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Keto Guide For Success: How To Get Started?

Are you thinking of starting a low-carb, keto diet but are unsure of what that means or how to get started?  Our ultimate keto guide will help you understand key terms, the science of how ketosis shreds fat and helpful planning tips to reach and maintain ketosis. A comprehensive food guide, snacks and beverage list to make on-the-go eating not so difficult. You’ll also find keto-friendly recipes throughout the site that are tried and loved by our family. So go ahead get started, in three months the new you will thank you! 

What Are Keto, Ketosis, And Ketones?

Eating more fats and less carbs is what a keto or ketogenic diet is all about. It became popular in the 1920s with patients suffering from seizure disorders. It significantly helped these patients decreased epileptic episodes.

The gist of keto is to force your body into KETOSIS. A process to burn fat and not glucose (derived from carbs we eat) for energy. Ketosis occurs when you omit sugar or carbs from your body and it can take up to 7 days to take full effect.

Insulins are hormones that cause cells in your body to absorb sugar (carbs) and use it for energy. When you eliminate carbs from your diet, insulin levels are reduced and your body starts to use glycogens (glucose reserves) for energy. Once glycogens are depleted, your body taps into fat storage for energy and the process of ketosis begins.

A keto diet will drop your blood sugar level so low, your liver will start breaking down the fats stored into acidic molecules. These acids are called ketones. There are three types of ketones – Acetoacetate, Acetone and Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). The acids are then sent to your bloodstream to be used as the main source of energy.

How Do I Know I’m In Ketosis And Burning Fat?

Weight loss, loss of appetite, and an increased mental focus are some signs and symptoms you are undergoing ketosis. Below are three more definitive methods you can use to test ketosis.

 1. Ketones Urine Strips (the easiest)

Big-box stores like Walmart and Target sells ketones test strips. These test strips works like a pregnancy test. The only difference is the results are based on different purple color shades as apposed to a plus minus system. This method is by far the easiest and is a relatively inexpensive way to test levels of ketones.

      2. Blood Test (the most accurate)

You can purchase a BHB/glucose meter and test strips to measure ketones levels in your blood. This is by far the most precise and it measures BHB (beta hydroybutyrate). BHB is the predominant ketone in the human body. The downside is the cost and having to prick your finger for blood samples which may take a little bit of time to get used to.

      3. The Breath Test

If your breath smells like nail polish that means there are high levels of ketones in your bloodstream meaning you underwent ketosis. This is because  acetone is a ketone, the same chemical found  in nail polish. There are also breath testing devices available to test ketosis.  Although these devices are less accurate than other methods, they are absolutely free to use each time after the initial device purchasing cost.

How do I accelerate and maintain Ketosis?

On average it takes between 3 to 7 days to achieve ketosis on a ketogenic diet. However, There are a few additional steps you can take to help accelerate and maintain the process.

Step 1: Exercise

Working out will deplete glycogen at a faster rate allowing you to minimize the wait time to initiate ketosis. Once glycogens are depleted your body enters the state of ketosis. How fast glycogens are exhausted through exercise depends on the level of intensity. High intensity equates to high glycogen usage. Likewise, low intensity means slower glycogen usage.  


Step 2: Eat Less Carbs

kicking carbsReducing carbs is a critical factor for achieving ketosis. The total amount of carbs limitation will be different for each individuals. Some will have to follow the Atkins diet recommendation of 20 grams of NET CARBS per day. While others have the luxury of eating much more.

 Want to learn more about carb effects on the human body? Check out ” Carbohydrates: Do You Need Them? 

Step 3: Take Exogenous Ketones (Supplements)

Exogenous is defined as originating externally.  This supplement raises beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) ketones without discriminating against the type of food you eat. In other words, you can eat a carb-heavy meal without slowing down the process of achieving ketosis. The idea is to stick within keto’s carb limits and use exogenous ketones to speed up the process of achieving ketosis.  Below are the types of Exogenous Ketones

    • Ketones Salt

BHB mineral salt, better known as ketones salts are formed when ketones are bounded to a salt like calcium for absorption rate improvements. This supplement is widely available to consumers and are the most recommended.

