Over recent years, ketogenic diets have become increasingly popular. Many people are realizing how powerful a ketogenic lifestyle is not only for health, but for dropping weight FAST.
The diet is otherwise known as ‘keto,’ and it’s high in fat and extremely low in carbs.
But there are a few things to be aware of, such as the benefits, best foods to eat, foods to avoid, possible dangers and side effects.
This guide will show you all of these things.
Also, the guide provides sample keto meal plans, snack ideas, and guidance on where to find the best online keto resources.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
Ketogenic diets are a way of eating that focus on strictly limiting carbohydrate.
And if implemented well, ketogenic diets can be incredibly beneficial.
By and large, those following a keto plan eat higher amounts of fat, moderate protein, and a very small amount of carbs.
As long as you keep carbs very low, then keto is possible on a range of macronutrient ratios.
However, in my case I’d aim for macros similar to this:
How do keto diets work?
When you keep carbs very low for an extended period, the body enters nutritional ketosis.
Ketosis refers to a state in which the body starts burning fat for energy rather than carbohydrate.
On a typical high carb diet, the body burns glucose. In contrast, the ketogenic diet encourages the body to start using ketones for fuel.
Ketones are a type of molecule that our liver produces during times of carbohydrate restriction (or overall low food intake).
The human body can use both glucose and ketones for fuel.
How many carbohydrates should I eat?
Respected low carb researchers Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney advise aiming for an upper limit of 50 grams total carbs. Below this number is also widely accepted as a ketogenic diet..
Generally speaking, you can eat this amount of carbohydrate and still be in ketosis.
However, everybody is different, and the exact number will depend on the individual – it might be 35g, or it might be 70g.
How can I tell I’m in ketosis?
There are many signs which suggest you might be in ketosis:
- Rapid weight loss, usually due to a drop in water weight
- Better feelings of satiety and reduced food cravings
- Possible short-term side effects such as bad breath and fatigue
- If you want to be 100% sure, then you can use a ketone breath analyzer or a urine strip to measure for ketones.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
Keto wouldn’t be so popular if it didn’t have benefits–and there are many of them.
Blood sugar and insulin levels improve: As ketogenic diets cut out sugar and carbohydrates, blood sugar levels tend to fall. In recent times, many people with diabetes are successfully managing their condition using a keto plan.
Effortless dieting: Have you ever tried a low-fat diet before? If you have, you may remember how difficult it can be to control food cravings.
However, keto diets encourage satiety due to their higher fat and protein content.
Massive reductions in triglycerides: Triglycerides are one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Carbohydrate restriction leads to lower triglyceride levels.
Keto helps manage brain-related diseases and illnesses: Ketogenic diets can be therapeutic for a variety of brain conditions, whether severe chronic diseases or mild problems.
Research shows that being in ketosis has potential benefits for brain tumor cases, depression, epilepsy, and migraines.
Significant increase in HDL levels: Lower intake of carbohydrate combined with higher fat consumption tends to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels.
Cardiovascular researchers accept that higher HDL levels are protective against heart disease.
Leads to greater weight loss than other diets: In several studies directly comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, diets low in carbohydrate promote more significant weight loss.
This weight loss is likely due to greater satiety from foods higher in fat and protein.
May protect against some cancers: Cancer cells have a preference for glucose to fuel growth.
And while they can still grow in carbohydrate-restricted conditions, some studies suggest that ketogenic diets may help prevent/fight certain cancers.
Clinical trials are ongoing and we hope to have some positive results showing the ketogenic diet reducing cancer risk.
Note: This is still very early science and there is no clear evidence on the topic. No diet should be considered as an alternative to conventional treatment.
Possible benefits for Alzheimer’s disease: Further research is necessary, but ketogenic diets may help by supplying the brain with ketones, which it can use for energy.
Alzheimer’s patients have impaired glucose metabolism, and studies show ketone levels positively correlate with memory performance and cognition.
Reduction in blood pressure: High blood pressure (hypertension) is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Conventional advice may over-estimate the impact of salt, and excessive refined carbohydrate intake has a larger effect on blood pressure than sodium.
Ketogenic diets naturally reduce refined carb consumption, and many following such diets experience a decrease in blood pressure.
It’s enjoyable, and it’s sustainable: And this last one’s pretty obvious. What sounds more appealing to you: low-fat crackers, skim milk, and a fat-trimmed chicken breast? Or steak, cheese, and some dark chocolate?
Key Point: Ketogenic diets have a lot of potential health benefits, but we shouldn’t claim them to be a cure-all solution. Keto is also very sustainable because most of the food tastes delicious.
What Foods Can I Eat on Keto?
The first thing to remember is that despite having a ‘restrictive’ reputation, there are many things that you can eat on keto.
Want to put a ketogenic diet shopping list together? Then here are some tables showing a list of suitable foods.
