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Keto Diet for Beginners: The Complete Guide

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Written by: Natalie Butler, RDN, LD, Jess Pingrey, SuperFat Staff, & Toni Sicola.
Medically Reviewed by: Natalie Butler, RDN, LD
Published:  Jul. 12, 2019
Updated:  Mar. 17, 2020


In this guide we'll walk you through:

  • Introduction to Keto
    • What is keto?
    • Different types of keto
    • Benefits
    • Risks
    • Terminology
  • Ketosis 
    • What is it?
    • How to get into it
  • Guide to Getting Started
    • General tips
    • Planning, shopping, and prepping
  • What to Eat, Drink, and Avoid on Keto
    • What to eat
    • What to avoid
    • Drinking alcohol on keto
  • Living Everyday Life on Keto
    • Recipes and meal plans at home
    • Keto restaurant guide & tips for eating out
    • Exercise considerations on keto
    • Intermittent fasting and keto
  • Keto Resources
    • Apps
    • Macro Counters
    • Supplements

Introduction to the Keto Diet Guide for Beginners

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 (source), diabetes (source), epilepsy (source), heart disease, lower blood pressure (source) and blood sugar/insulin control (source), improved energy (source), potentially helps mental health (source) 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 walk you through the A-Z of keto, teach you about "ketosis", which is the key to keto, give you tips about getting started, and get you into core keto aspects such as recipes and meal planning, lifestyle considerations like exercise tips on low carb diets, and how to stay keto and still stay social too.

Please Note: When You Should Avoid a Keto 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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    What is Keto?

    Section 1 - Introduction to Keto.

    What is the keto diet?

    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 (source). 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.

     

    Are there different types of keto diets?

    Standard Keto
    The standard keto diet (SKD) usually contains a substantial amount of fat, an adequate amount of protein, and very few carbohydrates. The specific amounts of fat, protein, and carbs varies depending on the source. One source might suggest that 75 percent of your calories come from fat, 20 percent from protein and only 5 percent from carbohydrates, for example, and another might suggest 55 to 60 percent fat, 30 to 35 percent protein and 5 to 10 percent carbohydrates.

    The standard keto diet is likely to be the most effective for most dieters. A 2012 study found that those who consumed a keto diet lost more weight than did those who were on a low-calorie diet. Read more on standard keto.

    Lazy Keto
    The lazy keto diet is the easiest of all ketogenic diets because it does not require intense tracking of macronutrients. This approach is most attractive to people who do not have the time or the interest in calculating the percentage of carbohydrates and fats in their diet.

    The main drawback to the lazy keto diet is that it may not keep you in ketosis, which means your body switches back to burning carbohydrates instead of fat for energy. This can affect the rate at which you lose weight. Focusing solely on carbohydrate intake also ignores the importance of diet quality and calorie intake. Read more on lazy keto.

    Dirty Keto
    The dirty keto diet follows the same macronutrient breakdown as the standard keto diet, but it allows processed and fast foods. A bun-less burger topped with bacon, egg, and cheese fits nicely on this keto diet. A dirty keto diet can also include seemingly healthy food options not normally allowed on a keto diet, such as protein bars, shakes and other snacks, along as they are sugar-free and low-carb.

    The big problem with the dirty keto diet is that they lack micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. This can leave you feeling malnourished, achy and worn out. Worse still, the foods allowed on a dirty keto diet are chock full of preservatives, antibiotics, hormones, and other additives that can negatively affect your health, decrease your overall energy, and even slow your weight loss. Read more on dirty keto here.

    Mediterranean Keto
    There is no set definition for the Mediterranean diet, but it generally features daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs, and moderate portions of dairy.

    The Mediterranean diet and the standard keto diet are similar in some ways and different in others. The main similarities are that both encourage the consumption of healthy fats and eliminate refined sugars. The big difference is that the Mediterranean diet allows a moderately high amount of carbohydrates from fruits, whole grain breads and pastas, whereas the keto diet is low in all carbohydrates. Another difference is that the Mediterranean diet features natural unsaturated fats from fish and plant-based oils, whereas the keto diet allows an abundance of both saturated and unsaturated fats. Read more on the mediterranean keto diet here.

    For more reading on the types of keto, check out our in-depth look here.

     

    Keto Benefits

    Keto Diet 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 many of the ketogenic diet health benefits.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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. 

    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.

     

    Keto Risks

    Keto 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.

    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.

     

    More on The Keto Flu

    The most common keto issue dieters have when onboarding to keto deserves a separate breakout to address. 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: 

    Keto Flu Symptoms
    • 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. 