    • Ketone Ester

Ketone ester is the raw and pure form of Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). An unpleasant taste but by far the most effective and most expensive. Its raw form allows the body to raise ketones levels a fraction of the time in comparison to ketones salts. In contrast to the salt version, esters are not easily accessiable, therefore very difficult to find. This is because its typically used for research purposes and not commercially.

Step 4: Intermittent Fasting


Every time you eat blood glucose rises and triggers the release of insulin hormones. Eating less frequently(not amount) or intermittent fasting means less insulin releases through out the day. The reduction of insulin limits the process of using glucose as energy and activates ketosis.

 Want to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out ” Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss “

Step 5: Increase Healthy Fats

Not all fats are created equal. Be sure to consume the good fats. Good fats are saturated, monounsaturated, natural trans fats, and natural polyunsaturated. Stay away from processed trans fats and processed polyunsaturated fats. Sesame Oil is a heart healthy all-natural seed oil. Packed with a healthy dosage of essential fatty acids, it has a smooth rich flavor and can be added to enhance meats and vegetables easily. Other oils such as Avocado, Coconut, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Hazelnut and Walnut Oil are great choices. 


Step 6 : Use MCT Oil 


Medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oils are another form of supplement that enhances the ketosis process. They are less effective in comparison to ketone salts and esters but are packed with benefits like increasing fullness and reducing body fat. Add this supplement oil to your coffee and salad dressings for more bang for your buck.

Want to learn more about MCT oil? check out “ MCT Oil: What Is IT and What Are The Health Benefits

Step 7: Carefully Watch Protein Intake


It’s imperative to consume the right amount of protein. Too much or too little can be counterproductive in achieving ketosis. Although protein is packed with wonderful benefits, an excessive amount can kick you out of ketosis.

Want to learn more about protein? check out How Important Is Protein To My Diet

Benefits Of A Ketosis Diet

  • Weight Loss

Perhaps the most sought after benefit of undergoing ketosis is weight loss. This is a direct result of fewer caloric intake in your keto diet. A keto diet will  also improve  your energy level. Increased energy equates to more physical activity which leads to additional weight loss. Other desired weight loss factors in keto dieting includes less food craving and a boost in self-control.

  • Enhanced Mental Focus And Cognition

Like your body your brain also requires energy to function. We are made up of cells.  Most cells contains an organelle called mitochondria. These organelles are the motor of cells. Among other duties, their function is to transform the food we eat into energy.  Keto dieting raises the number of energetic output in your body including the brain. This output increase produces a significant higher amount of energy in your brain therefore  improving cognitively and mental focus.

  • Lowers Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels

This benefit is especially helpful to those who are type 2 diabetic. Research such as one conducted by the US national Library of medicine national institute of health concluded “The LCKD(low carbohydrate ketogenic diet) improved glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes such that diabetes medications were discontinued or reduced in most participants.”

  • Reduces Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural mechanism in your body and serves as  a first line of defense against foreign agents. The issue is if it drags on for too long, it can  play a  part in triggering prevalent diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, depression, and much more. Two ways  a keto diet reduces inflammation are:

  • Reduces Free Radical Production

When atoms lose or gain electrons, free radicals are form. These unstable molecules causes oxidative stress, a process where our cells rust from breathing and no longer able to function properly. A keto diet is beneficial because there are less free radicals production when the body uses ketones as a form of energy compared to glucose. 


Much of keto’s meals are loaded with anti-inflamation ingredients. In addition, there are evidence that shows weight-loss is advantageous to reducing inflammation. A study conducted by the US National Library of medicine national institute of health concluded “a dietary intervention designed to elicit weight loss reduces overall inflammation in older, obese persons.”

 What Are Some Potential Health Risks?

1. The Keto Flu

There have been reports of sickness during the beginning stages of keto dieting. It is a result of your body transitioning from burning sugar to burning fat for energy. Most people will experience fatigue and lethargy but symptoms may include vomiting, headache, nausea, and gastrointestinal distress.

2. Nutrient Deficiencies

Whole food provides us with essential nutrients. The exclusion of some whole food such as fruits and grains on a keto diet may lead to nutrient deficiencies. Especially if your keto diet is followed with incorrect information. Eat a wide variety of foods and consult with medical professionals to ensure your body is adequately fueled.

