Blog > Keto

What Does a Keto Diet Consist of? Healthy Fats & Low-Carbs

What Does a Keto Diet Consist of?

No conversation about weight loss is complete without a discussion of the keto diet. This plan, originally developed for epileptic patients, eliminates carbohydrates from your diet. People often switch to Keto to manage weight and Type II diabetes symptoms.

The keto diet includes extremely low or no carbohydrates (5-10% of calories). Instead, it uses fat (70-80%) as a source of energy, with moderate protein intake (10-20%). It helps reduce sugar and insulin in blood and boosts the body’s metabolism rate.

But the keto diet isn’t ideal for people with cardiovascular issues, kidney conditions, liver diseases, Type I diabetes, or respiratory problems. Consult a doctor before shifting to keto. But first, read on to know the basics of keto diet.

Experience the ultimate convenience of a ketogenic diet with Cook Unity's keto meal delivery service, featuring a tempting array of keto-friendly dishes crafted by an award-winning chef. Let us take the guesswork out of meal planning and enjoy the benefits of ketosis with ease and deliciousness, day after day.

Keto Diet Basics - What Does Keto Diet Consist Of?

Keto Diet Basics - What Does Keto Diet Consist Of

The ketogenic diet replaces carbs with fat as fuel. In a regular carb-rich diet, the carbs you consume convert to glucose, which your body burns as fuel. Carb-deprivation for 2-3 weeks leads to ketone production from fats in the liver. Your body uses these as fuel.

Related: Net Carb Vs Total Carb: Differences & Why It Matters?

Main Components of a Keto Diet

The keto diet is based on a controlled macronutrient consumption. Macronutrients include fats (e.g., butter, oil), carbohydrates (e.g., rice, potatoes), and proteins (e.g., chicken, fish). Keto is a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet with moderate protein intake.

In a keto diet, your daily calorie consists of macronutrients in the following ratio.

  • Fat - 70-80%
  • Protein - 10-20%
  • Carbohydrates - 5-10%

So a 2000-calorie diet consists of 1400-1600 calories from fat, 200-400 calories from protein, and 100-200 calories from carbs. The calories in 1 gram of macronutrients are as follows:

  • Fat - 9 calories/gram
  • Protein - 4 calories/gram
  • Carbohydrates - 4 calories/gram

So, in a 2000-calorie diet, you will have:

  • Fat - 155.5-178 grams
  • Protein - 50-100 grams
  • Carbohydrates - 20-40 grams

Here are two calculators by and Calculo that can help you figure out your macros based on your calorie requirement to suit your age, height, weight, lifestyle, etc.

But what about micronutrients, i.e., vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients taken in small amounts? Micronutrients are extremely important for you to enjoy a healthy keto journey. Otherwise, you will experience digestion problems, hairfall, brain fog, etc.

Related: Whole30 Diet vs Keto Diet - The Key Differences

Overview of Keto-Friendly Foods

What should you eat while following a keto diet plan? Here’s a list that will help you:

Seafood: Seafoods are almost carb-free, and are rich sources of protein and healthy fats like Omega 3. They also contain nutrients like potassium and Vit-B. E.g.:

  • Sardine
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Mackerel
  • Basa

Eggs: Eggs contain protein, fat, and antioxidants - with almost no carb content.

Meat and Poultry: Fresh meat offers high protein and good fat, depending on the type and cuts of meat chosen. It can build muscles and give great hair. E.g.:

  • Chicken

  • Pork

  • Beef

  • Turkey

  • Lamb

  • Cheese: There are many types of natural cheese, all rich sources of fat - not to mention deliciousness. Their carb content varies, though it’s extremely low. E.g.:

  • Cheddar

  • Mozzarella

  • Cream cheese

  • Feta cheese

  • Parmesan

  • Dairy Products: Interestingly, milk itself is high in carb-content. But dairy products like cream and yogurt are low-carb sources of fat and calcium.

  • Green Vegetables: Leafy greens can add vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber. And you don’t even have to worry about carbs with them. E.g.:

  • Kale

  • Cabbage

  • Lettuce

  • Spinach

  • Bok choy

  • Arugula

  • Non-Starchy Vegetables: No-starch veggies can make your keto life smooth. Cauliflower and zucchini popularly replace potato, rice, pasta, noodles, etc. E.g.:

  • Mushroom

  • Spaghetti squash

  • Bottle gourd

  • Broccoli

  • Eggplant

  • Asparagus

  • Tomato

  • Cucumber

  • Onion (moderate)

  • Fruits and Berries: Avocados and olives are rich sources of fat. Berries and some fruits are also allowed in keto. Some of them can cut sugar cravings. E.g.:

  • Strawberry

  • Lemon

  • Watermelon

  • Raspberry

  • Peach

  • Cantaloupe

  • Star fruit

  • Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are healthy sources of fat and protein. They are also filling. They can be made into butter, plant-based milk, yogurt, etc. E.g.:

  • Cashew

  • Almond

  • Pistachio

  • Chia Seed

  • Flaxseed

  • Plant-Based Oil: Oil is a nutritious way to meet your fat goals. Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are the most popular fat sources. Other options include:

  • Mustard oil

  • Sunflower oil

  • Sesame oil

  • Dairy-Based and Animal Fat: Fat goals can be reached with animal fats. The fat and protein in dairy also emulsify and produce healthy dairy-based fat. E.g.:

  • Lard

  • Butter

  • Ghee (clarified butter)

  • Dark Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee: Sugar-free desserts, drinks, or candies made of dark chocolate, cocoa, and coffee are nutrient-rich - and great for keto.

