So you've decided you want to try out the high-fat, low-carb diet, better-known as the fat-burning ketogenic diet. Whether it's to lose weight, have more energy, or fuel workouts differently, going keto is a popular choice right now. But figuring out a keto meal plan on your own is no easy feat, especially since eating a diet super high in fats doesn't come naturally to many people who are accustomed to the traditionally carb-heavy American diet. (It's especially hard if you're vegan and want to try keto.) But this should help: Keto experts explain how to set yourself up for success, plus provide ideas for exactly what keto foods to eat when you're first getting started. (While you're at it, check out these Low-Carb Keto drinks That Will Keep You in Ketosis.)
The weight-loss program has five steps and adheres to the most recent guidelines of the 2015 EFSA on total carbohydrate intake [22]. The first three steps consist of a VLCK diet (600–800 kcal/day), low in carbohydrates (<50 g daily from vegetables), and lipids (only 10 g of olive oil per day). The amount of high biological-value proteins ranged between 0.8 and 1.2 g per each kg of ideal body weight to ensure that patients were meeting their minimum body requirements and to prevent the loss of lean mass. In step 1, the patients ate high-biological-value protein preparations five times a day and vegetables with low glycemic indexes. In step 2, one of the protein servings was substituted with a natural protein (e.g., meat or fish) either at lunch or at dinner. In step 3, a second serving of low-fat natural protein was substituted for the second serving of biological protein preparation. Throughout these ketogenic phases, supplements of vitamins and minerals, such as K, Na, Mg, Ca, and omega-3 fatty acids, were provided in accordance with international recommendations [23]. These three steps were maintained until the patient lost the target amount of weight, ideally 80%. Hence, the ketogenic steps were variable in time depending on the individual and the weight-loss target. The total ketosis state lasted for 60–90 days only.
The original therapeutic diet for paediatric epilepsy provides just enough protein for body growth and repair, and sufficient calories[Note 1] to maintain the correct weight for age and height. The classic therapeutic ketogenic diet was developed for treatment of paediatric epilepsy in the 1920s and was widely used into the next decade, but its popularity waned with the introduction of effective anticonvulsant medications. This classic ketogenic diet contains a 4:1 ratio by weight of fat to combined protein and carbohydrate. This is achieved by excluding high-carbohydrate foods such as starchy fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta, grains, and sugar, while increasing the consumption of foods high in fat such as nuts, cream, and butter.[1] Most dietary fat is made of molecules called long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). However, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)—made from fatty acids with shorter carbon chains than LCTs—are more ketogenic. A variant of the classic diet known as the MCT ketogenic diet uses a form of coconut oil, which is rich in MCTs, to provide around half the calories. As less overall fat is needed in this variant of the diet, a greater proportion of carbohydrate and protein can be consumed, allowing a greater variety of food choices.[4][5]
Plagued by pimples? You may start to notice a difference in your skin on the keto diet, especially if you were a former sugar addict. Consuming lots of empty carbs is linked to worse acne—in part because these foods trigger inflammation and signal the release of hormones that up the production of pore-clogging oils, according to a review published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Some findings suggest that curbing your carb intake could help solve these problems, improving your skin as a result.
Health Impact News has reported on many of the disease reversing results of the ketogenic (high fat-moderate protein-low carb) diet. Now, a new study is looking at the positive effects of gut bacteria among those following a ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Even though Johns Hopkins used a ketogenic diet for curing epilepsy over 80 years ago, when medical drugs did not help epilepsy effectively, mainstream medicine continues to rely on new and expensive toxic drugs for epileptic children. The “cocktail” combinations of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed often worsens childhood epilepsy. Health Impact News previously published a report on how a four year old child with refractory epilepsy (not treatable with pharmaceutical medications), was treated at the Rochester, Minnesota Mayo Clinic using a ketogenic diet. At first, the child was also kept on pharmaceuticals. The results were poor until he was taken off the medications; then he began healing completely. A new Chinese study on pediatric epileptic cases may even draw the attention of mainstream medical professionals, due to the results seen in children's gut microbiota structure when following a high-fat ketogenic diet.
Yes, they're technically a fruit, but we think olives deserve a shout-out all of their own, since they're also a great source of healthy fats and are one of a few keto-approved packaged foods. Plus, they're a great source of antioxidants, will satisfy your craving for something salty, and are blissfully low-carb. “About a palm's worth only has 3 grams of net carbs,” Sarah Jadin, RD, told Health in a previous interview.
Carbohydrate: Most of what determines how ketogenic a diet is will depend on how much carbohydrate is eaten, as well the individual's metabolism and activity level. A diet of less than 50 or 60 grams of net (effective) carbohydrate per day is generally ketogenic. Some sources say to consume no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, while others cite up to 50 grams, and many recommend no more than 5 percent of calories from carbs. However, athletes and people with healthy metabolisms may be able to eat 100 or more grams of net carbohydrate in a day and maintain a desired level of ketosis. At the same time, an older sedentary person with Type 2 diabetes may have to eat less than 30 net grams to achieve the same level.
“I am determined to shatter the chiding “eat less, exercise more” obesity medicine paradigm. Obesity is not a personal failure, but a chronic health condition unfolding in our country and around the world. It is a result of the “carboholic” society we live in. Through a holistic approach, I arm patients with knowledge, tools, and skills to manage their weight as well as their overall health.”