3. High Fat (heart risks)

Keto dieting largely consists of consuming meats from animals and fats. Animal products typically contains lots of saturated fats which leads to an increase of LDL( bad cholesterol). This increase may lead to developing cardiovascular diseases.

4. Long Term Effects: Unknown

Long term researches on keto diets are very limited. Therefore no one really knows if it’s safe to adopt the keto lifestyle forever. However, a 24 weeks keto diet study performed on 83 obese men and women concluded with benefits such as a reduction in bad cholesterol, weight, and body mass index. More importantly the two years study did not produce any significant side effects.

 What Should I Eat On A Keto Diet?

Ketosis is all about reducing carbs. Your macros will largely consist of fats and moderate protein intake. In general, you should eat:

  • vegetables that grow above ground
  • natural fats
  • seafood & fish
  • poultry & meats
  • eggs
  • cheeses

For a more comprehensive food list check out our Keto Food Guide

Stay away from food loaded with sugar and starchy carbs. Examples include: 

  • sugary drinks
  • bread, pasta & rice
  • alcohol beverages
  • candy, etc.

These food will raise your blood sugar significantly and inhibit ketosis.

Use the the Glycemic Index to help you differentiate the amount of carbohydrate effects on blood sugar in food. Glycemic index (GI) is a food system designed to help people control their blood sugar levels. GI ranks food on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how quickly or how slowly blood sugar rises.

For more Information on Glycemic Index, check out our GI vs GL article.

Which Snacks To Eat On Keto?

Most people on keto diets stay satisfied by consuming their regular daily planned meals. However, here are some keto approved snacks if you find yourself hungry in between meals.

Dark Chocolate

You can enjoy dark chocolate in moderation on a keto diet. Dark chocolate has many health benefits, so you don’t have to feel guilty indulging on this sweet treat. Packed with micronutrients which include: fiber, manganese, copper, iron, magnesium and antioxidants that improve brain function, skin and cardiovascular health.  

It’s important to choose chocolate that contains a minimum of 70% cocoa or more. One ounce (28 grams) of unsweetened chocolate (100% cocoa) has 3 grams of net carbs.

Simply Lite, Lily’s and Ghirardelli are great choices


String cheese, cheddar cheese, and cheese wheels make great keto snacks when you want some quality fat and protein. Make sure there are no added carbs or fillers and are high in fat.

Hard cheeses make for a good snack however they aren’t the best choice for maximizing fat intake while minimizing protein. The best cheese options you can snack on that provide high fat intake are mascarpone cheese and cream cheese. 

Berries and Cream

Most fruits and berries contain a good amount of carbs, that’s why they’re sweet – nature’s candy. On a keto diet it’s important to keep a close eye on your fruit intake. 

Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are okay in moderation. Be careful with blueberries – the carbs can add up quickly. Eat small portions, infrequently. Enjoying berries with cream can be a nice treat – satisfy a sweet tooth and if tracked accordingly will fit into your daily macros and keep you on track. 

  • Blueberries (100 grams/ 3.5 oz) = 12 net carbs
  • Raspberries (100 grams/ 3.5 oz) = 5 net carbs
  • Blackberries (100 grams/ 3.5 oz) = 5 net carbs
  • Strawberries (100 grams/ 3.5 oz) = 6 net carbs

Veggies and Dip

There are a few general rules to remember when deciding which vegetables to eat on a keto diet.  The below will help you choose lower-carb veggies to meal plan and snack on:

  • Above ground vegetables have less carbs and are therefore the best options. 
  • Below ground vegetables (root vegetables) have more carbs and should be consumed in moderation – especially potatoes.
  • Leafy vegetables such as lettuces, cabbage and spinach are excellent choices.
  • Green vegetables tend to have lower carbs than colorful veggies. For example, green peppers are lower in carbs than red, yellow and orange. Green cabbage is lower than red cabbage – so go green and you’ll be making the better choice. 

