Keto Guide – The Complete Ketogenic Diet Guide for Beginners

Keto or ketogenic diet is a popular high-fat, low-carb meal plan designed to help you reach the ketosis. 

It’s a state where your body is forced to switch its energy source from glucose to fat. 

It has been increasing in popularity in the last few years.

One is because keto is known to have fat and weight loss benefits.

In fact, over dozens of studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve your health (1).

Mark Sisson, author of The Keto Reset Diet calls it a nutritional breakthrough. He describes it’s one of the healthiest weight loss plans.

So what is this diet that supposedly cures it all? Is it a fad diet? Does it actually work? Is it safe? 

If you’ve been thinking about starting a keto diet, here’s your ultimate keto guide. 

This post contains all you want to know about the keto diet including food list, meal plan, and recipes.

Here is a detailed beginner’s guide to the keto diet.

What Is the Keto Diet

The ketogenic or keto diet is a diet that’s low in carbs, high in fat, and moderate in protein.

It resembles the Atkins diet, a popular low-carb weight loss diet from 1972.

Only it’s older.

The keto diet was first introduced by endocrinologist named Dr. Henry Rawle Geyelin in 1921.

The diet was to treat epileptic seizures, which get triggered by electrical abnormalities in the brain.

While there are many causes for it, chronic inflammation was said to be a common condition (3).

In his research, Geyelin discovered the fasting brings major changes to the body effective in treating seizures (4).

Those changes include a drop in glucose levels and higher fat burning. This state is called ketosis or keto.

There is just one problem. 

Fasting for long is not possible.

That’s how the ketogenic diet was born. It’s to recreate the state of keto that’s usually achieved by fasting.

And the key to this keto is to keep one’s diet very low in carbs and high in fat.

This is because limiting carbs and upping healthy fat puts your body into a keto state.

When this occurs, you allow your body to burn more fat for fuel.

As a side benefit, you’ll naturally lose weight and excess body fat without counting calories.

How to Get Started

To start the keto diet, you need to know your macro ratios.

Carbs, protein, and fats.

  • 60-75% of calories from fat (or more)
  • 15-30% of calories from protein
  • 5-10% of calories from carbs

Most of your calories are coming from fats, as opposed to other low-carb diets like the Paleo, which comes from protein.

But this is what makes the keto diet so unique.

On the ketogenic diet, you need to keep your daily carbs to 30 grams, about 5-10% of your total calories.

Which is far lower than the average American diet that consists 50% carbs.

This lower carb intake is what keeps your body in the state of ketosis. And it also deters your body from using sugar as the main fuel.

Instead, it’ll begin to burn fat as energy.

As for fat, it should be about 100 grams a day.

Protein is moderate. About 80% of your lean mass in grams.

So if you weigh 140 lbs and your body fat is 30%, your lean mass is 92 lbs.

Multiply this number by 80%. Your protein for the day is 74 grams.

To find your number, plug in your numbers to the formula below.

(Weight in pounds x body fat %) x 80% = daily protein in grams

Know the Potential Side Effects

While some praise the diet as a miracle diet, it’s not without potential side effects.

There are several, in fact.

The most common one is called “keto flu”. It describes an internal shift of emptying your carbs in the system and fueling up the body with fat. 

When your body is undergoing a complete change of your body’s main fuel source, your body will feel the effect. At least in the initial stage. 

Keto flu may last a week or two, but it’s usually temporary. 

A headache is also common. And it often comes from dehydration. 

On a diet that’s high in carbs, your body tends to retain water. A diet low in carbs like Ketogenic Diet, on the other hand, can lead to dehydration. 

It’s essential to drink plenty of water and add electrolytes while on Keto. Coconut water is particularly great for this! 

Fill Your Kitchen with Keto Staples

For a successful start, you need to stock up on keto staples. The full list of keto-friendly foods is extensive, but you can start with the essentials first. 

The healthy fats include nuts, seeds, olive oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and avocado oil. For lean meat, stock up on wild fish, free-range eggs, and grass-fed beef, and organic chicken. 

For veggies, you need to be selective.

Only the non-starchy vegetables are approved on Keto. That’s because sugar is a major offense in creating the state of Ketosis. 