Wondering how many carb foods you can eat and still be “in ketosis”? The traditional ketogenic diet, created for those with epilepsy consisted of getting about 75 percent of calories from sources of fat (such as oils or fattier cuts of meat), 5 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. For most people a less strict version (what I call a “modified keto diet”) can still help promote weight loss in a safe, and often very fast, way.
Mustering the willpower to push aside the bread basket at your favourite restaurant does not make you a keto aficionado. The ketogenic diet is different from other low carb diets in that your glucose levels have to be so low that you have to moderate even the amount of protein that you consume. With 40% of calories coming from protein, protein will convert to glucose once consumed, which is not keto friendly. 

Cholesterol serves a number of important roles in the body. First of all, cholesterol is a critical structural element in certain tissues such as our brain and nervous system. In fact, it is estimated that around 25% of our cholesterol can be found in the brain. Just to highlight our failed fat philosophy over the years, higher saturated fat intake and high cholesterol levels are associated with better mental function in old age (1)!


The ketone bodies are possibly anticonvulsant; in animal models, acetoacetate and acetone protect against seizures. The ketogenic diet results in adaptive changes to brain energy metabolism that increase the energy reserves; ketone bodies are a more efficient fuel than glucose, and the number of mitochondria is increased. This may help the neurons to remain stable in the face of increased energy demand during a seizure, and may confer a neuroprotective effect.[56]

Participants met with researchers 10 times over a four-month period. During 4 of the 10 visits, researchers analyzed participants’ blood and body fat for changes in body weight, hormones, ketone bodies (which are produced during ketosis), and muscle losses. After 60 to 90 days, participants were gradually taken off ketosis and placed on a low-calorie diet consisting of between 800 and 1,500 calories per day, and then a maintenance diet consisting of 1,500 and 2,000 calories, depending on the participant. Out of the 20 participants enrolled in the study, 12 completed the regimen and lost about 44.5 pounds each.

I recall reading once that pink grapefruit and eggs for breakfast (or maybe it was the grapefruit 10-15 minutes before eggs) was supposed to launch you into some crazy fat burning mode. Something to do with hormone production, I seem to recall. Can’t say if it’s true or not. I tasted a grapefruit once when I was about 10, and have never desired to repeat that mistake in the 24 years since.

