Eating keto doesn’t mean eating just any kind of fat or stuffing your face with cheese. Instead, it’s about mindfully choosing keto-friendly foods that are high in healthy fats and very low in carbs. Some protein is welcome but don’t mistake keto recipes with Paleo recipes that tend to be higher in protein. With keto, it’s all about the healthy fats that you will learn to work into each meal, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. See 25 of the best keto recipes here, where we’ve either whipped them up at Dr. Axe and found some delicious ones from around the web.
Moghetti P, Castello R, Negri C, Tosi F, Spiazzi GG, Brun E et al. Insulin infusion amplifies 17 alpha-hydroxycorticosteroid intermediates response to adrenocorticotropin in hyperandrogenic women: apparent relative impairment of 17,20-lyase activity. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996; 81: 881–886.
In the mid-1990s, Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams, whose son’s severe epilepsy was effectively controlled by the diet, created the Charlie Foundation to promote it. Publicity included an appearance on NBC’s Dateline programme and …First Do No Harm (1997), a made-for-television film starring Meryl Streep. The foundation sponsored a multicentre research study, the results of which—announced in 1996—marked the beginning of renewed scientific interest in the diet.[1]
Unfortunately, long-term fasting is not a feasible option for more than a few days, therefore the ketogenic diet was developed to mimic the same beneficial effects of fasting. Essentially the keto diet works by “tricking” the body into thinking it is fasting, through a strict elimination of glucose that is found in carbohydrate foods. Today the standard ketogenic diet goes by several different names, including the “no-carb diet” or “very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet”(LCKD or VLCKD for short).
One thing many people love about keto diet meal plans is that tracking your food is optional. “One of the biggest benefits of the ketogenic diet is that there’s no need to meticulously track your calories like you may in other diets,” notes Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of DrAxe.com, best-selling author of Eat Dirt, and cofounder of Ancient Nutrition. “Because you’re filling up on fat and protein, you’re more likely to feel satisfied and energized all day long, which causes you to naturally eat less.” This isn’t to say that food tracking on keto is discouraged. “Some people may find calorie counting a useful tool to be more mindful and aware of what they’re eating, but it’s not necessary on the ketogenic diet,” says Dr. Axe, but there’s no need to get too stressed about hitting a certain caloric goal, especially if you’re not trying to lose weight. (Related: The #1 Reason to Stop Counting Calories)
The ketogenic diet has been used since the early 1900’s to treat epilepsy successfully. It is still one of the most widely used therapies for children who have uncontrolled epilepsy today. Learn more about how keto can help with epilepsy in our article >
There is no doubt that there is strong supportive evidence that the use of ketogenic diets in weight-loss therapy is effective; however, there are contrasting theories regarding the mechanisms through which they work. Some researchers suggest that there are not in fact any metabolic advantages in low-carbohydrate diets and that weight loss results simply from reduced caloric intake, probably due to the increased satiety effect of protein.12 Others instead promote the hypothesis that there is indeed a distinct metabolic advantage, which has recently been explored in more detail, raising interest in the role of VLCKD in weight loss and effects on metabolism in general.13 The first law of thermodynamics, also known as the law of conservation of energy, has in effect controlled the concepts for the basis of weight loss for over a century—resulting in a difficulty in accepting other ways of thinking. Adhering to these traditional concepts the US Department of Agriculture has concluded that diets, which reduce calories, will result in effective weight loss independent of the macronutrient composition, which is considered less important, even irrelevant.14 In contrast with these views, the majority of ad-libitum studies demonstrate that subjects who follow a low-carbohydrate diet lose more weight during the first 3–6 months compared with those who follow balanced diets.15, 16, 17 One hypothesis is that the use of energy from proteins in VLCKD is an ‘expensive’ process for the body and so can lead to a ‘waste of calories’, and therefore increased weight loss compared with other ‘less-expensive’ diets.13, 18, 19 The average human body requires 60–65 g of glucose per day, and during the first phase of a diet very low in carbohydrates this is partially (16%) obtained from glycerol, with the major part derived via gluconeogenesis from proteins of either dietary or tissue origin.12 The energy cost of gluconeogenesis has been confirmed in several studies7 and it has been calculated at ∼400–600 Kcal/day (due to both endogenous and food source proteins.18 Despite this, there is no direct experimental evidence to support this intriguing hypothesis; on the contrary, a recent study reported that there were no changes in resting energy expenditure after a VLCKD.20 A simpler, perhaps more likely, explanation for improved weight loss is a possible appetite-suppressant action of ketosis. The mechanism for this is not established but evidence supports direct action of KBs together with modifications in levels of hormones, which influence appetite, such as ghrelin and leptin.21 Here we can summarize (listed in order of importance and available evidence) that the weight-loss effect of VLCKD seems to be caused by several factors:

Review: Keto Clarity

The body then further breaks down these fatty acids into an energy-rich substance called ketones that circulate through the bloodstream. Fatty acid molecules are broken down through the process called ketogenesis, and a specific ketone body called acetoacetate is formed which supplies energy.