Here is a list of the top 10 – low carb veggies to eat on a keto diet – (net carb count is per 3.5 oz. 100 grams): 

1.  Spinach – 1 gram
2.  Avocado – 2 grams
3.  Asparagus – 2 grams
4.  Cauliflower – 3 grams
5.  Cabbage – 3 grams
6.  Zucchini – 3 grams
7.  Kale – 3 grams
8.  Broccoli – 4 grams
9.  Green Beans – 4 grams
10. Brussel Sprouts – 5 grams Pair the above with full fat, low carb dressings such as: ranch or blue cheese but always be mindful of your caloric intake.
Beef Jerky

  1. Beef Jerky tends to be low in calories and high in protein and healthy fats, which makes for a great snack option when trying to stay within a strict daily caloric range.  Make sure you read the nutrition label carefully as a lot of store-bought brands are loaded with preservatives, MSG, honey, soy sauce and added sugars to enhance both flavor and shelf life. 

Here are some better brands to choose from: 

  1.  People’s Choice Beef Jerky
  2.  Keto Carne
  3.  Ayoba – Yo Biltong
  4.  Mission Meats Beef Sticks
  5. Sogo Snacks Beef Sticks


The #1 nut to eat on a keto diet is the Macadamia nut. Most nuts contain the inflammatory omega-6 fats but Macadamia nuts have minimal omega-6 fats and high amounts of monounsaturated fats (which are the good ones). Be mindful of your portion sizes, nuts are easy to overindulge on. 

Other keto-friendly nut/seed options (net carbs per 1 oz.)

  1.  Macadamia = 2 grams
  2.  Almonds = 3 grams
  3.  Walnuts =  2 grams
  4.  Peanuts = 1 gram
  5.  Brazil Nuts = 1 gram
  6.  Pecans = 1 gram
  7.  Pine Nuts = 3 grams
  8.  Sesame Seeds = 3 grams
  9.  Flax Seeds = 1 gram
  10.  Sunflower Seeds = 3 grams
  11.  Chia Seeds = 2 grams

Boiled Eggs

The incredible edible egg. Eggs are considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet. One large egg has less than 1 gram of carbs and is just shy of 6 grams of protein. These macros make for the perfect keto snack or meal. 

Try these delicious Avocado Deviled Eggs 


Olives are an excellent snack on a keto diet. High in good fats and low in carbs, roughly 15 olives equates to 100 calories and less than 1 net carb. Indulge in green or ripe black olives, they don’t vary much from a nutritional standpoint. Easy to pop right out of the can or if you prefer pick up the marinated Italian olives for an extra boost of fat from the oil and herb marinade. 


Loaded with healthy fat, low in net carbs avocados are a keto-friendly and healthy snack. 100 grams or roughly a half of a medium sized avocado contains about 9 grams of carbs, 7 of which are fiber, so net 2 per half and roughly 240 calories. 

Keep in mind that avocados are classified as a FODMAP food, meaning that they contain carbohydrates that are classified as hard to digest and could cause gas, bloating and other symptoms. This is on an individual basis so always let your body dictate which foods are good for you. 

Cheese Chips

If you’re craving crunch and need something that satisfies that “chip” like craving – homemade cheese chips are the keto-friendly snack to make. Cheddar or Parmesan cheese crisps are low-carb with moderate protein and fat. Many use baked “chips” with salsa or sour cream and even as a taco shell alternative. 

You can also find pre-made Parmesan Crisps at the grocery store to keep on hand for a quick on-the-go snack.

Peanut Butter

All natural peanut butter is in fact keto-friendly. Low in carbs, loaded with healthy fats and moderate protein roughly two – tablespoons equates to 3.5 grams of net carbs. 

Here are several brands of all natural peanut butter that are keto-friendly:

  1. 365 Everyday Value, Organic Creamy Peanut Butter
  2. Classic Peanut Butter by Justin’s
  3. Teddie All Natural Peanut Butter, Super Chunky
  4. Crazy Richard’s Creamy Peanut Butter
  5. Spread The Love NAKED Organic Peanut Butter

For a more comprehensive food list check out our Keto Food Guide

What To Drink On A Keto Diet?

Drinks are sneaky. Not all drinks are keto friendly. The goal is to stay away from drinks with sugars and calories. The unequivocal safe keto drink is water. When water becomes boring, here are some other beverage options.

Coffee and Tea

Black coffee, green, black and herbal tea are all calories free. These are great morning pick me ups. Drink straight or use sugar free creamers to add flavor. Heavy cream is also welcome as it can help you increase your fat and protein quotas.

