Keto 101: The Ultimate Guide to a Keto Diet


Keto 101 : What is the Keto Diet?

A ketogenic diet consists of high-fats, moderate-proteins, and very-low-carbohydrates. The dietary macronutrients are divided into approximately 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein and 5% to 10% carbohydrates. When eating a typical 2,000 calories a day this equals around 20 to 50 carbohydrates.

You may be terrified when you hear that your diet is composed of more than 60% fat. Don’t be. Fats are not bad for you and are essential to your health. Read here for more information about the benefits of fat.  

Carbohydrates are most people’s primary source of fuel. When limiting your carbohydrates to such a low level, your body has two metabolic processes. They are: [1]

  • Gluconegenesis
    • Production of glucose by the body. ( Endogenously)
    • When glucose availability drops even further, your body then moves into ketogenesis


  • Ketogenesis (nutritional ketosis)
    • When entering Ketogenesis ( a metabolic state) you body starts to use ketone bodies.
    • Because there is no glucose stimulus insulin is also reduced
      • This causes a reduction a decrease in fat storage!
    • Other hormonal changes contribute to the increased breakdown of fats leading to even more fat loss.


The only requirement to stay in ketosis is to be deprived of carbohydrates.

Despite what the media says, nutritional ketosis is quite safe [1]. Many people confuse nutritional ketosis with ketoacidosis, which is life-threatening. If you do not have any health issues, you have nothing to worry about.  ALWAYS check with a doctor before starting a drastic change in diet.


When did the Keto diet begin?

Russel Wilder first used the ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy in 1921. He also coined the term “ketogenic diet.” For almost a decade, the ketogenic diet enjoyed a place in the medical world as a therapeutic diet for pediatric epilepsy and was widely used until its popularity ceased with the introduction of antiepileptic agents. The Keto diet started to lose popularity when pharmaceutical companies started to market drugs for epilepsy. Keto diets then started to appear outdated, expensive, and less effective than drugs. 

 The resurgence of the ketogenic diet as a rapid weight loss formula is a relatively new concept the has shown to be quite effective, at least in the short run. I personally have followed the keto diet, and have experienced great results!



What is a well-formulated Ketogenic diet?


A well-formulated diet is high in fat, moderate in protein, and is low carb.  Many people confuse a low carb diet with a keto diet.

They both are low carb, however, a keto stresses high fat and moderate protein. A keto diet is not a HIGH protein diet. When the body has too much protein it will change protein into glucose ( endogenous production of glucose) Too much protein will act as sugar and stall weight loss.

The amount of fat is not restricted and should be at LEAST 60% fat.


Benefits of a keto diet                                                     


  People on a ketogenic diet initially experience rapid weight loss up to 10 lbs in 2 weeks or less.


This diet has a diuretic effect, and some early weight loss is due to water weight loss followed by a fat loss. Interestingly with this diet plan, lean body muscle is largely spared


Read more about more unusual benefits of keto here

  • Appetite depressant
    • This also leads to an overall reduction in caloric intake
  • More mental clarity
  • Better Sleep [8]
  • Neuroprotective effects [8]
  • Reduced Seizure incidence in epileptic children [9]
  • Increased alertness
  • Better cognitive functioning
  • Reduction in cancerous tumors.  You read that correctly….


Benefits I have noticed in myself

  • More energy
  • Reduced Acne
  • No energy crashes throughout the day
  • Able to recall facts quicker



What are Ketones?

Ketone bodies are the byproduct of being in nutritional ketosis. Ketone bodies can easily be used as energy production by the heart, muscle tissue, and kidneys. 

Yup, easily.

Ketone bodies also can cross the blood-brain barrier to provide an alternative source of energy to the brain. In fact, your brain is composed of more than 60% fat [2], and ketones may be it’s preferred source of energy. [3] Many studies show that your brain can help many brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy ( which is an electrical issue of the brain).

Some organs do not utilize ketones, because they lack the means to digest the ketone body. [1]

The amount of ketone body production an individual can do controlled by several factors including :

  • BMR
  • BMI ( Body Mass Index)
  • Body Fat Percentage


The most mind-blowing factor about ketone bodies is they produce more “ super fuel”. [1]

You read that correctly. Ketone bodies produce more” adenosine triphosphate”. Basically, that is a fancy word for a fuel production even during a caloric deficit!!

Studies have shown In the short term a reduction in energy intake is counteracted by mechanisms that reduce metabolic rate and increase calorie intake, ensuring the regaining of lost weight. [5]


The study quotes “ By itself, decreasing calorie intake will have a limited short-term influence.” [5]

My mind was blown when I found that out.


Basically, a keto diet can fuel production of energy, even when you reduce calories. This bypasses the reduction in metabolic rate that happens when you ONLY reducing calories without looking at your macronutrients.

Read more here about why counting calories doesn’t work. 


Other awesome benefits of being in nutritional ketosis include decreasing free radical damage and enhanced antioxidant capacity. Decreasing free radical damage means it is also anti-aging. [4]!


It’s every women’s perfect diet. The keto diet can help you lose weight, look younger, and have more mental clarity.


Disadvantageous: What is the Keto Flu?


The biggest deterrent of a keto diet, in the beginning, is the keto flu. I like to see it as going through  “ withdrawals”.

When making any major changes to your body such as quitting smoking, stopping drug use, and also getting rid of sugar (which is more addicting than cocaine [6])  your body will experience a series of unconformable symptoms.  But just like quitting a heroin addiction or nicotine, it will be well worth it in the long run.

The keto flu includes but is not limited to the following symptoms.

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty Exercising
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy


Ways to combat the keto flu is to drink plenty of water, and add salt. Also, taking vitamins and minerals is also suggested. A great supplement to a keto diet is cod liver oil. Read more here about the benefit of cod liver oil.


Another disadvantage is people on a ketogenic diet may have a false positive on an alcohol breath test. [7] If you are in a safety-sensitive work, ( e.g. truck driver, pilot)  beware!!


Who should stay away from a Ketogenic Diet?

  • People suffering from diabetes and taking insulin
  • People with hypoglycemia
  • People with liver failure
  • Disorders of fat metabolism


CONSULT your doctor before making changes in your diet.


Why do I lose weight in Ketosis?


Studies have shown that KDs have undoubtedly been shown to be effective, at least in the short to medium term, as a tool to fight obesity [13], hyperlipidemia and some cardiovascular risk factors

The reason you lose weight because your body is in a ketogenesis metabolic state. Basically, a fancy way of saying your body uses fat for fuel. Once your body becomes “ keto-adapted” it is easier for your body to tap into your own fat for energy use.


There will be no disruption in the use of exogenous fat sources ( fat sources from outside) and endogenous fat sources ( your own fat stores) .  Your body will have not caloric deficit because it can easily tap into on your own fat stores for energy once external sources of fat dry up. This leads to your body literally becoming a fat burning machine!




Common Myth:  Isn’t fat bad for you?

A common idea prevalent in the United States is high-fat diets cause obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. However; recent epidemiological studies do not show this [1]

The studies show the opposite result: that very low-carbohydrate and high-fat diets are actually BENEFICIAL to weight loss. 

Yup, eat fat and lose weight.  


Low Fat Diets Vs High Fat Diets

The American Heart Association recommends a low fat, high carbohydrate diet. However; in a bureaucratic organization, change is always slow, and new forms of paradigms are often discarded.

There have been many studies showing individuals assigned to a very low carb ketogenic diet achieve a more significant weight loss than those assigned to a low-fat diet the long-term. [10]

Low-fat diets also do not have the advantage of a keto diet

  • Low-fat diets do not reduce hunger
  • Low-fat diets do not give you more mental clarity
  • DO not produce a positive hormonal change to help you lose weight

In the book by Thomas Kuhn The Structure Of  Scientific Revolutions, he talks about how hard the idea the world was round to catch on; and how anyone who believed the world was round was ridiculed. Now, anyone who believes the world is flat would be ridiculed. It will only be time before the world knows about a ketogenic diet.  



What do I eat on the Keto Diet?


There are many recipes all over the internet for high fat, low carb diets. However; it’s important to note to keep your intake of fat high, and low carb intake. It’s easy to overeat keto warm peanut butter cookies and keto friendly cake. Eating those recipes also doesn’t help you get rid of sugar addiction, and may fuel it.

The best keto diets will be composed mostly of vegetables, with a fat and a small portion of protein.

Yup, vegetables. This is because vegetables are voluminous, and by adding fat, you are keeping your ratio fat to carbs extremely good while still getting “ the feel” of eating a  full meal.

You can find replacements for almost every food and will begin to enjoy the taste of healthier versions.

For instance, you can replace rice with cauliflower, regular flour with almond flour, pasta with zoodles, buns with lettuce wraps. There is no reason to feel deprived on a keto diet! A new adventure of cooking is awaiting you ?

The biggest concern I had when starting a keto diet was getting rid of chocolate. I know.. kind of silly. But man do I love my chocolate! It turns out, you can have dark chocolate on a keto diet.

Read here for a guide on how to choose chocolate on a ketogenic diet.

Below are some of the best fats on a keto diet.

You can read more about how to choose fats here.


Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has a high level of MCTs which are rapidly used by your body. Coconut also will help you get into Ketosis faster and produce coconut ketones, which are just as beneficial as when your body creates them.

Coconut oil is excellent for cooking, but not suitable for baked goods, due to a lack of flake and crispness to pastries. Coconut oil also can be substituted for any nut oil in equal amounts.

 However, when using for a replacement for butter or lard, you use 25% less.

Ghee- Ghee is clarified butter that has had milk solids taken out. This makes the smoke point higher, and better to cook with.

Lard- Lard has been rendered from pork fat and providing strong flavor. Lard, unlike coconut oil, also includes crispness, flakiness, and tenderness in baked goods. You can substitute lard for butter, but use must use one-quarter less than what the recipes call for.

Grass Fed Butter  Primarily saturated fat and provides flakiness and crispiness to soughs and puff pastries. Butter also interacts with lecithin, which is an emulsifier, which binds together compounds that would usually not be attracted.

Foods you cannot eat:

Foods to Avoid

  • Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal
  • Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup
  • Specific Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges
  • Tubers – potato, yams
  • Legumes- Peanuts may be OKAY. Be careful though. ( I always overdo it)



  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Lamb,
  • Poultry
  • Eggs


Fruits ( To Be eaten in moderation)

  • Mulberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Boysenberries


It’s good to note that when on a ketogenic diet, your taste buds will be more sensitive to sweetness in foods. Fruit will now seem really sweet; even the ones that have the least amount of sugar.



  • Macadamia nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Almonds
  • Coconut



How do I find my Macros and if it is “ keto friendly” ?

Let’s take a look at Lindt dark chocolate 90% nutrition label.

For three squares the fat content is 16 grams, carbohydrates 9grams, fiber 4 grams, protein 3 grams.

First, you want to subtract the fiber content from the total carbohydrate count.

In this example, it will be 9-4= 5 NET Carbs. You always subtract fiber from total carb count, because these are not digested like sugar. Fiber can SLOW down the digestion of glucose.

Back to the example

You have a total of 3 grams of protein, 5 net carbs, and 16 grams of fat.

To get the percentage of fat, you will multiple 16x 9 ( this is because there are 9 calories per gram of fat)

This will equal 144 calories out of 180 calories.

Divide 144/180 =.8

Now times 100

The Fat percentage is 80%

Repeat with other Macronutrients. Keep in mind that carbohydrates and proteins only have 4 grams of calories per graham.

Protein equals

 3×4= 12

12/180=.066. Then Multiple by 100 = 6 percent protein


Then for carbs

5 * 4 = 20

20/180= .11 multiple by 100

Carbs = 11%


This chocolate bar is keto friendly at 80% fat 11% Carbs and 6% Protein



Mindset when Starting a Keto Diet

When starting a ketogenic diet your mindset before starting is critical.

 Remember that the keto diet is a lifestyle change and not a fad diet. You will gain back all the weight you lost if you go back to your old eating patterns. Begin with the end in mind and where you would like to see yourself in 10 years.

Do you want to look 5 years younger? Feel great? Have wonderful energy? Be the envy at your 20-year reunion? Choose a Ketogenic diet.  The benefits are numerous, it is sustainable, will help you age slower, and keep you healthy as you age.

Read here about how Halle Berry Stays young using the Keto Diet. 


What are the types of Ketogenic Diet?

Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

65% caloric intake from fat, 30% protein, and 6% carbohydrates.

Restricted Ketogenic Diet (RKD)

 Do not start a RKD, without a doctor!

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

 A TKD is the same as a standard keto diet – except for eating carbs around your workout times. That means any day you exercise, you will be consuming carbohydrates.

Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

The CKD is for advanced athletes that require a significantly greater boost in carbohydrates for fuel during training

For the everyday woman, this is not suggested.



How to test you are in Ketosis?

There are 3 main ways to test for ketosis.

The cheapest, but the unreliable way is to use keto sticks. You pee on a stick, and it will turn a certain level of purple. TYou can find keto sticks at Amazon, Walmart, or your local Walgreens.

The second method is to use a blood meter. This is slightly more expensive, but a lot more accurate. A company called keto-mojo has come out with a reliable, cheaper version, with just 99cent keto sticks.  You prick your finger, and it will tell you the level of ketones per ml found in your blood.

The third way is to test your breath for ketones. I have never used this method, but if the other two options seem unappealing to you, you can use this method.


I use keto mojo and love it. 



Keto 101: Exercise and Keto

Back when I was in the Army and doing intense exercising, I would periodically get my Vo2 max results.

I kept them over the years and found something interesting. When I was on a keto diet , my Vo2 max results tested in the superior zone. Later, when I went off the diet ( it happens to all of us) and got another one done, my superior oxygen results turned into average. 

 In the book low carb performance, he talks about Vo2 Max ( oxygen consumption ) and being keto-adapted. When starting out on a keto diet, exercise many diminish, but once you are keto-adapted ( your body is efficiently running on fat) your oxygen use will increase.