The purpose of the ketogenic diet is to force the body into burning fats instead of carbohydrates. Those who follow it eat a diet that contains high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein, and low levels of carbohydrates.
Through this breakdown of macronutrients, the body induces ketosis, which changes how the body uses energy and leads to numerous physiological benefits.
For most people, a range of 20-50 grams of carbohydrate intake per day is ideal for the keto diet. Some people can go as high as 80 grams per day to stay in ketosis, but the majority should stay in the initial range. Each person’s metabolism is different.
Protein should be kept to adequate proportions. Eating too much protein is undesirable because our bodies have a metabolic process namedgluconeogenesis.
Gluconeogenesis converts excess protein into glycogen and keeps you in glucose burning-mode (i.e. not in ketosis).
The word gluconeogenesis has three parts to it,
Gluco – coming from the greek root glukos – meaning “sweet wine.”
Neo – “new”
Genesis – “creation.”
To prevent gluconeogenesis, avoid eating more than 1.5 to 2g of protein per kg of lean body mass (0.68 – 1g of protein per lb. of lean body mass). The way to figure out adequate protein levels is by using thePerfect Keto Macro Calculator.
The remaining 70-75% of your calories come from fats. Since fat is the main source of nutrition on a ketogenic diet, it’s important to source high-quality, healthy fats. See below for more information on what a “high-quality, healthy fat” means.
The above benefits are all scientifically proven in studies conducted by researchers through the years.
Results vary according to several factors like insulin resistance and unique body composition, but keto consistently leads to a reduction in weight and body fat percentage in a wide range of situations, including but not limited to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and athletic performance.
This study compared the effects of the ketogenic diet versus a hypocaloric diet in obese children and adolescents.
Children following the ketogenic diet significantly reduced body weight, fat mass, waist circumference, and fasting insulin levels.
The children in the ketogenic diet group also significantly reduced a marker of insulin resistance known as homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) to a greater degree than those following a hypocaloric diet.
High molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin — An important marker of insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular disease— known as high molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin — significantly increased in the ketogenic diet group but not in the hypocaloric diet group[*][*].
This study compared the effects of the low-carb ketogenic diet (LCKD) vs a low-glycemic index diet (LGID).
Subjects in the LCKD group had significantly greater improvements in weight loss, hemoglobin A1c, and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol compared to the low-glycemic index diet group.
Participants in the ketogenic diet group lost on average 11.1 kilograms (24.5 pounds) compared to those following the low-glycemic index diet who lost on average 6.9 kilograms (15.2 pounds) -11.1 kg in the LCKD vs. -6.9 kg in the LGID
Participants in the keto group reduced their HbA1c levels by 1.5% compared to the low-glycemic index diet group who only reduced their HbA1c levels by 0.5%. -1.5% in the LCKD vs. -0.5% in the LGID
Participants in the keto group increased their HDL cholesterol on average +5.6 mg/dL compared to those in the low-glycemic index group who had no increases in HDL cholesterol. in the LCKD vs. 0 mg/dL in the LGID
Diabetes medications were reduced or eliminated in 95.2% of LCKD vs. only 62% of LGID participants.
There are four general styles of the ketogenic diet. They are slight variations of each other, but the purpose of each is to induce ketosis and accommodate other physiological and lifestyle goals. The four most common versions of the ketogenic diet are:
The Standard Ketogenic Diet (SDK) – 75% of your diet comes from fats, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbohydrate.
The Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) – Eat 20-50 grams of net carbs per day, targeted around exercise. This is used by athletes seeking a performance boost but are not as interested in fat loss.
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) – Follow the Standard Ketogenic Diet for a period of time, then eat a higher-carb diet for a couple days and restart the cycle. This diet is less effective for achieving your goals, and can lead to swings in energy, but some find it easier to maintain long-term as it allows “cheat” meals.
The High-Protein Ketogenic Diet – 60% fats, 35% protein, and 5% carbs. This is designed for anyone lifting weights several times per week and seeking to gain lean mass.
Can you follow the ketogenic diet as a vegetarian or as a vegan? Yes.
