Keto Diet 101: What is the Keto Diet
With the Ketogenic diet rapidly gaining in popularity, many people may be wondering how to start a keto diet and be successful at it. In order to be successful on the Keto Diet, you must first understand What is the Keto Diet?
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
In short, the Keto Diet is low carbohydrate intake combined with high healthy fat and moderate protein intake. But what does this mean?
When I first started the Keto Diet, understanding the idea of Keto was not an easy concept. We have been programed for years to eat 6-11 servings of carbs per day, remove fat from our diet and eat lean cuts of meat like skinless chicken breasts or turkey meat. Eating the fat on a ribeye or using real butter was not considered heart healthy. Or so we were told.
Accepting the notion of eating healthy fat, not processed oils made in factories (think vegetable and seed oils) and obviously not processed junk foods and candy (SUGAR IS THE ENEMY!) was and can be a major hurdle for people when considering the keto diet.
Sooo, the gist of the Keto Diet is this:
- Keep your carbs per day below 50 grams
- Eat moderate amounts protein – about .8 x your lean body mass (total weight minus pounds of body fat – I’ll explain in a minute)
- Eat healthy fat until you are full.
But what is considered healthy fats on a Keto Diet? I’ll get to that in a few also.
A little bit of Keto Diet Science
By keeping your carbs low, below 50g/day, you will force your body to burn through its stores of carbohydrates it has stored for energy. Once you no longer have a consistent flow of carbs coming in, your body will need to find its energy from somewhere else. This is where the magic happens!!!
When your carb storage is depleted, your body will turn to its body fat stores as fuel for energy in the form of Ketones! This is such a wonderfully magic process!
When you are in Ketosis, your body can burn its own body fat, preserve your muscle mass and all of this will help you lose that unwanted weight.
Protein on Keto
The Ketogenic diet is described as low carb, high fat, moderate protein. But what does the moderate protein mean?
Back when I first started Keto it was explained that moderate meant not too much because your body can only process a certain amount of protein and what isn’t needed is converted into glucose, AKA sugar. And then when the weight wasn’t coming off as fast or consistently as I hoped, we blamed protein. Well this isn’t the case at all.
As we learn more and explore and test out different Keto Diet methods, we are finding that our daily protein intake really needs to be a GOAL to hit.
Here’s the math: Let’s say you weigh 150lbs and have 20% body fat. You want to have about .8g of protein per pound of lean body mass which is your body weight minus your body fat. If you are 150lbs with 20% body fat, that means 30lbs of your total weight is fat.
150lbs-30lbs fat = 120lbs lean body mass * .8g of protein per pound of lean body mass = 96g of protein each day.
That’s your goal that you try to reach daily. It’s ok to go over. As Maria Emmerich says, extra protein won’t turn into chocolate cake in the body.
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What are healthy fats on Keto and are you sure I should eat them?
The short answer is YES, EAT FAT! Your body needs healthy fat to make healthy hormones! Your body actually needs cholesterol to make healthy hormones.
Healthy fat options include:
- Coconut oil
- MCT Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Any animal proteins
- chicken breasts with skin on
- chicken thighs.
There are tons of options for healthy fats that will satiate your appetite AND help you lose weight! It’s amazing!!
Types of Keto Diets
There are several ways to follow the Ketogenic lifestyle. Some are more challenging while others have varying levels of success.
These are a few of the different methods. You could also see our post about the Types of Keto Diets that go into greater details of each.
Strict Keto – daily carb count is 20g or less of TOTAL carbs, eating only whole foods.
Standard Keto – macro ratios are 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbs
Fasted Keto – Eating window is restricted to 6-8 hours each day and fasting the remainder of the 24 hours. For example, the first meal of the day would be somewhere between 12-2pm and your last meal would be completed by 8pm. From 8pm-12pm or 2pm the following day would be the fasting window. These are called 16:8 or 18:6 fasting windows.
High Protein Keto – macro ratios for higher protein Keto would be about 60% fat, 30-35% protein and 5-10% carbs.
Keto Carnivore – this version of keto would be limited to animal proteins only such as eggs, cheese, beef, chicken, pork, organ meats, fish etc. This is also known as zero carb keto or almost zero carbs. This version virtually eliminates all vegetables from your diet.
Cyclical Keto – this version of keto involves having carb up or refeed days. This could be 1-2 days per week where you would choose healthier versions of carbs such as a sweet potato on those days and follow the Standard Keto diet the other 5-6 days of the week.
Lazy Keto – with the growing popularity of Keto, there are now becoming lots of options for grab and go “Keto” foods; Keto breads, crackers, protein bars, premade meals, etc. This version of keto would be focused on keeping net carbs under 30-50g/day and not putting too much thought into meal planning.
So, there you have it. A quick lesson in Keto 101 – everything you need to know about Keto. Look for our next post about How to Start a Keto Diet.
For more info, reach out to us at HoleKeto (www.holeketo.com). We have many great coaching options to assist you on your Keto journey.