Learn How The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet Can Help You Lose 9-21 Pounds In 21 Days (Complete Meal Plan and Over 60 Keto-Friendly Recipes)
Milk contains too many sugars in the form of lactose, but aside from that most dairy foods are ideal.
- Cottage cheese
- Cream Creme
- Sour cream
Eggs, Meat, and Poultry
You can include all meat and poultry in a keto plan– preferably a wide variety of cuts, including bone-in meats.
- Beef – all cuts
- Fermented Meats (prosciutto, salami)
- Venison and wild game
Fats and Oils
While any fat is technically suitable for a ketogenic diet, it’s better to avoid industrial vegetable oils.
Here are some healthy fat sources:
- Avocado Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Extra Virgin
- Olive Oil
- Goose Fat
- Macadamia Nut Oil
- Red Palm Oil
There are countless edible fish and here are some of the commonly available ones:
Fruit (low sugar)
Since ketogenic diets require carbohydrate intake to be very low, most fruits are unsuitable.
However, there are plenty of low sugar fruits that are perfectly fine in moderation.
- Lemon and Lime
Nuts And Seeds
Most nuts are great for a ketogenic diet, but cashews, chestnuts, and pistachios are too high in carbohydrate.
Nuts are very energy-dense, so a handful should be enough (1 ounce/28grams)
Here are the best low-carb choices:
- Brazil Nuts
- Pine Nuts
Some seeds are also a reasonably nutritious option for keto diets. Aim for around 1 ounce.
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Shellfish and Seafood
Vegetables Suitable For Keto
Generally speaking, lower carb veggies should be the focus: cruciferous veg and leafy greens.
The plants that grow above ground have the lowest carb count, while vegetables growing underground tend to have more.
However, a small amount of below ground vegetables should be okay if you factor them into your total carb count.
Artichoke AsparagusBeet Greens Bell PeppersBok Choy BrocolliBrussels Sprouts CabbageCauliflower CeleryChives CucumberEggplant Green BeansGreen Onion KaleKohlrabi LeekLettuce MushroomsRadish Red CabbageRutabaga SeaweedSpaghetti Squash SpinachSwiss Chard TomatoTurnip Zucchini
Key Point: As shown above, ketogenic diets might restrict some foods — but there is still a great deal of choice.
Ketogenic Diet Snack Ideas
In addition to the above food groups, there are a number of convenient snacks which are suitable for ketogenic diets.
Here’s a list to give you a few ideas:
Berries and cream: Your choice of berries in a bowl with some heavy cream.Boiled eggs: If you have any feelings of hunger, a few boiled eggs does a great thing for satiety.Celery with cream cheese: Spread some cream cheese on a few stalks of celery for some nutrients and fat-soluble vitamins.Cheese and
Prosciutto: If you’re craving some finger-food, then cheese and prosciutto is an excellent option. Add a glass of red wine if you like.Dark chocolate: 85% minimum.Guacamole salad: Mash some guacamole and add in your ingredients of choice.Keto milkshake: blend some coconut milk alongside some cacao and a natural (ish) sweetener such as erythritol. Another good option is to use fresh berries for a fruit milkshake.Mozzarella sticks: The website ‘Healthful Pursuit’ has some delicious looking mozzarella sticks made with almond flour.Pork rinds: Crispy pork goodness that you can easily make at home.Key
Point: A ketogenic diet doesn’t only mean meat and vegetables. There are also dozens of tasty keto snacks you can make.
Foods to Avoid on Keto
Due to the nature of the ketogenic diet, carbohydrate content in food should be low — ideally below about 5% or so.
Therefore, you need to restrict grains, starches, sugars and high-carb plant foods.
Below you can see a list of foods to avoid if you want to achieve ketosis:
BeerCakesCookiesCerealsDried fruit (a slight amount is OK, but best avoided)Fruits high in carbs (banana, mango, papaya, etc.)Fruit juiceGrains (bread, oats, pasta, rice, etc.)LegumesLow-fat processed foodsMilk (a very small amount is OK)Sugary foods in generalSweet wines/sugary alcohol in generalTubers such as parsnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoesAnd these foods are technically ‘ketogenic,’ but it’s better to avoid them for health:
Low-carb processed foods: they may be low-carb, but they’re usually full of additives.MargarineVegetable oilsNot ready to give up alcohol?
If you like drinking from time to time, then that is no problem – there are many low carb alcohol drinks out there.
Spirits and dry red wine are two of the best choices.
Keto versions of high-carb foods
While it’s better to stick with nutrient-dense foods like meat, fish, and vegetables, many people like a treat from time to time.
And if you want to be ‘keto’ yet still have a pizza, some bread, or even a piece of cake – it’s possible.
There are many delicious low-carb recipes available for all of these things, and there are hundreds on Pinterest.
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Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan
Not sure on how you can eat keto style?
