Blog Diets Keto The Keto Diet Basics: Foods, Tips, And Benefits

The Keto Diet Basics: Foods, Tips, And Benefits

What Is the Keto Diet? 

The keto diet is a nutrition trend that has become incredibly popular in recent years. It is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat eating plan that aims to put the body into nutritional ketosis. This low-carb diet involves eating high-fat foods such as cheeses, oils, dairy products, avocados, eggs, and fatty meats. At the same time, it excludes high-carbohydrate foods that can be found in many fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta, alcohol, grains, and sugars

Discover the surprising truth about starchy fruits and their effects on blood sugar levels and weight management in our in-depth analysis. 

Although ketogenic dieters eat a lot of high-calorie foods, it is claimed to be an incredibly effective way of losing weight. The standard ketogenic diet recommends limiting your intake of carbohydrates to 50 grams per day or 5% of your daily calorie intake. 75% of your daily calorie intake should come from healthy fat and about 20% from protein (6).

How Does It Work? 

When we eat carbohydrates, the body converts them into glucose (blood sugar) which is then used as a source of energy. Glucose is the primary source of energy in our bodies and if we lack it, the body starts to use other sources, including stored fat, for fuel. The main goal of this eating pattern is to minimize your carb intake to make the body use mostly fat as a source of energy. When you drastically reduce your consumption of carbs and increase fat intake, your liver starts to produce ketone bodies from fat. Ketone bodies are small molecules that serve as an alternative source of energy for the body and brain. Ketosis is a state where your body uses ketone bodies (produced from fat) as a primary source of energy. Some people find that this diet minimizes feelings of hunger as you can eat high-fat foods that lead to a feeling of satiety. Therefore, the elimination of carbohydrates promotes the body to start the process of breaking down fats, which can lead to weight loss if you achieve a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn.

Read More: 30-Day Keto Challenge: Will Upping Your Fat Intake Help You Lose Weight?

Keto Diet Benefits

In the realm of fitness and wellness, the ketogenic diet has gained substantial attention due to claims about its potential health benefits (6). This low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet has been utilized for a variety of purposes, from weight loss to managing certain medical conditions. Here’s a comprehensive exploration of the benefits the keto diet may offer: 

Weight Loss 

  • By drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat consumption, the body enters a state of ketosis where it burns mostly fat for fuel instead of glucose. 
  • Studies have suggested that the keto diet can be more effective for weight loss than traditional low-fat diets, particularly in the short term (7). 
  • The diet’s satiating effect may enable reduced calorie intake, which helps with weight loss efforts. 

Enhanced Mental Clarity and Focus

  • Many individuals have reported improved cognitive function, clarity, and focus while on the keto diet, although this is subjective (8). 
  • Stable blood sugar levels achieved through reduced carbohydrate intake may prevent energy crashes, which some people may find increases their productivity and focus. 
See also
Kick Your Cravings To The Curb With This Deliciously Healthy Keto Chicken Fried Rice

Improved Energy Levels 

  • The body becomes efficient at burning fat for energy in ketosis, which some people find provides a steady supply of fuel without the fluctuations that are associated with glucose metabolism. 
  • Some athletes and endurance enthusiasts adopt the keto diet if they find it enhances energy levels and endurance, particularly during long-duration activities. Other athletes may find that it negatively affects their performance – it depends on the type of training they do and other individual factors (9). 

Better Blood Sugar Control 

  • The keto diet can significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels, which makes it potentially beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes or those who are at risk of developing the condition. 
  • By reducing carbohydrate intake, the diet minimizes spikes in blood sugar, promoting insulin sensitivity and better glycemic control. 
  • If you have diabetes or are on medication that lowers your blood sugar, talk to your doctor before significantly reducing your carbohydrate intake. You may need monitoring and medication adjustments to avoid hypoglycemia.

Keto Diet  

Enhanced Heart Health 

  • Some studies have observed that the keto diet, where healthy fats are prioritized over saturated fats, may sometimes improve heart health markers. It may lower triglyceride levels, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol particles. However, at the same time, it was also seen to increase total cholesterol and LDL fraction cholesterol concentrations, providing room for more research (10). 
  • Some research has suggested that the keto diet may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. 
  • Not all studies have produced the same findings, so it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions. 

Potential Therapeutic Applications 

  • In addition to weight loss and possible metabolic benefits, the keto diet has proven to be promising for the management of various neurological conditions, with an abundance of evidence supporting its use in epilepsy (11). 
  • The mechanisms of the therapeutic potential of the keto diet on neurological disorders are not well understood. 