I actually clicked on the story just to see if they included anything about it’s use in managing chronic migraine. I have chronic migraine, basically intractable. Nothing has helped. I’ve tried medications, meditations, and everything in between including a bunch of dietary changes. Keto is my next consideration. I’m happy to hear it helped you! Thanks for sharing
The targeted keto diet follows the basic ketogenic plan until right before a workout. In a traditional ketogenic diet, you focus on proteins and fats in meals. Reducing carbohydrates reduces the energy available from foods. When your body cannot get energy from food sources, it turns to fat stores. It is unclear why this diet helps children with epilepsy, but for those who want to lose weight, the benefit is obvious. You burn off body fat on a ketogenic plan.
Similar to our results, three studies noted that diabetes medications were reduced in some participants[6,8,9], although details were provided in only one study. We also discontinued diuretic medications during diet initiation because of concern for additional diuresis incurred by the diet. This concern was based on the theoretical effects of the diet [17], observed effects of the diet on body water by bioelectric impedance [18], and practical experience with the diet [19]. Until we learn more about using low carbohydrate diets, medical monitoring for hypoglycemia, dehydration, and electrolyte abnormalities is imperative in patients taking diabetes or diuretic medications.

If this all sounds like way too much work, consider intermittent fasting. It is a simpler way to achieve cyclic ketosis and has many of the same benefits. Anecdotally, it has worked better for me for weight loss than nutritional ketosis, and has many of the same health benefits. I prefer a 16/8 or 18/6 protocol, where you confine your eating (with no change in calories) to a 6- to 8-hour window, then fast overnight. For instance, I finish eating by 6 p.m., then eat again at noon the next day. For weight loss, I recommend following this protocol two to seven days per week. [Stay tuned for more on goop.]


The Johns Hopkins Hospital protocol for initiating the ketogenic diet has been widely adopted.[43] It involves a consultation with the patient and their caregivers and, later, a short hospital admission.[19] Because of the risk of complications during ketogenic diet initiation, most centres begin the diet under close medical supervision in the hospital.[9]
Never before had the judging panel unanimously decided to each invest millions of dollars into a potential company. But was a different story. A Low Cost - No Exercise Way to lose weight? The sharks got on board - and did it quickly. Kevin Daryl, a nutrionist, created the product to help the millions of people who have trouble losing weight. "Most people want to lose weight, but don't know how - they have other issues preventing them from losing weight the traditional way. With our product, they don't need to change anything, they can just add the supplement to their diet and start seeing the weight loss. - It's Keto, the easy way!" He launched the product for sale through his company website and it sold out within 5 minutes. “We even made sure we had more product than we thought we could sell, but all of it sold out within five minutes!” exclaimed Daryl said.
The VLCK diet was used because of its ability to produce a rapid and well-tolerated weight loss with a ketogenic phase that lasts 60-90 days and a final result of 20 kg of weight reduction at 4 months. The rapid reduction in weight is the probable explanation of the positive effects of this dieting approach, which are evident 1 and 2 years later (12, 13). Four different stages occurred with the VLCK diet used: a basal stage with obese body weight and no ketosis, a second stage with extreme ketosis and marked body weight loss, a third stage with body weight loss and declining ketosis, and a fourth stage with weight loss and no ketosis. Body composition was studied with the 3 techniques at each of these stages.

Pattern B LDL, on the other hand, has a much smaller particle size and is much more prone to oxidation. Another thing about pattern B LDL is that it is small enough to enter into the endothelial lining of the artery where it can become oxidized and more likely to form plaque.  There is a high association between these small dense particles and cardiovascular disease.
Kristin Parker is an American temporarily living in South Korea. Her role with Team Diet Doctor is customer service. If you have a question or a comment on our social media platforms, website or our Facebook group, she will likely be the one to answer you back! Kristin cooks for a family of four, including two hungry teenage sons. Her keto meal plan yields generous servings of substantial, hearty meals that they all like.
A keto diet works for almost anyone since you can be vegan or vegetarian and still achieve ketogenesis. As a rule of thumb, focus on foods that are naturally high in fat and avoid highly processed foods that are labeled with trans-fats as much as possible. Eat fruits that are low on the glycemic index but are still rich in fiber and, eat other foods like avocados (also for the fat) and berries. Additionally, eat lots of green, yellow and red vegetables.
“I’ve studied LCHF nutrition for over 20 years for personal health benefits. In my medical practice, it has become integral to reversing many of modern society’s worst medical concerns including metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes. It can be applied safely and effectively for nearly all of my patients and often results in dramatic restoration of good health.”

