A ketogenic diet is one that is meant to cause ketosis, which is when body fat is broken down into ketones, and let the body run mostly on ketones instead of glucose.
There are a number of ways to get into ketosis, so there are also a number of different types of keto meal.
Because the goal of all of these diets is the same, they tend to have a lot in common, like being low in carbs and high in fat.
The numbers in this guide are just for your information; they are not instructions. Talk to a dietitian if you want advice on how to put together a diet. They will be able to give you personalized advice based on your own needs.
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
This is a diet with very few carbs, not much protein, and a lot of fat. It usually has between 70 and 75% fat, 20% protein, and between 5 and 10% carbs.
A typical standard ketogenic diet, in terms of grams per day, would be:
- 20-50g of carbohydrate
- 40–60 grams of protein
- No set limit for fat
- For a diet to be a ketogenic diet, fat should make up most of the calories. No limit is set because the amount of energy each person needs can be very different.
On a ketogenic diet, you should eat a lot of vegetables, especially non-starchy vegetables, which have very few carbs.
Standard ketogenic diets have helped people lose weight, get their blood sugar under control, and improve the health of their hearts.  .
Very-Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD)
A typical ketogenic diet is very low in carbs, so a VLCKD usually means a typical ketogenic diet.
Well Formulated Ketogenic Diet (WFKD)
Steve Phinney, who has done some of the most important research on ketogenic diets, came up with the term “Well Formulated Ketogenic Diet.”
The WFKD is based on the same plan as a regular ketogenic diet. Well-formulated means that the macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs) are in the same proportions as the standard ketogenic diet. This gives ketosis the best chance of happening.
MCT Ketogenic Diet
This is similar to the standard ketogenic diet, but most of the fat comes from medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) instead of long-chain fats.
MCTs are found in coconut oil, which can be bought as MCT oil or MCT emulsion liquid.
MCT ketogenic diets have been used to treat epilepsy because it is thought that MCTs allow people to eat more carbs and protein while staying in ketosis. This is because MCTs have more ketones per gram of fat than normal fats, which have long-chain triglycerides.
MCTs can cause stomach upset and diarrhea if you eat a lot of them on their own. To avoid this, it’s best to eat meals with a mix of MCTs and fats that aren’t MCTs.
There aren’t enough studies, though, to know if MCTs help with weight loss or blood sugar in other ways.
Calorie-Restricted Ketogenic Diet
The only difference between a standard ketogenic diet and a calorie-restricted ketogenic diet is that the number of calories you can eat is limited.
Research shows that ketogenic diets work well most of the time, whether or not calories are limited. This is because eating fat and being in ketosis tends to stop people from eating too much on their own.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)
The CKD diet, which is also called “carb backloading,” has days when more carbs are eaten. For example, after five ketogenic days, there are two days when more carbs are eaten.
The diet is for athletes, who can use the days with more carbs to replace the glycogen their muscles lose when they work out.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)
The TKD is like a regular ketogenic diet, except that carbs are eaten right before and after workouts.
It is a mix of a standard ketogenic diet and a cyclical ketogenic diet that lets you eat carbs on days when you work out.
It’s based on the idea that carbs eaten before or after exercise will be used much more efficiently because our muscles need more energy when we’re moving around.
High Protein Ketogenic Diet
This ketogenic diet has 35% protein, 60% fat, and 5% carbs, which is more protein than a typical ketogenic diet.
Research shows that a high-protein ketogenic diet can help people who need to lose weight.
As with other types of ketogenic diets, not enough research has been done to find out if there are any health risks if this one is followed for a long time.