Enhanced Fat-Burning and Body Composition 

  • Ketosis prompts the body to utilize fat stores for energy, potentially leading to significant reductions in body fat percentage. However, a calorie deficit is still required for fat loss. 
  • Some studies have suggested that the keto diet may preserve lean muscle mass while promoting fat loss in females, which is advantageous for those who are seeking to improve their body composition (12). 

The ketogenic diet may offer a wealth of benefits beyond weight loss. From improved mental clarity and enhanced energy levels to better blood sugar control and potential therapeutic applications, its potential effects extend far beyond the scale. However, it’s important to approach the keto diet with proper guidance and understanding to reap its full rewards while ensuring nutritional balance and long-term sustainability. 

How Do Beginners Get into Ketosis?

You should start a keto diet step by step, gradually reducing your carbohydrate intake. Increase your fat intake every day for satiety, while maintaining your protein the same. All meals should be planned and the nutritional value of each of them should be evaluated. It’s important not to deprive your body of fiber, as this is incredibly important for intestinal health and can help you feel more full and satisfied. If you can’t rigidly track your carb intake, you can try a gradual elimination method. Remove one source of carbohydrates from your diet every week. For example:

  1.  Replace sugary drinks with non-calorie ones in Week 1.
  2.  Remove all desserts and sweet snacks such as cakes, pastries, and chocolate bars in Week 2.
  3. In Week 3, it’s time to say goodbye to starchy foods such as pasta, pizza, and packaged snacks.
  4. Remove all bread, rolls, and starchy vegetables in Week 4.
  5. By Week 5, you will probably be down to 50 g of carbs a day. If you want to further restrict carbohydrates, you can cut out fruits and sauces that contain carbs.
See also
1700 Calorie Meal Plan High Protein Diet For Weight Loss: How Effective Is This Diet For Weight Loss?

Are you looking for a way to break the vicious cycle of weight loss and tone up all your jiggly parts? Watch the extra pounds fly off and your muscles firm up with the BetterMe app!

What to Eat on a Keto Diet 

If you’ve decided to follow a keto diet, you should know that there are specific foods that you must avoid to stay in ketosis and lose weight effectively. A keto diet restricts most carbohydrate-rich foods. Let’s find out what foods are to be included and avoided to get you on track to success.

What Foods Are in a Keto Diet?

You should base your keto meal plan around these foods: 

  • Meat and animal protein: beef, poultry, pork, lamb, goat, turkey, organ meats (liver, tongue), eggs
  • Seafood: mackerel, salmon, tuna, trout, cod, oysters, lobster, crab, octopus, shrimp
  • Fats and oils: olive oil, canola oil, other plant-based oils, avocado oil, and avocados. In moderation: coconut oil, butter, ghee
  • Non-starchy vegetables:  most greens such as lettuce and kale, tomatoes, celery, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, peppers
  • Dairy: cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue, parmesan, mozzarella), sour cream, full-fat yogurt, mayonnaise, heavy cream (in moderation)
  • Low-sugar fruits: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries
  • Nuts and seeds: macadamia nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds

Keto Diet  

Keto Diet Snacks

The best thing about the keto diet is that many people find that it reduces hunger pangs as you eat high-fat foods that promote a feeling of satiety (2). The low-carb diet can be nutritious, but due to the high fat content of foods, regular snacking is not a good idea as this may lead to the overconsumption of calories. If you regularly have a feeling of hunger and are snacking all the time, you should try adding more fat and protein to your meals (1). However, if you occasionally require a little something to get you through, a perfect snack will be a handful of nuts, coffee with butter, hummus, cheese, or full-fat yogurt. Many people prefer keto smoothies. Here are a few keto smoothie recipes that will help you satisfy your hunger if you’re on a keto diet. 

See also
7-Day Vegetarian Keto Meal Plan for Weight Loss

Kia Smoothie with Chia Seeds


  • 1 tbsp chia seed
  • ½ cup fresh spinach
  • 5-10 mint leaves
  • 1 cucumber
  • 5-7 strawberries
  • ½ lemon
  • ¼ lime
  • 1 cup cream (fatty)
  • 1-2 tsp sweetener


Soak the chia seeds in cold boiled water for 7-10 min. Process the following ingredients in your blender: spinach, mint, cucumber (cut into cubes), strawberries, lemon, and lime, add cream and sweetener, don’t forget about chia seeds. 

Vegetable Smoothie


  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ lemon
  • Parsley – to taste
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup coconut (or plain) water


Process all the ingredients in a blender – it’s that simple!