It will take a lot more thought and prep, but it’s manageable.
Consider it as another type of keto. You can adapt keto to your chosen lifestyle as a vegan or a vegetarian, although you may need a thorough assessment of whether you need to.
For example, if you’re managing diabetes, or if you want to increase your energy by balancing your blood sugar levels, then yes, a ketogenic diet is one of the best tools for that.
You need to give yourself an adjustment period. Vegetarians and vegans are used to eating more healthy grains and carbs than fat. We know vegetarians and vegans who struggled to give up and replace their usual meals of sandwiches, pastas and starchy vegetables.
Keep the following points in mind as you begin your keto journey as a vegetarian or vegan.
If you haven’t yet, differentiate between net carbs and total carbs.
Fiber doesn’t count. Starch and natural sugars do. A lot of vegetarian keto recipes may look like they have a lot of “carbs” but are in fact more rich in fiber.
Give yourself wiggle room in the beginning.
Start slow, trying out a wide variety of the keto-friendly vegetables, fruit and nuts.
Don’t go cold turkey from high-carb to very low carb. Yes, you’ll have to give up pastas and bread in your sandwiches to achieve ketosis, but a few croutons or rotini in your salad, or enjoying your usual slice of pumpkin pie won’t hurt at the start.
You need sufficient protein intake.
Keto requires moderate protein: a healthy amount to support organ function, red blood cells and muscles. Note that your protein macro also depends on your daily physical activities. Make sure you know your ideal protein macro and stick to it.
Consistently insufficient protein intake leads to muscle loss, more hunger and less calories burned at rest.
Dairy–eggs and full fat milk–is your best friend. If you’re vegan, you may find it difficult to meet your keto protein requirements, especially as protein in nature is usually partnered with a lot of net carbs (not counting fiber). That said, there are still plenty of low-carb sources of protein in vegan diets!
(Grams in protein, grams of net carbs, serving size)
Tempeh – 19g | 9g | 1/2 cup Roasted dry soybeans – 17g | 10.5g | 1/2 cup Mature yellow soybeans – 14g | 3.5g | 1/2 cup Edamame – 11g | 6g | 1/2 cup Tofu – 10g | 1.9g | 1/2 cup cubes Nutritional yeast – 8g | 1g | 2 tbsps Hemp seeds – 5.3g | 2.3 g | 1 tbsp Peas – 5g | 9g | 2/3 cup Spinach – 4g | 1g | 1 cup Asparagus – 4g | 5g | 1 cup Broccoli – 2.8g | 7g | 1/2 cup
Fruits on keto are different.
Vegetarians and vegans happily snack on all the fruits they want, but sugar and starch content restrict fruits on keto. Stick to nutrient-dense, low-carb berries.
Carb content in 1/4 cup serving:
strawberries (not really a berry): 1.8g
watermelon (It’s a berry!): 2.6g
pineapple: (A single pineapple is a bunch of berries fused together!): 3.8g
Use supplements for help.
Perfect Keto products help your protein and fat macros without the carbs most other protein powders contain. You also need supplements to make up for magnesium and sodium deficiency in very low carb diets. Magnesium and sodium are essential if you want to skip keto-flu.
Supplements are a popular way to maximize the benefits of a ketogenic diet. They are effective at their purpose but should be used in conjunction with a nutritious, whole-food based ketogenic diet. The most important supplements on a ketogenic diet are,
“Exogenous ketones” are ketones from external sources.
Taking exogenous ketones provides the body with extra ketones for energy. Ketone supplements can also be a huge help when transitioning into a state of ketosis or entering afasted state.
Exogenous ketones help you get back into ketosis at any time, instead of having to wait at least a couple days. They can also be taken in between meals to provide a quick punch of ketones or before a workout for additional energy.
Benefits of Exogenous Ketones
Accessing clean burning, constant source of energy, instead of peaks and valleys of glucose
Boost energy for exercise
Increases satiety and feeling full
Sense of well-being
Ketosis induces improved autophagy and apoptosis, where your body purges dead or underperforming cells to allow for new growth. This has innumerable benefits relating to disease prevention and longevity.
