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.)
Jump up ^ Freeman JM, Vining EP, Pillas DJ, Pyzik PL, Casey JC, Kelly LM. The efficacy of the ketogenic diet—1998: a prospective evaluation of intervention in 150 children. Pediatrics. 1998 Dec;102(6):1358–63. doi:10.1542/peds.102.6.1358. PMID 9832569. https://web.archive.org/web/20040629224858/http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/1998/DECEMBER/981207.HTM Lay summary]—JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Updated 7 December 1998. Cited 6 March 2008.
Yes, too much lean protein—think turkey and chicken—even lean fish—if you’re consuming that and vegetable only, without fat there, you are at risk of throwing yourself out of ketosis. Even eating egg whites without yolks greatly spikes insulin. So look to fatty proteins. Fatty cuts of beef, chicken WITH skin, fattier cuts of beef, lamb, and game. Chuck as opposed to 10% lean sirloin.

Eggs have gotten some bad press in the past, but according to Franziska Spritzler, R.D., a certified diabetes educator in Huntington Beach, California, "eating whole eggs has been shown to modify blood cholesterol in a way that actually reduces risk of heart disease and stroke." She adds that eggs are also a great source of choline, which is necessary for brain and liver health.

"Not only do I love IQ BAR's all-natural taste and smooth-yet-crunchy texture, but also its ingredient list," says registered dietitian Kathleen Wright, R.D. IQ Bars are loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and protein from plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, and fruit, she says. This low net carb, high-fat treat promotes sustained energy throughout the day and makes a perfect keto-friendly choice for snackers on the go. (But read this first: Is It Healthy to Eat a Protein Bar Every Day?)
'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.'
Sweeney does not stick to a specific macronutrient balance when he begins his own ketogenic diet plan. Instead, he maintains a diet that includes no more than 50 grams of carbohydrate per day. When he goes over 0.6 on the ketone meter (a device used to measure blood for the presence of ketones) he goes up to 70 grams of carbohydrates and takes a ketone supplement.
A ketogenic diet focuses on minimal plant-based carbs, moderate amounts of clean protein, and high healthy fat consumption – the three keys to achieving nutritional ketosis. In ketosis, you’re essentially converting yourself from a “sugar burner” to a “fat burner.” With 40g or less net carbs per day, you’ll feel satisfied instead of hungry. The lower sugar helps reduce inflammation and fight chronic disease while keeping your insulin levels in tact, too. Great for people suffering from chronic conditions or anyone who wants to feel their best.

Keep in mind that the doctor is getting nutritional ketosis confused with a much more dangerous condition called ketoacidosis. These are two different conditions.  Ketoacidosis is mostly  a concern for Type 1 diabetics and others whose bodies are unable to make or process insulin correctly. Ketoacidosis usually develops when a person with type 1 diabetes develops an serious infection, has a heart attack or other debilitating illness. It is accompanied by dehydration, high blood sugars and is precipitated by the inability of the sick patient to administer proper amounts of injected insulin.
How often you eat is also up to your personal preference. "For most people, I recommend three to four meals per day with a few healthy keto snacks in between," says Dr. Axe. "This ensures that you're getting a good mix of protein and fat all day long to keep you feeling energized and satisfied." That being said, he encourages people to listen to their bodies and tune in to when they're truly hungry. "If you find that you feel better eating five to six smaller meals spread throughout the day, do what works best for you."
"My suggestion is to start with changing your mindset first and foremost around three very important facts: this is not just another diet, you don’t have to live in Ketosis forever, and you will not be depriving yourself. Having said that, if you are used to eating highly-processed sugary food and refined carbohydrates you’ll need to ease into it," she explains.
But the real reason why keto plans fail most of us is that they're not sustainable for the long term. Holidays, vacations, work functions … there's likely at least one scenario in which you'll find yourself eating higher-carb foods. And the same reasons why we see immediate weight loss on carb-restricted diets is the same reason why we see immediate weight gain after adding a seemingly harmless sandwich back into the mix: The water weight comes back instantly with glycogen storage.
That’s why you’ll find snacks of all flavors — salty, sweet, and savory — in this keto snack recipe roundup. There are grab-and-go options, as well as keto snacks requiring some preparation and cooking. We’re willing to bet that they’re in fact so tasty, you’ll forget you’re on a diet. All the while, these keto snacks will keep you going strong in ketosis — that uber fat-burning state you’re aiming for as your body shifts from burning carbs to fats for fuel.
Now, Week 1’s shopping list is going to be long. I have to make the assumption you have nothing in your house. Many of the items are common items that most people will have already. These are all staples in my everyday cooking for keto, and should be considered an investment for your health. Once you have all of the items from week 1, there won’t be too much else to buy.

It's only when you combine lots of fat and lots of carbohydrates in your diet that you get into trouble. The sugar from the carbohydrates drives up your insulin levels, and those high insulin levels cause the body to mishandle the way fats are metabolized. More fat is stored or circulates in the blood. This causes the metabolic syndrome and weight gain associated with insulin resistance and starts the health problems that should be associated with a high carb diet, not a ketogenic diet plan.
Ketogenic or keto meal plans have been used by medical professionals for nearly 100 years to manage certain medical conditions. But more recently, the eating style has become popular among dieters looking to lose weight and athletes looking to improve performance. Before you decide to follow the program, take some time to evaluate a typical keto diet meal plan to make sure that it is an eating style that you can maintain for the long term.
Implementing the diet can present difficulties for caregivers and the patient due to the time commitment involved in measuring and planning meals. Since any unplanned eating can potentially break the nutritional balance required, some people find the discipline needed to maintain the diet challenging and unpleasant. Some people terminate the diet or switch to a less demanding diet, like the modified Atkins diet (MAD) or the low-glycaemic index treatment (LGIT) diet, because they find the difficulties too great.[41]
Yes, too much lean protein—think turkey and chicken—even lean fish—if you’re consuming that and vegetable only, without fat there, you are at risk of throwing yourself out of ketosis. Even eating egg whites without yolks greatly spikes insulin. So look to fatty proteins. Fatty cuts of beef, chicken WITH skin, fattier cuts of beef, lamb, and game. Chuck as opposed to 10% lean sirloin.
Jalali recommends that her clients work with a medical professional who is familiar with the diet to get the best results. "I do not think most of the general population would benefit from a ketogenic diet, although it can be very beneficial for some. The diet can be extremely challenging to stay compliant on long term so I find that clients who are very motivated and have a strong support system seem to be most successful."
We seem to have breakfast, lunch and dinners figured out. But what about snacks? What about those moments where you’re sitting at your desk, or watching a movie, and your normal snacking is out the window with these low-carb dieting? Thankfully, Keto snacks are some of the best Keto-specific recipes out there. You’ll not only squash your cravings, but you’ll also be refueling with healthy fat snacks that will keep you going until dinner.

Probably, and there are a few reasons why, Keatley says. For starters, people usually reduce their daily caloric intake to about 1,500 calories a day because healthy fats and lean proteins make you feel fuller sooner—and for a longer period of time. And then there’s the fact that it takes more energy to process and burn fat and protein than carbs, so you're burning slightly more calories than you did before. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.
Hi, I’m still a bit skeptical, I have seen some of my friends do the keto diet, and have had good results. Though I am still not sure about the idea of the fats being eaten. They say they eat meat with the fat and must do so, is this correct? Also isn’t this not good for the body especially for the kidneys? Second, can a diabetic do this diet? There are many questions running through my head.

The symptoms of keto flu are headaches, body aches, cravings, brain fog and fatigue. Well, just think about what you’re trying to do. You’re converting your ENTIRE cellular machinery to fat burning. What you need to do to avoid and heal the keto flu is get more electrolytes and more B vitamins. These are the cofactors that help in developing the machinery to burn fat effectively without draining your body. For the B vitamins, try nutritional yeast. However, nutritional yeast does not have B5—so you may have to take a B5 supplement. I recommend my electrolyte powder. It has 1,000 mgs of potassium and will help you get to that 4,700 mgs you need to create this machinery to burn fat faster and get into ketosis!
However, ALSO be aware that most doctors get very little training on nutrition and don't understand the general effect of foods on the body. They are also taught that ketosis is dangerous, and so they know even less about ketogenic diets. Hence, if you ask your physician about this diet, you may get push back and a scary "ketosis-is-dangerous" sermon.
Hi Kelly, All packaged foods will have a nutrition label that list the macros per serving, including fat, protein and cabrohydrates. Net carbs, which is what most people look at for low carb and keto, are total carbs (the amount on the label) minus fiber and sugar alcohols, as explained in the article above. I have a low carb food list here that gives you a full list of all the foods you can eat, and the net carbs in each. You can also sign up above to be notified about the meal plans, which are a great way to get started.
These nachos use the trendy Fat Head pizza crust as the “nachos” with a Tex-Mex twist, substituting cilantro, cumin and chili for the rosemary and garlic in the pizza base. After you cut them into tortilla shapes, you’ll load them with a meaty sauce and finish off the nachos with your favorite toppings, like guacamole, jalapeños and salsa. They’re the perfect snack to enjoy with family on movie night.
Low Carb Bars — There are a plethora of “keto-friendly” on-the-go bars that have hit the store online and on the shelves. Before you fall for their marketing scheme, check the ingredients and calculate the net carbs per bar. Make sure the bar will fit within your calorie and net carb limits for the day. The two most common bars that can be eaten on keto, albeit sparingly, are Quest Bars and NuGo Smarte Carb Bars. Use these as a last resort if you have no other keto snacks available.
Staying in Ketosis long-term: Chronic Ketosis can cause fatigue, muscle soreness, insomnia and nausea. "Unless you have a medical condition that requires you to stay in Ketosis for long-term, you shouldn't stay in that state for a prolonged period without any carb ups," Mavridis suggests. And if you're a beginner, "it’s recommended that you go through the fat-adaptation phase so that your body becomes accustomed to burning both glucose and fat for fuel," says the nutritionist.

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.


Ketosis and the subsequent metabolic state associated with it has been shown to have positive effects on chronic conditions, from PCOS to type 2 diabetes. Just a few weeks of eating keto recipes and keeping your blood sugar stable results in improved energy, elevated mood, and possibly best of all, quick weight loss. It’s not uncommon for people to drop 10 pounds or more in the first couple of weeks while sticking with a keto diet!
Being in nutritional ketosis is a beneficial body state, and a great deal of research is being done on ketosis as it relates to disease. Ketone bodies themselves are beneficial, and have been shown to alleviate many disease conditions through  improvement of cellular energy pathways and mitochondrial health.  Ketogenic diets are now being used to treat medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, autism, Alzheimer's, cancer and others and much of the success of these treatments is rooted in these cellular effects.

Fillenworth suggests Brami beans as a great snack for keto dieters, especially since most legumes tend to be too high in carbohydrates. With only 60 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and a whopping 7 grams of protein per 25 beans, these Brami beans are an excellent way to boost protein intake (especially if you need a break from meat). (Related: Is a Vegetarian Keto Diet Healthy?)
The main ingredients in this recipe (chicken, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and bacon) are all part of a low-carb, ketogenic diet. We skipped the store-bought Ranch seasoning mix because it usually contains sugar, quite a bit of salt, and preservatives that we try to avoid if possible. Instead we used a keto-friendly mix of dried chives, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, dried dill, salt, and black pepper to season our Crack Chicken.
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.
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.
Insulin is needed to help cells absorb nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and amino acids (protein). In fact, almost every nutrient is influenced by insulin. Potassium is needed for energy, for balancing sodium in the body, and for all kinds of other important things. We need amino acids for our hair, nails, skin, joints and muscles. We need magnesium for a healthy heart. See where I am going? 
As a bonus, I’m making this amazing meal plan – and other keto meal plans – available in my MealPrepPro app!  So, if you’ve been wondering what the hype is all about and you want me to some of the heavy work for you by providing a fresh, customizable keto meal plan each week, then make sure you test drive my MealPrepPro app. The app is FREE to try and available right now to download on iPhone and iPad.
A ketone is the by-product of fat being burned. It is basically an alternative source of energy (fuel) for your body. A more common source of body-fuel is the burning of glucose (sugar), but ketones are a preferred way of fueling the body. They are more efficient for the brain and the heart, and are better for your metabolism than running on glucose

Some athletes swear by the ketogenic diet, not just for weight loss but for improved performance in their sport, as well. But Edward Weiss, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University, doesn’t buy it. “I hear cyclists say all the time that they’re faster and better now that they’re on keto, and my first question is, 'Well, how much weight did you lose?'” he says.

I get many questions about intermittent fasting, the health benefits, the weight loss benefits, and the like. People normally use intermittent fasting for both the energy and mental clarity it can offer. But it’s not just good for that. It can offer breakthroughs of plateaus and even benefits in nutrient uptake in exercise. We go more in depth to intermittent fasting in Week 3 and 4, so keep your eyes peeled!


On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. Insulin levels become very low, and fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
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