Discover everything you need to get started on the keto diet: getting you into ketosis fast, losing weight, and seeing lifelong results.
*Keep an eye out for keto diet cheatsheets!*
What is the keto diet?
When higher carb foods are consumed insulin is created.
Insulin allows the body to use the sugar from carbs consumed for energy. Most cells within the body cannot directly absorb sugar which is why the body needs to produce insulin.
When the number of carbohydrates in your diet is significantly reduced, insulin production is limited, and ketosis occurs.
The ketogenic diet focuses on the consumption of low carbs, moderate protein, elevated fats, and nutrient-packed foods.
Ketosis is a natural process of the body. Think of ketosis as an energy alternative for the body. Similar to the energy alternatives of the sun, wind, and water versus burning fossil fuels for electricity.
The best part about the ketogenic diet is that there are no tasteless pre-packaged meals that need to be ordered and no questionable diet pills or powders to make this diet work.
What should a keto diet look like?
The focus of a true ketogenic diet is all about eating the real foods that fuel your body and keep it running in tip-top shape.
Making keto the diet of choice for people who are serious about losing weight, keeping excess fat off easily, and taking their health to the next level.
It can take between 2-7 for the body to switch to ketone energy. Glucose energy has to run its course through the body.
Speed up the conversion from glucose energy to ketone energy by eating a well-rounded keto diet. The healthier the foods you introduce to your body the quicker your body can start running on ketones.
Is the keto diet calorie restriction?
The goal of the keto diet is to reduce excess carbohydrates from the body, not necessarily to restrict calories.
To encourage the consumption of raw leafy greens along with healthy organic proteins and fats.
To make the body keto-adapted to increase fat burning, energy, muscles, and brainpower.
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural process of the body.
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body naturally burns fat (aka ketones) for fuel when the body is deprived of carbs or food for an extended period of time.
Metabolism shifts and the body starts to burn fat for energy, producing high levels of ketones and leading to rapid amounts of weight loss.
To get the best results the macros should be balanced.
By severely decreasing carbs the body begins to switch from glucose energy to fat (ketone) energy. This is known as metabolic ketosis.
Your personal range may vary slightly depending on your activity levels and life style.
The percentages are parts of your total calories needs.
Example: You need 2,000 calories per day. That comes out to. . .
1. 25 grams of carbs
2. 100 grams of protein
3. 166 grams of fat
Keep in mind these numbers will vary by activity level.
What are macros? And why are they important to the keto diet?
To understand the keto diet you should understand some basic terms used within the keto community. These words will help you to easily grasp the ketogenic diet.
A natural metabolic body process that starts when the body is deprived of carbs or food for an extended period of time. Also known as metabolic ketosis.
Fatty molecules that are broken down in the liver. Ketones become the body and mind's new source of energy. There are three types of ketones.
This is the goal for long term fat energy and health. Ketones begin to reduce in overall numbers because the body is effectively able to access and oxidize stored and dietary fat for energy. Also called keto-adapted.
Macros or macronutrients:
Types of nutrients from foods that are required for a healthy diet. Fats, proteins, and carbs are all macros.
A macronutrient that provides huge energy storage and fuel. As well as metabolism, tissue health, and vitamin absorption.
According to keto: Fat is a lever and the amount of fat you eat will change depending on your goals.
Carbs or carbohydrates:
A macronutrient that supplies insulin to the body. Healthy carbs from whole food sources help to stabilize energy levels, cholesterol profiles, and body composition.
According to keto: To stay in ketosis limit your carb intake.
A macronutrient that is very important to the health and function of cells, muscles, tissues, and organs.
According to keto: Hit your protein goals daily. Protein is very important. Don't worry about going a little over your macro goals.
Choosing the right type of keto diet for you
In this section, you're going to read about some awesome ways to get the best results from the keto diet.
From the right types of keto for your lifestyle to the best ways to test for ketones.
Even to all the awesome benefits you can experience with the keto diet.
What are the different types of keto diets?
There are 6 variations of the ketogenic diet. Each variation is meant to meet the needs of an individual.
