I wanted to put it out there that I made this meal plan specifically with women in mind. I took an average of about 150 women and what their macros were. The end result was 1600 calories – broken down into 136g of fat, 74g of protein, and 20g net carbs a day. This is all built around a sedentary lifestyle, like most of us live. If you need to increase or decrease calories, you will need to do that on your own terms.
The gist of the eating plan? Taking in so few carbs sends your body into ketosis—a state of burning fat for energy, instead of carbohydrates or sugars, explains Beth Warren, RDN, founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl: A 21-Day Nourishing Plan to Lose Weight and Feel Great (Even If You're Not Jewish). In order to stay in ketosis, you only consume 5% to 10% of your calories from carbohydrates—which for most followers is fewer than 20 grams total per day—and instead eat moderate amounts of protein and high amounts of fat.
When you eat tons of carbs, your blood sugar is consistently elevated, and then so is insulin. Insulin is a hormone that keeps your blood sugar in check by shuttling the glucose into cells, but when there’s a consistently high amount of insulin, your cells become resistant. This insulin resistance makes it easier to store fat, and chronically high levels of insulin also cause excessive inflammation in the body, which contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, and potentially type 2 diabetes.
Hello Myriam, I am a dual certified personal trainer and Sports Nutrition Specialist. I really love how concisely you have put this article together. I did notice that on your macro breakdown for a 1500 calorie diet you actually listed the protein intake at around 31% of the daily calories (117*4=468..468/1500=.31). I was wondering if you did this to bring the protein amount closer to 1 gram per pound of body-weight to preserve lean mass?
So you've decided you want to try out the high-fat, low-carb diet, better-known as the fat-burning ketogenic diet. Whether it's to lose weight, have more energy, or fuel workouts differently, going keto is a popular choice right now. But figuring out a keto meal plan on your own is no easy feat, especially since eating a diet super high in fats doesn't come naturally to many people who are accustomed to the traditionally carb-heavy American diet. (It's especially hard if you're vegan and want to try keto.) But this should help: Keto experts explain how to set yourself up for success, plus provide ideas for exactly what keto foods to eat when you're first getting started. (While you're at it, check out these Low-Carb Keto drinks That Will Keep You in Ketosis.)
UPDATE: Hi! It’s been 4 weeks already. I am still cooking keto and enjoying many delicious dessert too! I have finally convinced my husband to totally convert to keto food. It’s only been one week since he stopped using diet package food. He is very happy with the food he get to eat and still losing weight but much slower pace this week. That’s because I have been giving him larger portions as this is the first week for him. Since he was already on low carb diet prior to this, keto flue may be not as bad but still want to keep him happy and better transition experience. Meanwhile, I get to cook keto for the whole family and really enjoying the new way of eating and cooking. I have lost total of 6 lb but that was enough to prove to my husband eating bacon and butter is ok as long as we are on keto diet. I was only doing this to convert my husband since he doesn’t have any interest in nutrition or theory behind it, so what he sees is what he believes. 6 lb may not sounds a lot for 4 weeks but I was already below average weight , so it was a lot of loss for me. I think it’s a science 5-30-65 combination works on everyone. Now I just eat more portions of everything ,so we can still eat same food. Today, he had a once a week appointment with his ideal protein dietitian. Seems like they are not convinced that he can still continue to lose weight unless he eat their packaged food. I plan to continue sending him there for once a week appointment , so he sill have something to be accountable for. Next few weeks, I’m hoping he won’t be as hungry so I can start portion control his food without his knowledge, LOL.
2 years ago I cut suger out of my diet and lowered my carbs. went from 230 down to 192, then I wasn’t so good about being careful and creeped back upto 207 and wasn’t a happy camper about it, but was having problems being good with a bunch of personal & work chaos going on. so a few days ago I really started looking at keto once again, now I’m back at 199 and looking forward to working through the keto flu, god I hate headaches but the scale is telling me to keep going
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But if no carbs are available, our bodies start burning fat as a primary fuel source and producing ketones in the liver, which the body can turn into energy. This metabolic state, called ketosis, is what happens when someone is starving. But it's also how Harper's body works every day. His system relies on fats like butter, oil, and lard as a primary energy source instead of packing them on as in-case-of-emergency poundage.
This week we’re getting stricter with our fasting. We had a full week of intermittent fasting and now we’re going to skip breakfast and lunch. Water is our BEST friend here! Don’t forget that you can drink coffee, tea, flavored water, and the like to get your liquids in. Keep drinking to make sure you’re not thinking about your stomach. It MIGHT start growling, just ignore it – your body will adjust with time.