MCT is short for medium chain triglycerides. MCTs are a type of fat that can be readily used for energy by your body and do not have to be broken down before use. They are precursors to ketones and help your body burn fat instead of burning carbs. The primary whole food source of MCT’s are coconuts.
It normally comes in the form of a liquid oil, but it can also be converted into a more portable and easily mixed powder.
Benefits of MCT Supplements
MCT’s are easily digested and have a thermogenic (energy-creating) effect, also known as “boosting your metabolism.”
MCT’s are a fast-acting source of energy. They break down into ketones which can then be used as fuel for your body.
MCT’s support our gut microbiome by combating harmful bacteria and parasites.
MCT’s contain antioxidant properties which reduce internal inflammation and improve overall performance of your heart, brain, and nervous system.
How to Use MCT’s
For Fat Loss
Use a scoop in between meals or in the morning to put your body into an effortless fat burning mode.
Use a scoop before or during workouts to decrease need for oxygen and increase energy.
Use a scoop on an empty stomach to have an increased mental output and sharper focus.
Use a scoop with or after a meal you’ve consumed that has carbs to get back into the state of ketosis.
Collagen is a type of protein — 1 of over 10,000 in your body. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, accounting for 25-35% of all protein. It can be considered the glue that holds your body together as it supports the growth of joints, organs, hair, and connective tissues..
Most other animal based protein powders can be inflammatory to many people. Casein and whey are known allergens and egg protein can be quite inflammatory. Collagen protein from grass-fed beef is made in the same way that bone broth is made, low and slow heating to preserve the nutrition.
Benefits of Collagen
Building healthy DNA
Detoxification and digestion
Rebuilding joints, tendons, cartilage, skin, nails, hair, organs, etc.
One of the toughest parts of keto is that it cuts out lots of fruits and vegetables that are unfortunately too high in carbohydrates. However, these fruits and vegetables are also packed with nutrients.
Keto Micro Greens is the solution to getting enough nutrition from produce, while eating a low carb ketogenic diet. Perfect Keto Micro Greens Powder is 14 servings of 22 different fruits and vegetables, plus herbs and MCT fats to assist with absorption.
In contrast, multivitamins aren’t a good solution as they are synthetic and lack a lot of nutrients like polyphenols, antioxidants, and fiber that green powders and whole food sources provide. And the lack of fats and enzymes make the nutrients they do contain very difficult to process properly. Just because you’re putting something in your body doesn’t mean your body can use it!
Greens and Veggie Blend: 4.5 grams of raw and organic greens and vegetables from 12 different sources.
Berry and Fruit Blend: 4.5 grams of raw and organic berries and fruits from 10 different sources.
MCT Powder: 3.5 grams. We use fat from coconut oil so you more readily absorb the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in plants.
Liver Support and Digestive Enzymes: These help your body absorb and utilize the nutrient. Without these, you would waste a lot of the benefit and micronutrients of the product.
How to Use Micro Greens Powder
Anytime of day: Keto Micro Greens is what a multivitamin should be
Before/During exercise: Many add it to their pre-workout for flavor and convenience
Traveling or anytime you need a health boost
Tip: Include this in your coffee, smoothie, desserts, or workout drinks.
Pre-workout powders are for people who are on a ketogenic or otherwise low-carb diet and want a healthy, ketogenic pre-workout energy drink without all the crap in other pre-workout drink mixes. They can be used any time of day for a quick, clean and healthy energy boost for physical and cognitive performance without the caffeine crash.
Perfect Keto Perform Pre-Workout Ingredients
Beta-hydroxybutyrate, powerful ketones, precursor of ketosis through its work with acetyl groups to create ATP, the energy currency of cells
Healthy fats and a source of ketones for an energy and cognitive boost
Increases your body’s ability to produce burst energy through cellular hydration
2g BCAA (2:1:1)
Branched chain amino acids, composed of leucine, isoleucine and valine. Together, they promote muscle protein synthesis and cellular glucose uptake for muscle growth and better endurance
Promotes muscle endurance and more power output during training.