Picking the right type of keto is as simple as knowing what types of keto diets exist.
Standard Keto Diet (SKD)
Also known as strict keto or clean keto. The SDK diet is meant to reduce fat quickly even with little to moderate amounts of exercise.
A typical keto diet will get 60 to 75 percent of its calories from fat, 15 to 30 percent of calories from protein, and 5 to 10 percent of calories from carbohydrates.
Follows the same macro guidelines as standard keto, but there is little to no tracking of macros
In general a lazy keto’er sticks to net carbs limits and may eat non keto foods daily.
Dirty keto is also called “if it fits my macros keto”
Again, the macros are generally the same as standard keto expect there is absolutely zero regard for fats, proteins, or carb sources.
This could be helpful for those who have been following the keto diet a long time but can be a slippery slope for others.
THE NEXT 3 TYPES OF KETO DIETS ARE BEST FOR PEOPLE WHO EXERCISE FREQUENTLY OR HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS.
High Protein Keto
Your carb range stays the same. Protein is heightened to 35-40% and fats are slightly lowered to 60-65%
Cyclical KetoDiet (CKD)
This type of keto is cheat day approved
CKD is a keto diet with alternating periods of high carb consumption. These high carb consumption days are known as carb-up, carb-fueling, or carb-loading.
CKD followers might have six SKD days followed by one high-carb day.
Carb-loading refills glycogen stores in muscles and provides a substantial boost in fuel during training. Without high carb days, it may be more challenging to reach heightened levels of training.
Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)
With TKD you’re eating high carb meals 30-60 minutes before a high-intensity workout. Making up at least half, if not all, your carb intake for the day.
The purpose of TKD is to maintain intense exercise and promote quick glycogen replacement without interfering with ketosis.
I personally have worked out 6 times a week while being fat-adapted. Meaning, instead of carb cycling, I worked through ketosis and have been able to exercise almost daily with a high-fat diet alone.
Remember, just because something does not work for you that doesn't mean it won't work for someone else.
Your ideal body and health should always be personalized to your needs.
How I do I know I'm in ketosis?
A simple way to know when your going into ketosis
You can enter into ketosis within 2 to 7 days depending on what you are eating, body type, and lifestyle.
Since more energy is required and glucose is depleted quicker, very active people tend to go into ketosis faster.
Neither exercise, fasting, or taking exogenous ketones is needed to enter ketosis. The key is eating a well-balanced keto diet.
You can test for ketosis. There are 4 key ketosis testing methods. I’m going to tell you about all 4 and then tell you which on is my favorite.
Testing with "body benefits" is my favorite test.
I was never a fan of testing for ketosis with a device. I could not do it regularly enough to justify the cost.
I exercise and eat healthily, so the body benefits test fits my personal lifestyle the best. And is my all-time favorite.
It will cost extra money to buy urine and blood strips. On top of the initial cost of each ketone meter.
Testing strips are optional. It is completely up to your comfort level to test for ketones.
If you decide you want to test your ketone levels click on the keto test you're interesting in to find the best fit for you:
Do I have to test ketone levels?
You don't have to buy any fancy devices to test your ketone levels. You can absolutely go off of the benefits you experience.
If you decide to not use any ketone tests you can purely go off of. . .
1. How you feel overall
2. Body improvements (weight, fat loss, measurements, muscle tone)
3. Health improvements
Use the keto benefits infographic to see the many ways that keto can be measured.
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What are the health benefits of the keto diet?
Speaking of benefits let’s slide right into the benefits of the keto diet. Cause the benefits is why we’re all here.
There are numerous health benefits to the keto diet that separate this diet from others. And it's the reason that so many people, like myself, consider keto not only a diet but a complete lifestyle change.
Running off of health fats completely changes the body from a molecular level. In turn, having a positive effect on every part of the body.
How do I start the keto diet?
Start the keto diet in 5 simple steps to see the results you crave
Step One: Clear your pantry
Keep temptation at bay by tossing out distracting foods.
Get rid of sugary, highly processed, and high carb foods and snacks.
This includes desserts, candy bars, and non-keto breads.
