Since successfully losing 100lbs by changing her relationship with food and her body, Sarah has taken her passion for food and balanced it between cucumbers and cupcakes. When she's not bustling her way around a kitchen, you can find her working out or winding down at home with her 3 kids and pug. Follow Sarah's journey on Instagram @TheBirdsPapaya.

Just this week, a 25,000-person study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich suggested that people on the lowest-carb diets had the highest risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and all other causes. Another study, published this month in the Lancet, also found that people who followed diets that were low in carbs and high in animal proteins had a higher risk of early death compared to those who consumed carbs in moderation. (The opposite was true, however, for low-carb dieters who opted for plant-based proteins over meat and dairy.)

Ready to head out the door and start buying groceries? Slow down there, chief. Go through the pantry, fridge, freezer, and secret stashes under the bed, and get rid of foods with any significant carb content. In the first few days, you could end up craving them—badly. This means fruit, too. Even carrots and onions are too high-glycemic to work with keto, Wittrock says.


Beyond just fat loss, ketosis has an additional benefit in that it spares muscle when you’re eating at a deficit. On a normal diet, when you eat fewer calories than you need for the day, your body breaks down muscle and fat in nearly equal amounts to make up for the difference. With keto, your body is primed to burn mostly fat, particularly if you’re meeting your protein goal for the day. This results in a better metabolism and more total fat lost. Low carb recipes offer:

Sometimes we all have leftover chicken on hand that needs to be used up. Maybe you roasted a couple of chickens on the weekend to prep for the week ahead, maybe you had company over and grilled up too many chicken breasts, or maybe rotisserie chicken was on sale at your local grocery store and it was too good a bargain to pass up. Whatever the reason, we all can use a few ideas on how to use up leftover chicken.

And here’s an important side note: The amount of sugar we need in our bodies to keep the blood sugar number normal is only 1 teaspoon for all the blood in your body (about 1 gallons of blood). And that tiny amount of sugar could come from eating vegetables or even protein. In reality we do not need any sugar in our food at all. Yet the average person consumes 31 teaspoons of sugar and hidden sugar each day!
The daily keto diet menus are all high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrates.   We include the macronutrient grams, percentages and ratios of each keto meal in the keto meal plan so that you can track your macros with ease - just plug the numbers we give you into your tracking app (or just cook and eat the meals we give you and trust us on our plan!).    If you were to incorporate one of our weight loss plans with your monthly keto diet meal plan, you would find that we stress tracking your macronutrients at least for the first 4 weeks.
In a recent study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, Weiss and his colleagues found that participants performed worse on high-intensity cycling and running tasks after four days on a ketogenic diet, compared to those who’d spent four days on a high-carb diet. Weiss says that the body is in a more acidic state when it’s in ketosis, which may limit its ability to perform at peak levels.

Lots of apps and website offer keto diet challenges—basically, a blueprint for the keto diet with a fixed starting and ending point (they typically last for a week to a month, though some may be longer). Speaking of apps, plenty of keto-centric ones are right at your fingertips (a.k.a., your smartphone), like the KetoDiet app, which can help you calculate your macros and track your keto diet effectively.
No deep fryers or air fryers needed for these wings! Forget those greasy chicken wings you’d order at a restaurant and opt-in for these homemade guiltless garlic parmesan wings. You won’t find rancid vegetable oil, gluten or a deep frier here — just avocado oil, healthy pecorino romano and free-range, organic chicken for a twist on an otherwise unhealthy classic.
We’ve included a printable shopping list and meal plan for your convenience! Again, use these tools as a reference and not as the be all end all. If you see something else on sale that you enjoy eating, go for that! This can be used as a framework for how to eat on keto. This isn’t the most ideal meal plan for optimal health, but it’s a pretty good one for cheap. I would recommend getting some coconut oil in this plan if possible, but we couldn’t fit it into our all-inclusive approach. If you buy in bulk on amazon coconut oil is cheap!
"Plenty of people jump right in, thinking all they have to do is cut carbs and increase fat. All of a sudden, they hit a wall and get 'keto flu.' They feel tired, lethargic, and experience headaches," Wittrock says. "The primary reason they get these symptoms is lack of the three primary electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you're deficient in any of these, you'll suffer mentally and physically. This is the single biggest reason people fail on the keto diet."
Sarah, To make this recipe using the ranch packet, I would do the following: 1) Omit the following: apple cider vinegar, chives, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, dill, salt, and black pepper. 2) Use 2 ranch packets. 3) Increase the water to 1 to 1 1/2 cups (because the ranch packets are likely to contain thickeners). If you make the recipe with these changes, please let us know how it goes!
That’s why many health experts are concerned about people on the keto diet, especially those who try it without the guidance of a doctor or nutritionist. Doctors say that high-fat diets like this one may raise cholesterol levels, and some studies suggest that they increase the risk of diabetes. Some have even called it a “cardiologist’s nightmare.”
This recipe is from our e-book, 20 Low-Carb Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipes. In the e-book we call it “Better Than Crack Chicken”, which it really is! We switched up the seasoning a little (omitted the Ranch mix and added our own keto-friendly seasonings), and this takes it over the top in terms of deliciousness. Our e-book is now on sale on Amazon for just $4.99!
Beyond just fat loss, ketosis has an additional benefit in that it spares muscle when you’re eating at a deficit. On a normal diet, when you eat fewer calories than you need for the day, your body breaks down muscle and fat in nearly equal amounts to make up for the difference. With keto, your body is primed to burn mostly fat, particularly if you’re meeting your protein goal for the day. This results in a better metabolism and more total fat lost. Low carb recipes offer:

What else happens when we break down muscle glycogen? We lose water weight! Our muscles store about 3 grams of water for every gram of glycogen, meaning we can lose quite a bit of weight right away when we tap into glycogen stores for fuel. That's why someone who loses weight in "just one week!" from a low-carb plan is likely losing water weight, not necessarily real weight that stays off over time.
The keto diet is one of the most effective that I’ve come across and one of the more straightforward (as opposed to easy!) to follow. In a nutshell, when you’re on a keto diet, you eat a very low-carb, high-fat diet. That means goodbye pasta and bread, hello cheese and oils. It’s pretty much the opposite of what we’ve been taught our entire lives. But it works if you follow the keto diet food list. Plus, you can make many favorite recipes keto-friendly.

Now we do have a full meal plan laid out for you below, but I would encourage you to experiment a bit with some meals that might better suit your tastes. We love all of these meals, that’s why we picked them! We know everyone is different though. If you want to sub something in, just check to make sure the nutrition is comparable. Keto on a budget can be pulled off all types of different ways. This is just one example using a lot of our favorite meals. For example, if you have a bunch of coconut oil sitting around feel free to sub it in for the butter. If you have olive oil, sub it in for the blue cheese dressing. Don’t let this meal plan feel restricting, it is best used as a reference point and not as a hard and fast rule book. We put together this full day of eating video to show you an example of how we ate on $5 a day:
A lot of conflicting information has been circulated about the consumption of fat. People are sometimes concerned that adding fat to their diet will cause them to gain weight. This is not necessarily the case. Fat a neutral food. It is also satisfying. If you eat a low-fat meal, whether you have carbs or not, you will stay hungry. Fat allows you to feel full for longer. Furthermore, fat does not spike insulin and adding some healthy fat at meals will help you go longer between meals and really dip down into your fat stores to burn that fat off the body. Burning all that fat off the body is much healthier than holding onto it—which will lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, and all the dominoes that fall after that—cardiovascular disease, cancer, the list goes on and on.
The problem is that, with a bit more time, the pancreas eventually stops compensating, becomes exhausted, and makes less and less insulin—allowing the sugar in your blood to go higher and higher. So, the first stage of insulin resistance is normal or low blood sugars due to excessive compensation of insulin. Then this is followed by higher and higher blood sugars as you lose the ability to compensate for the sugar with insulin. This is called diabetes.

