The big wide world of keto has expanded and continues to evolve as different ratios of fat, carbohydrates, and protein are changed in order to meet our health goals. As we all know, our bodies typically use carbs as fuel but when we restrict the amount that we consume to low levels, our bodies begin to consume fats as fuel instead. So what’s the right ratio if we’re just starting our keto journey? The answer to that is unique to each individual, and it depends on what your health goals are and what’s sustainable as a lifestyle. Generally people jump into the Standard Keto diet first, and then adapt it from there to make it feel right physically, emotionally, and mentally. The surefire way to know if a specific keto diet is working for you is to test for ketones. Check out the keto diet variations below and let us know what’s your fave — we’re partial to getting Dirty! 😉
The Standard is the most commonly practiced one, especially when starting on your keto journey. Fat comprises the bulk of the diet at 75%, 15 to 20% of protein, and limiting carbs to 5 to 10%. This is where you can focus your fat intake with butter, olive oil, fatty fish, meats, and avocado, opting for food like leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables over rice, bread, tortillas, and so on.
Standard, but make it Dirty — unlike Clean Keto, you can eat all the processed foods. Want that slice of deliciously melty American cheese on your burger? GO FOR IT. All of those packaged keto friendly snacks at the store like cheese crisps, granola, and ice cream? All good here. The downside to going dirty is that it tends to be higher in sodium and may lack vitamins and minerals. Often referred to as Lazy Keto, it’s easier for someone to follow a since it’s convenient, isn’t as restrictive, and cuts time on meal prep and planning.
Everything about Clean Keto is the same as Standard Keto, but there’s a focus on whole foods that’s minimally processed and of high quality. Since you’re cutting back on sugar and carbs on keto anyway, adding on a layer of clean eating isn’t hard to do but your groceries will cost a bit more especially if you go the organic route.
A favorite of athletes, a targeted keto diet is very similar to the standard. The macronutrient ratio aims for 60% fat, 30% protein, and 10% carbs. Aside from the slight shift in ratios, the key difference is timing. It all comes down to when the carbs are consumed. Rather than spreading carb intake throughout the day, it’s consumed in one go half an hour before an intense workout like HIIT, CrossFit, or a long distance run.
Also known as Keto Cycling, this diet can be easier for those that want more breaks in living the keto lifestyle. This entails following a keto diet for 5-6 days of the week followed by 1-2 days of higher carb intake. There isn’t a strict guideline to follow here, but keep in mind that the more carbs that you consume, the harder it’ll be to get back into ketosis.
The OG of all keto diets, this was originally developed to treat childhood epilepsy way back in the 1920s. It’s still used to this day as an effective treatment with doctor supervision to reduce or prevent seizures, in addition to managing other health conditions. Carbs and protein are strictly limited here, and fat makes up the bulk of the diet at 90%.