As ingested CHO is broken down by the stomach and absorbed through the small intestine, rising blood sugar creates a feedback loop which results in secretion of insulin. The primary role of insulin is to “dispose” of excess blood sugar by signaling tissues to “uptake” more glucose from the circulating supply. In this manner insulin serves a prominent role in glucose regulation. This concept also provides the basis for the glycemic index, a concept which attempts to quantify the impact CHO foods have on blood sugar response. For example, foods rich in simple CHO (i.e., “sugars”), which are absorbed quickly, trigger a rapid rise in blood sugar (and subsequently insulin response), whereas foods rich in complex CHO, such as fiber-rich legumes, exert a relatively blunted response on blood glucose.


“Through my 31 years in primary care, I have witnessed the growing waistlines and blood sugar levels of my patients. Seeing that the “eat less, move more” advice was failing them, I moved to a low-carb, high-fat approach eight years ago. This has produced great results in my patients. I am able to manage many medical issues without resorting to medications. This new approach has revitalized my practice. I feel like I can finally really help my patients.”


The premise of many popular diets is eating a lower amount of carbohydrates, but most of these diets, including Atkins and Paleo, are also very high in protein. The keto diet plan is different because you only eat a moderate amount of protein. Otherwise, your body would convert protein into glucose and wouldn’t achieve a state of ketosis, where it only uses fat for energy.
Participants returned every other week for 16 weeks for further diet counseling and medication adjustment. When a participant neared half the weight loss goal or experienced cravings, he or she was advised to increase carbohydrate intake by approximately 5 g per day each week as long as weight loss continued. Participants could choose 5 g carbohydrate portions from one of the following foods each week: salad vegetables, low-carbohydrate vegetables, hard or soft cheese, nuts, or low-carbohydrate snacks. Diabetes medication adjustment was based on twice daily glucometer readings and hypoglycemic episodes, while diuretic and other anti-hypertensive medication adjustments were based on orthostatic symptoms, blood pressure, and lower extremity edema.
One of the primary culprits of chronic inflammation in our society is a poor diet full of sugars and processed vegetable oils. In fact, blood sugar and measurements of insulin resistance are a much more accurate predictor of heart disease risk. I often look at values such as fasting glucose, HbA1c, and fasting insulin as a means of determining the inflammatory state of someone’s body.
Around this time, Bernarr Macfadden, an American exponent of physical culture, popularised the use of fasting to restore health. His disciple, the osteopathic physician Dr. Hugh William Conklin of Battle Creek, Michigan, began to treat his epilepsy patients by recommending fasting. Conklin conjectured that epileptic seizures were caused when a toxin, secreted from the Peyer's patches in the intestines, was discharged into the bloodstream. He recommended a fast lasting 18 to 25 days to allow this toxin to dissipate. Conklin probably treated hundreds of epilepsy patients with his "water diet" and boasted of a 90% cure rate in children, falling to 50% in adults. Later analysis of Conklin's case records showed 20% of his patients achieved freedom from seizures and 50% had some improvement.[10]
Lunch: pat dry chicken and cut into cubes. Lightly (!) salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium heat, once hot add coconut oil and fry chicken cubes until brown from all sides. Remove chicken, and add crushed garlic, curry paste and fish sauce to pan. Stir until fragrant and remaining oil in pan and curry paste are well combined. Then add coconut milk and whisk until well combined. Simmer and reduce sauce until desired consistency (1-3 minutes). Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with baby spinach.
All of the patients followed a VLCK diet according to a commercial weight loss program (PNK Method), which includes lifestyle and behavioral modification support. The intervention included an evaluation by the specialist physician conducting the study and assessment by an expert dietician. All patients underwent a structured program of physical exercise with external supervision (16). This method is based on high-biological-value protein preparations obtained from cow milk, soya, avian eggs, green peas, and cereals. Each preparation contained 15 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, and 50 mg docosahexaenoic acid, and provided 90 to 100 kcal (16).