Helping you to avoid unnecessary snack times.
Step Two: Seeing is believing
Record your weight and take photos of your body now.
Once a week take photos, measurements, and track how you’re doing on reaching your goals
People who are emotionally invested tend to stick to their goals. Plus you get to track and see your results along the way!
Who else is ready to show off their before and after photos?
Step Three: Make a plan
To get all those awesome benefits we talked about yesterday make sure you’re eating healthy fats, incredible proteins, and awesome carbs.
The best way to make sure your meals are perfectly set up for results is by planning your meals ahead of time.
At least 2 days in advance.
Step Four: Move your body
Energy is a huge benefit of the keto diet. Take advantage of your new-found energy levels. Get your body moving.
If you’re not familiar with a consistent exercise routine the best place to start is with a nice 20 minutes walk around your neighborhood.
Start to think of physical activities that you would enjoy to make losing weight fun.
Maybe hiking, fishing, snowboarding, or jogging.
Step Five: Results time
The best part of changing your diet and lifestyle is all the awesome results.
You are going to start seeing incredible results. To keep those results and gain more keep up with your roadmap. You got this!
Make seeing results easy with Easy Keto Menus 4 week meal plan. A private keto course with delicious meals and personalized tracking.
What food can I eat on the ketogenic diet?
The best part of any diet should be the foods.
To stick to a diet you have to like the foods you eat, otherwise, the diet won't stick to you.
Most people that quit a diet do so because the food was too limited and not very tasty.
The ketogenic diet allows people to eat a whole range of yummy food from natural sources. All while keeping bad sugars low and protein and fats in check.
Keep this chart handy when deciding what foods to enjoy freely, enjoy in moderation, and avoid altogether.
What are keto side effects?
There are a few different ways to tell when your body is in ketosis.
One way to tell that your body is going into ketosis is by experiencing some flu-like symptoms.
These flu-like symptoms are commonly known as the keto flu.
Length and variation of flu symptoms depend on your health status before starting the keto diet. For some, symptoms last one or two days. And for others, symptoms can last 3 weeks.
There are a few factors that determine the length and type of keto flu symptoms. They include:
Remember, switching from glucose fuel to fat fuel requires some effort on your body's behalf.
Once you figure out what your symptoms are you can use some of these simple tricks to overcome them.
Reference this infographic below to learn about possible keto flu symptoms and how to overcome each.
The most common keto flu symptoms include fatigue, sugar cravings, irritability, and frequent urination.
Not all people experience keto flu side effects or flu like symptoms.
I know you might love sugary drinks, but they won't help you to get healthy.
Drink (at least) half your body weight in ounces everyday to keep your body lubricated and digestive system flowing smoothly.
Example: You weigh 200 pounds.
Drink: 100 ounces of water total by the end of the night. That's only 12 cups - you can do that!
How do I eat out on the keto diet?
Raise your hand if you have ever quit a diet in the past because you felt like you could no longer enjoy meals out with family and friends? Yeah, me too.
Eat out. That very idea is one of the main things that attracted me to the keto diet and helped me to turn it into a lifestyle. By sticking to the Easy Keto Menus guideline I enjoy tasty and filling meals at all restaurants.
The Easy Keto Menus "Guidelines to Enjoying Tasty Meals At Any Restaurant"
Stay away from grains, potatoes, and sugar (G.P.S.) By avoiding you’ve already won half the battle.
Ask for real butter at nicer restaurants along with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.
These go great on salads or a nice protein (meat or meat substitutes).
Sauce, Maybe Not
Avoid sauces that you are unsure of. Some restaurants add flour and sugar to sauces.
The wait staff is normally trained to explain ingredients so don’t be afraid to ask.
Coffee, Tea, Water
Stick to those three drink options. Some places offer naturally sweetened sodas or sparkling waters, those are fine too.
Be aware of diet sodas. For some people diet, soda causes them to get intense cravings for sugary treats.
Find sodas that use other keto-friendly natural sweeteners.
Tips to reaching my goals with ease on the keto diet
Over the years I have come to develop some tips and tricks that I recommend to all keto diet'ers. These are tried and true, keeping you on track to your goals with ease.
