The Keto Diet and Meal Plan

Keto Diet

The Ketogenic Diet, also well known as Keto, is a term just about everyone has heard by this point, regardless of their focus on health and wellness. While most Keto enthusiasts begin their journey with this diet for weight loss, it originated as a means to benefit the brain. This method of eating was developed in 1911 in France by a researcher determined to treat childhood epilepsy, and it worked.

The additional weight loss benefits were eventually realized in the health industry. Weight changes aren’t the only side effect of the Ketogenic Diet. Other notable benefits include hormone control, improved insulin resistance, mood enhancement, and more.

Keto has some basic foundational characteristics that must be adhered to. These characteristics may vary depending on the type of Keto being followed, but they are largely consistent between all four primary versions.

The Keto Diet

Foods to Eat

Overall, Keto is best described as high fat, moderate protein, and very low carb. The Keto Diet macronutrient recommendations are nearly the exact opposite of the normal dietary recommendations. Across all forms, those suggested ranges include 5-10 percent of daily calories come from carbohydrates, 15-30 percent from protein, and 60-75 percent fat.

Keto being considered healthy versus unhealthy depends largely on the type of fat being consumed. Choosing primarily healthy fats, unsaturated fatty acids like omega-3’s, are known to have heart health benefits.

Vegetables

  • Leafy Greens
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms

Fruits

  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Olives

Dairy

  • Hard Cheeses
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Butter
  • Heavy Cream

Protein

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Beef
  • Venison
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Anchovies
  • Shrimp
  • Crab
  • Eggs

Nuts & Seeds

  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Chia Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds

Fats & Others

  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Nut Oils
  • MCT Oil

Foods to Avoid

Choosing a large amount of saturated fat increases the dieter’s risk of producing elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, weight gain, and overall risk of heart disease.

Carbohydrates

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Bulgur
  • Buckwheat

Sugars

  • Honey
  • Agave Nectar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Raw Sugar
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Cane Sugar

Beans & Legumes

  • Kidney Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Black Beans
  • Lentils
  • Green Peas
  • Lima Beans

Fruits

  • Bananas
  • Pineapples
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • All Dried Fruit
  • All Fruit Juices

Vegetables

  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Cherry Tomatoes

Dairy

  • Milk
  • Fat-Free, Low-Fat Dairy
  • Evaporated Skim Milk

Oils

  • Soybean Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Sunflower Oil

Keto Meal Plans

Regular Keto
This is the straightforward version of the Ketogenic diet. The focus is on extremely low carbs, less than 50 grams, and high fat from primarily healthy sources. This form of Keto takes slightly longer than speed keto but may be more sustainable for some individuals.

Speed Keto
This version of Keto integrates Intermittent Fasting as a means to reach ketosis very quickly. The Speed Keto dieter will eat only one meal a day after 16 or more hours of fasting with a small eating window. This meal, or several snacks, should ideally be less than 1200 calories and closer to 20 grams of carbs or less, rather than the 50 grams in other forms.

Lazy Keto
Lazy Keto allows the dieter to spend less time counting calories, and often less time considering the quality of their food choices. This form of Keto is easier for those who do not want to count every gram of macronutrients and calories they take in but focus on carbohydrates only by staying under 50 grams a day.

It should not be confused as a version of Keto that allows cheat meals or off-and-on keto-specific foods. Rather, the dieter must still follow the keto diet regularly to prevent falling out of ketosis, but it is simpler for those with less time to focus on all the nutrient numbers.

Clean Keto
Perhaps the healthiest form of Keto by requiring the dieter to opt for whole and nutrient-dense foods that emphasize quality more than other forms. This form still requires staying under a carb intake of 50 grams with moderate protein and high fat, at least 75 percent of daily calories.

Keto Diet Meal Plan

Our Registered Dietician has created a 15-page full week of meals for the ideal Keto Diet meal plan, including:

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, & Snacks for each day of the 7-Day meal plan
  • Full Macronutrients for each day of the week including calories, protein, fats, and carbs
  • Keto diet recipes
  • Shopping List

The Science Behind Success

Ketosis is a naturally occurring metabolic process in the body that is activated under certain circumstances. Following a high fat and low carb diet, like Keto, creates this state within the body and eventually leads to the benefits Keto is known to produce.

Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the body and are used for energy first. When this source of energy is used up, it turns to fat as the primary source of energy. This is when ketosis officially begins.

This secondary method of energy (fat) is ideal because often unwanted stored fat is what is used, which means fat is burning at a higher rate. The keto dieter can know when ketosis has started when ketones are present in the urine, which can be tested with ketone strips. Ketones are chemicals produced by the liver when it does not have access to enough insulin needed to turn carbohydrates into energy.

It takes between three to five days to enter into ketosis, depending on the type of Keto the dieter is following. There are four primary forms of Keto at this point; regular, clean, speed, and lazy. Each form requires the dieter to eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day.

Ketoacidosis is a dangerous side effect of ketosis where the blood becomes too acidic. For this reason, it is recommended to get clearance from a healthcare provider to determine if you are healthy enough to start a Ketogenic Diet.

Bottom Line

There are many diets that eventually take various forms, the Ketogenic Diet included. This can be a positive occurrence by providing multiple versions to meet the needs of a larger number of people. For those that are new to Keto, it may be best, to begin with a regular version and advance to Clean Keto for sustainability and better health. Speed keto may be good for those who have tried other diets in the past and want to reach ketosis quicker. Regardless of the form chosen, starting Keto should never be taken lightly, and the pros and cons should be weighed first.

Trista Best Registered Dietician

Trista K. Best, RD

Trista Best is a Registered Dietitian and has worked in Public Health for 10 years focusing on nutrition and health promotion. As a Dietitian she seeks to provide her clients with the skills necessary to take control over their health, one decision at a time.

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