Avocado Smoothie


  • 1 avocado
  • 1 green banana
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup of kefir
  • 1 tsp match
  • Sweetener to taste


Mix all the ingredients in a blender to enjoy a light bite.

Foods to Avoid 

  • Grains: wheat, barley, oats, rice, corn, rice, buckwheat, bulgur millet
  • Sugar: honey, raw sugar, sugar syrups, agave, maple syrup
  • Beans and legumes: chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, green peas
  • Fruits: bananas, pineapple, apples, oranges, grapes, dried fruits
  • Starchy or sugary veggies: carrots, potatoes, corn, cherry tomatoes, winter squash
  • Dairy: milk, fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Unhealthy fats: limit saturated fats from fatty meats, dairy, butter, coconut oil
  • Alcohol and soda: beer, cider, any fizzy drinks, any zero/diet drinks

Keto Diet Tips

  • Track your water intake and drink a lot of water
  • Make sure you get enough protein to prevent muscle loss (you’ll need more if you’re more physically active than if you’re sedentary)
  • Don’t eat too much protein as excess protein is converted into glucose, which can interfere with ketosis
  • Replenish electrolytes to avoid symptoms of keto flu
  • Most carbs should come from non-starchy vegetables
  • The best fats are olive oil, canola and other plant-based oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, and oily fish
  • Carefully track all your carb, fat, and protein intakes to get into ketosis

Keto Diet  

Is the Keto Diet Safe?

The long-term effects of the ketogenic diet on overall health require further research. Not everyone should try a keto diet and you should talk to your healthcare provider to determine whether it’s safe for you. Here are a few things you should know before you start. Yes, you may lose pounds quickly, but you should also watch out for side effects or complications.

Drastic changes in nutrition can cause headaches, dizziness, weakness and fatigue, aches throughout the body, nausea, and other common symptoms of flu. People who follow a keto diet often experience this kind of discomfort, but the reason for this is not a virus or infection. Keto flu is caused by the body’s reaction to carbohydrate restriction. Your body is used to using carbs as a source of energy, so drastically reducing them can make you feel lethargic and lifeless. Your body needs time to adapt to a new eating plan, and this usually takes around 24-48 hours.

These are the most common symptoms of keto-flu:

  • Sugar cravings
  • Dizziness
  • Brain fog
  • Irritability
  • Poor focus and concentration
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Muscle soreness
  • Insomnia
See also
4 Keto Tortilla Recipe Variations To Kick Your Carb Cravings

As you can see, keto-flu can feel similar to ordinary flu. You may or may not experience all the symptoms from the above list. Some people switch to keto diets so easily that they experience few or no unpleasant symptoms, while others feel sick from the first days until the end of the diet, but this is not particularly common. A person’s experience depends on many factors such as metabolic flexibility, health status, and lifestyle. The adaptation period may depend on your metabolic flexibility, which is how well you can adapt to using different fuel sources (i.e., carbs, fats, protein, and ketones).

How to Reduce the Symptoms of Keto Flu

Here are some tips on how to reduce the symptoms of keto-flu and become keto-adapted more quickly:

  • Drink plenty of water (with a pinch of salt). It’s incredibly important to stay hydrated during the day, particularly during the transition period, to avoid keto flu.
  • Supplement your diet with sodium, potassium, and magnesium. This will help you replace electrolyte loss, thereby reducing the symptoms of keto flu.
  • Do regular low-intensity workouts in the morning (swimming, yoga, jogging) if/when you feel up to it. 

Is working out six days a week too much? Examine the potential risks and benefits as we analyze the effects on muscle recovery, injury prevention, and overall fitness levels. 

Remember that stress, high-intensity exercises, and eating too much protein can make the process of keto-adaptation more difficult. This is why it’s important to eat the right amount of protein, do low-intensity exercises, sleep well, and meditate to help get rid of keto flu.

If you tend to let yourself off the hook, raise the white flag when things get tougher than you expected, or send yourself on an unconscious binge-eating trip, the BetterMe app is here to help you leave all of these sabotaging habits in the past.

How to Lose Weight on This Diet

This low-carb diet can be an effective way to lose weight for some people. However, it’s important to follow the most important recommendations if you are to succeed. Here are a few tips that will help you stay in ketosis and achieve your weight-loss goals.