Ketogenic diets are characterized by a reduction in carbohydrates (usually to less than 50 g/day) and a relative increase in the proportions of protein and fat.3 The knowledge regarding the metabolic effects of classic ketogenic diets originates from the pioneering work of Cahill and colleagues in the 1960s,4 but the realization of the importance of these diets from a clinical point of view can be traced back to the early 1920s when they began to be successfully used in the treatment of epilepsy.5 There even appears to be a reference to its use in the Bible in the story of the cured epileptic (New Testament, Matthew 17:14–21). Alongside the huge amount of data about the influence of correct nutrition on health status and disease prevention (encapsulated in various nutritional guidelines delivered by public health committees worldwide), there is also ample evidence to support the notion that a low-carbohydrate diet can lead to an improvement in some metabolic pathways and have beneficial health effects. To use ‘food as medicine’ is as attractive a concept as it is ancient, and in the hope of realizing this much effort has been dedicated to exploring the effects of VLCKD on human metabolism. In this review we will look at all the areas where ketogenic diets have been proposed as having potential clinical utility with a brief discussion of the evidence.
Ketogenic diets, like most low carb diets, work through the elimination of glucose. Because most folks live on a high carb diet, our bodies normally run on glucose (or sugar) for energy. We cannot make glucose and only have about 24 hours’ worth stored in our muscle tissue and liver. Once glucose is no longer available from food sources, we begin to burn stored fat instead, or fat from our diets.
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In many developing countries, the ketogenic diet is expensive because dairy fats and meat are more expensive than grain, fruit and vegetables. The modified Atkins diet has been proposed as a lower-cost alternative for those countries; the slightly more expensive food bill can be offset by a reduction in pharmaceutical costs if the diet is successful. The modified Atkins diet is less complex to explain and prepare and requires less support from a dietitian.[54]
Last, but certainly not least, is sticking to the diet! Ketosis is a process that happens in your body. You can’t just have “that one” cheat meal. If you do, it can hamper progress for up to a week before your body is back in ketosis and normally functioning again.
To start a keto diet, you will want to plan ahead. That means having a viable diet plan ready and waiting. What you eat depends on how fast you want to get into a ketogenic state. The more restrictive you are on your carbohydrates (less than 15g per day), the faster you will enter ketosis.
So for your first month or so, be restrained but not necessarily strict. If BCAAs help you train and recover, drink them during your training, but don’t guzzle them all day. And if you have any doubts about whether they’re affecting your ketone levels, your test sticks should tell you.
At the core of the ketogenic diet is severely restricting intake of all or most foods with sugar and starch (carbohydrates). These foods are broken down into sugar (insulin and glucose) in our blood once we eat them, and if these levels become too high, extra calories are much more easily stored as body fat and results in unwanted weight gain. However, when glucose levels are cut off due to low-carb dieting, the body starts to burn fat instead and produces ketones that can be measured in the blood.
For most normal people, the amounts of fats and protein will be enough to naturally keep you satiated and naturally keep you in a calorie deficit. Though, the average American is not always normal. There’s tons of hormone, endocrine, and deficiency problems that we need to take into account.
