Diet & Nutrition

The Keto Diet : A Detailed Beginner’s Guide

The Keto diet

Human health goes through many harsh conditions for different dietary disorders or other medical reasons. But most people don’t know why. As the components of the body have a deep relation with the nutrients of diets, the dietary functions are very effective and significant to health and related problems.

The keto diet has excellent functions for health, especially for weight loss and some brain issues together with heart diseases. It can make you a self-doctor if you know all about the keto diet.

Many people are anxious and confused about what to do with their overweight or obesity, diabetes, or some other metabolic syndrome.

They can’t understand which diets they should begin with to lose weight or prevent other related diseases.

This article provides a detailed guide for everything you need to know about the keto diet for beginners.

Our goal of content is that beginners attain the complete and pure health benefits of the keto diet, learn what the diet does and how to have a keto diet based on natural foods.

What Is a Keto Diet?

The “keto” or “ketogenic” diet is so-named since it causes the body to produce the fuel, “ketones.” These ketones can be used as an alternative fuel source for the body when blood sugar (glucose) is short in supply.

A keto diet means a ketogenic diet that has low carbohydrates but very high amounts of fats. It has adequate proteins as well. You can find many similarities among the keto diets, the Atkins diets, and the low-carb diets.

Generally, the keto diet consists of 60-80% fat, 10-30% protein, and not more than 0-10% carbohydrate. It means getting more calories from protein and fat but little to zero from carbohydrates.

A keto diet implies an intake of immoderately reducing carbohydrates which the diet replaces with fats. This drop of carbohydrates puts your body into ketosis, a metabolic state, and makes the body efficient at burning fats for energy and turning fats into ketones in the liver.

The keto diet significantly reduces blood sugar and insulin level. It works well for other potential health benefits like weight loss and fat loss.

Different Types of Keto Diets

All high-fat, low-carb foods such as eggs, meats, dairy, low-carb veggies, and sugar-free beverages are keto diets. But all are not the same in quantities, qualities and nutrients.

On the grounds of nutritional activities, quantities, and the health-demands, the keto diets have several different versions like-

The standard keto diet (SKD): This diet is called a very low-carb, moderate or adequate-protein, and high-fat diet. Usually, this diet contains 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbohydrates.

The cyclic keto diet (CKD): This diet associates a period of higher-carb refeeds. 5-6 days per week, a cyclic keto dieter eats according to the standard keto diet version. Then they have a ‘carb cycle’ for one or two days. They should eat about 140 to 160 grams of carbohydrates a day. Athletes need cyclic keto diets to refill glycogen stores in their muscles.

The targeted keto diet (TKD): This diet means adding carbs before workouts. Usually, targeted keto dieters eat from 25 to 50 grams of carbohydrates about 30 to 60 minutes before working out. This helps the dieters feel more robust and efficient during workouts.

The high protein keto diet: The high protein keto diet includes some more protein than an SKD. The ratio can be around 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.

The vegan keto diet: The vegan keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet having no animal products. Familiar protein sources of a vegan keto diet are tofu, tempeh, nuts, nut butter, beans, and legumes in adequate amounts. (In a much more real sense, it is nearly impossible for a person to live on only the vegan keto diet.)

Who Should Not Do a Ketogenic Diet?

A ketogenic diet is a craze nowadays due to its many amazing health benefits. But it’s not safe for everyone. There are some concrete risks associated with the keto diet.

It may cause low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies, and any heart disease. A keto diet can also cause social isolation or eating disorders.

So, some research, anecdotal evidence, and agreement on some groups of people say that the following types of people should not do a keto diet.

  • Pregnant women
  • People with eating disorders
  • People with Hypothyroid
  • People with gallbladder disease
  • People with no gallbladder
  • People with digestive disorders
  • People with a kidney issue
  • People with adrenal fatigue
  • People with a pancreas issue
  • People with a liver issue
  • People with a thyroid issue
  • People with a history of gut dysbiosis
  • People who are vegans
  • Children and teens
  • High-performance athletes

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis means irregular or a sudden increase of ketones in the blood, like diabetes mellitus. A normal metabolic process occurs if the body does not have enough glucose stored for energy.

When the glucose stores are decreased, the body starts burning stored fat for energy in place of carbs. This process produces ketones- the acids which form in the liver and can be used for energy.

While on a ketogenic diet, your body experiences many biological adaptations like – a decrease in insulin levels and an elevation in fat breakdown. If you eat foods high in carbs, the body produces glucose and insulin and uses them as the primary form of energy.

Your fats then remain unused and stored. If you lower the carb intake, your body goes into another state. When this occurs, the liver begins to produce plenty of ketones to supply energy for your brain, and this process is ketosis.
This process provides a new fuel source for body cells and brings about most of the distinct health benefits of this keto diet.

Benefits of Keto Diet

A properly maintained keto diet drives your body into a metabolic state, not through starvation of calories but the starvation of carbohydrates. The human body is highly adaptive to any situation.

If you make it overloaded with fats and decreased in carbohydrates, the body starts burning ketones as the primary energy source. Then the optimal levels of ketones bring about numerous health benefits like weight loss, better physical and mental performances, etc.

A shortlist of health benefits coming from the keto diet is given and explained below:

  • Epilepsy
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic Inflammation
  • High Blood Sugar Levels
  • Obesity
  • Heart Disease
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Cancer
  • Migraines

Even if you have no risk from any of those mentioned conditions, you can still get some other benefits from the keto diet as follows-

  • Better brain function
  • A decrease in inflammation
  • An increase in energy
  • Improved body composition

Keto Diet To Lose Weight

If you want to lose weight, the keto diet can help you a lot. It is very highly effective for both short-term and long-term weight loss.

People on the keto diet usually tend to eat fewer foods and fewer calories because of less satiety and a high-fat, adequate-protein diet. This less consumption of calory causes the body to lose fats consistently and leads to better health and weight loss.keto Diet

Keto Diet To Control Appetite

Being on a keto diet, you’re probably to gain better control of your appetite. This normally makes it easy to eat less and lose excess weight by making you wait until you’re hungry before eating.

The keto diet is terrific for suppressing appetite, which leads you to fewer foods and fewer calories. Cutting lots of carbs and increased protein and vegetable intake and changes in hunger hormones create a significant hunger depletion, bringing about a considerable reduction in calories.

The ketones also can affect the brain to decrease appetite. This overall effect leads to a loss of water weight in the body resulting in healthy weight loss.

Keto Diet is Highly Effective for Treating Epilepsy

Some researchers say that the keto diet is more effective than many new anticonvulsant medications for treating epilepsy. The keto diet is also more helpful than some commonly used drugs for managing epilepsy.

Keto Diet to Increase Physical Endurance

Keto diets can increase your physical endurance by enhancing your access to the vast amounts of energy in your fat stores. This diet is excellent in reducing body fats which is valuable in many competitive sports and endurance sports.

A study in 39 athletes found that a metabolic state of ketosis improved physical endurance due to the body’s ability to use fat as an alternative energy source.

Keto Diet On Energy and Mental Performance

Energy and mental performance are very crucial for better health. The keto diet can play a vital role in increasing energy and mental performance. Many people use ketogenic diets, particularly for increased mental performance and energy.

Making use of a keto diet for epilepsy can make some people take fewer anti-epileptic drugs or none at all. This can diminish drug side effects and thus increase mental performance.

Foods to Eat on a Keto Diet

Foods are the base of keto diets. A healthful keto diet is made on the whole, nutrient-dense foods. So food selection is more critical as there are numerous foods around us.

Before selection, you have to know the foods’ quality and their nutritional values. You have to find out low-carb or zero-carb foods that will cause a significant reduction of carbohydrates in your diet.

To compensate for that reduction of carbohydrates, you must raise your fat intake significantly up to 80%. This means that you have to eat foods like avocado, seeds, cream, olive oil, coconut, peanuts, chestnuts, walnuts, almonds, or some delicious sauces.

On the other hand, the quantity of protein in your daily diet needs to increase until it comprises 20-35% of calories. You should have 1.2 to 2 grams of protein intake per kg of your body weight per day. For that, you have to eat fish, meat, or chicken at lunch and dinner, and eggs and cheese for snacks.

A short list of acceptable foods that you can select for the standard Keto Diet:

  • Nonstarchy vegetables: Leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions
  • Dairy: Including eggs and cheese
  • Protein: beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish, and soybeans
  • Meat: Red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey
  • Fatty fish: Salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel
  • Cheese: Unprocessed cheeses like cheddar, goat, cream, blue, or mozzarella
  • Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds
  • Fats: plant-Based oils and butter
  • Healthy oils: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut, and avocado oil
  • Fruits: Avocado, berries, coconut, and rhubarb
  • Condiments: Salt, pepper, herbs, and spices

As a beginner, make a habit of reading food labels first. Then plan your daily meal and bring your foods with you while visiting family or friends. This will make it easier for you to stick to your favorite keto diet.

If you have to eat out, you can select a meat-based, fish-based, or egg-based dish. You can order some extra veggies in place of carbs or starches, and you can have some cheese for dessert.

Foods to Avoid on a Keto Diet

Since the keto diet includes low-carb or zero-carb foods, many foods are strictly prohibited to this diet beginners. You should altogether avoid sugar-based or starchy foods. There are also some foods that you can consume limitedly.

Here’s a list of foods that you need to reduce or eliminate on a keto diet:

  • Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips
  • Sugary foods: Fruit juice, smoothies, cake, candy, ice cream, soda
  • Starches or whole grains: Bread, oatmeal, and rice or brown rice, pasta, wheat-based products, cereal
  • Fruits: Almost all fruits, except small portions of berries
  • Beans or legumes: Kidney beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas
  • Low fat or diet products: Some low-fat mayonnaise, salad dressings, and condiments
  • Unhealthy fats: Mayonnaise, processed vegetable oils
  • Some condiments or sauces: Honey mustard, barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, ketchup
  • Alcohol: Wine, beer, liquor, mixed drinks
  • Sugar-free diet foods: Syrups, sugar-free candies, puddings, sweeteners, desserts, etc.

As a beginner, you can cut back or avoid most of the foods in the list above.

Sample of Keto Meal Plan

As you can understand by now, the keto diet refers to an eating plan focusing on foods that provide plenty of healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein, and very low carbohydrates.

The target is to gain more calories from fat and protein than from carbs. You can make a 7-day plan for beginning your keto diet for weight loss or other health benefits just like the following.

A Sample of 7-Days Keto Meal Plan

Get started following this sample keto diet meal plan for one week-


  • Breakfast: 2 large eggs, whole milk yogurt with peanut butter, cocoa powder, and berries
  • Lunch: Super simple chicken, cauliflower, fried rice with sliced bell peppers
  • Dinner: Superfood meatballs and mixed veggies


  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs in butter on a bed of lettuce topped with avocado and a side of grilled mushrooms
  • Lunch: zucchini and Spinach salad with grilled salmon
  • Dinner: chicken breast with cauliflower mash and green beans


  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, fried in butter, with avocado and blackberries
  • Lunch: Low carb sesame chicken and broccoli
  • Dinner: Roasted chicken with asparagus and sautéed mushrooms


  • Breakfast: Veggie and egg muffins with tomatoes
  • Lunch: Avocado and egg salad with onion and spices, served in lettuce cups
  • Dinner: Salmon with asparagus cooked in butter.


  • Breakfast: Egg, tomato, basil, and spinach omelet
  • Lunch: Shrimp and avocado salad with tomatoes, feta cheese, herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil
  • Dinner: Meatballs on zucchini noodles, with cream sauce on top.


  • Breakfast: Nut milk chia pudding topped with coconut and blackberries
  • Lunch: Chicken tenders made with almond flour on a bed of greens with cucumbers and goat cheese with avocado shrimp salad
  • Dinner: Beef stew made with mushrooms, onions, herbs, and beef broth, etc.


  • Breakfast: Omelet with avocado, salsa, peppers, onion, and spices
  • Lunch: Some grilled salmon with a salad of mixed leafy greens and tomato
  • Dinner: Cajun spiced chicken breast with cauliflower rice and Brussels sprout salad

While following a keto meal plan, always try to rotate or alter the vegetables and meat over the long term because each type provides different nutrients and health benefits.

Side Effects of Keto Diet

The keto diet is usually thought to be safe for most healthy people. But some side effects tend to happen initially after you have started a keto diet.

Since you suddenly switch your body’s metabolism from burning carbs to burning fat and ketones, you might experience those side effects while your body adapts to its new fuel.

You may feel some of the following states a few days after you have started a keto diet:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Light nausea
  • Difficulty focusing or brain fog
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability

There are other two uncommon but severe side effects of the keto diet.

  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Disruption of menstrual cycles

Some anecdotal evidence of these effects is often called keto flu. Keto flu is also called carb-flu. The keto flu is a collection of symptoms that some people experience after starting the keto diet.

The keto flu symptoms are diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. Other less common symptoms are-

  • Increased hunger
  • Insufficient energy and mental function
  • Sleep issues
  • Nausea
  • Digestive discomfort
  • Reduced physical performance

To stay on the keto diet for long may have some adverse effects adding risks of the following-

  • Low protein in the blood
  • Extra fat in the liver
  • Kidney stones
  • Micronutrient deficiencies

A type of medication, sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors for type 2 diabetes, may amplify the risk for diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that develops blood acidity. Anyone who is taking this medication should move from the keto diet.

How to Minimize the Side Effects

Though the side effects don’t carry any significant risk, they might cause afterward suffering. That’s why you should take some immediate measures to minimize them. To do that, you can have a regular low-carb diet for the first few weeks. This may help your body learn to burn more fat before you avoid carbs thoroughly.

You can also avoid or minimize the side effects by staying hydrated, replacing lost electrolytes, getting enough rest, and ensuring that you are consuming proper amounts of fat and carbohydrates.

The keto diet also can change the water and mineral balance of your body. So you can get help by adding extra salt to your meals or by taking some mineral supplements. You can talk to a doctor about your nutritional demands if needed.

Bottom Line

The Keto diet is healthy. But the required knowledge is the base to follow. You have to know the suitable types of foods and their nutritional functions and health values. You also have to know the processes and serving quantities of foods.

You have to know to sort the foods that are well adaptable to your health. All keto foods might not be suitable for your health. You can consult your doctor before making your systematic plan for beginning and sticking to a keto diet.

This article is an excellent source of essential information, keto diet foods, and a detailed, complete guide for beginners.

So please read this article to learn the detailed beginner’s guide for the keto diet, all about making proper use of the keto diet, remaining consistent with it, and live a better life through a change of lifestyle.

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Landon Nathan
Nathan writes timely content about diet and Nutrition. Furthermore, he educates readers on the importance of Fitness in our daily lives. His in-depth knowledge in diet, Nutrition, and Fitness is attributed to his four-year studies at Adlan university after pursuing a diet and nutrition degree. You won't doubt his experience and expertise in writing work, having over 100 articles posted on diet and nutrition websites. He now works as a consultant and digital content producer at Fitness and Nutrition Radio. Check his work from this website and be at the forefront with insights about Fitness, diet, and Nutrition.

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