For ideas and inspiration on how to reach your macros, take a look at our ever-growing library of keto recipes. If you don’t want to do all of the planning yourself, consider getting detailed shopping lists and months of meal plans made for you with Our Keto Academy >
What if you could train your body to burn fat more efficiently and speed up your metabolism without restricting calories? If you’re struggling to lose those last 5 pounds or wondering why the muffin top just won’t budge (despite eating clean and exercising), you may find the answers you’re looking for in this keto diet master guide.
Over the past century, ketogenic diets have also been used to treat and even help reverse neurological disorders and cognitive impairments, including epilepsy and Alzheimer’s symptoms. Research shows that cutting off glucose levels with a very low-carb diet makes your body produce ketones for fuel. This change can help to reverse neurological disorders and cognitive impairment. The brain is able to use this alternative source of energy instead of the cellular energy pathways that aren’t functioning normally in patients with brain disorders.
And if you’re new to /r/keto and need some info, start with Keto in a Nutshell and the FAQ. Or, if you have a question that doesn’t seem to be covered, post a comment below in the Community Support thread and ask the community!
MCT is short for medium chain triglyceride. MCTs are precursors to ketones and help your body burn fat instead of burning carbs. They’re beneficial for weight loss, energy and digestion because they can be readily used for energy by your body and do not have to be shuttled around your digestive system first.
Ketosis is the result of following the standard ketogenic diet, which is why it’s also sometimes called “the ketosis diet.” Ketosis takes place when glucose from carbohydrate foods (like grains, all sources of sugar or fruit, for example) is drastically reduced, which forces the body to find an alternative fuel source: fat. Ketosis can also be achieved by multiple days of total fasting, but that isn’t sustainable beyond a few days.
Here’s how it works: The body—even that of a very lean athlete— stores about 40,000 calories of fat compared with just 2,000 calories of the carbohydrate glycogen. When those carbs have been depleted, the body taps its fat stores for energy. The same is true for athletes who “bonk” during exercise—it’s because they’ve used up all their stored carbs. To go on, they must either eat more carbs (to burn as sugar) or start burning fat. When marathoners break through the so-called “wall” late in a race, they’ve begun to burn fat.
This is done by heavily restricting carbs and focusing on high-fat, moderate protein meals. The classical ketogenic diet contains a 4:1 ratio of fat to proteins and carbs. (2) In other words, the principle of the keto diet is to “eat fat to burn fat.”
Blinten advised dieters not to skip meals because your body goes into overdrive the next time you eat. That can actually cause you to eat more, not less. She suggested eating your largest meal at midday, then having a healthy afternoon snack.
An easy way to understand how your hormones work is to picture them as strands of a spider web: You can’t remove one strand without affecting the rest. In other words, when one hormone is out of balance, the rest are negatively impacted — but when the functioning of one hormone is improved, the rest are improved too.
On a keto meal plan, feel free to fill your plate with low carb vegetables — particularly leafy greens. It’s a great way to get a healthy dose of micronutrients, thus preventing vitamin deficiencies on keto. Options like kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, peppers, spinach and onions are all great options.
Both animal fats (saturated fats) and plant-based fats can be consumed on the keto diet. Healthy fat sources include butter, tallow and ghee from animals or coconut oil, olive oil, sustainable palm oil and MCT oil from plants.
I am curious about what has been referred to as “keto rash”. I decided to shift from a GAPS Diet to a ketogenic one. I wasn’t tracking my carbs specifically and was doing well. Then I developed this rash on various parts of my body. I originally thought it might have been either pecan or MCT (C8) that I started having, but I have eliminated both of those. Then I did some research and realized that others have also experienced this rash after starting a strict Ketogenic Diet. There are a few solutions running about–most of which include introducing carbs at higher levels. Antibiotics were also listed. Anyway, I was wondering if you have run across this type of rash as it relates to starting a low-carb diet? Any thoughts, Dr. Jockers?
As for branched-chain amino acids, you’ll find smart people who swear that they’re keto-friendly, and others who won’t. One of the BCAAs, valine, can be glucogenic, meaning that it can lead to glucose production and potentially contribute to leaving ketosis behind.1 But does that mean it will happen? Not necessarily, particularly if you’re just an occasional supplement user.
Hi Keto brothers and sisters. I have lost 35 pounds in about three months and doing pretty good. Started at 432 down to 397. Wanted to start working out more but I don’t like walking alone too much and not too confident on going to the gym just yet. I found out through a friend that my local SPCA shelter has volunteers walking dogs on daily basis. So now I do that about three times a week. I don’t think I would of had the energy to do this before Keto. Just wanted let you guys know that when looking to add some type of activity to your weight loss journey you can look outside the box or gym.