There was another study done on eight professional gymnasts who had the same results. Both groups were fed a strict diet of green vegetables, proteins, and high-quality fats. So, even if you are doing long bouts of cardio – a keto diet has been proven time and time again.
The theory: By slashing the carbs you consume and instead filling up on fats, you safely enter a state of ketosis. That’s when the body breaks down both dietary and stored body fat into substances called ketones. Your fat-burning system now relies mainly on fat – instead of sugar – for energy. While similar in some ways to familiar low-carb diets, the Keto diet’s extreme carb restrictions – about 20 net carbs a day or less, depending on the version – and the deliberate shift into ketosis are what set this increasingly popular diet apart.
The fist month I followed a diet plan, the second I use the same but not as close as I did and started getting some awful symptoms, I’m not taking as much fat becouse I have gallbladder irritation. At this point don’t know how to handle it to feel great again as when I started. Thankyou very much for your response.
To determine how much protein to consume, take into account your body composition, ideal weight, gender, height and activity level. Remember: Too much protein can impede ketosis. To avoid the breakdown of protein into glucose, avoid eating more than 1.5-2 grams per kilo of lean body mass.
If the problem persists, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluid and eating enough salt. Typically this is sufficient to get rid of the problem right away. Though if the issue persists, it may be worth taking a potassium supplement once a day.
I tried to balance this keto meal plan for the proper ratio so you don’t really have to worry too much to start. For more detailed information visit the keto ebooks section of the site. If you’re just starting keto, check out Caveman Keto’s Kitchen for useful kitchen gadgets. This is the first of what I hope to be several different guides.  Generally, I am assuming you are cooking for two people.  If not, either eat the same food longer or half the portions. I’m going to post the nutrition facts but I strongly believe that you should configure MFP (My Fitness Pal) yourself and track on your account as well.
We are giving away FREE Keto Meal Plan, Food List and Guides. Put your email below so we can send them to you immediately at no cost! We’ll also send you weekly Keto hacks and new recipes to help you stay on track and achieve quick and sustainable results!
Studies show multiple long-term benefits of a keto diet on an individual’s weight and health. Keto significantly decreased body weight, body fat and body mass of individuals in various studies[*]. Keto has been shown to kick your body into a high-performing metabolic state, increasing fat metabolism during exercise[*]. As long as you continue to consume 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body mass, you can preserve muscle mass while still burning fat.
Short-term results for the LGIT indicate that at one month approximately half of the patients experience a greater than 50% reduction in seizure frequency, with overall figures approaching that of the ketogenic diet. The data (coming from one centre’s experience with 76 children up to the year 2009) also indicate fewer side effects than the ketogenic diet and that it is better tolerated, with more palatable meals.[3][49]
Never throw away bacon fat. Ever! This thing is the coolest invention. It’s a little ceramic container that has a built-in filter that stores your bacon grease. You simply pour the grease into it when you’re done frying some bacon and its ready to spoon back into the pan next time you’re frying some veggies!
As an example, if you were to consume 2000 calories in a day, the breakdown would look like this: 1500 cal or 167g (70%) would be from fat, 400 cal or 100g (20%) would be from protein, and 100 cal or 25g (5%) would be from carbs.
No matter what your diet has been to this point, keto will be a big change. If you’re coming from a standard American diet (SAD) background, your carbs will go way down, protein may either go up or down, and fat will go way up. If you’re coming from a bodybuilding-style diet, your fat intake will jump to alarming levels, and your protein will likely drop significantly.
Restrict your protein intake. Many people come over to keto from an Atkins diet and don’t limit their protein. Too much protein can lead to lower levels of ketosis. Ideally for weight loss, you want to eat between 0.6g and 0.8g protein per pound lean body mass. To help with this, consider using the keto calculator >
“Macros” is an abbreviated term of macronutrients. Your macros are your daily intake of “the big 3” nutrients: fats, protein, and carbohydrates. You can use the following calculator to see what your daily needs will be. If you want to learn more about macros and how they work in relation to keto and our bodies, click here to read more >
^ Kossoff E. Is there a role for the ketogenic diet beyond childhood? In: Freeman J, Veggiotti P, Lanzi G, Tagliabue A, Perucca E. The ketogenic diet: from molecular mechanisms to clinical effects. Epilepsy Res. 2006 Feb;68(2):145–80. doi:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2005.10.003. PMID 16523530
The keto diet can reduce the risk of heart disease markers, including high cholesterol and triglycerides. (6) In fact, the keto diet is unlikely to negatively impact your cholesterol levels despite being so high in fat. Moreover, it’s capable of lowering cardiovascular disease risk factors, especially in those who are obese. (7)
The Standard Ketogenic Diet is highly recommended to start with. It’s been heavily researched and tends to be the best fit for the majority of people. Again, the way to design one for yourself is by using the Perfect Keto Macro Calculator.