    Key Terms in the Keto Diet & What They Mean

    • Ketosis - Ketosis is a highly desirable metabolic state in which your body uses stored fat for energy instead using of dietary carbs. You can achieve ketosis in a few different ways, but the main way is by adopting a ketogenic diet (also known as keto). Read more on ketosis here, or we'll expand on this just below.
    • 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.
    • Keto Fat Bombs - Keto fat bombs have the perfect ratio of fat, carbohydrates, and protein to help you lose weight and feel energized. They do this by helping your body remain in a fat-burning mode, even after you eat a satisfying meal. To learn more, click here.

     

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    Section 2 - Ketosis.

    What is ketosis?

    Ketosis is a highly desirable metabolic state in which your body uses stored fat for energy instead using of dietary carbs (source). You can achieve ketosis in a few different ways, but the main way is by adopting a ketogenic diet (also known as keto). On a ketogenic diet, a person gets about 70% of their calories from fat, about 15% of their calories from protein, and 5% of their calories from carbohydrates. Simply put: it's the key, to keto.

    Normally, your body breaks down carbs from your food into glucose molecules and uses this for energy. By drastically restricting carb intake on keto, your body eventually runs out of glucose. This causes your levels of insulin hormone to drop and triggers the liver to create molecules called ketones from stored fat. It's these ketones that your brain and body can now use for energy. 

     

    How to get into ketosis?

    How long it takes to reach ketosis depends on the individual person, including how much body fat they have and what their resting metabolic rate is. Most people enter nutritional ketosis within a couple of days to a couple of weeks of adopting a ketogenic diet. 

    As far as knowing if you're actually IN ketosis, there are two broad classes of data to assess this: subjective and objective. 

    Subjectively, you can typically tell if you're in ketosis by looking for telltale ketosis symptoms. One of the common side effects is foul breath, often compared to rotting fruit. You may also notice increased energy, better sleep, less hunger, improved mood, and rapid weight loss. 

    Objectively, you can test your urine or blood for the presence of ketone molecules. This is relatively simple to do with at-home urine strips and or blood testing kits, with the latter being more accurate and the former being a bit cheaper and easier. To be in dietary ketosis, your reading needs to be somewhere between 1.5 to 3.0 mmol/L of ketones in your blood, or show a darker color on the urine test strips. 

     

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      Get Started on Keto Diet

      Section 3: Tips on Getting Started.

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

      ― Alexander Graham Bell, inventor. 

      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.

       

      Key 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. 

       

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      Section 4: What to Eat, Drink, and Avoid on Keto.

      Foods to Eat on Keto

      Foods to Eat on the Keto Diet

      Heard about the keto diet and want to give it a try? The keto diet or ketogenic diet is a variation on the classic strict low-carb diet. It’s also quite close to the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, and the paleo diet

      There a wide variety of foods that can be consumed on the keto diet, although the emphasis is on eating foods that are high in protein and/or high in fat with limited intake of carbohydrates. Of course, the more varied your diet, the broader your nutrient intake, which can help prevent deficiencies. Fortunately, most low-carb vegetables are acceptable on keto, and, depending how strict you’re being, some low-carb fruits are okay too.

       

      What Foods Should Be Consumed on the Keto Diet?

      Chart of Foods to Eat on Keto

      Keto-Friendly Meats

      Best

      • Beef: Steak, veal, ground beef, roast
      • Pork: Ham, bacon, ground pork, pork loin, pork, chops, tenderloin
      • Poultry: Chicken, turkey, duck, wild game
      • Goat & Lamb
      • Organ Meats: Kidney, liver, heart, tongue, offal

      Acceptable

      • Bologna
      • Mortadella

      Carb & Fat Content of Popular Meats

      Beef Steak, 3 oz. (lean and fat eaten)

      • Net Carbs: 0 grams
      • Fat: 9.3 grams

      Chicken Breast, 4 oz. (boneless, skinless)

      • Net Carbs: 3 grams
      • Fat: 3.5 grams

      Bacon, 2 pan-fried slices

      • Net Carbs: 0 grams
      • Fat: 9 grams

      Pepperoni, 4 slices

      • Net Carbs: 1 gram
      • Fat: 3.7 grams

       

        Keto-Friendly Fish and Seafood

        Best

        • Salmon
        • Cod
        • Tuna
        • Haddock
        • Halibut
        • Sardines
        • Flounder
        • Mackerel

