keto diets

keto dietsTypes of Keto Diets

By now pretty much every health and fitness enthusiast and yo-yo dieter has heard about the keto diet.  Originally researched and developed  under medical supervision in children with epilepsy and other neurological disorders, the ketogenic diet has taken the world by storm, but not without a whole lot of confusion and controversy.

keto diet

The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has gained popularity in recent years. Here are some of the pros and cons of the keto diet:


  • Weight loss: The keto diet can be effective for weight loss because it encourages the body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
  • Improved blood sugar control: The keto diet can help to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which may be beneficial for people with diabetes.
  • Reduced inflammation: The keto diet may help to reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with many chronic diseases.
  • Increased energy: Some people report increased energy and mental clarity on the keto diet.


  • Nutrient deficiencies: The keto diet restricts many healthy foods such as fruits, grains, and legumes, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies if the diet is not well-planned.
  • Keto flu: When starting the keto diet, some people may experience flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and nausea.
  • Difficulty sticking to the diet: The keto diet can be difficult to stick to long-term because it restricts many foods that people enjoy eating.
  • Increased risk of heart disease: Some studies have suggested that the keto diet may increase the risk of heart disease, although more research is needed to confirm this.
  • Negative impact on athletic performance: The keto diet may negatively impact athletic performance due to the reduced availability of glycogen, which is the body’s primary fuel source during high-intensity exercise.

It’s important to talk to a healthcare professional before starting the keto diet to determine if it is right for you and to ensure that you are able to meet your nutrient needs while following the diet. Keto diets are high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate diets that encourages the body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis, in which it burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Here are some foods that are typically included on a keto diet:

  • Meats: Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, and other meats are high in protein and fat and are a staple of the keto diet.
  • Seafood: Fish, shellfish, and other seafood are also high in protein and fat and can be included on the keto diet.
  • Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fats and are a common food on the keto diet.
  • Low-carb vegetables: Non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and other leafy greens are low in carbohydrates and can be included in moderate amounts on the keto diet.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and other nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates.
  • Healthy fats: Avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and other healthy fats are encouraged on the keto diet.
  • Dairy: Cheese, butter, cream, and other high-fat dairy products can be included on the keto diet, but should be consumed in moderation.

Foods that should be avoided on the keto diet include sugar, grains, fruits, and most processed foods. It’s important to track your macronutrient intake, especially your carbohydrate intake, while on the keto diet to ensure that you are staying within the recommended range for ketosis.

The human body prefers the following sources of energy in order: carbohydrates, fats, and then finally proteins.  Why someone starts on a ketogenic diet usually tells us a lot about how many carbs, fats, and protein are needed in a Keto diet.

The first and most important concept in keto diets is limiting the number of carbs one consumes daily to 25g or less. That forces the body into a state of “ketosis”.

Understanding Ketosis

Let’s dig a little deeper into ketosis and its benefitsBy limiting carbohydrates, which is the body’s fuel of choice, the body responds by using fat as the next available energy source.  Fatty acids get released from the cells and transferred to the liver.

The liver converts the fatty acids into ketones.  Ketones are spectacular molecules that cross the blood-brain barrier to provide a power source to the brain in the absence of glucose.

A carb-loaded diet on the other hand, is a disaster waiting to happen.  Carbohydrates turn into blood sugar (glucose).  Glucose is a fantastic fuel on a cellular level when it’s at normal levels.  Too much glucose causes the production of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

Over time, too much insulin production can lead to insulin resistance and problems with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. 


1) Ketosis forces the body to burn fat for fuel

2) Ketosis aids in glucose regulation.

These are the key components to how every ketogenic diet functions and why someone would choose one over another.

Keto Diets: Types

The word “diet” can be used in different ways.  It can either mean the kinds of foods a person habitually eats or a special course of foods/food restrictions either for weight loss or medical reasons.  In the keto-world, the word means both.

The ketogenic diet can be either a permanent way of eating or a temporary weight loss program.  The needs and goals of the person starting the ketogenic diet should be considered.

Standard Keto Diets (SKD)

In this version, the ratio is typically 5% carbs, 75% fat and 20% protein.  The numbers for fat and protein may shift a little, but for the most part, fat is a huge part of the diet and caloric intake.  This extremely popular version utilizes a super simple concept; stay at or below carb limit to remain in ketosis

High-Protein Keto Diets

Ketosis is achieved the same in the high-protein version of the diet as in the standard ketogenic diet however, in this model there is a bit more protein.  A normal macronutrient ratio might look like 55-60% fat, 35-40% protein and still 5% carbs.  As with the SKD, one must remain at or below the carb limit for ketosis to work its magic.

Targeted Keto Diets (TKD) 

Ever heard of carb-loading before a workout?  This is the main idea with the targeted ketogenic diet.  About 30-60 minutes prior to exercise the participant should consume anywhere from 25-50g of easily digestible carbs (the actual number depends on the individual’s needs and type of workout).

Glucose-based foods are processed by our bodies more efficiently than fructose-based foods and are usually burned completely without throwing the body out of ketosis.  Post-workout meals should include plenty of protein and be less fatty.  Normally fat is encouraged, however for muscle recovery and nutrient absorption, protein is a better choice here.

Cyclical Keto Diets (CKD) 

This one sounds a bit strange considering what we’ve just learned.  CKD is geared toward bodybuilders and athletes who wish to build lean muscle mass and still maximize fat loss.

In this regimen the SKD is followed for five days before cycling into the two-day phase of carb-loading.  On the first day one might have a limit of 50g of carbs.  On the second day the carb count could be anywhere from 400-600g.  The premise is to load up on carbs so the body is properly fueled for the next five days of grueling workouts.

The CKD should not be used as a “cheat day” for those using the standard ketogenic diet protocol.  This approach is suitable only for extremely active individuals.

Restricted Keto Diets 

In this last version, both carbs and calories are limited and is typically supervised by medical professionals.  Based on studies, cancer cells can’t use ketones for energy and quite literally can starve to death.

As with any diet regimen or lifestyle change, one should seek the advice of their primary care provider before beginning.  Medical history and current state of health should be considered, as well as the person’s individual needs and goals.

Keto diets can be effective in losing weight. The main mechanism behind the effectiveness of keto diets for weight loss is that they encourage the body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.

When you consume a high-carbohydrate diet, your body burns carbohydrates for energy and stores excess carbohydrates as glycogen in the liver and muscles. However, when you consume a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet like keto diets, your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to use for energy, so it switches to burning fat for fuel instead. This process is known as ketosis.

Because the body is burning fat for fuel, people on keto diets may experience a reduction in appetite and an increase in satiety, which can lead to a decrease in overall calorie intake and subsequent weight loss.

Several studies have shown that keto diets can be effective for weight loss. For example, a 2013 meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials found that people on keto diets lost more weight than those on a low-fat diet after six months.

However, it’s important to note that weight loss is not guaranteed on keto diets, and results may vary depending on factors such as individual metabolism, starting weight, and adherence to the diet. Additionally, long-term adherence to keto diets may be challenging for some people due to their restrictive nature.

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