Club Soda, Seltzer and Sparkling Water

Drink them plain or flavored. Get the soda feel with these zero calories bubbly beverages. Keep a close eye on the flavored options as some contain just as much sugar as a regular soda – which is loaded with carbs.  

Diet Soda

They are technically keto approved due to their nutrition labels of zero calories and zero carbs. However do not indulge, drink moderately as these drinks may enhance your sugar cravings.

Keto Smoothies

Differentiate high sugary food from low carbs ones to make delicious keto friendly smoothies. Low-carbs produce like berries( blueberries, blackberries, strawberries), spinach, MCT oil, avocado, low-carbs yogurts, almond butter, etc makes excellent smoothies ingredients. 

Juice Alternatives

Be sure to read nutrition labels when buying juices since most fruit juices are loaded with natural fructose. The good news is zero and low-carbs drinks such as vitamin water and gatorade are great tasting excellent alternatives.

Energy Drinks

Look for low carb energy drinks such as Monster Zero Ultra, Crunk sugar free, Red Bull sugar free, Sobe Adrenaline Rush sugar free, and Rock Star sugar free. Although these drinks fit the no sugar ketogenic diet concept, it’s important to understand they are not necessarily healthy. They are loaded with caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors. 

Non-Dairy Milk

Drink milk such as almond and coconut as an alternative to pile up fat and protein intake. Be sure to only consume full-fat choices and unsweetened to minimize the carbs. 

Alcohol Beverages

It’s best to stay clear of alcohol since they are poisonous to the human body. However if you enjoy a drink here and there, hard liquor such as bourbon, cognac, scotch, rum, gin, tequila, and vodka are your best options on a keto diet. They are low in calories and not ridden with carbs like most beers. 

For a more comprehensive food list check out our Keto Food Guide

Eating Out On A Keto Diet

Planning a date night, girls night out or a quick lunch to get out of the office? Yes, you deserve it and you can still enjoy delicious keto-friendly foods without breaking ketosis. In fact, there are so many amazing options you just have to modify and stick to the ingredients you know. Here are several awesome tips that will help you stay low-carb anywhere. 

Plan Ahead

Preview the menu online before you go! This will help you make the right decision before you get to the restaurant and avoid temptation or being rushed into ordering something that isn’t exactly low-carb. Look for sugar-free options and take the time to request modifications so you know your food is prepared macro friendly. 

Add Healthy Fats

Restaurant meals can seem low in healthy fats, making it hard to feel satisfied without packing in the carbs. With some simple additions to your plate this problem can be solved. 

  •  Ask for extra butter and melt it on side veggies or meat. 
  •  Opt for olive oil and vinegar salad dressings, you can even pour liberally over your meal for extra fat. 
  •  Many times the oil served in restaurants is cheaper vegetable oils (loaded with fatty omega-6 acids) rather than the healthier olive oils. Be prepared and carry your own small bottle for back-up. 
  •  Drinking coffee? Ask for heavy cream.  

Ditch The Starch 

Pass on the potatoes, pastas, breads and rice –  these pack on the carbs quickly and will surely kick you out of ketosis.  Avoid temptations on your plate before it is served to you, this will make sneaking bites a non-option.  

  •  Most restaurants allow for substitutions, opt for extra veggies or a side salad instead of a starch. 
  •  Ordering a sandwich or burger, request a lettuce wrap instead of the bun. 
  •  If these substitutions aren’t available, pass on the starch regardless.

Condiments: The Carb Killers

Sauces and condiments are loaded with hidden carbs so be mindful of what you use. Creamy sauces like Bearnaise and Alfedo are heavy with fat, while ketchup and barbeque are loaded with sugar. Gravies can go either way as they tend to use white flour and other starchy thickening agents. If ever unsure, ask to have all sauces and condiments served on the side so you can decide how much to use. 

See additional recommendations for condiments and sauces in our Keto Food Guide.

Be Mindful Of Your Beverage

Ordering water, sparkling water, tea or coffee are always going to be your best options. Avoid sodas as they are loaded with sugar and high in calories. While diet sodas are calorie free and technically allowed they have other health concerns so drink in moderation. If you are opting for an alcoholic beverage, champagne, dry wine, light beer or spirits paired with club soda are your best options. 

See additional recommendations for beverages in our Keto Food Guide.