Frederick F. Samaha, M.D., Nayyar Iqbal, M.D., Prakash Seshadri, M.D., Kathryn L. Chicano, C.R.N.P., Denise A. Daily, R.D., Joyce McGrory, C.R.N.P., Terrence Williams, B.S., Monica Williams, B.S., Edward J. Gracely, Ph.D., and Linda Stern, M.D., “A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity,” N Engl J Med 2003; 348:2074-2081. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022637.
Similar to our results, three studies noted that diabetes medications were reduced in some participants[6,8,9], although details were provided in only one study. We also discontinued diuretic medications during diet initiation because of concern for additional diuresis incurred by the diet. This concern was based on the theoretical effects of the diet [17], observed effects of the diet on body water by bioelectric impedance [18], and practical experience with the diet [19]. Until we learn more about using low carbohydrate diets, medical monitoring for hypoglycemia, dehydration, and electrolyte abnormalities is imperative in patients taking diabetes or diuretic medications.
Option 3: "Make your own keto 'lunchable' with cubes of grilled chicken, a slice of nitrate-free ham, cheese cubes, pickle slices, a hard-boiled egg, a few raw grape tomatoes, raw veggies like cauliflower or broccoli, a few almonds or walnuts, guacamole, and ranch dressing," says Stefanski. (Looking for something meat-free? Here are 29 Vegetarian Keto Recipes for Plant-Based Eaters.)
A cyclic ketogenic diet (or carb-cycling) is a low-carbohydrate diet with intermittent periods of high or moderate carbohydrate consumption. This is a form of the general ketogenic diet that is used as a way to maximize fat loss while maintaining the ability to perform high-intensity exercise. A ketogenic diet limits the number of grams of carbohydrate the dieter may eat, which may be anywhere between 0 and 50g per day. The remainder of the caloric intake must come primarily from fat sources and protein sources in order to maintain ketosis (the condition in which the body burns fats and uses ketones instead of glucose for fuel).
The classic ketogenic diet is not a balanced diet and only contains tiny portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, fortified cereals, and calcium-rich foods. In particular, the B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D must be artificially supplemented. This is achieved by taking two sugar-free supplements designed for the patient's age: a multivitamin with minerals and calcium with vitamin D.[18] A typical day of food for a child on a 4:1 ratio, 1,500 kcal (6,300 kJ) ketogenic diet comprises three small meals and three small snacks:[28]
Taken together, these results demonstrate a positive effect of LCD/KD on body composition. While KD may not be superior to other dietary strategies aimed at weight reduction, the evidence does suggest that it may be equally effective. Nevertheless, the International Society of Sports Nutritionists, in their Position Stand on the effects of diets on body composition, suggest the KD holds little benefit over higher CHO diets, with one notable exception; KD may enhance appetite control (1).
1. West, R., Beeri, M. S., Schmeidler, J., Hannigan, C. M., Angelo, G., Grossman, H. T., … Silverman, J. M. (2008). Better memory functioning associated with higher total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in very elderly subjects without the apolipoprotein e4 allele. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry : Official Journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 16(9), 781–5. PMID: 18757771
“I’ve studied LCHF nutrition for over 20 years for personal health benefits. In my medical practice, it has become integral to reversing many of modern society’s worst medical concerns including metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes. It can be applied safely and effectively for nearly all of my patients and often results in dramatic restoration of good health.”