For reduced muscle soreness, and better endurance for your workouts.
From green tree, for alertness without the blood pressure and heart rate elevation caused by caffeine, as well as numerous other health benefits.
Upon embarking on a ketogenic diet, many of us are faced with a dilemma: the foods we need to eat are far different from what we currently have in the pantry and refrigerator. This means getting rid of desserts, processed carbs and starches and replacing them with full-fat nutrition. This also means our grocery list and pantries will look quite different. Common foods on the ketogenic diet include,
Meats: fatty cuts ofgrass-fed beef, chicken and other poultry, pork, lamb, goat, turkey, veal, and fish sources like salmon, sardines, catfish, tuna, trout, etc.
Oils: oils like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, and nuts and seeds (whole or as butters),.
Whole Eggs: preferably organic, free-range. Yolks preferred as they contain all of the fat content.
Dairy: full-fat cheeses, sour cream, full-fat (unsweetened) yogurt, and heavy creams.
Low-carb vegetables and fruits: spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and other leafy greens. Small quantities of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and avocados.
Healthy fats are the cornerstone of the ketogenic diet. Fat is satiating, and it tastes great, so you can eat a lot of foods that are satisfying and delicious. Here’s what that includes:
Butter or ghee (clarified butter from Indian cuisine)
Coconut oil, olive oil, MCT oil, or avocado oil
Nuts and seeds or nut butter (choose fattier nuts)
As fat will be your primary source of energy, try to buy the highest quality fats to maintain optimal health. Choose organic and free range products as often as you can. Check out our full article onhealthy fats vs. the ones to still avoid even in ketosis.
Ketogenic Foods to Eat: Proteins
Remember eating too much protein in relation to fat can cause the body to break down protein for fuel instead, decreasing or stopping ketosis. If you eat leaner cuts of meat, consider including a fatty side dish or sauce. As much as possible, choose grass-fed and pasture-raised options.
Beef, preferably fattier cuts like steak, veal, roast, non-lean ground beef, and stews.
Poultry, including chicken, quail, duck, turkey, and wild game—try to focus on the darker, fattier meats with skin on.
Pork, including pork loin, tenderloin, chops, ham, bacon, and ground.
Fish, including mackerel, tuna, salmon, trout, halibut, cod, catfish, and mahi-mahi.
Shellfish, including oysters, clams, crab, mussels, and lobster.
Organ meats, including heart, liver, tongue, kidney, and offal.
“Low-carb” doesn’t always meanketo-approved. As a rule of thumb, try to stick to whole food-based snacks as much as possible, preferably homemade. Remember, food is supposed to go bad. Preservatives and fake ingredients have not been in the human diet until recently, and we are not well equipped to handle them. The body’s response is usually to create inflammation in response to food-like ingredients that it deems as “foreign.”
Grocery Shopping Tips for Ketogenic Snacks
Stick to foods that don’t make health claims (healthy food doesn’t need to say that it’s healthy)
Stick to foods that have less than 5 ingredients.
Stick to the outside circle of the grocery store.
Meal prep is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success, but when life gets busy, here are some of the best snacks options to grab and go:
Beef jerky without preservatives or added sugars/carbs
Nuts or nut butters and seeds
Cheese: Choose the full-fat, creamier versions.
Cocoa nibs: These are a nice low-carb alternative to chocolate chips!
Sardines and Anchovies
Iced coffee: Drink it black or with full-fat milk or cream orMCT Oil Powder.
Veggie sticks: You could dip these in homemade guacamole or eat with full-fat cheeses.
Bacon: Cook some ahead of time to have on hold for snacks on the go.
In any healthy diet, there are the obvious things to avoid: processed carbs, sugars, fried food etc. In the ketogenic diet we need to avoid unhealthy foods as well as any food that would kick us out of ketosis. This means we have to be smart about the types of fat we eat, when and how to consume alcohol, eating the right nuts, and managing cheat meals.