Dessert Debate 

We all know the chances of finding a low-carb or sugar free dessert option at a restaurant is slim. Most options are decadent and loaded with carbs. Stay strong and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while you wait for others to finish their sweets. If you must indulge berries with whipped cream or a cheese plate are great after dinner options. 

See additional recommendations for desserts and snacks in our Keto Food Guide.

Creative Solutions

Modify, modify, modify. Remember you are the paying customer so asking for things served up a bit differently in most cases can be accommodated. Not finding a selection on the menu? Here are a few examples of how to modify and suggestions for what to order:  

  •  Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo – request to have the entrée served without the pasta. A bowl   of Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo is a delicious and filling keto-friendly option. Order a side   salad for a perfect dinner option. 
  •  Pasta Bolognese – again request to have the entrée served without the pasta. This is   another hearty and filling keto-friendly option. Order a side salad for a perfect dinner   option. 
  •  Order appetizers, small plates such as: Shrimp cocktail, Deviled Eggs, Charcuterie Board   all make for a delicious meal. Pair with a small side salad for a perfect dinner option. 

Tell Me About Keto Macros?

Macros are very important if your serious about achieving ketosis. Falling short of macronutrients recommended ranges likely means NO ketosis. Keto macros are the calorie percentages you should eat from macronutrients proteins, carbs, and fats. Generally, recommended keto macros ratios ranges are:

  • 60 to 75% calories from fat
  • 15 to 30% calories from protein
  • 5 to 10% calories from carbohydrate

Keto macros offers a sharp contrast from your typical standard macros which is consisted of :

  • 45 to 65% calories from carbs
  • 25 to 35% calories from fats
  • 10 to 30% calories from proteins.

(Picture example of  foods and written macros)

Both are healthy guidelines to follow. The main differences are the goals. Keto aims to fundamentally change the way your body uses nutrients for energy by using the state of ketosis. While the standard diet guideline goals are to enhance the way your body already uses nutrients for energy.

The Types Of Ketogenic Diet

There are different variations of the keto diet. Here are the 5 approaches to pick from.

1. The Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) 

Macronutrient ratio: net carbs 20 – 50%,  protein 15 – 20%,  fat 75%

The SKD is by far the most popular, especially among beginners. When people mention keto, the standard keto diet is what typically comes to mind. The idea is to consume lots of fats, moderate protein and as little carbs as possible.

2. The Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

Macronutrient ratio: net carbs 20 – 50%,  protein 15 – 20%,  fat 75%

If you are an athlete or an active individual, the TKD might be right for you. It’s designed to infuse your muscles with glycogen during high intensity exercise. Follow the SKD diet, the only difference is you are to only consume all your daily net carbs 30 to 60 minutes prior to working out.

Note: The TKD is for high intensity strength training and not ideal for low intensity workouts or cardio type exercises.

3. The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

5 days of standard ketogenic diet

Macronutrient ratio: net carbs 20 – 50%,  protein 15 – 20%,  fat 75%

2 days of carb loading

Macronutrient ratio: net carbs 70%,  protein 15 – 25%,  fat 5 – 10%

CKD involves a two phase approach. The first phase is the standard ketogenic diet. The second involves loading up on carbs. For example: 70% of net carbs are consumed on Monday and Tuesday. And 25% of net carbs consumed Wednesday through Sunday.

This diet was designed with ADVANCE athletes and body builders in mind. Athletes who’s goals are to loose body fat and achieve large muscle mass through high levels of intense training. Carb loading is critical for intense athletes because the body requires the replenishment of glycogen storage at least once during the week in order to adequately perform when training.

4. The High Protein Keto Diet (HPKD)

Macronutrient ratio: net carbs 5- 10%,  protein 35%,  fat 60 – 65%

HPKD are for those requiring additional protein in their diet. A moderate body builder might be an example. It is similar to the standard keto diet. The only difference is the added proteins. The caveat is it will be difficult to stay in ketosis using the HPKD. Although low in carbs, the high protein intake might be counter productive. This is because like carbs, protein is broken down into blood sugar for energy.

