Everything you need to know about The keto diet including foods to eat, menus, FAQs, shopping lists, and more.
The ketogenic diet or as most people refer to it, the keto diet. It a popular diet know for being a low-carb, high-fat diet. According to Google, it was one of the most researched diets in 2019 and studies have shown that it has many health benefits. These studies show that can it can approve your overall health, help with epilepsy, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease It also has similarities to The Atkins diet.
What is the Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet helps your body make a switch from burning sugar or glucose in your body to burning off stored body fat. The technical term for this is called ketosis. When you eat foods that have carbs with high amounts of sugar, your body gives you a burst of energy. Your body stores that sugar and it can turn to unwanted fat. However, when you practice a low-carb diet your body, burns the body fat instead, which can help a person lose body fat and weight.
This also happens to people with low sugar or insulin levels. Which is why diabetic may choose to follow this diet.
On the Keto Diet you want to keep your body in Ketosis, hence the name Keto. You are not increasing your carb intake while you are on this diet, like in the Atkins Diet, and you are monitoring your diet restrictions and carb intake more closely. Begin this diet by reducing your carbs and replacing carbs with fat and protein. When you quickly reduce the amount of carbs you are consuming it puts your body into what is called Ketosis. Instead of storing sugars in your body with a carb diet, your body starts to burn unwanted fat. It is important to note that The Keto Diet also limits your amount of protein intake because high amounts of consumed protein can turn into sugar and slow down Ketosis in your body.
Four Different Version of the Keto Diet
There are four main different types or versions of the keto diet. The most well-known ones are the Standard Ketogenic Diet or you may see it referred to as SKD, High Protein Ketogenic Diet, Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD), and Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD). Let’s do a quick breakdown of each one of these diets.
- Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) – this is the most well-known or most popular Keto Diet. It is a very low carb, high-protein diet. The breakdown is 70% fat, only 20% protein, and only 10% carbs.
- High Protein Ketogenic Diet – this is the second most popular Keto Diet. The only difference is the breakdown varies a little. The ratio of this diet is 60% fat, only 35% protein, and only 5% carbs.
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) – this version is the same as the Stand Ketogenic Diet however your 10% carb intake is eaten around your workouts.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) – is also similar to the Stand Ketogenic Diet however, with this diet, you follow the guidelines for SKD for five days, and then you have two days of high carbs.
The last two diets, TKD and CKD are typically followed by athletes, anyone who is going through a strict training routine, or weigh-lifters or bodybuilders, and the first two diets, Standard Ketogenic Diet and High Protein Ketogenic Diet are the main focus of study for health improvements, and diet among healthy individuals.
What Foods Can you Eat?
While on the Keto Diet these are the recommended foods to eat on the Keto Diet.
- Meats – for example, beef, ham, pork, and bacon
- Chicken, turkey, and other poultry
- All fish and seafood
- Dairy – half and half, cheese, grass-fed butter, yogurt, creamer
- Healthy Fats – Avocados, extra virgin olive oils, coconut oil
- Fruits – strawberries, blackberries, raspberries
- Egg – you can have them prepared how you like
- Vegetables – think “green” veggies and vegetables that are low-carb
- All nuts and seeds and all-natural peanut butter
- Artificial sweeteners – Stevia is shown to be the best option
- Condiments – salt and pepper, herbs and spices
What Foods Should you Avoid?
Here are a list of foods you will want to stay away from while on The Keto Diet.
- Sugar, stay away from all sugar, from sugary drinks to cakes, to processed foods
- Grains, this is the second most important one. Grains are high in carbs. This includes all types of pastas, rice, breads, and any high processed carbs
- Vegetables high in starches, for example, potatoes
- Vegetable oils – any oil with a vegetable base
- Fruits that are high in sugar, examples are pineapples, strawberries, and even bananas.
- Beans, examples are kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, etc
- Salad dressings, condiments, and sauses
- Diet foods and processed fats
- Alcohol – including wine, beer, and liquor
What Snacks Can you Have?
The easiest way to stay on your diet is to plan out your meals, eat small meals throughout the day, and have a few approved snack options ready to go. Water is also a good way to fill an empty or hungry stomach.
Here are some approved snacks on the Keto Diet.
- A small cup of plain popcorn
- No sugar jerky
- Celery with all-natural peanut butter or cheese cream
- String cheese or cubbed cheese
- Cottage cheese with mixed berries or strawberries
- Greek yogurt
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Keto sushi
- A cup of cooked green beans or some bell peppers
- Nuts and seeds
- Sliced ham or turkey
- Keto shakes
- Real dark chocolate
Download our free checklists with all the approved Keto Diet foods (and what you should avoid.)
What Can you Drink?
Your go-to drink should be water. Try to drink at least 24oz or 2 liters of water a day. The best way to keep track is by using a water bottle with the ounces labeled. If you are having trouble drinking water throughout the day, keep a note of these options.