Things to Do

  • Watch out for hidden carbs. Even a small amount of carbohydrates can raise your blood and insulin levels and kick you out of ketosis. Make sure to read the food labels before you buy any products.
  • Intermittent fasting can be an effective way to get into ketosis faster. When you combine a ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting, your body produces more ketone bodies. If you feel ready, start with the easiest fasting window of 8-10 hours between dinner and breakfast.
  • Track your carb intake. Carb restriction lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, which leads to the release of ketones. Make sure to stick to the recommended daily intake of carbs to enter ketosis and get all the benefits of this metabolic state.
  • Try adding more healthy fats to your daily routine instead of eating saturated fats and ultra-processed foods. 75% of your daily caloric intake should come from fat, as it should boost your ketone levels. Focus on healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, avocado oil, nuts, flax seeds, hemp hearts, chia seeds, olives, fatty fish, and other plant-based oils. Avoid eating fatty meats, processed meats (deli meat, sausages, salami, hot dogs, and cured and smoked meats), and fried food.
See also
Keto Chili: No Beans? No Problem!

Explore the health benefits of incorporating fish and seafood into your diet with our comprehensive guide to the pescatarian diet, which provides information on its impact on weight management and environmental sustainability.

  • Try MCT oil. The medium-chain triglyceride fat in MCT oil may help raise the ketones level in your body.
  • Avoid starchy vegetables, grains, and white rice. Be careful with fruits, legumes, dairy, and beverages.
  • Your body needs a moderate amount of protein consumption to maintain muscle mass and for many other bodily processes. Aim for at least 20-25 grams of protein with each meal.

Read More: What Is Dirty Keto Diet: Demystifying the Whats, Whys and Hows

Keto Diet Sample Menu

Day 1

  • Breakfast: two boiled eggs with avocado on keto bread toast
  • Snack: hummus with Persian cucumbers
  • Lunch: salad with walnuts, cheese, beef, oil, and vinegar
  • Snack: yogurt with berries
  • Dinner: stuffed cabbage with beef

Day 2

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs with spinach
  • Snack: a handful of nuts
  • Lunch: mushrooms with cheese and green salad
  • Snack: cottage cheese with bell peppers
  • Dinner: salmon with roasted vegetables

Day 3

  • Breakfast: peanut butter keto toast
  • Snack: a hard-boiled egg
  • Lunch: fish soup
  • Snack: yogurt with berries
  • Dinner: chicken breast with salad

Day 4

  • Breakfast: cottage cheese with berries
  • Snack: apple with nut butter
  • Lunch: chicken and vegetables in a low-carb wrap
  • Snack: hummus with bell peppers
  • Dinner: beef steak with a green vegetable salad

Day 5

  • Breakfast: 2-egg omelet with cheese and vegetables
  • Snack: avocado
  • Lunch: baked chicken, greens
  • Snack: cottage cheese with berries
  • Dinner: fish with zucchini fritters

Day 6

  • Breakfast: ham and cheese on keto toast
  • Snack: a slice of cheese and a green apple
  • Lunch: fish cake with a tomato and cucumber salad
  • Snack: yogurt with berries
  • Dinner: pork chop and greens

Day 7

  • Breakfast: 3-egg omelet with spinach and mushrooms
  • Snack: a handful of nuts
  • Lunch: roast beef salad and green vegetables
  • Snack: cottage cheese with raw vegetables
  • Dinner: baked fish with steamed vegetables

In addition to eating keto-friendly foods and planning your meals, it’s useful to include physical activity in your daily routine. This is especially true if you lead a sedentary lifestyle and spend little time in motion.

Keto Diet  


  • What is the keto diet and how does it work?

The keto diet is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat eating plan that’s designed to induce a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, the body shifts from using glucose as its primary fuel source to burning fat for energy. This process occurs when your carbohydrate intake is drastically reduced, forcing the body to produce ketones from fat stores. 

  • What foods are allowed on the keto diet?

The keto emphasizes high-fat foods such as meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, oils, nuts, seeds, and low-carb vegetables. Foods to avoid include high-carb items such as grains, sugars, fruits (except for low-sugar options such as berries), starchy vegetables, and ultra-processed foods. 

  • Is the keto diet effective for weight loss?

Yes, the keto diet has been proven to be effective for weight loss, particularly in the short term. By reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat consumption, the body enters ketosis, which leads to increased fat-burning and reduced appetite. This can support weight loss efforts, but a calorie deficit is still required and it doesn’t work for everyone. 

  • What are the potential benefits of a keto diet beyond weight loss?

In addition to weight loss, the keto diet has been associated with claims of various health benefits, including improved mental clarity and focus, enhanced energy levels, better blood sugar control, and potential therapeutic applications in managing conditions such as epilepsy. Most of these claims are controversial and require more research. 

  • What are some common side effects of starting a keto diet?