On the other hand, the types of foods you’ll avoid eating on the keto, low-carb diet are likely the same ones you are, or previously were, accustomed to getting lots of your daily calories from before starting this way of eating. This includes items like fruit, processed foods or drinks high in sugar, those made with any grains or white/wheat flour, conventional dairy products, desserts, and many other high-carb foods (especially those that are sources of “empty calories”).
When implementing any new diet — not just keto — it’s important to do so safely, and in a way that supports your unique lifestyle. With this in mind, here are two potential side effects you should know about:
The purpose of the ketogenic diet is to force the body into a fat-burning state — burning fats instead of carbohydrates for fuel. Those who follow it eat a diet containing high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein and low levels of carbohydrates.
The suggested intake at first is around 20. To remain in ketosis you must not consume more than 50 but this varies for each person. You can gradually increase the amount of carbs from 20 to 50 to best suite your body’s metabolism
It is a little more invasive than the other keto testing methods, as it requires a prick of blood from your finger. Test kits are around $40, and blood ketone test strips go for roughly $5 each (you’ll need one for every time you test).
The meal plan is designed to ensure you get three balanced, healthy meals a day that address fiber, satiation, and adequate protein intake. The greatest part of a ketogenic diet is the fact that it spares muscle loss, where a carb-based diet doesn’t. Weight lost in a high carb, calorie-restricted diet will often come both from muscle and fat, whereas with keto, you can burn fat without sacrificing muscle. This is referred to often as “body recomposition” and leaves you with a much more preferred physique after weight loss.
I have put a lot of work into this and revised it many times, but if you want it for $5 or $10 or $0, feel free to put whatever you want in the amount – I have no hard feelings! You can always download it for free and if you agree that the quality is worth paying for, come back and give a small donation to help me keep doing what I’m doing.
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders after stroke,[7] and affects at least 50 million people worldwide.[8] It is diagnosed in a person having recurrent unprovoked seizures. These occur when cortical neurons fire excessively, hypersynchronously, or both, leading to temporary disruption of normal brain function. This might affect, for example, the muscles, the senses, consciousness, or a combination. A seizure can be focal (confined to one part of the brain) or generalised (spread widely throughout the brain and leading to a loss of consciousness). Epilepsy may occur for a variety of reasons; some forms have been classified into epileptic syndromes, most of which begin in childhood. Epilepsy is considered refractory (not yielding to treatment) when two or three anticonvulsant drugs have failed to control it. About 60% of patients will achieve control of their epilepsy with the first drug they use, whereas about 30% do not achieve control with drugs. When drugs fail, other options include epilepsy surgery, vagus nerve stimulation and the ketogenic diet.[7]
There are several medical studies — such as two conducted by the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center for the University of Iowa, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, for example — that show the ketogenic diet is an effective treatment for cancer and other serious health problems. (10)
I’ve laid out my exact food recommendations below for following the ketogenic diet to reduce blood glucose, burn fat and reverse disease in your body. First and foremost, consider that the type of fats you consume are very important— as not all fats are created equally. To get enough healthy fats in your diet, I recommend eating mostly: coconut or coconut oil, avocado, chia seeds or flax seeds, non-starchy vegetables, sprouted nuts, organic grass-fed meat and raw dairy products.
If you check labels, you will find sugar in most mayonnaise. Dukes Mayonnaise is sugar free and good but usually available only in the South. If I wasn’t able to get Dukes, I would go the home made route.