Fairly recently, the diet was introduced as a weight-loss diet by an Italian professor of surgery, Dr. Gianfranco Cappello of Sapienza University in Rome. In his 2012 study, about 19,000 dieters received a high-fat liquid diet via a feeding tube inserted down the nose. The study showed an average weight loss of more than 20 pounds in participants, most of whom kept it off for at least a year. The researchers reported a few minor side effects, like fatigue.
because the recipes don’t mention quantities it’s hard to know how much it’s okay to eat of the carb foods. How much carbs is in those foods like kale, cauliflower, lettuce a.s.o. What about mushrooms ? Love to use them as a ‘filler’ instead of bread. Also hard to know how much is too much protein? Cheese, meat, bacon, yoghurt, tuna…. they all are full of protein.
Hi Melissa,I’ve been trying on my own to eliminate carbs and sugar from my diet for obvious health reasons and weight loss. I’ve been doing ok and have lost 30 lbs. Since Memorial Day. The more I research, however, I realize I really need to fully commit to Keto if I’m really to be successful in losing a total of 90 lbs. Your blog and recipes and advice are the first time anyone has really explained and encouraged. I’m starting tomorrow with the 3 day kickstart and am very much looking forward to following you for meal plans and menus. Thanks for making things understandable.
On the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are restricted and so cannot provide for all the metabolic needs of the body. Instead, fatty acids are used as the major source of fuel. These are used through fatty-acid oxidation in the cell's mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of the cell). Humans can convert some amino acids into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis, but cannot do this by using fatty acids. Since amino acids are needed to make proteins, which are essential for growth and repair of body tissues, these cannot be used only to produce glucose. This could pose a problem for the brain, since it is normally fuelled solely by glucose, and most fatty acids do not cross the blood–brain barrier. However, the liver can use long-chain fatty acids to synthesise the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. These ketone bodies enter the brain and partially substitute for blood glucose as a source of energy.
For any individual with diabetes, discussing dietary changes — especially those as dramatic as the ones the ketogenic diet requires — with your healthcare team is essential. Because carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the blood, cutting carbohydrates from your diet could cause levels to crash rapidly depending on your current medication regimen. Such a change may require significant adjustments to medication and insulin to prevent dangerous side effects such as low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia. (8)
A computer program such as KetoCalculator may be used to help generate recipes. The meals often have four components: heavy whipping cream, a protein-rich food (typically meat), a fruit or vegetable and a fat such as butter, vegetable oil or mayonnaise. Only low-carbohydrate fruits and vegetables are allowed, which excludes bananas, potatoes, peas and corn. Suitable fruits are divided into two groups based on the amount of carbohydrate they contain, and vegetables are similarly divided into two groups. Foods within each of these four groups may be freely substituted to allow for variation without needing to recalculate portion sizes. For example, cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and green beans are all equivalent. Fresh, canned or frozen foods are equivalent, but raw and cooked vegetables differ, and processed foods are an additional complication. Parents are required to be precise when measuring food quantities on an electronic scale accurate to 1 g. The child must eat the whole meal and cannot have extra portions; any snacks must be incorporated into the meal plan. A small amount of MCT oil may be used to help with constipation or to increase ketosis.
I had 12 lb that I had to shed. Zero carbs for one week then the cruise phase. there are two other phases that help keep it off. This is what helped me I did chicken, fish , eggs, and avocado since it has zero carbs. I really hate meat so after research I went on two different great zero carb protein powder mixes with almond mils Vega Sport Mocha and Isopure zero carb tossed in magic bullet with ice and almond milk does the trick for me. This is what I do once I lost the weight I weigh myself daily if I even see an one pound gain . I go back on high protein diet Dealing with one pound is easier than fifty … so that is my method for keeping it under control.
Low carb diets focus on keto recipes (also known as ketogenic recipes) like the ones below to keep your blood sugar stable, helping your body regain insulin sensitivity and keeping your mood and energy levels stable. Also, since processed food has so many additives – usually sugar included – low carb diets encourage you to cook for yourself. This leads to eating more whole foods and improving your diet in that way as well.
Implementing the diet can present difficulties for caregivers and the patient due to the time commitment involved in measuring and planning meals. Since any unplanned eating can potentially break the nutritional balance required, some people find the discipline needed to maintain the diet challenging and unpleasant. Some people terminate the diet or switch to a less demanding diet, like the modified Atkins diet (MAD) or the low-glycaemic index treatment (LGIT) diet, because they find the difficulties too great.
Wilder's colleague, paediatrician Mynie Gustav Peterman, later formulated the classic diet, with a ratio of one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight in children, 10–15 g of carbohydrate per day, and the remainder of calories from fat. Peterman's work in the 1920s established the techniques for induction and maintenance of the diet. Peterman documented positive effects (improved alertness, behaviour and sleep) and adverse effects (nausea and vomiting due to excess ketosis). The diet proved to be very successful in children: Peterman reported in 1925 that 95% of 37 young patients had improved seizure control on the diet and 60% became seizure-free. By 1930, the diet had also been studied in 100 teenagers and adults. Clifford Joseph Barborka, Sr., also from the Mayo Clinic, reported that 56% of those older patients improved on the diet and 12% became seizure-free. Although the adult results are similar to modern studies of children, they did not compare as well to contemporary studies. Barborka concluded that adults were least likely to benefit from the diet, and the use of the ketogenic diet in adults was not studied again until 1999.
