6 Types of Ketogenic Diet
The keto diet wasn’t called the keto diet in the old days. That is what you ate when carbs were low. When there are not enough carbohydrates, the body loses its normal fuel for the brain: glucose. Instead, we produce ketones to survive and thrive. This particular metabolic state is called ketosis, which is why the keto diet got its name.
However, depending on your goals and preferences, there are several ways to go on a keto diet. Some even allow you to eat carbohydrates if you do so strategically.
Here are 6 examples of ketogenic diet you can try.
Traditional Ketogenic Diet (4:1)
The traditional keto diet (or classic keto diet) was first developed in the 1920s to treat epilepsy in children. The researchers found that when children had ketosis, they had fewer and less severe seizures. When it comes to food choices, the classic keto diet is very versatile. For every 4 grams of fat, you only get 1 gram of protein plus carbohydrates. A 4:1 ratio suggests eating about 80% of calories from fat, leaving little room for protein and carbohydrates.
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
Most people when they talk about keto are referring to the standard keto diet. SKD is a general term for a very low-carbohydrate diet containing most of the following macronutrients:
- 55-75% fat
- 15-35% protein
- 0-10% carbs
Maintaining macronutrients in this ratio induces metabolic shifts. Instead of relying primarily on glucose (sugar) for energy, your body turns to fats and ketones. This is called ketosis.
The key to achieving ketosis is carbohydrate restriction. Keeping carbohydrate levels low will lower your insulin levels, thus promoting fat burning.
This fat-burning state is the basis for the benefits of the keto diet. One of those benefits is dealing with hunger, which partly explains the success of keto as a weight loss diet among different populations. Less hunger means less overeating. Another benefit of ketosis? It helps with insulin and blood sugar problems that lead to type 2 diabetes. In the Virta Health Study, an annual controlled ketogenic diet eliminated diabetes (measured as HbA1C) in 60% of 218 patients *.
High Protein Ketogenic Diet
The high-protein ketogenic diet, also known as the Modified Atkins Diet, is a type of SKD. This diet focuses on high-end protein (30-35% calories) and bottom fat (50-60% calories). Carbohydrates are still under 10% of calories.
There is some concern that the high-protein ketone diet is incompatible with weight loss, but clinical evidence suggests that these concerns are largely unfounded [*]. In fact, higher protein intake in keto has been shown to increase strength and improve body composition when combined with endurance training [*].
If you lead an active lifestyle, you should increase your protein intake on keto. You need protein to provide amino acids (such as leucine) that stimulate muscle growth. You can’t do it with fat alone. Increasing your protein intake also expands your dietary choices, allowing you to eat more fish and lean meats. For this reason, the keto diet is more prone to stickiness than the high-fat keto diet.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)
When you follow a cyclical keto diet, you follow a standard keto diet and increase your carbohydrate intake at certain times. This is also known as the carbohydrate cycle. A typical cycling plan includes 1-2 high carbohydrate days per week and the rest of the week low carbohydrate. You can also consume carbohydrates daily by eating one meal a day (such as lunch) as a high-carbohydrate meal. On carbohydrate-rich days, you eat between 100 and 500 grams of carbohydrates. On “normal” days, keto drops to 20-30 grams of carbohydrates or less. To balance your energy intake on carbohydrate-rich days, reduce calories from fat. On low-carb days, your fat intake goes up again. Protein remains unchanged.
One use for CKD is to fuel intense workouts like CrossFit, or marathons. These activities require glucose (carbohydrates) for energy, and repeated intake of carbohydrates replenishes the body’s glucose (glycogen) stores, helping athletes work harder for longer.
Cycling carbohydrates can also help you stick to keto in the long run. Rice, potatoes and bananas are back on the menu. Everyone loves it.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)
If you feel your workouts are weakening due to keto and your sleep and electrolytes are increasing, a targeted keto diet may be right for you.
TKD is somewhere between SKD and CKD. You can eat some carbohydrates, but not too much.
On TKD, you eat 15-50 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates before, during, or after a workout for a performance-boosting energy boost. These simple carbohydrates can come from foods like white rice or potatoes, although many athletes simply use powdered dextrose (glucose).
Carbohydrates are important. For example, because fructose is metabolized by pathways other than glucose, it is not an ideal energy source for TKD. Low-glycemic carbohydrates like beans and blueberries are also not suitable for this purpose because they are digested slowly. Won’t Quickly Digested Carbohydrates Push You Out of Ketosis? Maybe not for long. But since these carbohydrates are consumed during exercise, you should burn them off fairly quickly. Then you can get back to regular fat burning.
Ketogenic Diet 2.0
Keto 2.0 is the epitome of the recent trend towards “pure keto” and “plant-based keto” diets. This is basically the Mediterranean keto diet. Fish, plants and olive oil.
In Keto 2.0, plants make up most of your calories. This means lots of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado and nuts. Meat is not recommended, but you can rely heavily on fish and eggs to meet your protein needs. In Keto 2.0, carbohydrate restriction is relaxed more – up to 20% of your daily calories. However, keep in mind that carbohydrate intake above 10% of your daily energy can block the ketogenic fat-burning process you’re aiming for.
Are You Ready to Start?
If you’re not using keto for therapeutic purposes, start with the protein-rich end of standard keto. Thirty percent of your daily calories from protein is a good target for fat loss and recovery. If you’re having trouble exercising after a few weeks on the keto diet, consider experimenting with a cyclical or targeted keto diet. Finally, if you like plant life, try Keto 2.0.
What do all these keto diets have in common? You have to be careful with your carbohydrate intake! Make it easy with a Carb Manager app, where you can quickly record meals, get community support, and experiment with different macro metrics.