        Acceptable

        • Shrimp
        • Scallops
        • Lobster
        • Clams
        • Mussels

        Carb & Fat Content of Popular Fish and Seafoods

        Salmon, 3 oz. portion

        • Net Carbs: 0 grams
        • Fat: 5.4 grams

        Tuna, 6.5 oz. can packed in water and drained

        • Net Carbs: 0 grams
        • Fat: 1.6 grams

        Shrimp, 8 large shrimp, cooked with moist heat

        • Net Carbs: 0 grams
        • Fat: .5 grams

         

          Keto-Friendly Egg and Dairy Foods

          Best

          • Eggs
          • Grass-fed butter
          • Heavy cream
          • Provolone cheese
          • Gouda cheese
          • Colby cheese
          • Swiss cheese
          • Soft cheeses: Cream cheese, goat cheese, blue cheese gouda, brie, buffalo mozzarella, camembert

          Acceptable

          • Whole milk
          • Sour cream
          • Mascarpone and ricotta cheeses
          • Cottage cheese
          • Hard cheeses: Havarti, feta, pepper jack, parmesan, mozzarella
          • Greek yogurt

          Carb & Fat Content of Eggs and Popular Dairy Foods

          Egg, 1 egg 

          • Net Carbs: .5 grams
          • Fat: 5 grams

          Provolone cheese, 1 cubic inch

          • Net Carbs: .4 grams
          • Fat: 4.5 grams

          Unsweetened Greek yogurt

          • Net Carbs: 7.3 grams
          • Fat: 0 grams

           

            Keto-Friendly Nuts

            Nuts are among the healthiest types of foods to enjoy on the keto diet, and they’re especially satisfying as a keto-friendly on-the-go snack. Just grab a small bag of almonds or a handful of nut trail mix, and you’ll be as full as you would be eating a sandwich. Nuts provide a plethora of nutrients. Pecans, for example, can lower your insulin levels, making them great for blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. Chia seeds have anti-inflammatory benefits. And macadamia nuts improve healthy HDL cholesterol level. 

            Best Keto Nuts

            When it comes to keto, however, remember to avoid certain nuts such as cashews. Other nuts are much better for any type of low-carb diet.

            Naturally, a variety of nuts can also be made into nut butters, which are perfect for spreading onto keto bread, spreading onto celery, or eating alone. Nut butters without added sugar even contain MCT oil and probiotics, both of which provide energy and help support the metabolism.

            For a complete guide to the best nuts and seeds for keto, read here.

            Best

            • Pecans
            • Brazil nuts
            • Macadamia nuts
            • Hazelnuts
            • Walnuts
            • Seeds: Chia seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds
            • Nut butters (made with macadamia nuts, not cashews) 

            Acceptable

            • Almonds
            • Sunflower seeds
            • Pine nuts

            Carb & Fat Content of Popular Nuts

            Pecans, 19 halves (1 oz.)

            • Net Carbs: 3.9 grams
            • Fat: 20.4 grams

            Flaxseed, 1 Tbsp., whole seeds

            • Net Carbs: 3 grams
            • Fat: 4.3 grams

            Almonds, 23 almonds (1 oz.)

            • Net Carbs: 6 grams
            • Fat: 14 grams

             

              Keto-Friendly Produce

              Best

              • Leafy greens: Kale, spinach, collard greens, mustard leaves, Swiss chard
              • Romaine lettuce, watercress, Boston lettuce, and field greens
              • Asparagus
              • Bell peppers
              • Zucchini
              • Radishes
              • Eggplant
              • Avocados
              • Celery
              • Herbs: Basil, cilantro, parsley

              Acceptable

              • Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage
              • Cucumbers
              • Avocado
              • Green beans
              • Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
              • Sweet potatoes

              Carb & Fat Content of Popular Produce

              Spinach, 3 cups, loosely packed

              • Net Carbs: 3 grams
              • Fat: 0 grams

              Avocado, ½ cup, sliced

              • Net Carbs: 6.3 grams
              • Fat: 10.7 grams

              Strawberries, 1 cup, halved

              • Net Carbs: 11.7 grams
              • Fat: .5 grams

               

                Keto-Friendly Beverages

                Best

                • Still water
                • Sparkling water
                • Green and black teas
                • Coffee
                • Diet sodas
                • Spirits: Whiskey, vodka, tequila, brandy, gin

                Acceptable

                • Whole milk
                • Coconut water
                • Vegetable juice
                • Unsweetened nut milks
                • Unsweetened dry wines

                Carb & Fat Content of Popular Beverages

                Coffee, 1 cup (8 oz.) black

                • Net Carbs: .8 grams
                • Fat: 0 grams

                Whiskey, 1 shot (1.5 oz.)