  • Carb-Free Sweeteners: Total carb deprivation can lead to sweet cravings. So you can use carb-free sweeteners. Keto-ers recommend the following:

  • Stevia

  • Monk fruit

  • Erythritol

  • Xylitol

  • Sucralose

  • Carb Replacements: You can replace flour, rice, grains, potatoes, etc., wth suitable alternatives to make dough base, binders, leavening agents, etc. E.g.:

  • Almond flour

  • Coconut flour

  • Flaxseed meal

  • Psyllium husk powder

  • Pork rind dust

  • Keto-Friendly Beverages: For teetotalers, coffee and tea are good options. Coconut water is allowed in moderation. You can also have limited amounts of pure alcohol. E.g.:

  • Whiskey

  • Vodka

  • Gin

  • Tequila

  • Dry wine

  • Rum

Here are a few lists of keto-friendly foods:

You can refer to online resources like MyFitnessPal to check the nutrients in different foods.

Foods to Avoid on a Keto Diet

Here’s a quick look at the food groups you need to avoid while on keto:

  • Grains - Rice, quinoa, barley, whole wheat, corn, oats, etc.
  • Pulses - Pea, lentil, mung bean, soy, etc.
  • High-starch vegetables - Potato, sweet potato, yam, beet, parsnip, etc.
  • High-sugar fruits - Mango, banana, apple, grape, peach, pineapple, etc.
  • Refined oil - Vegetable oil, rice bran oil, soybean oil, canola oil, etc.
  • Processed foods with carbs - Pasta, white rice, cake, breakfast cereals, etc.
  • Sugary drinks - Coke, fruit juice, energy drinks, sweetened coffee/tea, etc.
  • Alcohol - Beer, cider, sweet liqueur, cocktail with high-sugar mixers, etc.

Related: What Is Keto Flu and How to Reduce Its Symptoms?

Tips for Planning and Following a Keto Diet

Tips for Planning and Following a Keto Diet

Keto diet comes with its own set of challenges, which often pushes people to fall off the wagon. Here’s how to ensure that it’s sustainable:

1. Keto Flu - Carb deprivation can shock your body and lead to nausea, dizziness, constipation, exhaustion, etc. These can be handled with vitamins, magnesium, potassium, sodium, electrolytes, and other supplements.

2. Improper Macro Ratio - The right ratio of macronutrients is crucial to get into the ketosis state, i.e., ketone production. Overeating proteins or carbs can interfere with that. Follow a strict diet chart and use calculators to track your macros.

3. Health Problems - Keto can lead to kidney stress, cholesterol, low blood sugar, etc. It can also lead to depression. So consult your doctor and present your complete medical history to know how to follow it - or if at all you should do it.

4. Unsustainability - Planning and preparing your daily mails on keto can become difficult, especially if you’re alone on this journey. Meal-prepping can prevent daily cooking and preparations. Also stick to natural foods as much as possible.

5. Limited Options While Eating Out - Keto becomes hard during trips or social events. Carry nuts, seeds, or dry snacks. It’s a good idea to eat a little before going out to eat to avoid cravings. Also stick to low-carb options only.

6. Few Vegan Protein Sources - Plant-based protein sources almost always have carbs. However, if you’re vegan/vegetarian, you can resort to tofu, tempeh, and protein supplement. But you must monitor the macros closely.

Related: Paleo vs. Keto for Inflammation: Which One Works Better?

Potential Health Benefits of Keto Diet

If done right, a keto diet plan can improve your health in the following ways

1. Weight Management - This diet plan burns fat as an energy source and reduces weight and body fat. It lowers triglycerides (fat molecules) in the blood.

2. Improved Heart Health - It boosts the levels of good cholesterol, i.e., HDL, and can improve cardiovascular health at a rapid rate.

3. Reduced Blood Sugar and Insulin - Due to low carb intake, blood sugar and insulin levels drop dramatically. Even medicinal and insulin doses may reduce.

4. Metabolic Syndrome Reversal - A keto diet can reverse the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, enhance metabolic rate, and cut hunger pangs.

5. Enhanced Brain Health - It delivers ketones to the brain to improve its functions. It can control epileptic seizures, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

Overall, it is known to improve energy levels, reduce symptoms of hypothyroidism and PCOS, reduce stubborn lower-belly fat, and provide various health benefits.

Related: Mediterranean Diet vs Paleo: Which One Is Right for You?

Final Words: Keto Your Way to Good Health

A keto diet plan is not a shortcut to weight loss while enjoying greasy steaks. You should pick healthy food options with sufficient micronutrients. Also, opt for homemade recipes, like an easy-to-cook frittata or tuna salad, instead of buying keto-friendly, but processed foods. Finally, consult a doctor and a dietician to know if it is the right plan for you - and ensure that you get all the required nutrients.