Also, when you eliminate sugar and high-carb foods from your daily diet, "your body is able to heal itself and detox from the accumulated inflammation that it is constantly fighting," That means less brain fog, improved cognition and brain health. Consequently, the improved mental clarity makes it easier for you to make smart food choices, adds the nutritionist.
The main criticisms include fears about fat intake and the process of ketosis.The argument over whether saturated fats are unhealthy has been settled in the research literature (they are not). If you need more info, there are several good books to read on this subject.  For more information about the type of fats to eat, see the saturated vs unsaturated fats page.  The right side column on that page has books which provide more information.
Hunger is one way to know if you’re in fat burning, because the longer you do keto, the less hungry you’ll be.39,40 If you’re getting severe hunger with weakness and brain fog, you’re not quite into keto. Back off a bit. Don’t be doing 20-hour fasts. You need more fuel to give your body the energy it needs, and that includes energy to manufacture the enzymes to burn fat instead of glucose. Take it slow, add more fat to your first meal, and eat nutrient-dense foods. If you need more nutrients, try adding some nutritional yeast and electrolytes, and major amounts of potassium. These will help you fix insulin resistance and help you get into fat burning. Bone broth is great for a snack. It’s just nutrients without calories, period.
High-Fat Cheeses — Although hard cheeses make for a great keto snack, they aren’t the best cheese for increasing your fat intake without getting too much protein. The highest fat cheeses that can serve as ideal high-fat, low protein snacks are mascarpone cheese and cream cheese. Feel free to combine them with other snacks in this article, such as pork rinds, pepperoni, and nuts, for a wonderfully tasty keto snack.
Lemon juice contains citrates (the substance that gives citrus fruits their sour taste). When you’re low on citrates, you’re at risk for kidney stones. Add the lemon juice to your kale shake or drink it in water. Try to consume at least one lemon per day (lemon juice or the fruit of the lemon).34 I also recommend taking my electrolyte mix because it contains minerals in their citric form, as in potassium citrate, helping to bind oxalate stones and neutralize uric-acid stones.35,36
Low carb diets focus on keto recipes (also known as ketogenic recipes) like the ones below to keep your blood sugar stable, helping your body regain insulin sensitivity and keeping your mood and energy levels stable. Also, since processed food has so many additives – usually sugar included – low carb diets encourage you to cook for yourself. This leads to eating more whole foods and improving your diet in that way as well.
'Cutting out carbs without advice can be dangerous, and can put you at risk of deficiencies in the long-term,' warns Dr Barclay. 'If you're looking to lose weight, burning fat may sound like the key to success, but in actual fact it comes with some risks, and may not be effective in the long term. The ketogenic diet is a short-term solution to a long-term health problem.'
Calories: The nutrient intake on a ketogenic diet typically works out to about 70-75% of calories from fat, 20-25% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrate on a daily basis.  However, these ratios don't work well at very low calorie or very high calorie daily totals.  And although calorie counting is not required, it is important to understand how macronutrient percentages can be affected by caloric intake, so you may want to read my page on calorie counting to get more information on this subject. Again, low or very high calorie intake will skew the percentages of macronutrients. It is also important to remember that fats are super high-calorie foods, especially if you have extra weight to lose and you are doing keto to lose weight. Read my plateau page if you are not reaching your weight loss goals.
First reported in 2003, the idea of using a form of the Atkins diet to treat epilepsy came about after parents and patients discovered that the induction phase of the Atkins diet controlled seizures. The ketogenic diet team at Johns Hopkins Hospital modified the Atkins diet by removing the aim of achieving weight loss, extending the induction phase indefinitely, and specifically encouraging fat consumption. Compared with the ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet (MAD) places no limit on calories or protein, and the lower overall ketogenic ratio (approximately 1:1) does not need to be consistently maintained by all meals of the day. The MAD does not begin with a fast or with a stay in hospital and requires less dietitian support than the ketogenic diet. Carbohydrates are initially limited to 10 g per day in children or 20 g per day in adults, and are increased to 20–30 g per day after a month or so, depending on the effect on seizure control or tolerance of the restrictions. Like the ketogenic diet, the MAD requires vitamin and mineral supplements and children are carefully and periodically monitored at outpatient clinics.[47]
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.[55]

Hi Cyn, The numbers are general guidelines but will vary depending on many factors, such as activity level, insulin resistance, weight and more. There is no single magic number, just conventional recommendations that are a good starting point. I will have a macro calculator coming soon that will help determine what is best for each person, but even then it’s an approximation. The only way to know for sure is to test. If keto is your goal, it’s usually best to start lower and then see if you can stay in ketosis when increasing.
Chasing blood Ketones instead of focusing on hormone signals: "The higher the number means you have more Ketones circulating in your bloodstream, but that does not mean that you are better at burning fat for fuel," Mavridis points out. "You must be in nutritional Ketosis, which is described as being between 1.5 - 3.0 mol/L on the blood Ketone meter. You will know once you are fat-adapted from hormonal signals, and not from higher Ketones on the blood meter," she adds.
When it comes to starting the keto diet (or any diet for that matter), there's one thing all experts agree on. You *must* have a plan. "Never try to wing a keto diet," says Julie Stefanski, R.D.N., C.S.S.D., L.D.N., a dietitian based in York, PA, who specializes in the ketogenic diet. "Set a start date and get prepared by reorganizing your pantry, planning out meal and snack options, and purchasing appropriate foods and dietary supplements," she says. "The biggest reason people have a hard time sticking with keto is that people don't have enough interesting foods to turn to, and high-carb favorites win out over good intention. If you didn't buy foods at the grocery store that fit the guidelines, there won't be an easy option in the fridge when you really need it." (A great place to start is this List of High-Fat Keto Foods Anyone Can Add to Their Diet.)
Your glycogen stores can still be refilled while on a ketogenic diet. A keto diet is an excellent way to build muscle, but protein intake is crucial here. It’s suggested that if you are looking to gain mass, you should be taking in about 1.0 – 1.2g protein per lean pound of body mass. Putting muscle on may be slower on a ketogenic diet, but that’s because your total body fat is not increasing as much.5Note that in the beginning of a ketogenic diet, both endurance athletes and obese individuals see a physical performance for the first week of transition.
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