When starting a keto diet, some individuals may experience symptoms known as the “keto flu”, which can include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and irritability. These symptoms typically occur during the initial transition phase as the body adapts to using fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. 

  • How can I reduce the symptoms of keto flu?

To minimize the symptoms of keto flu, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and replenishing electrolytes with foods that are high in sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Engaging in low-intensity exercise, getting adequate sleep, and gradually reducing your carbohydrate intake can also help ease the transition into ketosis. Talk to your healthcare provider for individualized advice. 

  • Is the keto diet safe for everyone to follow?

While the keto diet can be effective for weight loss, it may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain medical conditions and those who are taking certain medications may need to avoid or modify the keto diet or be medically monitored. It’s important that you consult a healthcare professional before starting any new diet regimen, particularly if you have existing health concerns. 

  • How can I incorporate the keto diet into my lifestyle?

To successfully incorporate the keto diet into your lifestyle, you should focus on consuming whole nutrient-dense foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats and proteins. Plan your meals ahead of time, track your macronutrient intake, and be mindful of hidden carbs in ultra-processed foods. In addition, consider implementing intermittent fasting and regular physical activity to enhance the potential benefits of the keto diet.  

  • Can you drink coffee on keto?

Yes, you can enjoy coffee on the keto diet, but it’s important to be mindful of what you add to it. Plain black coffee or coffee with small amounts of unsweetened almond milk or heavy cream is keto-friendly. However, you should avoid adding sugar, flavored syrups, or high-carb creamers, as they can disrupt ketosis. 

  • Can keto cause vitamin deficiency?

There’s always a potential risk of micronutrient deficiencies if a diet lacks variety or restricts certain food groups. To mitigate this risk, focus on consuming a diverse range of low-carb vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats to ensure adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals. In addition, you can consider incorporating a multivitamin supplement to fill any nutritional gaps. Talk to your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for individualized recommendations. 

  • How long is it safe to be in ketosis?

The duration of time spent in ketosis can vary depending on individual health goals and preferences. While many people maintain a ketogenic lifestyle, insufficient research has been conducted to establish its long-term effects. It’s essential to listen to your body and monitor for any signs of nutrient deficiencies, metabolic imbalances, or other adverse effects. Consulting a healthcare professional can provide you with personalized guidance on the appropriate duration of ketosis for your specific needs. 

  • Can I have a cheat day on keto?

While occasional breaks may be permissible for some individuals who are following the keto diet, it’s important to approach cheat days with caution. Introducing high-carb foods can disrupt ketosis and may lead to adverse effects such as fatigue, cravings, and difficulty returning to ketosis. If you choose to incorporate a cheat day, consider planning it strategically, maintaining portion control, and prioritizing nutrient-dense foods the majority of the time to support overall health and wellness goals.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the keto diet is popular for nutritional exploration and it offers a potential pathway to weight loss. Through the strategic manipulation of macronutrients, the keto diet taps into the body’s innate ability to adapt and survive on different energy sources. 

Despite its popularity, the keto diet isn’t for everyone. It is highly restrictive, not healthy or balanced, not sustainable in the long term, and not safe for everyone. You should talk to your healthcare provider before you try a keto diet or make any other significant dietary changes. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet (2006,
  2. Nutritional Ketosis for Weight Management and Reversal of Metabolic Syndrome (2018,
  3. The calorically restricted ketogenic diet, an effective alternative therapy for malignant brain cancer (2007,
  4. The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus (2008,
  5. The ketogenic diet: a 3- to 6-year follow-up of 150 children enrolled prospectively (2001,
  6. The ketogenic diet: one decade later (2007,
  7. Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss (
  8. Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss (2024,
  9. Impact Of Ketogenic Diet On Athletes: Current Insights (2019,
  10. The Ketogenic Diet and Cardiovascular Diseases (2023,
  11. Ketogenic Diet for the Treatment and Prevention of Dementia: A Review (2020,
  12. The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Body Composition in Resistance Training Females (2021,
150 million people
have chosen BetterMe

Great vegan Keto Recepies

Carrine D.
Great vegan Keto Recepies which is very hard to find. Love the layout of the website!

BetterMe app helped me a lot!

I have decided to try the Keto diet, but it was hard for me to understand what foods and dishes to choose. The BetterMe app helped me a lot! It’s great! It made my meal planning extremely easy and I don’t waste time and energy on choosing what to buy and to cook.

I love this app

Everything in one place and easy to follow. Meals are diverse and tasty, recipes easy to understand and not a surplus of weird ingredients that cost a lot of money ....