Then here are some breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas for every day of the week.
Bacon and Eggs: Several slices of bacon, some fried eggs, mushrooms, and a grilled tomato.
Mackerel: A baked or steamed fillet of mackerel with some leafy greens sauteed in butter.
Crustless Quiche: A crustless quiche recipe is an easy breakfast that also tastes delicious. Bacon and cheese make a great flavor combination.
Omelet: A cheese and vegetable omelet using your favorite veggies.Boiled Eggs: Several boiled eggs, some cheese, and an avocado.
Scrambled Eggs: Scrambled eggs with some meat and veggies of your choice.
Ham, egg and cheese melt: A ham, melted cheese, and egg sandwich. While bread isn’t keto-friendly, you can use a low-carb bread recipe such as cloud bread.
Chicken Salad: Diced chicken, salad greens, cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.
Finger Food: A handful of nuts, slices of cheese, and some berries.
Cloud Bread Sandwich: A ham, cheese, and salad cloud bread roll.
Chicken Soup: Chicken, stock, some cream, pepper, salt, and mushrooms. And if you want to eat it hot in the office, then it’s possible if you use a mini portable oven.
Zoodle Carbonara: First, you need some zoodles, and then add cream, ham, egg, and seasonings. Tastes better warm!
Beef and Tomato Soup: Simmer beef, onion, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, and herbs of your choice for about 1 hour. This meal can be reheated later if eating away from home.
Low Carb Sushi Roll: Instead of using rice in the nori wraps, use cream cheese instead. Then add some sashimi of your choice (salmon tastes good!).
Pork Chops: A pork chop cooked with onion and garlic, and some buttered asparagus.
Cream Salmon: A fillet salmon covered in coconut cream cheese sauce, with some broccoli and mushrooms.
Steak: A piece of steak with mushrooms, garlic, and green beans.
Frittata: A cheese, mushroom and vegetable frittata.
Sausages: Some (real meat) sausages, alongside some mashed rutabaga with butter and sauteed garlic and onions.
Chicken Curry: Curries are a great meal for ketogenic diets because they are mainly fat and protein. All you have to do is skip the rice.
Low Carb Pizza: Make a fathead pizza; it tastes great, and it’s reasonably healthy.
Keto Friendly Restaurants
For keto on the go, then look for any meat-based restaurants.
A steak or piece of meat/fish along with some vegetables is suitable for a ketogenic diet, and you can find restaurants offering this up almost everywhere.
Keto Fast Food
For some fast food choices that are relatively healthy and compatible with keto, see here.
How YOU Can Lose 14 Pounds Or More In 30 Days Or Less With The Ketogenic Diet
No single diet is suitable for everyone, especially since individual metabolism, genes, body types, lifestyles, taste buds and personal preferences differ.
However, the ketogenic diet can work wonders for people who are overweight or at risk of metabolic syndrome.
Nevertheless, if you dislike high-fat foods but love carbs, this diet may be hard for you to stick to. If you still like the idea of a low-carb diet, then carb cycling or a standard low-carb diet may be better options for you.
Ketogenic diets may also be used in the short-term, to help you lose fat and improve health. Yet this requires a lot of discipline, and must be followed with healthy eating.
A ketogenic diet may also not be the best option for elite athletes or those wishing to build large amounts of muscle. Vegetarians or vegans may also struggle with this diet, due to the key role played by meats, eggs, fish and dairy.
Additionally, the transition to a ketogenic diet can occasionally cause negative symptoms that are often referred to as “keto flu.”
This may include poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, digestive discomfort and poor exercise performance.
While this only happens rarely, it may cause some people to quit before they even get started properly, especially as the first few weeks of any diet are the toughest.
Due to the very limited carb intake — less than 50 grams per day — ketogenic diets also may not be suitable for people who want to take the weekend off.
The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet can provide amazing results if you stick to it. However, it may not be the best option for everyone.
What Do People Who’ve Lost 50 Pounds Or More Know That You Don’t?
Does it feel like no matter what you do, weight loss is ALWAYS a struggle? Yet for others it comes easy. What do THEY know that you don’t?
What are THEY doing that you aren’t?
I’m sorry to say, it’s not the latest exercise craze, dietary supplements, magic pill, or extract that’s helping others lose weight.
It’s a sustainable program that is focused on your unique metabolism, hormones, and lifestyle. A program with YOU in mind.
When I launched the 3-Week Ketogenic Diet 1 year ago, I never thought over 3,000 people would have downloaded and used this plan. Much less have over 100 people lose over 20 pounds in 21 days.
The results keep coming in and I’m STILL shocked to see some of the transformations, but the messages NEVER get old.
If you’d like to become the next success story, then watch the free presentation and read the success stories, then share yours in 3ish weeks inside our private support group on Facebook, here’s some of the messages: