In This Article


The ketogenic diet seems to be everywhere these days. You hear about it being endorsed by some of the most popular celebrity doctors, famous actors, and everyday people looking towards the next big thing in health and weight loss.

The Ketogenic Diet: A Step by Step Ultimate Keto Guide for Beginners
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet - Shutterstock Images

But what is the ketogenic diet exactly? How does it affect our bodies? Why is it gaining so much popularity now? These are all questions you may be asking yourself if you are:

  • Thinking about getting started on a diet?
  • Have been wanting to lose weight?
  • Want to start eating and living healthier?
  • If you are curious as to what keto is and know nothing about it?
  • Wanting to know how the ketogenic diet can help you lose weight?
  • Wondering what kind of foods are keto-friendly?

In the following article, we will address all of these questions and more. If you are thinking about the ketogenic diet as your means to a healthier life and a better-looking body, reading this article would be a good way to start.



*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

What is the Keto Diet?

For now, let’s put this in as plain and understandable terms as possible: The ketogenic diet is any diet regimen that emphasizes the intake of fats and suppresses the intake of carbs. It is a high-fat, low-carb diet. The reasoning behind this method is to replace carbohydrates, which may contribute to weight gain, with fats and protein. It should be mentioned that the ketogenic diet has been around for a long time, and its history is rather interesting.

The earliest iterations of ketogenic and similar diets date back all the way to 500 BC, when the medical authorities of the day would use specific kinds of diets in order to treat epilepsy. The idea that a diet could help with a mental condition such as epilepsy may seem a bit absurd, but you probably did not know that these kinds of methods for treating epilepsy stuck around until the early 19th century.


A disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed. Shutterstock Images

Around the 1920s, doctors discovered that they could use the ketogenic diet (more or less the way we know the ketogenic diet to be today) to treat epilepsy. This means of treating epilepsy died off in the mid-19th century as pharmaceuticals became more advanced and there came to be more efficient and effective ways for treating epilepsy, but in the early 20th century, we have seen a resurgence of the ketogenic diet. Only this time, not for mental disorders, but for weight loss.

So today, the keto diet is used as a low-carb diet, and most low-carb diets are classified by about 30% of your daily calories coming from carbohydrates. The rest of your calories come from fats and proteins. Your average keto diet will be a bit more stringent, though, as most of them stipulate that you should intake only 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrates.

The belief is that the body will actually shed more pounds if it burns off fat for fuel as opposed to carbohydrates. The point at which your body is apt to burn fat as opposed to carbohydrates for energy is called ketosis, which is where the term ketogenic gets its name.

It is the goal of every ketogenic dieter to get their body into a state of ketosis every day, but this is not always easy. That is why there are different kinds of specific diets that fall under the umbrella term of ketogenic diets but have slight variations.

What are the Types of Keto Diet?

There are different names for the different kinds of ketogenic diets, so let’s take a look at the different kinds of specific keto diets:

  • The Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) – This is what people are usually referring to when they are talking about the keto diet. Its precepts are that your daily diet be broken up as 75% fats, 5% carbs and 20% proteins or at least somewhere in that ballpark.
  • The Very-Low-Carb ketogenic Diet (VLCKD) – This variation is the same as the SKD except the carb intake falls to somewhere around 3% instead of 5%.
  • Well Formulated Ketogenic Diet (WFKD) – The WFKD will also contain about 3%-10% carbs and 10%-30% protein.
  • Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) – The MCT variation of the keto diet specifies the kinds of fat you should consume.

They should be fats that are high in medium chain triglycerides because they absorb more efficiently in the body than standard fats and can provide more energy. The MCT keto diet allows for a bit more cards because by consuming more MCT’s you will get more energy and not have to consume so much fat. Between 30 and 60 percent of your fat intake on the MCT, keto diet should come from MCT’s.

Does the Keto Diet Really Work?

People have been doing the keto diet for many years so there must be some validity to it. While it is possible to lose more weight from the ketogenic diet there are some health concerns due to the high-fat content of the diet. Still, there has been positive result shown clinically for the ketogenic diet and for the people that can handle not having a whole lot of carbs in their diet and consuming more fatty foods, it can definitely work.



*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

Is Ketosis Safe and Does it Have Side Effects?

As stated in the previous section there are some health risks when practicing the ketogenic diet. For example, as per Medical News Today, the high-fat content of the keto diet could lead to insulin spikes which may cause the practitioner to become pre-diabetic. There are also some common side effects that are associated with the keto diet.[1]

In the following list we will list the most common side-effects along with ways you can negate them:

  • Sodium Depletion – When you are on the keto diet, your body is using up as much fat and sugar possible. Some of the sugar can be pulled from your blood which affects the salt and fluid levels of your body since this sugar is responsible for releasing water in the body. An easy way to negate this loss of salt and fluid is by drinking more water.
  • Keto Sickness – The body undergoes many changes when you switch its fuel source from carbs to glucose. This sudden change can result in a kind of keto sickness where you might feel some dizziness or fatigue or even find it hard to sleep. The best way to combat this condition is by easing into the keto diet rather than jumping right in. Taper your carb levels down slowly week after week until you get to a proper keto level.
  • Constipation – Your bowels and gut bacteria have to adapt to a keto diet as well. You may experience some constipation on the keto diet so if you do, try including some more non-starchy fiber into your diet.
  • Keto Breath – Once in the state of ketosis your body will start releasing ketones such as acetone into your urine, sweat and your saliva. This may cause some unpleasant smelling breath. This usually passes in a few weeks but you can also try some mints and enhancing your oral hygiene regimen (flossing and rinsing with mouth wash).

You May Also Want To Read – Here’s Why Most Keto Diets Fail (I’ve Found The Missing Link!)

What Conditions do the Keto Diet Help?

One of the most amazing things about the keto diet is that it has been proven in studies to treat children who have seizures. In fact, it is almost as effective as normal medication for epilepsy and there is also interest for using it to treat Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s and other diseases.

  • The Ketogenic Diet to Fight Cancer – Some studies have indicated that ketosis essentially starves some kinds of cancer. Some cancers spread through metabolization and these types cannot spread through ketones and therefore have no energy.
  • Low Carb/Ketogenic Diets and Exercise Performance – The belief is that it is better for the body in terms of exercise performance to use fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. It is said that fat is a far more efficient form of fuel and it can result in a higher output of energy.
  • Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss and Disease – The main purpose of the modern ketogenic diet is to lose weight. It may be a superior diet for weight loss since the body is forced to use fat instead of carbs for energy. When fat is used for energy it goes away. This can also positively effect the blood sugar levels of people with type-2 diabetes
  • Helpful Hints to get into Ketosis

    If you want to start with the keto diet you will have to learn how to get your body into a state of ketosis. There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • One of the most basic ways is to simply lower your carb intake. You will have to do this anyway when you are on the keto diet so this is a very basic step towards getting your body into ketosis.
  • Another easy way is to include coconut oil in your cooking and diet. Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides and they can help usher your body into ketosis.
  • Fasting is a quick way to get your body into ketosis. Try not eating for a few hours or skipping a meal. When you exercise your body looks to carbs for its fuel.
  • If there are none it turns to glycogen. When glycogen stores are gone the liver produces more ketones which are why Exercising is also a good way to get into ketosis.
  • Which Foods are Part of the Keto Diet?

    According to Healthline, the keto diet consists of foods that are high in fats and low in carbohydrates. The traditional keto diet will also allow for a moderate amount of protein. So if you are interested in the keto diet and want to see what kinds of foods you will be allowed to eat on it, take a look at the following list:

    • Fish – According to National Institutes of Health, fish are a good source of vitamin B12 and have virtually no carb content.[2]
    • Beef Jerky – Beef jerky is a great snack for when you are on the keto diet just make sure the brand you are getting is low in carbs.
    • Fruits – The kinds of fruits you are going to want to look for when you’re on the keto diet are plums, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.
    • Poultry – Chicken is fine on the keto diet as long as you make sure you add some fats and vegetables to it.
    • Dairy – The kinds of dairy to look for on the keto diet is whole fat string cheese, whipping cream, cream cheese, and butter.

