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What is the Keto diet?

What does Keto mean?

Keto comes from the fuel molecules the body produces in the form of ketones.  This form of fuel is used to power the body when blood sugar in the form of glucose is not available.  When you eat carbohydrates or sugars, they are converted into glucose and your liver distributes that glucose in the form of glycogen into your blood stream.  Glycogen is used to power the body.  Ketones are created when you utilize all the glycogen within your blood stream and your body is forced to get that energy from your body’s own fat stores.  Ketones are produced in the liver when fat is metabolized. 

Once you have been following the ketogenic diet for several days, your body will begin to switch its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat.  This isn’t an easy process and your body will fight you by responding with sugar cravings, nausea, fatigue, and what is sometimes referred to as the “keto flu.”  It takes most people about two to three months for their body’s to become very efficient at converting their fat to be used as fuel.

The Standard Ketogenic Diet

The Standard Ketogenic Diet or SKD usually consists of 75% fat, 20% Protein and 5% Carbohydrates.  When using this diet to lose weight, the carbs are restricted anywhere from 5 grams to 20 grams of net carbohydrates a day.  If you are at your goal weight and are wishing to just maintain, the net grams can be adjusted somewhere between 20 to 50 grams per day.

If you are an athlete or body builder, getting enough protein is a must to build muscle.  A higher protein ketogenic diet would be suggested raising your protein to about 35% of your total caloric intake while reducing your fat intake to only 60% and keeping your net carbs around 5%.

Keeping track of your calories (macros) is not important in the beginning.  What is important is tracking the amount of carbohydrates you consume in the form of net grams.  Carbohydrates are measured by the amount of starch, sugar, sugar alcohols, and fiber they contain.  The only part we count are the net carbs or the carbs we actually absorb and turn into glucose.  Fiber is not digested and therefore is not counted in this measurement.  Making sure you eat enough fat and do not consume too protein is very important.  If you eat more protein than your body can utilize, it will be converted into glucose and stored as fat.  Fat consumption is important because it satiates, satisfying our hunger and making us feel full longer.  Carbohydrates on the other hand can actually make us more hungry and create sugar and food cravings.

What foods are on the ketogenic diet?

The Ketogenic pyramid looks very different from the standard food pyramids developed since the 1970s.  The base of the Keto pyramid is filled with meats eggs, cheeses and fats.  This will make up the bulk of your calories.  As you go upwards, above ground vegetables that are low on the glycemic scale will be eaten to make up the bulk of your carbohydrate load (5-50 grams).  Fruits, nuts and below ground vegetables can be eaten in very limited quantities occasionally because they contain more dense amounts of carbohydrates.  Notice that breads, pastas, sugars, skim milk, corn, beans/legumes and rice should be totally excluded due to their extremely high glycemic indexes.


Ketogenic Diet Food List


It is always recommended to eat “whole” and “unprocessed foods.  Be careful when consuming foods with nitrites like bacon and salami.  Nitrites have been shown to cause cancer.  If you do eat foods with nitrites, vitamin C has been shown to negate the negative effect of nitrites.  You can take a vitamin C supplements along with your bacon, sausage, hot dogs etc. 

A ketogenic diet is not like Atkins.  Atkins is very high in protein and that can cause a problem because excess protein will be turned in glucose and stored as fat on our bodies.  We recommend that keep your protein intake around 20% of your total macro calories.  If you are an athlete, you may be able to increase your protein intake to around 30% of your total calories.


Foods to Eat


Meat, Fish and Eggs

           Beef                                                                                 Salmon

           Red Meat                                                                        White Fish

            Steak                                                                               Eggs

            Chicken (skin-on is okay)                                              Venison

            Turkey                                                                              Elk

            Lamb                                                                                Bison

            Pork (including bacon)                                                 Pheasant 

            Ham                                                                                 Crab and Shrimp

            Sausage                                                                           Tofu


Berries (in limited quantities):

            Strawberries                                                Blackberries

            Blueberries                                                  Raspberries

Non-starchy Vegetables/Low-Carb Vegetables:

         Most Green Vegetables                                                      Tomatoes

Leafy Greens like Spinach and Kale                                            Peppers

            Broccoli                                                                             Onions

            Cauliflower                                                                       Cabbage

            Celery                                                                                Asparagus

             Cucumber                                                                         Zucchini

Nuts and Seeds: Limited Quantities

         Macadamias                                          Chia Seeds

            Almonds                                                 Pumpkin Seeds

            Walnuts                                                   Flax Seeds

            Pecans                                                     Coconut

             Peanuts (a legume exception)

Organic Nut and Seed Butter - Limited quantities with no added sugar

            Sun Butter

            Almond Butter

            Peanut Butter

Full-fat Dairy

         Heavy Whipping Cream                                 Butter

             Half and Half                                               Ghee

            Yogurt                                                          Sour Cream

            Cottage Cheese                                          Cream Cheese                                                                       

            Cheese  (unprocessed )                                                          

                                    Cheddar                      Goat                 Blue Cheese

                                                          Gouda              Mozzarella

Unsweetened Nut Milk

         Almond Milk – 30 calories no sweeteners

         Cashew Milk – 30 calories no sweeteners

Fats , Oils, and Avocados

         Coconut Oil                                               MCT

            Extra Virgin Olive Oil                             Almond/Nut Oils

            Hemp Oil                                                Flaxseed Oil

             Avocado Oil                                           Sesame Oil

            Mayonnaise                                        Avocados/Guacamole

Flours, Ground Seeds, and Other Baking Products

             Coconut flour                                         Almond Flour

             Flaxseeds Ground                                  Psyllium Husk ground/flakes

              Chia Seeds whole                                  Baking Soda

              Baking Powder            

What to Drink

                Water                                                                        Water with Lemon/lime

                Carbonated Water                                                   Fruit-infused Water

                Tea                                                                                      (remove all fruit before drinking)

                Calorie-Free Beverages (limit artificial sweeteners)


Alcohol (one or two drinks max per day and only 2-3 times a week)

                                    Champagne, Dry                             Gin

                                     Vodka                     Whiskey                     Rum

Sugar Substitutes:



Other Foods:

         Dark Chocolate  70% or higher

Seasonings and Condiments:

           Salt, Himalayan Salt, Kosher Salt


            Healthy Herbs and Spices without added sugars (NO MSG)


            Catsup without sugar        

            Vinegars    (Balsamic has a lot of sugar – limited quantity)

             No sugar maple syrup

             Natural vanilla flavoring

             Cocoa, unsweetened

             Salad dressings like Blue Cheese and Caesar



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