Ketogenic Diet: A Beginner’s Guide and Meal Plan

The ketogenic diet refers to a low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet designed to induce a state of ketosis, typically limiting carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day and protein to less than 1.5 grams per pound of body weight for those performing heavy exercises. Fat makes up the majority of the caloric intake, often exceeding 70-80% of total calories.

In Wajeed Masood’s 2023 book “Ketogenic Diet,” the Keto diet is defined as a dietary regimen that focuses on promoting rapid weight loss, enhancing mental clarity, and increasing energy. By drastically reducing carbohydrates and increasing fat and protein, this diet leads the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis, where fat becomes the primary source of energy, ultimately aiming to reduce body fat and improve metabolic health.

A keto diet plan for weight loss is a structured meal regimen that adheres to one of several types of keto diets, utilizing a keto food list rich in high-fat, low-carb options like meats, avocados, and leafy greens, while deliberately avoiding foods such as grains, sugars, and most fruits. In this keto diet review, we explain how the keto diet works, discuss the pros and cons of the keto diet, and compare it to other weight loss diets.

Table of Contents

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet designed to induce a metabolic state known as ketosis, typically restricting carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day and increasing fat to make up more than 70% of total caloric intake. According to a 2021 study by Kathryn Dowis from Western Kentucky University, this diet has shown promise in helping patients lose weight, reverse metabolic syndrome, and improve various health markers such as lipid profiles and inflammation.

What is the purpose of the Ketogenic Diet?

The purpose of the keto diet is to induce a state of nutritional ketosis, where the body switches from using glucose to using ketone bodies from fat as its primary source of energy. Similarly to other weight loss diets, the primary purpose is also to facilitate weight loss, but it has additional potential health benefits such as improving lipid profiles and reducing insulin requirements for type II diabetics, as supported by a 2021 study titled “The Potential Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet: A Narrative Review.”

What was the original purpose of the Ketogenic Diet?

The original purpose of the ketogenic diet was as a treatment for epilepsy, with the diet being developed in 1921. It was designed to reduce seizures in patients and has since been studied for various conditions.

How does the Ketogenic Diet work?

The ketogenic diet works by limiting carbohydrate intake to approximately 5-10% of total calories consumed, resulting in a metabolic state called ketosis where the body primarily uses fat as a fuel source.

how keto diet work for weight loss
How does the Ketogenic Diet work?

This leads to the production of ketone bodies, such as acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate, which provide energy to vital organs and the brain.

How does ketosis aid weight loss on the Ketogenic diet?

Ketosis aids weight loss on the Ketogenic diet by forcing the body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This metabolic shift can lead to rapid weight loss, with some studies reporting a loss of 4-10% of body weight within a few months of being in ketosis.

What are the overall pros and cons of the Ketogenic diet?

The overall pros of the ketogenic diet include potential weight loss, improved lipid profiles, reduced insulin dependency in diabetes, and adjuvant treatment for cancer. The cons of the ketogenic diet include a lack of nutritional adequacy, potential side effects like microbiome changes, and limited long-term studies. This video, featuring Heather Pierce, MS, RD, CDE, LDN, from Blount Memorial Hospital, explains the pros and cons of the keto diet.

What are the health benefits of the Ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet offers benefits such as rapid weight loss, improved metabolic markers, reduced risk of chronic diseases, enhanced satiety, better appetite control, and maintenance of basal metabolic rates.

  1. Improved metabolic markers: Enhances insulin sensitivity and improves lipid profiles.
  2. Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Lowers the risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and heart disease.
  3. Enhanced satiety: Helps in feeling full, aiding in appetite control.
  4. Reduced food cravings: Helps in controlling the urge to consume unhealthy foods.
  5. Maintenance of basal metabolic rates: More effective than low-fat diets in maintaining metabolic rates.

Studies have shown that people on a ketogenic diet can experience an average weight loss that is 2-3 times greater compared to those on low-fat diets.

What are the Ketogenic diet benefits for weight loss?

The keto diet offers several benefits for weight loss. A 2020 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials by Zhengxiang Huang from the University of Queensland indicated that reducing carbohydrate intake through the ketogenic diet can lead to significant reductions in body weight and fat mass while maintaining lean mass.

Furthermore, a two-year study conducted in 2008 by Iris Shai from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, comparing low-fat, Mediterranean, and low-carbohydrate diets, found that the low-carb group experienced the greatest weight loss. This group maintained dietary adherence and achieved a similar calorie deficit, making the keto diet an effective option for individuals seeking weight loss without the need for strict calorie restriction.

Why am I not losing weight on a Ketogenic diet?

If you’re not experiencing weight loss on the ketogenic diet, it’s crucial to confirm nutritional ketosis by limiting carbs to under 50 grams per day and consider adjusting your calorie intake. Factors like hormonal imbalances or medical conditions might also play a role, so consulting a healthcare professional for evaluation is advisable.