                • Net Carbs: 0 grams
                • Fat: 0 grams

                Almond milk, 1 cup, unsweetened

                • Net Carbs: 1.4 grams
                • Fat: 2.7 grams

                 

                  Keto-Friendly Spices, Condiments & Sweeteners

                  In this category, we have those small ingredients that are present in so many recipes and meals, but that often go under the radar when it comes to nutritional content. 

                  Best in the group are healthy fats like canola and olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. While most dried herbs and spices are low-carb, some are more keto-friendly than others as you’ll see below. For sweeteners, not too many are totally keto-friendly; however, in a pinch, we’ve provided some options.

                  Best

                  • Olive oil
                  • Canola oil
                  • Coconut oil
                  • Avocado oil
                  • Vinegars: Cider, white, and wine vinegar
                  • Broth and bouillon
                  • Stevia
                  • Dried herbs and spices: Black pepper, mint, basil, cloves, coriander, ginger powder, tarragon, garam masala, cinnamon

                  Acceptable

                  • Ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, mayonnaise (optimally, sugar-free)
                  • Soy sauce and tamari sauce
                  • Balsamic vinegar
                  • Monk fruit
                  • Dried herbs and spices: Ground cumin, oregano, paprika, onion and garlic powders, cayenne, turmeric, chili powder, curry powder

                  Carb & Fat Content of Popular Spices, Condiments, and Sweeteners

                  Olive oil, 1 Tbsp.

                  • Net Carbs: 0 grams
                  • Fat: 13.5 grams

                  Stevia, 1 pack (2 grams)

                  • Net Carbs: 2 grams
                  • Fat: 0 grams

                  Sugar-free ketchup, 1 Tbsp.

                  • Net Carbs: 4 grams
                  • Fat: 0 grams

                     

                    Foods to avoid on keto

                    Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet

                    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

                    Carb counts for one cup of cooked beans:

                    Lower-carb bean alternatives:

                    Because calculating net carbs can be confusing, and because making a mistake can ruin ketosis, many people on the keto diet avoid beans altogether. Quitting beans "cold turkey" can be tough, though, as beans play such an important role in cuisine. Fortunately, you can incorporate several low-carb bean alternatives into your keto diet plan. 

                    • Beanless refried beans create the taste and texture of refried beans without the beans or the carbs. This dish uses eggplant or zucchini, bacon and spices – top with optional cheese or sour cream for an authentic south-of-the-border flavor.
                    • Peas are legumes, most peas contain about half the carbohydrates as beans. A cup of green peas contains only 21 grams of carbs, for example. Green peas are also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K and protein. Peas work well as bean replacements in chili, salads and curry, but due to their distinct flavor, peas may not work well in many other bean-based dishes.
                    • Lentils are also legumes with a total carb count of 40 grams, but they contain 16 grams of fiber, which brings the net carbohydrates down to manageable levels.
                    • Enoki mushrooms resemble bean sprouts and have a texture similar to cooked beans, making them a great substitute for beans. One cup of sliced enoki mushrooms has only 24 calories and a mere 5 grams of carbs. Enoki mushrooms are also a great source of vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins. Enoki mushrooms are available fresh and canned, which make them easy to add to soups, salads and many other dishes.
                    • Nuts - Try buttery macadamia nuts, protein-rich almonds, or sweet pecans, which are chock full heart healthy vitamins but light on the carbohydrates.
                    • Other vegetables - A number of vegetables can mimic the taste and texture of beans without the burden of high carbohydrates. Try diced mushrooms, chopped zucchini or riced cauliflower as bean replacements.

                    Click and read on here for a deep dive on what beans you can and can't eat on keto. We also went more in-depth around the topic of peas on keto if you'd like to read more on that topic as well.

                     

                    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
                    • Chestnuts

                    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: 

                    • 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.

                     

                    Keto Diet Guide to Alcohol

                    We've highlight national beer brands, and craft beer brands that you can consume in moderation. We've also got both white and red wines rated. Read more in-depth here.

                    Things to keep in mind: 

                    • Dry-wine = yes
                    • Sweet wine = no
                    • Beer = no (almost always)
                    • Liquor = yes (unflavored)
                    • Mixers* = keep it sugar-free or an energy drink
                    Keto Alcohol Guide

                     

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                    Section 5: Keto & Your Lifestyle

                    Eating Keto at Home

                    Meat-Based Keto Recipes

                    1. Grilled Chicken With Avocado Salsa (Gimme Delicious)
                    2. Garlic Butter Steak (Life Made Keto)
                    3. Keto Sheet Pan Pizza (Delish)
                    4. Keto Bacon Egg and Cheese Bites (Maebells)
                    5. Leftover Turkey Casserole (That Low Carb Life)