5. The Hack (Dirty Keto)

Macronutrient ratio: net carbs 20 – 50%,  protein 15 – 20%,  fat 75%

Dirty keto is a hack of the standard ketogenic diet. It follows the same macronutrients ratio as the SKD and is also focused around high fat intake. The difference is the quality of food. A strict SKD may consist of a bowl of salad loaded with excellent fats like avocado, almonds, and extra virgin olive oil. In contrast, a bun less cheeseburger loaded with bacon from burger king and a bag of pork rinds is perfectly ok on a dirty keto diet.

What Are Net Carbs?

Net carbs are the number of grams in carbohydrate that significately affects blood sugar levels. It is the total number of  grams in carbohydrate minus grams of fiber.

Use net carbs when calculating daily carbohydrate intake. This is important because our body cannot digest fiber and it does not effect blood sugar levels or trigger insulin release. Your body will ONLY produce blood glucose from net carbs.

How Do I Calculate Keto Macros?

The easiest way to calculate your ketogenic diet macros is by using our  Keto Calculator. Alternatively, you can use the guide below to manually calculate your keto macros.

How many carbohydrates do I eat on a keto diet?

  • Carbohydrates – Carbs consumption will vary for each of us due to different metabolisms and other factors. As a general guideline, consume no more than 50g of net carbs per day. 20 to 30g per day for optimal results. Above 30g daily net carbs will likely kick the majority of us out of ketosis. Calculate your net carbs!

How much protein to eat on a keto diet?

  • Protein – Protein needs will vary for each individual. They are based on factors like activity levels, fitness goals, muscle mass and more. ketogenic diets highly emphasizes fats intake and often overlook the need to consume protein. Do not make this mistake. Protein is critical in maintaining and building muscles and it will keep you full a longer period of time. A general rule is to consume 1g of protein per pound of lean muscle.

How to calculate body fat in pounds, lean muscle mass, and daily protein allowance.

Example: A 200 pound man with 20% body fat.

Body fat formula: 200 lbs  x .20 = 40 lbs of body fat.

Lean muscles mass formula:  200 lbs – 40 lbs of body fat = 160 lbs of lean muscle mass.

Total protein intake per day: 160 lbs lean mass x 1g of protein = 160g of protein 

Once daily carbohydrate and protein intake are established, it’s time to calculate your fats. This is where you determine if you wish to lose, gain, or simply maintain your current weight. In essence, a person who wishes to lose weight will eat less total amount of fat compared to someone who is maintaining.

Use our Keto Calculator to help understand your baseline. The calculator will provide you with your daily fat allowance in grams based on your goal input (lose, gain, or maintain weight). Once your daily fat intake is known, refer to the following conversion data:

    • Protein contains 4 calories per gram
    • Carbohydrates contains 4 calories per gram
    • Fats contains 9 calories per gram

For example: You calculated from earlier steps you need to consume 100g of protein, 25g of carbs, and your keto calculator displays your fat intake at 150g of fat.

    1. Convert grams of fat to calories: 150g x 9 calories = 1,350 calories from fat.
    2. Convert grams of protein to calories: 100g x 4 calories = 400 calories from protein.
    3. Convert grams of carbs to calories: 25g x 4 calories = 100 calories from carbs
    4. Total intake from calories = 1350 + 400 + 100 = 1850 total calories

Calculate fat allowance per day in both calories and in grams to help when tracking daily macros.

How To Keep Track Of Food Macros

As you may know by now not all food are created equal. Some are high in carbs and protein. Others may be high in fat but low in carbs. Although tracking food macros are not critical on a keto diet, its nice to have some tools readily available.

The most popular macro tracker currently being used is a free application called MyFitnessPal. It is a user friendly app where you simply enter the food and serving size and VOILA. Carbs, fats, and protein macros are neatly displayed.

Also you can utilize our Keto Diet Food Guide. It is an extensive guide that separates ideal food to eat and food to stay away from on a keto diet. Each listed food contains serving sizes and macros.


Keto dieting is not for everyone. It can be extremely effective for those suffering from obesity, diabetes, or people simply looking to improve their overall health. It largely depends on your personal goals. You should consult your doctor prior to making dietary changes and track your progress to determine if the keto diet is best suited for you. As with any diet, consistency is key. Keto is about sticking to the approved foods so your body goes into a state of ketosis. That is the only way this plan will work and give you the long term results you are looking for. On keto, there are no cheat days!

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