- Coffee, and yes you can add cream, half and half is best
- Keto smoothy – check Pinterest for recipes
- Water with a little splash of real lemon
- Some flavored waters and diet soda (this should not be a regular go-to)
- Club soda
- Almond milk
- Wine with low sugar, try red organic keto-friendly wines (limit this is around one glass per week)
The Keto Diet Sample Menu (One Week)
Here’s an example of a simple first week Keto diet plan menu. So if this doesn’t seem to motivate you, there are many great recipes available. Check Pinterest for a huge variety of hundreds of different recipes and ideas. You may want to purchase a cookbook to help you think of creative and delicious meal plans. This menu is a really simple one just to get you started.
- Breakfast: Chia pudding or Greek yogurt topped with some mixed berries
- Lunch: Chicken salad and half an avocado
- Dinner: Burger no bun, add bacon if you like, side of cooked green beans
- Breakfast: Cottage cheese and a few strawberries
- Lunch: Tuna salad and a side of nuts
- Dinner: Lettuce wrapped chicken fajitas with bell peppers and mushrooms, and topped with cheese and sour cream
- Breakfast: eggs and bacon, you can cook the eggs any style you like
- Lunch: Shrimp salad and half an avocado
- Dinner: Stir-fry, your choice of meat, with green vegetables
- Breakfast: scrambled eggs with vegetables
- Lunch: Tuna salad and a side of nuts
- Dinner: Salmon with asparagus cooked in butter
- Breakfast: an omelet with vegetables.
- Lunch: Chicken salad and half an avocado
- Dinner: Meatballs, side salad, and vegetables
- Breakfast: eggs any style and bacon
- Lunch: shrimp salad and a cup of green beans
- Dinner: Steak with a side salad, leftover shrimp, and a cup of cooked green beans
- Breakfast: eggs any style with vegetables
- Lunch: Tuna salad and a side of nuts
- Dinner: Salmon with garlic butter and vegetables
The Keto Diet Shopping List
Meats and Seafood for the week
- Sliced turkey or ham
- No sugar jerky
Dairy and Eggs
- String cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Half and Half
Vegetables for the Week (Select a variety to have with your meals)
- Think “green” veggies
- Green pepper
- Green beans
- Natural peanut butter
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Some flavored waters and diet soda with no sugar
- Club soda
- Almond milk
- Dark chocolate
- Plain popcorn
How to Order at a Restaurant While on the Keto Diet
Everyone enjoys a nice evening out at a restaurant, and you can as well. Here’s a few examples of what to eat or what to order at a restaurant. Make sure to look at the menu ahead of time and also ask for low-carb options at the restaurant. Just remember to sub out rice and potatoes for veggies, stick to protein, and ask for sauce on the side.
- Ordering plain seafood or fish and steamed (plain) veggies is always the easiest option
- Dry rub ribs and a salad or side of veggies
- Steak is always an option
- A burger with no bun
- Chicken or steak with cheese, sour cream, and guacamole is a good option at a Mexican restaurant
- Omelets are always a great option, especially breakfast for dinner
- Salads with a oil and vinegar, no croutons, cheese, or light cheese
Does the Keto Diet Work?
Studies show that The Keto diet is more effective at losing weight than a regular low-fat diet. Especially when you follow the diet closely and stick to the diet for at least two months depending on your weight loss goals. The Keto Diet had shown to help reduce the excess fat in your body and reduce insulin levels. People with type 2 diabetes can have shown success in greatly lowering their insulin levels. Others have lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol. Another huge draw to The Keto diet is its effect on epilepsy, especially in children, and other neurological diseases. The Standard Ketogenic Diet has also been shown to have success with other health issues including;
- Cancer – the Keto diet has shown some effects on slowing down tumor growth and is being explored by some doctors as an additional treatment
- Heart disease – this diet reduces the fat in your body and can greatly lower your insulin which can result in improving your heart health
- IBS – can help calm and regulate your stomach
- Alzheimer’s disease The Keto diet has shown that it may slow the progression of this disease and reduce symptoms
- Parkinson’s disease – Similiar research has been shown to slow the progression of this disease as well as reduce symptoms
It should be noted that there is also research being done on the effect that The Keto Diet can have on improving some brain injures as well as decreasing cystic in some women who are suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which can also affect fertility in some women.
Are There any Serious Risks Related to the Keto Diet?
Like most diets, you are dramatically sending your body into shock, and like anything, it does take time for your body to adjust. The claims are that when you begin this diet you may start using weight quickly. Because of these changes, the most common side effects that people experiences are the following.
- Weakness, feeling of low energy
- Trouble focusing (brain fog)
- Bad breath
- Trouble with sleep
Other more serious related health risks include;
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Being on certain medications, especially for diabetes
- Kidney stones
- fat protein in your liver or low protein in your blood
To help with these side effects make sure you are consuming your full allowed amount of food and keeping your body hydrated. Add a little bit of salt to your diet and take the recommended vitamins from your doctor. Before you start any diet, you should consult your doctor first.
Do you Have any Tips for Starting or Maintaining the Keto diet?
Yes, here are a few suggestions to get your started.
- Go through your pantry and start eliminating foods that are processed or high in carbs
- Start by trying intermitted fasting
- Make a list of the foods that you are going to find hard to cut out of your diet, you are allowed a certain amount of carbs per day
- Use our sample menu to help you start making your own menu for the week or weeks
- Then make a grocery list of those items
- Pack your own foods when going to someone house, especially around the holiday season
- Look for home delivery keto options
- Use Pinterest for inspiration on getting recipe ideas
How do I Keep Track of my Carb Intake?
The best way to keep track of your carb intake while on the keto diet is by using an app. Here are a few of the top keto apps to try.
How Many Carbs Can I Have on the Keto Diet?
You need to eat less than 20 grams of carbs per day to stay in Ketosis. An example of 20 grams would be a small plain bagel. Even having one cheat day can throw you out of Ketosis which is why this diet can be difficult to maintain long term.
What is the Keto Flu?
The Keto flu is having symptoms that are similar to the flu, with the Keto flu is usually starts two to seven days after you start the keto diet. People might also feel especially tired or fatigued. Symptoms may include;
- Brain fog
- Difficulty sleeping
Staying hydrated, drinking drinks with electrolytes, getting enough sleep, reducing exercise, and eating enough healthy fats to replace the decrease in carbs, can all help with the Keto flu.
What is the Dirty Keto Diet or the Lazy Keto Diet?
The dirty keto diet and the lazy keto diet are the same diet. While on these diets you are allowing for packages and processed foods. It can be helpful to those who do not have time to meal prep. It can also include foods that are cheaper and more convenient for example instead of buying grass-fed beef, you may choose to buy whichever beef is less expensive.
What is the Speed Keto Diet?
The Speed Keto Diet is to help you get your body into Ketosis quickly. The idea is to also do intermittent fasting along with Keto, meaning you would only consume one meal per day. You would typically fast for sixteen hours and eat one Keto approved meal during an eight hour period.
What is a Keto Fat Bomb?
A Keto fat bomb is an on the go low-carb sweet treat that you can enjoy up to three per day. They are usually made out of things like coconut oil, coconut butter, cream cheese, avocado, seeds, and nut butter. You can create your own combination based on what you like or you can find a number of recipes to follow.
What Alcohol Can I Have on the Keto Diet?
It is not recommended to consume alcohol while on the Keto diet however there are options for you to have. Please note that drinking alcohol can slow down your Ketosis. However, here are some alcohol beverages that you can enjoy.
- Wine (red is preferred and try organic wines with no sugar)
- Low-calorie and carb beers
How Much Sodium Can I Have on the Keto Diet?
You do want to include salt or sodium in your Keto diet. This will help replace the ketones that are being lost in your body. Since you are not eating processed foods that usually contain lots of salt, you want to simply salt some of the foods that you are preparing at home.
Can I Have Fruit While on The Keto Diet?
Yes, you can have fruit on Keto however your fruit intake should be limited and only eaten a few times per week. When you do indulge in fruit here’s a list of what is on the approved list for the Keto diet.
- Avocado (yes, it’s actually a fruit)
- Lemons (great to add a little lemon squeezed in your cold or hot water)
- Olives (yes, they are actually a fruit)
- Tomatoes (yes, they are actually fruit)
What Vegetables can you Eat on the Keto Diet?
You want to stick is vegetables that are not high in starches. When making your Atkins Diet grocery list or planning your food for the week, think “green veggies” like, spinach, green peppers, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, are just a few. You can refer to our Keto diet grocery list to help you plan your meals for the week. Here’s a list below of the most popular vegetables you can eat on Keto, you can use this as a reference as you plan out your meals.
- Bell Peppers
- Brussels Sprouts
- Chile Peppers
- Collard Greens
- Green Beans
- Olives (actually a fruit)
- Snow Peas
Can I Have Nuts or Seeds on the Keto Diet?
Yes, you can! As you are making your grocery list it might be hard to think of all the different nuts and seeds that you can add to your menu. Here are a few nuts and seeds that you can buy.
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Macadamia Nuts
- Peanuts – you can have all-natural peanut butter as well
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
What is the Difference Between Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis
Ketosis happens with much lower, safer levels of ketones, and occurs when you decrease the amount of carb consumes, and instead of storing sugars in your body with a carb diet, your body starts to burn unwanted fat. Ketosis is healthy and can occur in everyday life or when you start a low-carb diet. Ketoacidosis can be extremely dangerous and is a condition that happens when your body doesn’t have enough insulin and ketones build up too much.
What is the Difference Between the Keto Diet and the Atkins Diet?
The Keto Diet and The Atkins Diet are similar in the fact that they are both low-carb diets and you start both diets with around the same amount of carbs per day. Both diets also restrict or limit certain foods.
However, they are different. On the keto diet you want to keep your body in Ketosis, hence the name Keto. You are not increasing your carb intake while you are on this diet, and you are monitoring your diet restrictions and carb intake more closely. With the Atkins Diet, you are slowly adding more and more carbs back into your diet. With Atkins, you have a wider variety of foods to choose from and the foods you are allowed are less restrictive.
Thank you for reading our guide on The Keto Diet. Please feel free to download and use our free embedded checklists. This will be helpful when creating your menus and making your grocery shopping list.
If you are serious about losing weight quickly and managing your intake of carbs, eating more clean, and staying away from processed carbs, then The Keto Diet would be a great diet for you.