta with Crab

          2 cups zucchini noodles + ½ cup artichoke hearts + 1 T olive oil + 2 T pesto + 3 oz. crab (17.5g carbs, 6g fiber)

          Totals

          60.5g carbs, 31.5g fiber, 29g net carbs

          42.5g carbs, 23 fiber, 21.5g net carbs

          53g carbs, 26g fiber, 27g net carbs

          58.5g carbs, 27.5g fiber, 31g net carbs

          60.5g carbs, 32g fiber, 28.5g net carbs

           

          If you're looking for a more in-depth keto meal plan you can reference this one as well: Everything I Ate for the Last 50 Days on Keto.

          For more great keto-friendly meal ideas -- check out SuperFat's own Recipe Book with 40 great nut-butter infused recipes for breakfasts, proper meals, snacks, and delicious desserts!

          And best of all -- it's FREE!

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          How to Start On the Keto Diet

          Get Started on Keto Diet

          “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” 

          ― Alexander Graham Bell, inventor. 

          When considering making a significant change to your diet, there are many steps to plan and think through so you feel prepared when a challenge comes your way. It is often said that consistency is key to success. Follow the tips below to help you maintain consistency in your keto diet and ultimately reach the health goals you are aiming for.

          Top 3 Takeaways When Starting Keto:

          There are many steps to consider before starting the keto diet, but the main points boil down to this: 

          1. Review keto food lists and recipes and create your grocery list. Don’t forget to plan for snacks that you can keep in your car, gym bag, desk drawer or purse. Think nuts, nut butter, coconut chips, pickled and dried vegetables. Bookmark this list.
          2. Eating at a restaurant with friends? Grilled fish or protein, steamed or sauteed vegetables with added fat and salad with olive oil and vinegar can be ordered at many food establishments. Read more here.
          3. Experiencing any negative symptoms? Take a review of your diet and make sure you are eating real, whole foods and taking recommended supplements daily or as needed/directed by a doctor or health care professional. Include vegetables, nuts, seafood and a variety of proteins, enough fat at every meal for fuel, fibrous foods, and electrolytes.

          9 Areas to Focus on or Consider When Going Keto

          1. Get familiar with a keto diet and your own goals. You must first understand the diet as a whole in order to plan for it properly. Calculate your calorie needs and your macronutrients so you know what you are aiming for. Become familiar with recommended foods to include and those to avoid. If you have a complex medical condition, make sure your doctor is on board and ready to support you and help you manage your health. Consider reducing any high-intensity exercise during the first few weeks of a ketogenic diet to make the transition easier. Plan to obtain baseline measurements and lab work before you start and 3 to 6 months later. A waist circumference, weight, body fat percentage, cholesterol panel, C-reactive protein, blood sugar, liver enzymes and an a1c level are great examples of what to track so you know how your body is responding to a ketogenic diet. Be aware of risks and potential issues like keto flu and don't just focus on the potential to lose weight. 
          2. Choose your start date. Give yourself enough lead time to prepare for the other steps below before starting. This may take a few days, up to a few weeks. Consider upcoming holidays or social gatherings that 
          3. Raid your kitchen. Throw out old and unhealthy products in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry to minimize your access to high carb foods. If other family members will be still eating some of these foods, create an area that is off-limits to you, but accessible to them. You’ll be ready to find low-carb alternatives to your favorite foods or ingredients when grocery shopping if you know what you need to replace.
          4. Plan your meals. To avoid mealtime panic, especially with a restricted diet, planning is key, but it doesn’t have to be done all on your own. Take advantage of online keto meal plans and keto cookbooks. Become familiar with brands of products and even restaurants in your local area that you can order keto-friendly meals from. Take time to consider your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and potential snacks in between! Before you...
          5. Grocery shop. Your grocery list should be based off of planned meals and snacks so you won’t feel unprepared when it is time to cook or eat. Use recommended food lists to stock up on keto-friendly staples like avocado, nuts, seeds, berries, olive oil, veggies like cruciferous veggies and dark leafy greens, fish, dairy and meat. Buying MCT oil, erythritol or stevia and electrolyte supplements can also be helpful for those starting out.
          6. Gather your support network. Even if you don’t have family members or friends that can support you, many online keto support groups exist on Facebook, Ketodietapp.com and other websites. Your healthcare providers may also help provide support and accountability as you pursue health through a ketogenic diet. Share your goals, challenges and successes along the way.
          7. Think about social situations. Weddings, holidays, work events and family gatherings may pose challenges for you on a keto diet. Think through how you will manage these situations. Will you bring your own food? Eat before you go? Call ahead to the restaurant to know your options? All of these strategies can help you stay on track and endure less stress in these situations. We've got some tips here!
          8. Plan (or consider) your transition out of keto. Most people don’t follow a ketogenic diet indefinitely. Once you have reached your goals and/or feel ready to liberalize your diet, it is important to have a healthy diet plan to transition to so you can maintain your progress. Both Paleo and Mediterranean-style diets are examples of healthy diets that have less restrictions but may be more sustainable long-term after keto. These dietary styles allow foods like starchy vegetables and fruits, but still encourage avoidance of refined sugars, refined and white grains and processed foods, something everyone can benefit from!
          9. Begin your keto journey! Even if you planned thoroughly before starting a ketogenic diet, you may still encounter challenges you weren’t prepared for. Lean on your support network for motivation and encouragement. If you eat a higher carb meal or snack that throws you out of ketosis, continue on with a ketogenic diet with the very next meal. Success will be determined not by minor ups and downs, but by consistency over time. 

          Hopefully this guide helps give you an idea about how to safely get started on the ketogenic diet!

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          Keto Recipe Guide (40 SuperFat Keto Recipes)

          Download the FREE SuperFat Recipe Book

          40 Delicious Keto & Paleo Recipes

           

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