                    Fish- and Seafood-Based Keto Recipes

                    1. Keto Salmon Cakes (Hey Keto Mama)
                    2. Keto Tuna Salad (Diabetes Strong)
                    3. Walnut Crusted Salmon (The Healthy Foodie)
                    4. Baked Cod (Savory Tooth Low Carb Recipes)
                    5. Low Carb White Fish Pomodoro (A Spicy Perspective)

                    Egg- and Dairy-Based Keto Recipes

                    1. Keto Breakfast Burrito (Ditch the Carbs)
                    2. Basic Keto Cheese Crisps (All Recipes)
                    3. Keto Egg Cups (Life Made Keto)
                    4. Bulletproof Coffee Recipe With MCT Oil (Wholesome Yum)
                    5. Keto 4 Ingredient Ice Cream (Chocolate Covered Katie)

                    Produce-Based Keto Recipes

                    1. Low-Carb Ginger Garlic Vegetable Stir Fry (Stay Snatched)
                    2. Keto Oven Roasted Vegetables (Wholesome Yum)
                    3. Zucchini and Parmesan Bake (Ditch the Carbs)
                    4. Low Carb Keto Roast Chicken Soup (Sugar Free Londoner)
                    5. Easy Keto Vegetable Ratatouille Recipe (The Keto Summit)

                    Nut-Based Keto Recipes

                    1. Vegan Keto Walnut Chili (Abbey’s Kitchen)
                    2. Keto Nut Bar (Aussie Keto Queen)
                    3. Keto Chocolate Covered Almonds (The Keto Summit)
                    4. 3-Ingredient Keto Almond Butter Cups (The Big Man’s World)
                    5. Easy Almond Butter Fat Bombs (Hey Keto Mama)

                    Keto Beverage Recipes

                    1. Gin Fizz, The Ultimate Low-Carb Cocktail (Keto Diet)
                    2. Keto Infused Iced Tea (Low Carb No Carb)
                    3. Keto Berry Smoothie Recipe (Ketogasm)
                    4. Low Carb Strawberry Lemonade Mojitos (I Breathe I’m Hungry)
                    5. Keto Turmeric Milkshake (Ditch the Carbs)

                    Keto Recipes With Spices, Condiments, and Sweeteners

                    1. Low-Carb Taco Seasoning (Low Carb Maven)
                    2. Keto Barbecue Seasoning (I Breathe I’m Hungry)
                    3. Homemade Sugar-Free Ketchup Recipe (Low Carb Yum)
                    4. Zero Carb Homeowner Keto Mayonnaise (Soccer Mom Blog)
                    5. Low Carb Sweetener Blend (Keto Cake Walk)

                    Eating Keto While out at Restaurants

                    Exercising While on Keto

                    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

                     

                    We've also compiled a list of options by time of day for you:

                    And for when you have to dine out...

                    Intermittent Fasting & Keto

                    Keto Recipes

                     

                      Back to Top

                      Section 6: Keto Resources

                      Keto Apps

                      1. Carb Manager

                      The Carb Manager app has the overall goal of making keto, paleo, or any low-carb macro tracking diet easy for anyone. The app has many features but also offers a simple user interface that even keto dieters who aren't all that smartphone-savvy can navigate.

                      Best Keto Diet App - CarbManager

                      2. Keto Diet App

                      This app for keto dieters is available for iPads and both iPhone and Android phones. It allows you to track your calories, macros, monitor your weight loss progress, and access a robust database of over 350 keto-friendly recipes that are regularly updated. 

                      Top Keto Diet App - KetoDietApp

                      3. MyFitnessPal

                      While this popular diet app isn't exclusive to the keto diet, it can be tailored to work quite well for nearly every diet and is very comprehensive. In fact, it's been rated as the #1 Health and Fitness app four years in a row and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA today, and more.

                      Best Keto Diet App - MyFitnessPal 

                      4. Total Keto Diet

                      This app is a great choice for those just starting a keto diet– or those who don't want to pay for an app. Total Keto Diet is made by Tasteaholics. com, a well-known website for keto tips, low carb recipes, and more. 

                      Top Keto Diet App - TotalKetoDiet

                      5. Senza

                      This is an elegant app with a sharp user experience that is an excellent choice for keto beginners. When you log in, it guides you through a five-day step-by-step process for transitioning into a keto diet, teaching you about electrolytes, macros, and the right food choices.

                      Top Keto Diet App - Senza 

                      For more info on these apps, check out our article here.

                       

                      Keto Macro Counter 

                      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
                      Keto Macro Breakdown

                      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

                       

                      Keto Supplements

                      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.

                       

                      Additional Keto Resources

                       

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