Low-calorie, low-sugar veggies like kale, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, cabbage, and leafy veggies are all game.

Dairy such as cheese and butter are allowed on this diet. 

But there are foods that are off-limits too. 

The list includes all grains such as pasta, rice, bread, and even tortilla.

Fruits like bananas, peaches, and oranges are also banned in addition to other sugar alternatives like syrup, honey, and agave. 

When in doubt, choose green vegetables with high-fat content and some protein like chicken or salmon.

If you are ready to test the water, here is a perfect Ketogenic 4-day starter meal plan with lots of keto-approved recipes. 

4-Day Sample Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan

Sample ketogenic diet plan

Day 1

Breakfast: Omlete

  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 2 whole eggs
  • Spinach
  • Cherry tomatoes

Lunch: Grilled Salmon Salad

  • 4oz of salmon
  • 2 cups of kale, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cucumber, sliced
  • Cilantro leaves, chopped


  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Dinner: Chicken with Asparagus

  • Chicken (grilled, stir-fry, or oven baked)
  • 6-8 asparagus
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil

Day 2

Breakfast: Greek Yogurt, Full-Fat

  • A cup of Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp of chia seeds to top

Lunch: Beef Chili

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • Chili mix
  • Salt and pepper

Cooked the ground beef. Once browned add chopped vegetables.

When they are soft and onions are transparent, add the chili mix and tomato sauce.

Top with cheese and sour cream as you like.

Dinner: Grilled Chicken with Bell Peppers

  • 1/4 lb of chicken
  • Lemon poultry seasoning
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped into big chunks
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Marinade the chicken in lemon seasoning with coconut oil. Rest it for 30 minutes. When the grill is hot and ready, grill until fully cooked.

You can grill the bell pepper next to the chicken.

Day 3

Breakfast: Baked Egg Muffin

  • 3 whole eggs
  • A handful of spinach
  • 1/4 cup cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Mixed all the ingredients in a bowl and season it with salt and pepper.

Pour it evenly into 6 muffin cups and bake for 20 mins in the oven.

Lunch: Tuna Caesar Salad

  • 1/2 can tuna
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp Caeser dressing

Dinner: Steak with Broccoli

  • 4oz beef steak, however way you like 
  • 2 cups of steamed broccoli with butter 

Day 4

Breakfast: Avocado Cup

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 whole eggs
  • salt and pepper

Cut the avocado in half. if the seed is small, scoop out extra avocado to make enough room for an egg.

Drop one egg per half of avocado and season with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for 20 mins.

Lunch: Sausages with Cole Slaw

  • 1/2 lb sausage links, fried or grilled
  • 1 cup cabbage coleslaw with mayonnaise

Dinner: Green Beans and Pork Chop

  • 1/4-1/2 lb of cut pork chop
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb of fresh string beans, steamed

Pan-fry the pork with 1 tbsp coconut oil and after season it with salt and pepper.

Steam the string beans to plate with the chop.

Can Keto Be a Long-Term Commitment?

No doubt. Keto is effective as a short-term weight loss.

But if you are considering a long-term diet, be warned.

Many speak up against the long-term trial of Ketogenic diet.

That’s because 50% of the modern American diet relies on carbs.

By minimizing it to 10%, fats and protein intake will naturally go up in portions.

If those parts of one’s diet get filled with heavy red meat, low-quality fats, and salty food, the diet becomes unhealthy overall.

Also, the keto’s long-term results are not sufficiently observed. It’s inconclusive, to say the least.

One reason may be that there is a small sample of case studies to look at, which may be due to the diet being hard to stick to.

With that in mind, the keto diet has a risk of becoming a yo-yo diet.

To wrap up, this diet can provide a fast weight loss. But its long-term effects are not as promising as their short-term rewards.

Also, there is a warning for those with kidney disease.

You may risk your conditions worsening with this diet, so consult your doctor before starting.

Misato Alexandre


After making healthy living a priority, Misato lost over 20 lbs in less than 90 days. Instead of weight loss being a dreading experience, living the lifestyle of health and fitness granted her more happiness and joy than ever before. She co-founded Fitwirr to make health and fitness simple for everyone and share her tips through writing evidence-based articles on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise.

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