Melinda – I’m afraid there’s no getting around the fact that one of the Keto requirements is to *calculate your macros,* based on the amount of calories you need to consume each day, in order to (a) maintain your current weight level, or (b) lose weight. Go to an online Keto macro calculator – there’s one linked to a good one on this site, further up the thread. They are generally very easy to use. Then stick to your calculated results, with trust and patience. It may be slow, but you will absolutely see results. I did – and I’ve tried absolutely everything. I barely have time to exercise, but I still lost at least a couple of dress sizes, and I feel absolutely amazing – no more brain fog, tons of energy – maybe too much energy! And best of all, I’m no longer miserable about food, because on Keto, everything is delicious! One final thing in the interest of full disclosure – I am an uber-clean-Keto advocate. I put in the work to eat only healthy fats and carbs from healthy sources. I’m pescatarian – no meats except seafood. I also carefully limit my saturated fat intake to 10% of total calories (the recommended daily allowance), to keep my genetically problematic cholesterol level from skyrocketing, as it did when I first began. This is all working well for me so far – I was able to cut 40 points from my abnormally high LDL (bad cholesterol) level within three months, And hope to get it down to normal levels in three more months. You do want to make sure you get your regular physical exams and monitor your blood work whenever you change your nutritional lifestyle. I wish you the best!
I have been keto for 1,5 month, lost up to 20 pounds and felt it was overall easy to do. passed the keto flu :  20gr net carbs, 70 % fat and max 20% protein from fish and eggs mainly  ... I drink 3 ltrs of water in which I add lite salt, lemon and some green like parsley ... my blood markers are super healthy except for cholesterol but it was when I was overdoing the dairy which I barely eat anymore ..
You can have a completely smooth transition into ketosis, or…not. While your body is adapting to using ketones as your new fuel source, you may experience a range of uncomfortable short-term symptoms. These symptoms are referred to as “the keto flu.” Low-sodium levels are often to blame for symptoms keto flu, since the kidneys secrete more sodium when you’re in ketosis, says Volek. A few side effects:
“As a physician I was frustrated and distressed by patients’ worsening health and by the spiraling health care costs caused by diabetes, obesity and other chronic conditions, all linked to the food we eat. We help our patients improve their health and optimize their weight with prescribed lifestyle modification, teaching them the link between unhealthy, refined and processed foods and chronic illness. Our growing database of patients who have lost weight and improved cardio-metabolic markers demonstrates the benefits of low-carbohydrate, whole-food diets. In short, reducing the carbohydrate content of our meals controls hunger, promotes weight loss, and improves health.”
“Our medical practice was featured implementing a low-carbohydrate plan for a patient with type 2 diabetes in the documentary The Magic Pill. We believe food can be used as medicine. Many of our patients with insulin resistance, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, PCOS and more will see excellent results and resolution of chronic disease states with low-carbohydrate diets. Education and understanding as to which dietary strategy is best for the individual is essential in reclaiming one’s health. There is no doubt in my mind that low-carbohydrate planning can be extremely useful and safe for the appropriate clinical scenario.”
You can approach keto in a number of different ways. On some keto diets, like dirty keto, it doesn’t matter where your fats, protein, and carbs come from. So dinner could be a bunless cheeseburger with extra bacon. Eating bad fats like low-quality vegetable oils, packaged low-carb snacks, and processed cheese dials up inflammation, making weight loss more challenging.[8]
A lot of veggies are carb-heavy—they can’t fit into an ultra-low-carb diet. These include potatoes of course, but also yams, corn, peas, and carrots. The best options for keto dieters include asparagus, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens, and zucchini. “What’s tough for many people to grasp when starting out on a ketogenic diet is that you can’t really eat a lot of [certain] vegetables,” Mancinelli says. “When you’re keeping carbs super low, you have to limit vegetables—which goes counter to everything you know about how to eat healthy and lose weight.”
I am a stage four kidney disease patient. I am also a type one diabetic. I have had diabetes for 37 years. My Internist suggested the Keto diet for me, but there are so many if the foods on the Keto diet that I’m not able to eat because of my kidneys functioning at 22%. How do I reconcile this diet plan to work with my kidney disease? I’m not allowed any dairy, because of my high potassium. Is almond milk ok to drink? I’m not allowed avocados, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, greens, (beet or chard). No bacon, or pork. No melons, bananas, oranges, peaches, pears, some apples, pineapple. I can have berries of all kinds. will this still work for me?
In steps 4 or 5, the ketogenic phases were ended by the physician in charge of the patient based on the amount of weight lost, and the patient started a low-calorie diet (800–1500 kcal/day). At this point, the patients underwent a progressive incorporation of different food groups and participated in a program of alimentary re-education to guarantee the long-term maintenance of the weight loss. The maintenance diet consisted of an eating plan balanced in carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Depending on the individual, the calories consumed ranged between 1500 and 2000 kcal/day, and the target was to maintain the weight lost and promote a healthy lifestyle.
×