Drinking purified water is the best way to hydrate, clean, and help your body run it’s best. You should be drinking at least half your body weight, in ounces, in water a day.
I’m 130 pounds, so I need about 65 fl. oz of water per day.
BEWARE OF ADDED SUGARS
There seems to be a lot of added sugars in pre-packaged and processed foods. Sugars easily increase carb levels. A simple ingredient list check will give you an answer.
DON’T OBESE OVER THE SCALE
Sometimes people get caught up in weighing themselves day in and day out. Creating anxiety and stress. Check your weight once a month or, at most, once per week.
Once I hit my weight loss goal I stopped weighing myself altogether. I go off of how I’m feeling, how my clothes fit, and my energy levels.
TEST AND ADJUST
The only way to truly know what works best for your body is by doing little tests and adjusting as you go. Keeping a journey will help.
CELEBRATE ALL YOUR WINS
Every time you hit a goal, big or small, celebrate each win by finding a special prize for yourself. Write your goals down and place a picture of your prize next to it. That way you can always keep your eye on the prize and know what is in it for you once you hit your goal.
These simple tips and tricks can make weight loss more fun and has helped
lots of people to focus and stick to their diet plan.
What are the best supplements to take on the keto diet?
You don’t have to take supplements to see results on the keto diet, but on that same note, I understand there are different circumstances within every lifestyle.
On average about 40% of Americans have a nutrient deficiency.
You may be one of those people starting the keto diet with a deficiency that is affecting your health, but when you cut out unhealthy foods and add in healthy keto choices.
You will really start to notice some incredible changes in your body.
Everyone has unique needs, sensitivities, and lifestyles.
Supplements are a great middle-ground for those who are lacking in certain nutritional areas.
I’m going to touch on my commonly recommended supplements.
Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are very popular among keto dieters.
MCTs are broken down by the liver and can quickly enter the bloodstream, which increases ketone levels and helps you stay in ketosis.
MCT’s can be used as a fuel source for your brain, muscles, and weight loss.
You can increase your intake of virgin coconut oil or to enjoy a concentrated dose, buy a bottle of liquid MCT oil.
Put it in a smoothie, use as a salad dressing, or in your morning coffee
You're consuming external ketones into your body.
Generally, people take exogenous ketones to help them reach ketosis quicker and decrease appetite.
You can get the same quality ketones, if not better, but eating real foods allowing your body to naturally create ketones.
Great way to get tons of vegetables in one simple pre-mix.
Get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to fight inflammation, lower disease risk, and help your body maintain function.
Blend up with water, nut milk, and low carb fruits to make a nutritious smoothie.
On or off the keto diet everyone should work on incorporating more veggies into their daily lives.
A superfood powder helps us to do that.
About 40% of the US population is deficient in vitamin D, so adding this supplement into your daily life might be just what you need to aid in bone health and a strong immune system.
The keto diet is the perfect partner when taking a vitamin D supplement because fat makes it easy to absorb.
Vitamin D is easily found in red meat, UV mushrooms, eggs, liver, yogurt, cheese, nuts, and more
Electrolytes are minerals charged with electricity that helps with muscle and organ health, waste removal, and smooth digestion.
The 3 electrolytes you want to mind are potassium, sodium, and magnesium.
You can get formulated electrolyte supplements with one or more types of electrolytes combined in either a pill form or drops that you can add to water.
If you constantly have problems with your digestive tract, I’d suggest taking live enzymes or probiotics.
This gives your body the good gut bugs it needs to break down and digestive food plus create energy.
You can also take fiber powders. Just beware of fiber mixes a lot of those have added cane sugar, which could cause inflammation and high carbs kicking you out of ketosis.
How do I tell I'm fat-adapted?
You did it!
You stuck to the keto diet, got through the keto flu and noticed some great results. Now the question becomes, "Am I fat-adapted?"
There are a few ways to tell that you are fat-adapted and ready for long term fat loss and health.
