If you find yourself in a conversation about dieting or weight loss, chances are you’ll hear of the ketogenic, or keto, diet.
That’s because the keto diet has become one of the most popular methods worldwide to shed excess weight and improve health.
Research has demonstrated that adopting this low-carb, high-fat diet can promote fat loss and even improve certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
This article explains what to eat and avoid while following a keto diet and provides a one-week keto meal plan to get you started.
The keto diet, as a rule, is very low in carbs, high in fat and moderate in protein.
When following a ketogenic diet, carbs are typically reduced to under 50 grams per day, though stricter and looser versions of the diet exist (3Trusted Source).
Fats should replace the majority of cut carbs and deliver approximately 75% of your total calorie intake.
Proteins should account for around 20% of energy needs, while carbs are usually restricted to 5%.
This carb reduction forces your body to rely on fats for its main energy source instead of glucose — a process known as ketosis.
While in ketosis, your body uses ketones — molecules produced in the liver from fats when glucose is limited — as an alternate fuel source.
Though fat is often avoided for its high calorie content, research shows that ketogenic diets are significantly more effective at promoting weight loss than low-fat diets (4Trusted Source).
Plus, keto diets reduce hunger and increase satiety, which can be particularly helpful when trying to lose weight (5Trusted Source).
Switching over to a ketogenic diet can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Your focus should be on reducing carbs while increasing the fat and protein content of meals and snacks.
In order to reach and remain in a state of ketosis, carbs must be restricted.
While certain people might only achieve ketosis by eating less than 20 grams of carbs per day, others may be successful with a much higher carb intake.
Generally, the lower your carbohydrate intake, the easier it is to reach and stay in ketosis.
This is why sticking to keto-friendly foods and avoiding items rich in carbs is the best way to successfully lose weight on a ketogenic diet.