    What is the Ideal Keto Meal Plan?

    It can be hard at first to think of foods separately that are good for the keto diet, so it is better to have a meal plan as opposed to itemizing foods and trying to put them together somehow. To help you out a bit, take a look at the following list that breaks down every meal of the day and the kinds of keto-friendly foods you can have:

    Ketogenic Diet Plan

    Ketogenic Diet Plan. Shutterstock Images

    • Breakfast – There are plenty of yummy and indulgent keto friendly breakfast meals that you can have including classic bacon and eggs, pancakes with berries and whipped cream, boiled eggs with mayonnaise a frittata, or a mushroom omelet.
    • Lunch – If it’s lunch time and you are trying to stay in ketosis, try whipping up a BLT, a pulled pork sandwich, a cheeseburger with the buns replaced with Portobello mushrooms or some chili with turkey.
    • Dinner – In the evening you can chow down on some sausage alfredo, tuna patties, a shrimp and bacon chowder, meatballs, baked salmon with lemon and butter or curry chicken with coconut and lime.

    Best Ketogenic Diet Supplements

    Another easy way to get started with the keto diet is by taking supplements, but which supplements will be the most helpful when you are trying to get your body into ketosis?

    You will definitely want to start incorporating into your diet supplements that are rich in magnesium since they help boost energy. You can also take supplements that offer plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, since that is what your body will need for fuel from now on.

    Also, try finding products that supply a good amount of medium-chain triglycerides, digestive enzymes (to help your gut adapt to ketosis), vitamin D, electrolytes, minerals, and even ones that include exogenous ketones.[3]



    *All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.


    Q: How do I get Started on Keto?

    A: The best way to get started on keto is to ease your body into it. Don’t immediately cut out carbs on the very first day. It is much easier to gradually wean yourself off of carbs.

    Q: What Happens When you Cheat on Keto?

    A: Cheating on keto can result in something called the keto-flu. The symptoms can include fatigue, bloating, headaches and others. This happens because the body cannot adjust when its fuel source is suddenly changed to or from carbohydrates.

    Q: How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Week on Keto?

    A: The average amount of weight loss in a 7-day span for people who have truly adhered to the keto diet is between one and two pounds. This is not only the average but it is said to also be the healthiest range of weight loss in such a short period of time.

    Q: What Can you Not Eat on a Keto Diet?

    A: The main food that you should avoid while on the keto diet is obviously carbs. These include grains like white rice, oats, corn, cereal, pasta, oatmeal, crackers, pizza, popcorn, bagels, flour, and granola. You should also avoid root vegetables and fruits such as apple oranges, grapes, bananas, pears, grapefruit, and mangos.

    Q: How Long does it Take for the Body to go Into Ketosis?

    A: If you really stick to the low-carb aspect of the keto diet of eating 5% of carbs in your daily diet than it shouldn’t take more than a day to get into ketosis when you first start. Up to 20% of carbs can delay that time to two days.

    Q: Can you Have a Cheat Day on Keto?

    A: It is very hard to maintain a keto diet for a long time so many people use cheat days to help them go long-term on the keto diet. You can do this and still lose weight but be warned. Switching your body from low-carb to high-carb can result in some side-effects from the keto-flu.

    Q: What do I eat for Breakfast on the Keto Diet?

    A: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so what can you have for your first meal on the keto diet? Try eggs and vegetables fried in coconut oil, or sausage and eggs, or pancakes with cream cheese, or a mushroom and spinach omelet.



    *All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.


    The bottom line of the keto diet is that it can definitely help you lose weight. But it is very hard to maintain the keto diet for a long time, and the diet itself can cause some side effects when you are just starting. Still, it may be worth it for some. As long as you are careful and maintain a good exercise regimen, the keto diet may be right for you.

    Was this article helpful?

    3 Sources

    We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy.

    Facebook youtube pinterest Twitter linkedin

    Dr. Michael Moreno

    Dr. Michael Moreno, better known as Dr. Mike is the bestselling author of the 17 Day Diet, which became an instant New York Times Bests