As a note, you do need to check the carbohydrate content of everything you eat, especially processed foods such as sausages, cheeses and sauces. There could be hidden carbs in the products used to preserve or “pad out” these foods, so make sure you are buying the lowest carb options and counting the carbs they do contain to ensure you don’t go over your daily limit.
In addition to burning fat reserves and super charging weight loss, ketosis produces a clean burning metabolic fuel that has many benefits. Ketones lower production of reactive oxygen species (ROS),1 enhance mitochondrial biogenesis,2 3 and induce positive epigenetic expression.4 Because of its neurological benefits, I went on a Keto Diet in 2014, and it has been helpful in moderating my MS symptoms.
Hey folks, I am a 55 year old guy whos used to be in good shape, so was wondering if I could use the Keto diet to lose fat and gain muscle, obviously I would have to increase caloric intake as I am weight training and performing cardio so was wondering about supplements, vits and minerals as well whey protein, as I am trying to lose body fat and build muscle I need extra calories.. plus creatine and NO pre work out and a post work supplement…
It is also worth considering that eating a well balanced, keto diet is actually very expensive. For most people, following a low carbohydrate diet, rather than a no carbohydrate diet, is much more practical – as it will also allow for the inclusion of fruit and all vegetables. This represents much better dietary balance and usually leads to people sticking with it for longer.
There are vegetables that are high in carbs and others low in carbs. The keto diet recommends sticking to the ones low on carbs but encourages you to eat a lot of them. Best vegetables are all green ones to make it easy. And vegetables that grow above the ground (e.g. lettuce) are always better than the ones that grow below the ground (e.g. potatoes)
I have been a long time viewer but have been drowning in graduate studies, needless to say I fully fell off the wagon! Well May 17th graduation is almost here time to get back on the wagon! I was soooo happy that you have Keto Meal Plans!! Did you have any recipes for a Keto Smoothie that meets the Keto LCHF requirements for the mornings I have to get the kids off to school & run out the door. A lot of great smoothies on the web but they usually include fruit which significantly increases the carbs… Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Now, what should you eat? There are endless combinations of food and it really depends on your personal preference. I put together a simple 3 day keto menu plan to get you started. This is what works for me, and because my body knows the drill, I can actually get back into ketosis in less than 2 days on this plan. If you are new to low carb, it may take you as long as 4 to 5 days. Don’t despair, it will happen.
The easiest macro to calculate in the ketogenic diet is fat. Once you've got your carbs and protein set, simply fill the rest of your daily calorie needs with fat sources. If you find yourself wanting to gain a bit of weight, add approximately 500 calories, or 55 grams. If you want to lose weight, cut down on your fat intake by 200-500 calories, or 22-55 grams.
This is where we have to depart! Sorry to say but you’re on your own. You should have plenty of leftovers that are frozen, ready, and waiting! I know a lot of you out there have trouble with timing and are busy people – so making sure that some nights you make extras to freeze is important. All those leftovers you have in the freezer? Use them up! Create your own meal plan, at first using this as a guide, and then completely doing it yourself. Once you get the hang of it, it’ll be a sinch – I promise you 🙂
"Plenty of people jump right in, thinking all they have to do is cut carbs and increase fat. All of a sudden, they hit a wall and get 'keto flu.' They feel tired, lethargic, and experience headaches," Wittrock says. "The primary reason they get these symptoms is lack of the three primary electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you're deficient in any of these, you'll suffer mentally and physically. This is the single biggest reason people fail on the keto diet."
When it comes to weight loss — a big possible draw of the plan for many individuals — the benefits of the ketogenic diet may not be much different from any other diet plan. “There is no magical weight loss benefit that can be achieved from this diet,” says Spano. “The ketogenic diet may help weight loss in the same way other diets help — by restricting food choices so you eat fewer calories.”
Hi Cyn, The numbers are general guidelines but will vary depending on many factors, such as activity level, insulin resistance, weight and more. There is no single magic number, just conventional recommendations that are a good starting point. I will have a macro calculator coming soon that will help determine what is best for each person, but even then it’s an approximation. The only way to know for sure is to test. If keto is your goal, it’s usually best to start lower and then see if you can stay in ketosis when increasing.
the biggest challenge most people have is sticking that first week at less than 20 net carbs but this is crucial not only to start losing but to keep losing. Most people don’t really start to notice weight loss till a good week in even then. If you want to jump start you can try a three day fast but then stick to that 20 net carbs and like was stated, know the nutrition facts of what you are eating. Onions for instance have quite a bit of sugar/net carbs. Even if it takes a bit for your body to rev up it definitely will as long as you stick to the carb numbers and fat ratio of 40% total calories