What are the side effects of the Ketogenic diet?

The side effects of the ketogenic diet, as outlined in a 2022 study by Thien Vinh Luong from Aarhus University Hospital, encompass short-term symptoms referred to as “keto flu,” which usually subside within a few days to weeks.

Over the long term, adverse effects can encompass hepatic steatosis (fatty liver) with an estimated prevalence of 20-30%, kidney stones with a prevalence of 5-10%, and vitamin deficiencies due to restricted food choices. Furthermore, the ketogenic diet might result in insufficient intake of essential nutrients, digestive issues, and an elevated risk of heart disease.

How long does the Keto flu last?

The duration of the keto flu, which refers to transient symptoms experienced when starting the ketogenic diet, can vary from person to person. However, based on the analysis of online forums, symptom reports peaked in the first week and decreased after 4 weeks.

Additionally, some users reported resolution of keto flu symptoms between days 3 and 30, indicating a range of 3 to 30 days for the duration of the keto flu.

How to do a Ketogenic diet without side effects?

To follow a keto diet without experiencing side effects, follow these 10 steps below.

how to do ketogenic diet
How to do a Ketogenic diet without side effects?
  1. Start by gradually reducing your carbohydrate intake over 1-2 weeks to ease into ketosis and minimize side effects.
  2. Make sure to consume enough healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil, to provide energy and support ketosis.
  3. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day to help prevent potential side effects like constipation.
  4. Monitor your electrolyte levels and consider supplementing with sodium, potassium, and magnesium to prevent or alleviate symptoms of the “keto flu.”
  5. Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine to support weight loss, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance overall health on the ketogenic diet.
  6. Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, as the ketogenic diet can naturally suppress appetite, but it’s important to nourish yourself adequately.
  7. Prioritize getting enough quality sleep, as it plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal metabolism and hormonal balance while on the keto diet.
  8. Seek guidance from a registered dietitian or healthcare professional experienced in ketogenic diets to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs and avoiding potential pitfalls.
  9. Listen to your body and adjust your approach as needed, as everyone’s experience with the ketogenic diet can vary, and it may take time to find the balance that works best for you.
  10. Include a variety of low-carb vegetables in your food list to ensure you get essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

What are the types of Ketogenic diets?

The following list is the 15 types of the keto diet.

  1. Standard Ketogenic Diet
  2. Lazy Keto Diet
  3. Dirty Keto Diet
  4. Clean Keto Diet
  5. Modified Keto Diet
  6. Targeted Ketogenic Diet
  7. Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
  8. High-Protein Ketogenic Diet
  9. Vegetarian or Vegan Ketogenic Diet
  10. Keto 2.0 Diet
  11. Strict Keto Diet
  12. Paleo Keto Diet
  13. Mediterranean Keto Diet
  14. Keto Carnivore Diet
  15. MCT Ketogenic Diet

How effective is the Lazy Keto Diet for weight loss?

Lazy keto, which does not require tracking fat and protein intake, is effective for weight loss, with some individuals reporting losing an average of 1-2 pounds per week by limiting carbohydrate intake to 10% and focusing on nutrient-rich options, according to a 2020 study by Chin-Ying Chen from National Taiwan University Hospital & National Taiwan University.

What are the Keto diet Supplements?

Keto diet supplements are products designed to support a ketogenic diet by increasing ketone levels, aiding in ketogenesis, and potentially easing the transition into nutritional ketosis.

what are the ketogenic diet supplements
What are the Keto diet Supplements?

How effective are Ketogenic Diet supplements for weight loss?

Keto diet supplements have varying effects on weight loss. According to a 2018 study by Cliff J D C Harvey from Auckland University of Technology, while certain supplements like medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) increase ketone levels and promote both ketonaemia and ketogenesis, the overall impact on weight loss is unclear.

More research is needed to determine the role of supplementation in encouraging ketogenesis, improving time to nutritional ketosis, and reducing symptoms associated with keto-induction.

What are the types of Ketogenic Diet supplements?

The following are the seven main types of keto diet supplements.

  1. Keto Diet pills
  2. Keto Diet protein shakes
  3. Keto Diet protein bars
  4. Keto Diet liquids
  5. Keto Diet gels
  6. Keto Diet Gummies
  7. Keto Diet drops

What are the Ketogenic Diet pills?

Keto diet pills refer to nutritional supplements that aid in achieving ketosis and alleviating symptoms associated with keto-induction. These pills can expedite the time to nutritional ketosis, typically within 33-58 hours, and provide relief from common keto-induction symptoms such as constipation, headache, halitosis, muscle cramps, diarrhea, weakness, and rash.

What are the active ingredients in Ketogenic diet pills?

The active ingredients in keto diet pills commonly include Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BOHB) at concentrations around 1.5 mmol/L and Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in dose-dependent amounts to promote ketonaemia and ketogenesis. Some pills also contain exogenous ketones, which can boost ketone levels in the blood but may inhibit natural ketone production.

What are the active ingredients in Ketogenic diet gummies?

The active ingredients in keto diet gummies typically include medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), exogenous ketones, and natural sweeteners like Stevia, with each gummy containing around 5 grams of MCTs and 100 milligrams of exogenous ketones.

What foods can you eat on the Ketogenic diet?

A keto diet food list refers to a compilation of foods that align with the principles of the ketogenic diet, emphasizing low carbohydrate intake and high-fat content. It serves as a guide for people who don’t know what they can eat on the keto diet, helping them select appropriate foods to achieve and maintain a state of ketosis.

ketogenic diet food list
What foods can you eat on the Ketogenic diet?

The keto diet food list includes foods such as meats, fatty fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, avocados, and low-carb vegetables. This video from Everyday Health explains what you can and not eat on the Keto diet.

What fruits can you eat on the Ketogenic diet?

Fruits on the ketogenic diet are generally limited due to their higher carbohydrate content. However, there are some low-carb fruits, such as blackberries, tomatoes, and rhubarb, which typically contain around 5-6 grams of net carbs per 100 grams.

Avocado is also considered a fruit and is a great option for keto dieters, as it contains only 2 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. Other keto-friendly fruits include lemons, limes, and small portions of melons.

What types of foods should be avoided in the Ketogenic diet?

In a ketogenic diet, certain types of foods should be avoided to maintain a state of ketosis. These include foods high in carbohydrates, such as grains, starchy vegetables, sugary fruits, and menu items rich in hidden sugars. The recommended daily carbohydrate intake for a ketogenic diet is typically around 20-50 grams.

What are the Keto-friendly restaurants?

Keto-friendly restaurants are establishments that offer menu items or options that align with the principles of the ketogenic diet. These restaurants provide meals that are low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and high in healthy fats, making them suitable for individuals following a keto lifestyle.

Some examples of keto-friendly restaurants include California Pizza Kitchen, Bahama Breeze, Pret a Manger, and Chipotle, which offer specific keto-friendly menu items or customizable options that allow for a keto-friendly meal.

What are the Keto-friendly menu options at Chipotle?

The keto-friendly menu options at Chipotle include various protein choices such as Barbacoa, Chicken, Carnitas, and Steak. These proteins are rich in fats and proteins and low in carbohydrates. In terms of sides, the cauliflower rice is the only keto-friendly option, as it contains only 4g of net carbs per serving.

Toppings like Fajita Vegetables, Cheese, Guacamole, and Romaine Lettuce are also low in carbohydrates and can be enjoyed on a keto diet. When planning your meals, consider these options to create a satisfying and compliant meal plan.

What is the Ketogenic diet meal plan?

A keto diet meal plan is a structured eating plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

keto diet meal plan
What is the Ketogenic diet meal plan?

It aligns with guidelines for nutrition, portion size, calories, and macros. For every 2,000 calories consumed, the plan typically includes approximately 20-50 grams of carbohydrates, 150-170 grams of fat, and 600-700 grams of protein per day.

The goal of the keto diet meal plan is to induce a state of ketosis in the body, where it uses fat for fuel instead of glucose.

What are some breakfast options on a Ketogenic diet meal plan?

The breakfast options on a keto diet meal plan include eggs, cheese, and avocado. For example, a typical keto breakfast could consist of 2 scrambled eggs (0g carbs), 1 ounce of cheddar cheese (0g carbs), and half an avocado (2g net carbs), providing a total of 2g net carbs.

The keto diet meal plan typically consists of consuming around 5-10% carbohydrates, 55-60% fat, and 30-35% protein. This means that The exact amounts may vary depending on individual needs and goals.

How many carbs are on the Ketogenic diet meal plan?

The number of carbs on a keto diet meal plan typically ranges from approximately 6.67 to 16.67 grams per meal. This low-carb intake helps the body enter a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel instead of glucose. The specific amount of carbs allowed may vary depending on individual needs and goals.

What are the best low-carb alcohol options for a Ketogenic diet?

The best low-carb alcohol options for a keto diet are dry wines, which typically contain 2 grams of net carbs per 5 ounces, vodka and soda with 0 grams of carbs, and whiskey with 0 grams of carbs. These options provide minimal impact on weight loss and are suitable for a keto lifestyle.

What are the best Ketogenic diet recipes?

The best keto diet recipes are defined by their minimal cooking time, easy-to-find ingredients, and adaptability to various cuisines. Examples include Keto Egg Muffins which take 25 minutes to make and require simple ingredients like eggs, cheese, and vegetables, and Avocado Tuna Salad which is ready in 10 minutes using canned tuna, avocado, and basic seasonings.

Another exemplary option is Zucchini Noodles with Pesto, which can be prepared in just 15 minutes using zucchini, pesto, and an optional protein like chicken or shrimp.

What are the best Ketogenic diet recipes for beginners?

The best keto diet recipes for beginners are those that require minimal measurements, ideally involving no more than 5 to 7 ingredients. These recipes avoid complex cooking methods and are often designed to be prepared in convenient appliances like a food processor or an air fryer, cutting the cooking time down to 20 minutes or less.

What are essential Ketogenic diet shopping list for beginners?

The term keto groceries for beginners refers to a specialized shopping list designed for those new to the ketogenic diet. This list aims to be budget-friendly and time-saving, facilitating meal planning and reducing waste.

It is organized to include essential low-carb, high-fat foods such as avocado, grass-fed meat, organic coconut oil, almond flour, MCT oil, cheese, eggs, nuts, and seeds, among others.

A Keto diet grocery list not only aids in portion control and minimizes impulse buying but also offers the convenience of having all essential keto-friendly foods listed in one place. It can even facilitate meal delivery services that align with the ketogenic diet, thereby simplifying adherence to the keto lifestyle by ensuring the right types of foods are readily available.

What is the Ketogenic diet meal delivery?

Keto meal delivery is a subscription-based service offering the convenience of delivering fresh, pre-prepared, and portion-controlled meals or meal kits that are engineered for a ketogenic diet.

The service aims to simplify the process of following a keto diet by eliminating the need for meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. The best keto meal delivery services are Factor Meals, Green Chef, Clean Eatz Kitchen, HelloFresh, and Thrive Market.

What are the food delivery apps for a Ketogenic diet?

Food delivery apps for the Keto diet are specialized mobile applications that enable customers to place online orders for Keto-friendly food items from partnered grocery stores and restaurants.

These apps offer features such as real-time GPS tracking, estimated delivery times, and a diverse menu selection tailored to the Keto diet. The best food delivery apps for a Keto diet based on customer reviews include Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, Gopuff, ChowNow, Seamless, and Postmates.

What are the Ketogenic diet apps?

Keto diet apps are specialized mobile applications designed to support individuals on the ketogenic diet. They come equipped with features such as a food database, macronutrient tracking, exercise integration, calorie counting, meal planning, and recipe suggestions. These apps also offer community support and tools for goal setting.

The best keto diet apps are Carb Manager, MyMacros+, and Senza. These apps offer comprehensive tracking of macronutrients, have large food databases, and provide features like offline logging, syncing with fitness trackers, and a gradual transition to the keto diet.

What are the best Ketogenic diet apps for beginners?

The best keto diet apps for beginners are Senza, Total Keto Diet, and KetoDiet. These apps offer user-friendly interfaces, beginner-friendly features, and helpful resources for transitioning to the keto diet. Senza tracks carbs, net carbs, glucose, and ketones, while Total Keto Diet provides a recipe library and customizable meal plans. KetoDiet offers free diet plans and creates an online community atmosphere for accountability.

Should you count calories on a Keto diet?

Yes, you should count calories on a Keto diet. According to a 2018 study by Eve Guth from Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center, caloric intake is a critical factor for weight loss across various diets. For effective weight loss, the average woman may aim for a caloric intake of approximately 1,500-1,800 calories per day, while the average man may aim for about 1,800-2,200 calories per day.

How many calories should I eat on Ketogenic Diet?

On a Keto diet, women should aim for 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day, while men should aim for 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day. The goal is to achieve an energy deficit of 500-1,000 calories per day for weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week, as per a 2021 study by Ju Young Kim from Seoul National University Bundang Hospital. This aligns with general weight loss diets recommended by many obesity societies.

What are the diets similar to the Ketogenic diet?

Diets similar to the ketogenic diet include the Atkins Diet and the Paleo Diet, both of which focus on low-carbohydrate and higher-fat and protein intake. The Low-Carb, High-Fat (LCHF) diet and the South Beach Diet are also comparable in their macronutrient distributions, emphasizing fats and proteins over carbohydrates as part of a healthy diet.

What is the difference between a Ketogenic diet vs Low-Carb Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a specific type of low-carb diet that typically consists of 70-80% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates. In contrast, a general low-carb diet may have a broader range of macronutrient distribution, often consisting of 40-60% fat, 20-30% protein, and 20-40% carbohydrates. The key difference lies in the stricter carb limitation in the ketogenic diet, usually capping at 20 to 50 grams per day, to induce a state of ketosis, whereas a low-carb diet may allow for a higher carb intake without necessarily aiming for ketosis.