Carbohydrates to Avoid on Keto
All grains—and foods that are made from grains, even whole grains—should be avoided because they contain too many carbs and will interfere with ketosis, slowing weight loss. That includes the following,
All sugar, syrups, and products with sugar added to them
Protein to Avoid on Keto
Low Fat Dairy
Full-fat dairy products like unsweetened yogurt, butter, heavy cream, and sour cream are okay on the ketogenic diet, but avoid all other milk and low- and reduced-fat dairy products. Dairy products to avoid:
Milk (minus some raw milk)
Low-fat or reduced-fat dairy products
Factory Farmed Animal Products
As much as possible, choose animal products that are organic and grass-fed. It shouldn’t be so difficult, but it is. Avoid,
Grain-fed meats and dairy, as they are lower in nutrients.
Try to stay away from factory-farmed fish and pork products, which are high in omega-6s (that are inflammatory in too-large amounts).
Processed meats like hot dogs and deli meat as they contain preservatives, large quantities of salt, and filler carbs
Processed trans fats can be very damaging to your health. Risks of consuming trans fats include:
Increased risk of heart disease
Increased risk of cancer
Reduced HDL cholesterol and increased LDL cholesterol
Bad for the health of your gut
Avoid trans fats like,
Processed products like cookies, crackers, margarine, and fast food
Vegetable oils like cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, soybean, and canola oils
Consuming Alcohol on Keto
Drinking alcohol slows ketone production. There are some legitimate concerns when it comes to consuming alcohol on aketogenic diet. Alcohol slows fat burning and ketone production. Drinks to avoid include:
Wines (especially sweet wines)
Sugary mixers that contain soda, syrups, or juices
Basically, anything that tastes sweet is best avoided because it likely contains a lot of added sugar and carbs.
Hard liquors are basically just alcohol and water, so they don’t affect sugar and insulin levels like the drinks mentioned above. The best options include:
You absolutely can have nuts on the keto diet—but it’s best to do so with some knowledge. In terms of the high fat on a keto diet, nuts have great macros. As you know, the fats help you stay fuller, more satisfied, and in nutritional ketosis. If you choose the right types of nuts, you’ll be getting mostly fat.
In general, and when eaten in moderate quantities, nuts are low in carbs and great for a ketogenic diet. The key is to source the nuts that are lowest in carbohydrate.
The benefits of a ketogenic diet sound great but many of us still have concerns about the safety of eating such a high amount of fat each day. There are also common questions about the dangers of high ketone levels or effects on blood tests or dealing with the keto-flu symptoms.
Eating High Fat
For years and years, saturated fats were seen as harmful for heart health and we were recommended to reduce them as much as possible. However, recentstudies have debunked this, showing no significant link between saturated fats, which humans have been eating for thousands of years, and the risk of heart disease.
Unlike saturated fats, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) have been accepted as healthy for many years.Many studies have linked them to health benefits related to good cholesterol and better insulin resistance.
This is where the omega’s come into play. Omega-3 fatty acids are termed as such because the first double bond occurs on the 3rd carbon. Omega-3 can lower inflammation, increase brain and heart health, decrease depression, prevent dementia, stall prostate cancer and reduce ADHD. They are especially important on a ketogenic diet, to source high-quality seafood and meats and consider supplementing with fish oil.
High Ketone Levels
Having high ketone levels (0.5-5.0mmol/L) is not dangerous. Ketosis is a perfectly safe and natural metabolic state, but it is often confused with another, and highly dangerous, metabolic state called ketoacidosis.
Ketosis is ametabolic state when fat is the primary energy source instead of carbohydrates. Ketosis is a perfectly normal state of human metabolism.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous metabolic state that is most commonly seen in people with type 1 diabetes and sometimes type 2 diabetics if they aren’t properly managing their insulin and diet.
Keto Flu Symptoms
Many folks deal with flu like symptoms as they become fat adapted after decades of running on carbs. These temporary symptoms are byproducts of dehydration and low carbohydrate levels while your body is still trying to use carbohydrates as its primary energy source, including:
The keto flu can often be shortened or avoided completely by taking one of ourketone supplements, which help switch the body into ketosis instantly. They make the transition period much shorter and easier.
For more on safety in all facets of the ketogenic diet, check out: