What Is a Ketogenic Diet?
A Guide on the Keto Lifestyle

Everything You Need To Know About The Ketogenic Diet
Written by Isaac

Has your weight given you more issues than your favorite magazine subscription? Well it’s time to “keto” your diet!

What is the keto diet?

Let's get straight into the ketogenic diet definition (often termed keto). It is a nutritional plan that gets an individual eating a combination of low carbs and high fat.

The goal of the keto diet is to replace high carb intake with dietary fat to achieve an optimal wellbeing.

Some nutritionists/dieticians scoff at this diet because they feel it’s unhealthy to lower your carb intake while consuming a high amount of fat.

Yet, versions of the ketogenic diet have been used to successfully treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children since the 1920s.

Last time I checked, a thing being used to treat an illness is called…medicine. Moving along...

In this article, you will learn about what makes the keto diet not only an effective method to lose weight, but also a method to become healthier as well.

Before we get into the wonderfulness of going “keto”, let’s discuss how carbs affects your weight.

How Carbs Affect Your Weight

Question: Name me a food that tastes “oooh so good” but is bad for you?

Do donuts come to your mind? A bag of potato chips? A greasy slice of pizza? What about a Snickers bar?

Wherever your food pleasure lies, chances are; that it is steeped in sugary carbs. According to the USDA, the average American consumes 15-170lb of sugar each year.

Back in the early 1800s, the average American sugar intake was only 4-6lb per year. Man, how times have changed.

With all being said, how does carbs affect your bodyweight? The answer to that is…. Water weight. You can thank glycogen for this.

Glycogen is a form of glucose stored in the liver & muscle tissues and the primary dietary source of glucose is carbohydrate. Medical science shows that every 1 gram of glycogen carries 3 to 4 grams of water.

Research has proven that a high carb intake increases glycogen levels while low-carb intake reduces it.

So If you take into account that the average man can store up to 15 grams of glycogen per kg of bodyweight, that’s enough to make a huge impact on the weight scale, particularly if he consumes a copious amount of carbs.

Wait, So Body Fat Is Not A Factor???

Yes, body fat is definitely a factor. In fact, ever since people started consuming more carbs (sugar), the U.S. obesity rates has risenThe number of U.S. citizens who are categorized as obese has nearly doubled over the past 30 years.

You see the correlation now between body fat and carbs? If not, there is one more piece of information I would like to share.

In addition to being stored in the liver and muscle tissues, glycogen is stored in fat cells. This is the same glycogen that holds 3 to 4 grams of water. By lowering carb intake, you deplete your regular stores of glycogen which shows as weight loss on a scale.

This is the reason an obese person who follows a low-carb diet will always lose more weight versus a slimmer person; they carry more fat cells (each containing water-holding glycogen).

Woman in a perfect shape in a white outfit on black background

Losing muscle mass is rarely a good thing. Unlike high-carb diets, keto burns body fat along with the water weight within it.

So if an obese individual decided to follow the ketogenic diet, they are bound to drop a substantial amount of weight. However, it is much greater than the low carb part of the diet that makes weight loss a reality.

5 keto diet benefits

1. Weight Loss

Numerous studies have touted the weight loss benefits of a low-carb diet. The keto diet enhances this benefit. How so?

The low carb intake makes your body produce ketones in the liver to be used as energy (called ketosis), a byproduct of burning body fat.

Reducing carbs allows the body to use glycogen buildup within your fat stores as fuel, resulting in weight loss. This effect is doubled when you burn glycogen by exercise.

Let Me Say This About Weight Loss….

When people say they want to lose weight, they typically mean they desire to lose body fat. However, you could lose weight by losing muscle mass and water weight as well. Most diets have you losing all three.

In case you didn’t know, losing muscle mass is rarely a good thing. Unlike high-carb diets, keto burns body fat along with the water weight within it.

When in a state of ketosis, the body begins to utilize fat for fuel. In addition, the moderate protein intake protects your muscle tissue from being used as fuel (a process called Gluconeogenesis). How sweet is that!

While the ketogenic diet is a superb weight loss tool, that’s not the biggest health benefit it elicits.

2. Lower Risk Of Developing Chronic Diseases

What does type-2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease have in common? All chronic diseases that the keto diet can help prevent.

One study conducted on an obese individual who followed the ketogenic diet for 24 weeks, resulted in significant risk reduction in chronic diseases by weight loss, decreased levels of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and blood glucose, and increased levels of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).

Woman enjoying beach on sunset

Keto eliminates processed, refined carbs that has been linked to several diseases, including obesity, heart disease and type-II diabetes.

Being that heart disease, diabetes, and stroke are three of the leading causes of death in the world, it is phenomenal to have a diet combat them.

Keto eliminates processed, refined carbs that has been linked to several diseases, including obesity, heart disease and type-II diabetes.

In fact, the development of type-II diabetes is strongly contributed to continuously eating high glycemic foods (e.g., whole grains, bran, germ) that spikes your blood sugars. Another chronic disease that correlates with those other three is high blood pressure.

3. Lowers Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (HBP) is one of those diseases that gets swept under the rug in terms of how lethal it is for a person’s health.

That’s why it has been dubbed the “the silent killer.” If left untreated, HBP can lead to:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Kidney damage
  • Angina
  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Vision loss
  • Memory loss

Be aware that these aren’t symptoms of HBP. HBP is a symptomless disease for most people except in most rare cases known as hypertensive crisis.

If you or your family have a history of high blood pressure, following a low-carb diet may be a godsend.

Medical researchers tout low-carb diets like keto as an effective method to reduce blood pressure.

If you take high blood pressure medication, please consult with your doctor first before trying this diet out.

One way that people develop high blood pressure is eating too many refined carbs over a lengthy period of time.

The reason most people consume so many refined carbs is due to how poorly it satisfies their appetite.

4. Prevents Binge Eating

The number one reason most diets fail long-term is because they leave people hungry as heck!

They allow consumption of low satiety foods such as white potatoes, rice, and bread. Eating these foods eventually lead people to unfollow their diet and eat every calorie under the sun (aka binge eating).

That’s not the case with the ketogenic diet. Research illustrates that a high protein, low-carb diet reduces hunger and lowers food intake.

Woman working in a coffee shop

When carbs are eliminated or minimized, ketones provide up to 70% of the brain’s energy needs; this boosts mental focus and alertness throughout the day.

In addition, the amount of dietary fat you’ll consume will leave you very satiated. Another problem about most other diets is they’re energy zappers. That’s not the case when you go “keto.”

5. Increased Energy Levels By Boosting Brain Power

Who doesn’t need more energy in this hustle and bustle world? Following a ketogenic diet helps many individuals gain more energy to perform their day to day activities.

The main reason for this is; ketones replaces glucose as the brain’s fueling source. When carbs are eliminated or minimized, ketones provide up to 70% of the brain’s energy needs; this boosts mental focus and alertness throughout the day.

Another interesting fact is that ketones keep people who go through prolonged periods of starvation (e.g., coma patients) alive.

Then again, it makes sense considering that intermittent fasting works well in conjunction with the keto diet.

Combining Intermittent Fasting & the Keto Diet

The main reason you are reading this article is because you’re interested in losing weight, that’s understandable.

With that said, using intermittent fasting (IF) along with the keto diet maximizes weight loss. IF is a term for an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.

Like the keto diet, several studies have shown IF to be effective weight loss method as well as reducing the onset of chronic diseases such as type-II diabetes. That’s why it makes since to use IF in conjunction with the ketogenic diet.

3 Most Popular IF Methods

1. Eat-Stop-Eat

This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week.

2. The 16/8 Method

This method involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours. For example from 12pm to 8pm, afterwards, you “fast” for 16 hours in-between.

3. The 5:2 Diet

On two non-consecutive days of the week, only eat 500-600 calories.

You eat normal for the other remaining 5 days.

Of these three methods, elements of the 16/8 Method work best with the keto diet. At the end of this article, you will see a 1-month sample keto diet meal plan.

With this meal plan, you skip breakfast every 3 days, doing this makes you fast longer which helps to:

  • Burn more body fat
  • Have more energy as you start your day
  • Reduce chronic inflammation
  • Improve brain function
  • Thoroughly cleanse toxins from body cells

Utilizing IF and keto together helps you lose unwanted inches off your waist. Like a Friday the 13th movie, there are several versions of the keto diet. Here are the four most popular ones.

Types Of Ketogenic Diets

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) - This version is where you can consume carbs around a workout.

Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) - This version focuses on high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) - This version involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.

High-protein Ketogenic Diet - This version is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.

While embarking on this keto diet journey, below are the foods that you need to ignore like a spam email.

Foods To Avoid

  • ​White potatoes
  • ​Alcohol
  • ​​Bread, pasta, tortillas, and other foods that contain gluten
  • ​Condiments such as ketchup, soy sauce, and barbecue sauce that contain sugar, artificial ingredients, excessive salt, or gluten
  • Corn (including popcorn, cornbread, and popped corn chips)
  • ​Foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup or trans (hydrogenated) fats
  • Foods that contain sugar, artificial sweeteners, or soy
  • ​​Fruit juice (even 100% fresh!)
  • ​Grain-based foods (e.g., wheat, barley, rye, cereal, oatmeal)
  • ​Jams, jellies, pancake syrup
  • ​​High sugar dairy products (e.g., ice cream)
  • Salty processed snacks (potato chips, popcorn, pretzels, nacho chips,crackers, popcorn)
  • ​Sugary processed snacks (cakes, cookies, cupcakes, candy)
  • Sweetened drinks such fruit punch, lemonade and soda

Now that you know what foods to avoid, here are the foods (along with snacks and supplements) that you can embrace.

Approved keto diet food list

  • Meat, Poultry, And Fish
  • Vegetables
  • Other Food Items
  • Spices And Herbs
  • Supplements
  • Snacks


Here is a list of websites that sale ketogenic diet-approved snacks:

Is the Keto Lifestyle for you?

While there are other effective diets out there, the ketogenic diet is one that should have you losing inches faster than Usain Bolt.

Have you tried the ketogenic diet? If not, are you thinking about trying it? Which type of keto diet will you choose or have you chosen?

Please share your experiences with the ketogenic lifestyle by leaving a comment below.

Remember to check out the 1-month ketogenic diet sample meal plan after the FAQs section.


What is ketosis?

How long does it take to reach optimal ketosis?

Do I need to count calories?

Can I drink alcohol?

Can I eat too much fat?

What foods can I eat?

How can I track my carb intake?

How much weight will I lose?

What are the common mistakes people make when doing the Keto diet?

What are the potential dangers and side effects of Keto & how to cure them?

1-Month Sample Meal Plan

*Note: This is ONLY a sample meal plan to display how to effectively implement the keto diet. There are plenty of other recipes out there.

Just Google “ketogenic recipes” or “keto recipes.” So if you can’t stand eggs, then please DON’T torture yourself and make the pepper jack scrambled eggs for breakfast.

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
  • Day 11
  • Day 12
  • Day 13
  • Day 14
  • Day 15
  • Day 16
  • Day 17
  • Day 18
  • Day 19
  • Day 20
  • Day 21
  • Day 22
  • Day 23
  • Day 24
  • Day 25
  • Day 26
  • Day 27
  • Day 28


Skip breakfast


Blueberry Tarragon Chicken Salad


Tasty Turkey Wrap

About the author


I’m a personal fitness trainer and nutritionist living in sunny Indianapolis, IN. I’ve spent the last 8 years staying at the forefront of the health and fitness industry. In that time, I’ve helped hundreds of people shed the excess weight and get into shape, maintaining their healthy new lifestyle through proper training and eating habits.