Since I started a Keto diet quite a few of my friends have asked me “What is the Keto diet?”
This is a short stroll through “what is” and how to start a keto diet. With a mix of the boring stuff and the good stuff I will try my best to help you learn everything you need to know about the keto lifestyle.
What is the Keto Diet Important Links
What is the Keto Diet
The keto diet is essentially what the human race lived on millions of years ago. Our main source of food was the protein and fats sourced from animals that were hunted for food. Makes sense, right?
Essentially a ketogenic (keto) diet is a diet very low in carbohydrates. By limiting the carbohydrates, the body is forced to use fat for energy.
Limiting carbohydrates to <20g per day causes the body to produce ketones.
While energy levels differ from one person needs to another it is basically a ratio of 70-80% fat, 15-20% protein and 5-10% carbs. Sounds simple right? So why do we all get so confused?
Not surprising, the keto diet was also used in the 1920’s by doctors treating patients with epilepsy, neurological disorders and diabetes.
Somehow along the way it got buried under a lot of changes in our day-to-day dietary guidelines for the general population and for medical treatment.
Basically, the keto diet is low in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats.
What kind of Keto Diet is Best for You?
Your lifestyle is really important when deciding what kind of keto/low carb diet style you wish to follow. You want to give yourself the best chance of success long term.
If you are always busy, always travelling for work or enjoy a social alcoholic beverage, you are best off to take this into consideration before making your decision.
You may consider consulting your medical professional and having your blood and hormones tested before beginning a keto diet. This will also help you monitor any changes once you commence your keto diet plan.
Mindset is key. You want this lifestyle to be long term to achieve the health benefits.
Types of Keto
Standard is composed of 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbs. This is 20 to 50g of carbs each day. This is the most popular type if you are a beginner.
You will cycle in and out of ketosis. Usually, 5 ketogenic days allowing 20 to 50g of carbs. Followed by 2 high carb days allowing 400 to 500g of carbs. This is only suitable if you are involved in high-intensity fitness training.
Focuses on eating carbs around physical activity. Suitable if you have a regular fitness routine.
High Protein (HPKD)
Reduces carbs to 5%. Increases protein 35-45%. Decreases fat to 55 – 65%. Suitable if you need to decrease inflammation.
Generalised Keto Styles
It is hard not to hear or see the many debates on social media regarding all kinds of the keto diet. If you are not “totally new” the below keto styles will be all too familiar.
Everyone seems to have an opinion and is right, lol. Choose your style or blend them. We call this is a lifestyle for a reason. Some days are different from others.
Clean or Strict Keto
This style keeps you strictly at 20g carbs per day.
Organically sourced food.
Tracks macros and calories.
No processed foods allowed at all. Clean keto is perfect to start if you want to lose weight.
Stays under 20g of carbs per day.
Focused on limiting carb intake.
Doesn’t track macros or calories.
May include dairy and alcohol.
This will suit you if you just want to keep things simple and avoid overwhelm.
Stays under 20 carbs per day.
Allows processed food and take away food.
May include meal replacements if they fit the carb intake.
Goal is to be in ketosis only.
This is perfect if you are starting out and find it difficult to stick to a strict routine.
A healthy lifestyle is all about balance and what is right for your body. You may start on one type and transition to another.
Keeping a diary of what you eat and how you feel may help you decide what type suits you best. Your body, lifestyle and medical needs may change as you progress with the keto lifestyle.
Whatever your style, just pick one that will suit you best and stick with it. I don’t believe in “falling off wagons” or having a bad day. I believe this is our life and some days have bends in the roads, and other days smooth sailing.
The keto life is amazing! Choose your style and enjoy it!
Megan Ellam is an Australian keto recipes blogger living in Thornton, NSW. She is the author of amazing keto cookbooks such as Slow Cook Keto, Keto Loco, The Healthy Family Keto Cookbook and Every Day Keto.
Megan has been following a ketogenic diet since being diagnosed with insulin resistance in early 2017. After a long cooking career Megan simply swapped her “foodie focus” to easy keto recipes. Her keto Australian recipes all include both metric and US customary measures so that everyone can enjoy them.