- Excess appetite is gone
- Sugar and carb cravings are gone (if not reduced tremendously)
- Your body can run longer without constantly needing to eat (intermittent fasting)
- You have steady energy throughout the day
- You can exercise regularly without needing to carb load
The indicators above are signs that your body is able to efficiently run off of its own fat stores and consumed fat.
After 1 to 3 months of being in ketosis, fat is officially the main fuel source of your body. The body no longer needs glucose for energy which is why carb, sugar cravings, and excess appetite go away.
At this point, your body is now a well-oiled machine. The best thing for you to do is to stick with it - keep going. You're on the right track.
14 Simple answers to common keto diet questions
1. Should I stop eating carbs "cold turkey" (all at once)?
If your current diet relies heavily on carbs and sugar intake I suggest you slowly reduce your carb consumption over a period of time. Between a 2 to 4 week period seems to work for many people.
People who regularly eat a lot of sugar products and carbs tend to have really bad cravings and sugar addiction withdrawal. Adjust as needed and when you feel a craving drink water.
Use these 5 simple steps to start your ketogenic diet.
2. Can I ever eat carbs freely?
In short, yes, you can eat carbs freely but whether you stay in ketosis or become fat-adapted is another question.
3. So does that mean I can never cheat and eat a carb heavy food or snack?
No, it's only natural for a person to have a cheat day or meal once in a while. As you continue with the keto diet those cravings for carbs and sugars will go away. Along with your need to cheat.
Your ketone and blood sugar levels may be affected, especially if you are diabetic.
4. Can I build muscle on the keto diet?
Yes, the moderate amount of protein on the keto diet allows for muscle function and build. You might not build muscle as fast as you would with a carb-heavy diet.
You may be interested in a keto diet variation that has worked for weight lifters and athletes.
5. Will my urine and breath smell bad?
While going into ketosis excess ketones (mainly acetone) may cause a funny smell in your urine or your breath. This is a side effect of transition and goes away once in ketosis.
6. What can I do for my bad breath?
When your breath gets bad, use a tongue scraper or chew on a piece of sugar-free gum. Both items are travel-friendly.
7. Is keto crotch real?
Just like urine and breath, your body can also release excess acetone into the sweat. If you sweat a lot in your crotch area you may notice a smell.
Women especially have a delicate PH system. The body is making some changes, which may affect PH levels. Causing a certain smell to develop.
Wear breathable cotton underwear and carry a spare with you if you notice any "keto crotch" signs.
Remember this is temporary!
8. Is ketosis the same as ketoacidosis?
No, ketosis is not ketoacidosis.
Ketosis is a natural part of the metabolic system. While ketoacidosis is a rare form of highly acidic blood that occurs in uncontrolled diabetes.
9. Can I do keto if I have a health condition?
There are so many health conditions out there that it would be irresponsible of me to give a definite answer for all.
If you have a health condition that requires a team of doctors, speak to them. Let them know your plans and why you choose the keto diet. You know your body best.
10. Will I have digestive issues?
Healthy digestion comes with healthy foods. Eat your vegetables, get some fiber, and drink lots of water.
11. If I eat too much protein will I be kicked out of ketosis?
No, not necessarily. Depending on a person's lifestyle and activity level more protein may be recommended and will be used up during exercise and to replenish the body afterward.
If you plan on decreasing your activity level for the long term you might want to look into recalculating your macros.
Read more about why protein is important and the best types of protein HERE.
12. Are ketosis and fat-adaption the same thing?
Although both provide energy there is a slight difference. Ketosis is the act of using ketones derived from fat tissues for energy.
Being fat-adapted means that the body can now efficiently oxidize fat. Whether it's from food or stored.
13. DO I HAVE TO MEAL PLAN TO SEE RESULTS?
You can enjoy many of the awesome benefits that keto provides without meal planning, but meal planning helps you to always eat keto foods, not have to stress about dinner, and save money.
14. IS THE KETO DIET EXPENSIVE?
The keto diet relies on you eating fresh foods as much as possible. In that sense, it can get a little pricey, especially if you are planning and shopping for each meal last minute.
That's another reason meal planning is so sought after by keto diet'ers who want to see results without spending tons of money.
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