Low-carb veggies make great substitutes for higher-carb foods. For instance, cauliflower can be used to mimic rice or mashed potatoes, “zoodles” can be created from zucchini and spaghetti squash is a natural substitute for spaghetti.
Vegetables are tricky on a ketogenic diet because we’ve been raised under the idea that vegetables are healthy and they are. However, almost all of the vegetables that you consume today contain carbs.
Use High Quality Salt: Use a high-quality salt in generous amounts in all of your meals, This will add back in sodium and other trace minerals that are excreted more rapidly during keto-adaptation. I like either Himalayan pink or a Celtic (gray) sea salt as they are the highest in trace minerals.
Because consuming even up to 30–50 grams of net carbs daily is still dramatically less than what most people eating a “standard Western diet” are used to, many will still experience weight loss eating slightly more carbs.
Use Magnesium Supplementation: If you follow these strategies and continue to feel many of these symptoms, consider adding a magnesium supplement to your regimen. I would recommend taking the L-threonate form (such as our Brain Calm Magnesium) in a 1 gram dose – 3x per day between meals.
On a “strict” (standard) keto diet, fats typically provides about 70 percent to 80 percent of total daily calories, protein about 15 percent to 20 percent, and carbohydrates just around 5 percent. However, a more “moderate” approach to the keto diet is also a good option for many people that can allow for an easier transition into very low-carb eating and more flexibility (more on this type of plan below).
I wanted to put it out there that I made this meal plan specifically with women in mind. I took an average of about 150 women and what their macros were. The end result was 1600 calories – broken down into 136g of fat, 74g of protein, and 20g net carbs a day. This is all built around a sedentary lifestyle, like most of us live. If you need to increase or decrease calories, you will need to do that on your own terms.
Fat With Every Meal: Every meal should have at least one source of healthy fats. Ideally, you want to shoot for 70-80% of calories from fats for any given meal. My top sources are coconut (oil/butter/flakes/milk), grass-fed butter or ghee, olives/olive oil, and avocados.
The keto diet can reduce the risk of heart disease markers, including high cholesterol and triglycerides. (6) In fact, the keto diet is unlikely to negatively impact your cholesterol levels despite being so high in fat. Moreover, it’s capable of lowering cardiovascular disease risk factors, especially in those who are obese. (7)
Adding fat to coffee may sound odd but it’s surprisingly delicious. Contrary to common belief, it won’t make your coffee oily and if you blend it well, you’ll get amazingly creamy coffee. Although BPC is not for everyone, it can be used as a supplement as part of a healthy ketogenic diet.
Search for deals. There’s always a sale or a coupon to be found for keto-friendly items out there. Typically you can find significant savings in magazines and newspapers that are sent to your house, but they can also be combined with in-store specials and manager cuts. When combined, you can save a significant amount of your keto groceries.
During this time, you will likely feel a significant drop in strength and ability to exert physical energy. Luckily, once you become adapted you should see drastic improvements in these areas that are even greater than when you were sugar-adapted!
So where do you start your calculations? With carbs and protein. When first getting started, it is ideal to keep carbohydrates less than 50 grams per day. Wittrock found that he likes to go even lower.
A keto diet has shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels most associated with arterial buildup. More specifically low-carb, high-fat diets show a dramatic increase in HDL and decrease in LDL particle concentration compared to low-fat diets. Read more on keto and cholesterol >
Most adults find weight loss success with a more moderate approach to the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, simply by focusing on eliminating carbohydrates and increasing calories from healthy fats and protein. (In fact, many will experience weight loss by just reducing carbohydrates to 30 percent of their total calorie intake, while increasing fat and protein to 40 percent and 30 percent respectively. This is similar to the modified Atkins diet, when you reintroduce select carbohydrates while monitoring your weight.)
A high-carb diet (especially when it comes to dairy products and refined sugar) has been shown to trigger sebum (oil) production in the skin, which is a major cause of acne (20). Removing sugar from your diet may also help improve inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis (21). The healthy fat intake on the keto diet also provides the building blocks of healthy skin cells (22).
With HPA axis dysfunction you are likely to experience a disruption in sleep. This is because cortisol is antagonistic to melatonin (meaning it opposes its function). When the HPA axis is thrown off, cortisol levels begin to fluctuate and interfere with the release of melatonin that occurs at night-time.