I follow a ketogenic meal plan, lovingly nicknamed by its fans as “Keto” (pronounced kee-tow). The ketogenic diet is a Low-Carbohydrate, High-Fat (LCHF*) diet, but in my case it’s less of a diet and more of a meal plan.

I follow a ketogenic meal plan for a number of health effects including:
  • Better health: A good ketogenic meal plan is generally rich in nutrients and protein.
  • Longer lasting energy: fats digest slower than carbohydrates, allowing those on Keto to get less hungry, less often. When on a ketogenic meal plan I feel more alert and productive throughout the day.
  • Diet control: Keto makes it incredibly easy to avoid overeating because foods are generally more satieting. If done correctly, weight loss facilitated by a ketogenic meal plan is often the cause of HDL (good cholesterol) increase, as well as triglyceride, blood sugar, and blood pressure decrease.
*LCHF meal plans (like Keto) use a low carbohydrate, medium protein, and high fat approach. Image source

❯ What do I eat?

  • Meat (chicken, turkey, beef, etc.): These are major sources of protein.
  • Vegetables (Broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, spinach, peppers, lettuces etc.): These are major sources of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.
  • Cheese (Cheddar, mozzarella, cottage, etc.): These are major sources of fat, protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • Nuts (Peanuts, almonds, almond milk, pistachios, walnuts etc.): These are major sources of fat, protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • Anything else low-carb (avocados, cooking oils & spices, quest bars, low-carb wraps, low-carb sauces etc.): I eat mostly what I want, as long as it doesn’t have too many net-carbohydrates.
  • Healthy carbohydrates in small amounts (berries, legumes, fruits etc.): There are many foods that are higher in net-carbohydrates that are still extremely healthy; I enjoy these foods, but I make sure not to overdo it.
Keto food pyramid. Click to view larger. Image source

❯ How does Keto work?

Keto uses fats as energy instead of carbohydrates, but because the body burns carbohydrates first, the only way to rely on fats for energy is to reduce carbohydrate intake. Fats either 1) end up as triglycerides and get stored as fat if unneeded, or 2) they get turned into ketones & fatty acids and get burned for energy; the latter is the goal when on a ketogenic diet. Once carbohydrates are reduced enough the body will begin to burn these ketones & fatty acids as its main source of energy in a healthy metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis you get your energy from fat and your essential nutrients from the foods in your diet. No carbohydrates are needed: your liver produces all the glucose you actually need. After being in ketosis for long enough, the body will become fat-adapted and be able to switch more easily between glucose and ketones for energy.
When starting keto it is generally recommended to consume less than 20 grams of net-carbohydrates per day, then once fat-adapted it's okay to go up to 40 or 50 grams of net-carbs per day, depending on your personal physiology and activity. On US food labels, net carbohydrates are calculated by subtracting fiber from the listed carbohydrates. For example, if a can of nuts says it has 9g carbohydrates per serving and 4g fiber per serving, then the can of nuts has 5g net-carbohydrates per serving.

❯ How did I start, and where am I going?

I was introduced to Keto by a helpful web forum (r/Keto) and have since done a lot of my own research. I plan on continuing a Keto meal plan and eventually adding in less-processed carbohydrates like fruits and legumes. In the long-run I will treat high-carbohydrate foods as treats and 'eating-out' foods while maintaining a more closely ketogenic-style diet at home.

❯ Keto Science

I highly recommend these related links:
*Disclaimer: The information I've written here is based on personal experience and personal research; it should not be taken as medical advice, as I am not a doctor. I highly encourage you to do your own research on the topic.