I just want to say THANK YOU for putting together such an informative, encouraging, and realistic introduction to what it means to follow a Keto plan. I have finally decided that I can no longer put off giving myself a food makeover. Started following the Keto guidelines today, and I’m determined to stick with it. Your site gives me the confidence to be able to do it. Thank you! 

When you eat less protein, fewer carbs, and at the same time, fast intermittently, it helps to significantly promote weight loss and also, lowers your insulin which in turn raises ketones. Also note that the more you add fat to your diet, the less weight you will lose. When you are at crossroads on your keto diet program, you can always seek professional guidance. Don’t forget, when you eat healthily, you remain healthier.
While this book contains a lot of great (and well organized) info on adopting to the Ketogenic lifestyle ,I was particular impressed by the realistic tone of the author about making the transition from our fat-laden, heavy carb popular culture toward a more healthy group of food choices. There is a good deal of variety in the recipes offered to stave off boredom. The science behind the concepts is solid but Amy Young emphasizes the building of daily habits to support the new eating regimen. The results of improving your eating habits show up in a wide spectrum of body benefits. Fine book
Hi Debbie, Whole milk yogurt (whether cow milk or goat milk) is a person choice for a keto diet. It does contain some lactose, which is a sugar, but some people evidence suggests that there may be less than the label implies due to the beneficial bacteria in the yogurt. Either way, if you include it, be sure to get the plain kind without any added sugar.
Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): If you find it difficult to stick to a very low-carb diet every day, especially for months on end, you might want to consider a carb-cycling diet instead. Carb cycling increases carbohydrate intake (and sometimes calories in general) only at the right time and in the right amounts, usually about 1–2 times per week (such as on weekends).

Beware of added sugars or high-glycemic sweeteners in spice blends or condiments, but other than that, it’s fair game for keto. In spice-heavy dishes, carbs can add up, but don’t drive yourself crazy worrying about your teaspoon of turmeric. Check labels for additives like sugars, milk solids, potato starch, corn starch, or MSG, or make your own blends at home. Table salt often contains undisclosed fillers and anti-caking agents, so it’s best to opt for sea salt or Himalayan pink salt instead.

Con: Results can vary depending on how much fluid you drink. By drinking more water, you dilute the concentration of ketones in the urine and thus a lower level of ketones will be detected on the strips. The strips don’t show a precise ketone level. Finally, and most importantly, as you become increasingly keto-adapted and your body reabsorbs ketones from the urine, urine strips may become unreliable, even if you’re in ketosis.
After increasing water intake and replacing electrolytes, it should relieve most all symptoms of Keto Flu. For an average person that is starting a ketogenic diet, eating 20-30g of net carbs a day, the entire adaptation process will take about 4-5 days. My advice is to cut your carbs to fewer than 15g to ensure that you are well on your way into ketosis within one week. If you are experiencing any more keto flu symptoms, double check your electrolyte intake and adjust.

I totally understand how you feel! 😊 But the truth is that most people can't do that... speaking from my own experience. When I started following a low-carb diet my palate was completely different to what it is now and I couldn't imagine skipping sweeteners, bread alternatives and other substitutes. They helped me transition into the way I eat now. These days I don't use any sweeteners - or just a small amount in occasional treats. I keep my diet very simple and often cook with just 5-10 ingredients.  

It's important to keep in mind that when you are on a low-carb diet of any type, you will lose several pounds in the first few days. That's because your body is dropping water weight. When I returned to typical eating over the wedding weekend, I gained 4 pounds. I didn't overeat that weekend. I had just returned to eating carbs, so the water weight returned.
I have a question on sugar since I see it’s not allowed. Is splenda or any other sugar subsitute ok? What if one of the ingredients that is required for a keto recipe contains sugar, does it matter? I haven’t really seen any discussion on how some things may already contain sugar (even if in low doses) may affect the keto diet. Should they be avoided altogether?
It's important to keep in mind that when you are on a low-carb diet of any type, you will lose several pounds in the first few days. That's because your body is dropping water weight. When I returned to typical eating over the wedding weekend, I gained 4 pounds. I didn't overeat that weekend. I had just returned to eating carbs, so the water weight returned.

I guess these products may indeed help some on their journey to keto success. They are certainly helping some keto entrepreneurs on their journey to financial success. I’ll admit, I even thought at one time that I, too, would try to cash in and bring keto replacement bread products and cauliflower pizza crusts to market — picture them in freezer cases across North America! (No doubt someone is already doing this.) I did buy up a bunch of creative keto domain names just in case.
When discussing what a very high-fat diet consists of, it’s important to remind people that one gram of dietary fat has 9 calories, while carbohydrate and protein each have only four calories per gram. This means you need less than half of the volume of fat in order to get the same calories you would receive from carbohydrate and protein. So it’s really not as much fat as you would think. To help you figure out what to add into your diet to dramatically increase the amount of fat you are consuming, I’ve compiled a list of 12 healthy high-fat foods that are perfect for your nutritional ketosis plan. If you eat these deliciously healthy fatty (but not fattening) foods while reducing your carbohydrate and protein, there’s no reason why you can’t experience all the tremendous positive benefits that come from being in nutritional ketosis.

However, “burning” or using fat for fuel does not necessarily equal the same thing as losing body fat. The type of fat you are burning for energy is primarily coming from dietary fat or fatty acids stored in your muscles, not always fatty tissue like belly fat – unless you cut calories. Even though there is some argument for ketosis in promoting weight loss alone, this theory has not been proven (1,2). So if you are using a ketogenic diet to promote fat loss, your best bet is through calorie restriction. 
Beyond being high in healthy fats, research has shown that people who include nuts in their diet are likely to live longer than those who don't. The right type of nut can be a great keto-friendly snack. The thing to remember with the keto diet is that you're looking specifically for low-carb, high-fat foods. Certain nuts meet this criterion and should be included in your keto meal plan in moderation. Listed in order of lowest to highest carb content per 1-ounce serving, the best nuts for the keto diet include:
1. Eat less than 20g net carbs per day if you want to get into ketosis. Net carbs are calculated by subtracting the fiber grams (or sugar alcohols in some cases) from the total carb grams. Don’t guess – you’d be surprised how many grams of carbs there are in things you might have considered “free” like onions, garlic, tomatoes, and kale, just to name a few.
Everyone has to find their nutritional sweet spot for producing enough ketones and staying in ketosis, but “the core principle of the diet is to keep carbohydrate intake low enough, so your body continues producing ketones at elevated levels,” says Volek. “Your body adapts to this alternative fuel and becomes very efficient at breaking down and burning fat.”
Thank you so much for all of this great info! My husband started a Keto plan two weeks ago so I have been researching going Keto for a few weeks now. I figured I’d use him as a guinea pig to test buying food, preparing and cooking meals to see how easy or hard it would be to hit his macros for the day. I decided to start it this week (today is my fourth day) so now I am doubling up on the recipes so there’s enough for the both of us. I am still constantly looking for more recipes and trying to get more comfortable with changing up food so we are not eating the same things everyday. I can’t wait to try the meatloaf since it’s one of my favorite dishes! Thank you again for all the work you put in to sharing this info with others!
This is because you get rid of the foods that cause high blood sugar, also known as glucose. Glucose is the easiest way for your body to get energy, but it can lead to energy crashes if you get too much in a short time. To get rid of the glucose and use it up, the body needs to produce insulin. As we produce more and more, our bodies become resistant to it, and this can lead to diabetes.
These steps are our second favorite thing about this book, the first is actually the keys to success section which offers suggestions to make this a sustainable lifestyle change and not just a diet.  Suggestions such as keep it simple, find support, eat all the fat, and DO YOUR RESEARCH.  While the basics of the ketogenic diet are simple to understand, implementation is often where people fall short and this motivational pep talk at the beginning of the book can get you in the right frame of mind to succeed and implement these lifestyle changes.          
The remaining calories in the keto diet come from protein — about 1 gram (g) per kilogram of body weight, so a 140-pound woman would need about 64 g of protein total. As for carbs: “Every body is different, but most people maintain ketosis with between 20 and 50 g of net carbs per day,” says Mattinson. Total carbohydrates minus fiber equals net carbs, she explains.
I heard about ketogenic diet from a friend and how it had helped her weight issues, so I got curious and got this. Upon reading this book, I am now more informed on how ketogenic diet operates, its benefits, and considerations. I liked that Young is upfront with the risks in undergoing this diet as well as presenting the benefits. This diet is not for all and the faint hearted. It will take commitment and a great deal of planning to pull it off. Sadly, I’m not up for the challenge. I don’t think I can keep up the diet with the experimentation, measuring and whatnots. Anyway, this is just my opinion based from my own observation of my body, family commitments, and capabilities. Feel free to try it, who knows, it might just work out for you!
Sleep enough – for most people at least seven hours per night on average – and keep stress under control. Sleep deprivation and stress hormones raise blood sugar levels, slowing ketosis and weight loss a bit. Plus they might make it harder to stick to a keto diet, and resist temptations. So while handling sleep and stress will not get you into ketosis on it’s own, it’s still worth thinking about.
You’re so welcome Jessica – you and me both! I’m looking forward to feeling good again and having my clothes fit right will be nice too! ha ha! Thanks to all of your feedback I’ll be posting 7 day menu plans every Saturday, and we’ll all hopefully be reporting our pounds lost so far progress in the comments. I’m so looking forward to it – hope you’ll join us!!!
Keep an eye on your intake for nut or seed based foods, as they can be quite high in inflammatory omega 6’s. These include items like almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, sunflower oil and corn oil. Eating fatty fish and animal meat, keeping snacking to a minimum, and not over-indulging in dessert items that are dense in almond flour is usually enough to keep your omega’s at normal ranges.
When you’re first getting started, it can be helpful to use a blood or breath ketone meter. What these meters do is measure the amount of ketones (the energy source your body is switching to) in your blood or your breath. Knowing those amounts and seeing how they increase or decrease depending on what you’re eating daily can often be a motivating and helpful indicator of the transition occurring in your body.
Clinical improvement was observed in Alzheimer’s patients fed a ketogenic diet, and this was marked by improved mitochondrial function. (15) In fact, a European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study pointed to emerging data that suggested the therapeutic use of ketogenic diets for multiple neurological disorders beyond epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, including headaches, neurotrauma, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders, brain cancer, autism and multiple sclerosis. (16)
I had to create a little video because words just don’t do this set up any justice.  This is a program called MyFreezEasy that I use and it helps me take delicious Keto friendly meals that I can shop and prep for ahead of time.    This video shows you how I was able to pick a few of my favorite meals by simply dropping and dragging them into a box and with the click of a button I was able to download the recipes, shopping lists, and preparation instructions!

Thank you so much for your straightforward advice and tips. I’ve been so inspired by a co-worker’s success with Keto, that I started researching it for myself. However, there is so much information and so many different “rules” out there that I was getting discouraged. After finding this 3 day Keto diet post on Pinterest, I decided to take the plunge. It’s my second day, wish me luck!
However, “burning” or using fat for fuel does not necessarily equal the same thing as losing body fat. The type of fat you are burning for energy is primarily coming from dietary fat or fatty acids stored in your muscles, not always fatty tissue like belly fat – unless you cut calories. Even though there is some argument for ketosis in promoting weight loss alone, this theory has not been proven (1,2). So if you are using a ketogenic diet to promote fat loss, your best bet is through calorie restriction. 
Now we do have a full meal plan laid out for you below, but I would encourage you to experiment a bit with some meals that might better suit your tastes. We love all of these meals, that’s why we picked them! We know everyone is different though. If you want to sub something in, just check to make sure the nutrition is comparable. Keto on a budget can be pulled off all types of different ways. This is just one example using a lot of our favorite meals. For example, if you have a bunch of coconut oil sitting around feel free to sub it in for the butter. If you have olive oil, sub it in for the blue cheese dressing. Don’t let this meal plan feel restricting, it is best used as a reference point and not as a hard and fast rule book. We put together this full day of eating video to show you an example of how we ate on $5 a day:

When you eat foods high in carbohydrates and fat, your body naturally produces glucose. Carbohydrates are the easiest thing for the body to process, and therefore it will use them first – resulting in the excess fats to be stored immediately. In turn, this causes weight gain and health problems that are associated with high fat, high carbohydrate diets (NOT keto).
The whole point of going keto is to reach ketosis, a cult-y sounding name for the metabolic process that happens when your body uses fat instead of carbs for energy. To get there, you've gotta do the obvious: eat a whole lot of fat and little to no carbs. It's restrictive, but if you hack the the system just right, you can still create surprisingly delicious food—like taquitos and cookie dough bites. (These are our favorite keto recipes, by the way.)
How often you eat is also up to your personal preference. "For most people, I recommend three to four meals per day with a few healthy keto snacks in between," says Dr. Axe. "This ensures that you're getting a good mix of protein and fat all day long to keep you feeling energized and satisfied." That being said, he encourages people to listen to their bodies and tune in to when they're truly hungry. "If you find that you feel better eating five to six smaller meals spread throughout the day, do what works best for you."
Alison Moodie is a health reporter based in Los Angeles. She has written for numerous outlets including Newsweek, Agence France-Presse, The Daily Mail and HuffPost. For years she covered sustainable business for The Guardian. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she majored in TV news. When she's not working she's doting on her two kids and whipping up Bulletproof-inspired dishes in her kitchen.
A related clinical diet for drug-resistant epilepsy is called the medium-chain triglyceride ketogenic diet, in which MCT oil is extensively used because it’s more ketogenic than long-chain triglycerides. (13) Another dietary therapy for epilepsy called Low Glycemic Index Treatment (LGIT) was developed in 2002 as an alternative to the keto diet. LGIT monitors the total amount of carbohydrates consumed daily, and focuses on carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index.) (14)
A lot of people on the keto diet tend to go absolutely overboard with the unhealthy food that they pack into their plan. Sure a bunch of cheese, mayonnaise and bacon will fit into a seventy-five percent fat allowance, however, for your health these foods are not always the best option. Your day to day seventy-five percent fat allowance is meant to be used for healthy sources of fat such as such avocados, coconut oil, whole eggs, nuts and fats found in unprocessed meats such as beef, salmon, chicken thighs, ground pork or turkey.

A review of multiple studies in the journal Nutrients found that ketogenic diets are connected to significant reductions in total cholesterol, increases in “good” HDL cholesterol levels, dips in triglycerides levels and decreases in “bad” LDL cholesterol; there are questions as to whether diets high in saturated fat negate these benefits. The same paper reports that a ketogenic may slightly reduce blood pressure, but science is still very scant on this point.
One downside to a ketogenic diet for weight loss is the difficulty maintaining it. “Studies show that weight loss results from being on a low-carb diet for more than 12 months tend to be the same as being on a normal, healthy diet,” says Mattinson. While you may be eating more satiating fats (like peanut butter, regular butter, or avocado), you’re also way more limited in what’s allowed on the diet, which can make everyday situations, like eating dinner with family or going out with friends, far more difficult. Because people often find it tough to sustain, it’s easy to rely on it as a short-term diet rather than a long-term lifestyle.
There is one gotcha with eggs that needs to be stated. Despite the high fat content, you can actually get an insulin spike from consuming too many eggs at once. The yolks are high in Leucine, and the protein of egg whites is rapidly utilized. That combo (Leucine + highly bioavailable amino acids) is one that bodybuilders use to create a sizeable insulin spike in the absence of carbohydrates.
2) Since this is an older blog… I will tell you that Coconut Oil is “the miracle ingredient”! It goes RIGHT to your liver and is metabolized as ketones… it is what’s called an MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride, kinda of a “good” saturated fat) I have been eating 2 – 3 tbls a day since I started back with a vengeance and will tell you not only has it helped me to be more consistent in my weight loss, but it has even improved my complexion… I am 57, and was starting to get sun spots on my cheeks… but they are actually fading after only a month.. I’ve lost 15 lbs in this first month and feel 35 again…
Factor into you caloric figures that the human animal can only metabolize fats at about half of the rate of either protein or carbohydrate. If you limit your total gross calorie intake to the same calories as in protein/carb, you have effectively cut your metabolizable carbs by a considerable amount, (depending on the ratios of fat to protein to carb.)
Cheese is one of my favorite foods. Sadly, most people think Velveeta and American cheese are cheese. Nope! Not even close. They are highly-processed, cheese-like products that you really don’t want to eat, no matter how low the carb counts might be. Hard cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Swiss are better choices. Find the ones that you enjoy, and be sure to buy the full-fat versions. Selecting low-fat cheeses defeats the purpose, and won’t help you reach nutritional ketosis. Cheese is so versatile! Put on top of just about anything, or eat us all by itself. I’ve even found that spreading cream cheese (see below) between two slices of cheddar cheese is an excellent high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb snack. I’ve also found cheese adds the perfect extra ration of protein on days that I lift weights at the gym. Can you tell I love my cheese?
That doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry on a diet. It’s quite the opposite! You’re not starving yourself of calories but of carbohydrates. Your body won’t go into what’s known as starvation mode, which is where your metabolic rate drops considerably. You’re adding more fat to the diet and taking out the carbs, so the metabolism can still work, and you get the energy you need.
As a newbie to Keto, and after perusing many Keto websites, I find yours to be the most satisfying in many ways. Your recipes are down to earth desirable substitutes for the things we hate most to switch from in a regular diet. And I was thrilled to see your breakdown of the carb friendly items in these easy to use tables. It is very difficult at first to dial in the macro percentages needed daily, because one might focus on a low carb item, to add for the day, only to find out that the protein blows your schedule. So tables are a very concise and effective snapshot of what one might add in any meal segment. I would love to see similar tables reflecting the protein in different food groups and also one reflecting sugars. With those three printed out and in front of me, it would be a lot easier to navigate the landscape. Thanks for the time and effort you put into this.
What Jimmy is saying is that the CALORIES in butter are 100% from fat, not that the butter is made 100% from fat. The butter has other components in it besides the 82% of it which is fat, but nothing in that other 18% has calories. A serving of KG butter has 12g of fat with 0g of carb and protein (the other sources of calories). That’s 100% of calories from fat.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Say what? Dark chocolate is a keto snacks? Are you kidding me?” Nope, I’m not kidding. Lean in really close, because I’ve got a secret to share with you: I eat dark chocolate made with sugar EVERY SINGLE DAY on my nutritional ketosis plan. Yep, I sure do! Sometimes I’ll even have it with some of that Kerrygold grass-fed unsalted butter I mentioned – truly incredible. I’m not talking about cheap, fake dark chocolate or even the sugar-free ones you can buy in most stores. I have fallen head over heels for a brand of chocolate that is far superior to anything I’ve ever put in my mouth before – Taza 80% Stone Ground Dark Chocolate. This stuff contains little chunks of real cacao and even has real sugar in it (GASP!). But I eat a half and sometimes a whole bar of this daily with no negative impact on my blood sugar or blood ketone levels. It’s got to be the cocoa butter that make it such a perfect addition to my nutritional ketosis plan.
Ketosis takes some time to get into – about two weeks of low carb eating is required for the initial adaptation. During this time there will be bouts of sluggishness, fatigue, headaches, and some gastrointestinal issues as you adapt, often referred to as “keto flu“. Proper electrolyte intake will correct most of these issues. In addition, the “diet” aspect of this ketogenic diet plan – that is, the caloric restriction – shouldn’t be worried about. Weight loss will come as your body regulates appetite as it the addiction to sugar and processed food lessens, so restricting calories during the initial two weeks isn’t recommended.
Here’s a nutritional list of some of the more commonly consumed vegetables on keto. Keep in mind that the weights are the same of everything listed so that it will impact the skew of the carb counts. For example, in a meal you may have 6 oz. of broccoli in the side, but you would not have 6 oz. worth of berries in the morning. You may mix 6 oz. of berries into a pudding with 4 servings.
I am trying to get back into keto. I did it before and I was so happy when I lost 10lbs (I did the keto for a month). I am ready to go back to this lifestyle. All this information is very helpful, I have written it all down so it can be easier for me to remember what is allowed and what is not. Looking forward to get back on this keto journey. Thank you for all the great info.
What Jimmy is saying is that the CALORIES in butter are 100% from fat, not that the butter is made 100% from fat. The butter has other components in it besides the 82% of it which is fat, but nothing in that other 18% has calories. A serving of KG butter has 12g of fat with 0g of carb and protein (the other sources of calories). That’s 100% of calories from fat.
Implementing this lifestyle is fairly simple but can be overwhelming when you are just starting out. That is why I have created the Navigating the Ketogenic Diet Online course to guide you through the process. This program provides lifetime access to a grocery list, recipes, meal plans, and extensive e-guides filled with information to optimize your health using this dietary strategy. To find out more, click on the banner below.

A small Feb. 20, 2017, study looked at the impact of a six-week ketogenic diet on physical fitness and body composition in 42 healthy adults. The study, published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, found a mildly negative impact on physical performance in terms of endurance capacity, peak power and faster exhaustion. Overall, researchers concluded, “Our findings lead us to assume that a [ketogenic diet] does not impact physical fitness in a clinically relevant manner that would impair activities of daily living and aerobic training.” The “significant” weight loss of about 4.4 pounds, on average, did not affect muscle mass or function.
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