Ketogenic Diet: The Ultimate Starter Guide

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Why Did We Write the Guide?

Hello readers! We’re very excited that you’ve decided to use our Ketogenic Diet starter guide! This guide was created for anyone who has ever wondered about or contemplated starting the Ketogenic Diet. We want to give you all of the tools and tips necessary for starting and maintaining a successful Keto lifestyle. This guide is your one stop resource to ensure that you begin your Ketogenic Diet the right way. We want to provide the steps that you can take TODAY to start your journey of ketosis. Every aspect from the history of the diet to the foods you’ll be eating are listed below. We want you to thrive and become another Ketogenic Diet success story that others can find motivation in!

Who is the Ketogenic Diet For?

If you’ve ever read information on Ketogenic Dieting and become overwhelmed with it – this guide is for you. If you’ve ever wanted to start the diet, but can’t seem to find a definitive “how to” for beginners – this guide is for you! If you’re a successful dieter who wants to try something new – this guide is for you! The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet Starter Guide is for anyone who wants to upgrade their health and their life as well as anyone who suffers from poor health or obesity. Maybe you want to get that shredded six pack that you’ve always dreamed of but have never been able to obtain. The Ketogenic Diet starter guide gives you actionable steps in plain language that will kickstart your journey to a healthy life!

History of the Ketogenic Diet

Welcome to the first section of the Ketogenic Diet Starter Guide! This chapter details the history of the diet and how it has changed lives since the 1920s. Before you start the Ketogenic Diet, we want you to be familiar with how it became popular, so that you can have confidence in your choice to begin the journey to ketosis.

The Ketogenic Diet Has Been Helping People Since Its Inception

Throughout history physicians have been attempting to use fasting and dieting to fight illnesses. All the way back to the time of Hippocrates you could find sick people being told to watch what they eat! The Ketogenic Diet is a direct descendant of these practices, specifically for people who suffer from seizures.

The horrifying realities of seizures led ancient physicians to tell their patients to abstain from eating to counteract the effects of epilepsy, and to their surprise, fasting worked incredibly well! This idea of fasting became the standard for dealing with epilepsy into the 1900s until a discovery was made in 1921. In that year, Dr. Rollin Woodyatt discovered that acetone and beta-hydroxybutyric were present in test subjects who had underwent starvation like conditions. These compounds are also known as ketones.

The same year that Dr. Woodyatt made his discovery, Dr. Russell M. Wilder of the Mayo Clinic proposed a replication of the effects of fasting through a diet. That diet would come to be known as the Ketogenic Diet. Soon after the diet’s implementation, it was clear that the doctors were on to something big! Another doctor at the Mayo Clinic, Mynie Peterman standardized the diet, providing patients with guidelines by which they could consistently implement the diet.

This breakthrough established what we now know as the modern Ketogenic Diet!

Up until the 1940s, the Ketogenic Diet was the go to remedy for epilepsy, but with the development of antiepileptic drugs, the diet took a backseat. Throughout the rest of the twentieth century the Ketogenic Diet would become an afterthought, only being mentioned a few times in medical journals. But lucky for us, this wasn’t the end.

Other diets that held Ketogenic principles, such as the Atkins diet and other low carb/high protein plans had been developed, but these very rarely suggested sustained low carb observations. The original Ketogenic diet wouldn’t return to prominence until the nineties, when Jim Abrahams highlighted the benefits the diet provided his son who suffered from severe epilepsy.

Abraham’s’ work in promoting his son’s progress due to the Ketogenic diet sparked interest that has not waned even to this present day. The diet has proven to be a reliable weapon in the fight against epilepsy, cancer, and other neurological disorders. Recently, the diet has also been tested for the benefits it has on human performance, with multiple labs running tests to discover just how impactful the Ketogenic diet can be in the future.


We don’t want to be the only source of information for you on the Ketogenic diet, which is why we’ve listed educational resources below that will strengthen your convictions about the diet that has changed lives, and is still changing lives to this day!

What is the Ketogenic Diet

We know the name and the terms used to describe the process, but do we really know what it means to be in Ketosis? This section will provide you with the basic information needed to explain to your family and friends (and yourself) what it means to be on the Ketogenic Diet. Below, this section is full of helpful resources on understanding the Ketogenic Diet, so don’t pass it over!

What it Means to be on the Ketogenic Diet

The Big Idea: The goal of the Ketogenic Diet is to change the fuel that your body runs on. The fuel you’re currently using is carbohydrates. The fuel you’re switching to is fats.

This change of fuel happens when the body ends it reliance on sugar (glucose from carbohydrates) and begins relying on ketones instead. Once your body realizes that it has to switch to burning fats for fuel, you are in the state known as ketosis.

Your main concern when starting the Ketogenic Diet is your ratio of fats to non-fats. This could also be described as your ratio of fats to carbs. Generally the classic form of the diet suggests going with a ratio of 4:1 or 3:1, with watered down forms of the diet suggesting 2:1 and 1:1.

It’s important that you determine how many calories you need daily, and how many grams of each food you’ll eat daily. We suggest consulting a physician before beginning the diet so that you can approach the diet with full knowledge that you have the health to do so.

Now that you know what the Ketogenic diet is, and how Ketosis works, it’s time to figure out why you want to try the diet.

Who Should Try The Ketogenic Diet?

Still not certain that the Ketogenic Diet is for you? This section tells you about the different benefits of the Ketogenic Diet if you are:

  • Suffering from an illness
  • Overweight
  • Or looking to get ripped!

Read the whole chapter to see which category you fall into and how the Ketogenic Diet will help you reach your goals.

Changing Lives One Success Story at a Time

Do you want to get lean?

Because of the low amount of carbs you’ll be ingesting while you’re on the Ketogenic Diet, you can rest assured that you’ll be ripped by the end of it! That is, if you stick with it!

Since you are on the Ketogenic Diet to get ripped, it’s important that you combine your protein and fat sources. Eat meats that contain good protein and good fat, such as beef of the lean grade, Salmon, and portions of Chicken such as the thigh that contain both protein and good fat.

If you want your six pack to show because of the Ketogenic Diet, it’s important that you don’t snooze on your carb intake. Sure, you can eat different forms of nuts for your daily carb intake, but if you’re not careful with the type or amount of nuts you’re eating, you could be missing out on the lean shape you desire.

The Ketogenic Diet won’t let you down if you want to get ripped, but you have to make ingesting good fats a priority. Things like healthy oils and dairy products will assist you in avoiding carbs for fuel.

Are You Facing Health Challenges?

It is widely known that the Ketogenic Diet has helped numerous Epilepsy patients battle their disorder successfully, but Epilepsy isn’t the only thing Ketosis can help with.

Recent medical studies suggest the Ketogenic Diet might be a major nutritional weapon in the fight against cancer. Researchers believe that since cancer cells need glucose to survive, a state of Ketosis may starve out the cells, giving the patient a better chance of containing and remitting the disease.

The Ketogenic Diet is also making waves in the field of Neurodegenerative diseases as well. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS have all been shown to be affected by the Ketogenic Diet. Mitochondrial function is essential to fighting many Neurodegenerative diseases, and a new horizon in the fight against some of the nastiest diseases known to medicine might have met their nutritional match.

Remember, this is merely a primer on how the Ketogenic Diet is being used in medical research. This is in no way a guarantee that your disease will be cured by the diet, BUT we want to provide hope to you through this documentation of the benefits of Ketosis. The Ketogenic Diet has shown signs of having the ability to help against the aforementioned disease, and we believe that it’s a cause worth fighting for.

Do you want to take control of your life?

Many diets profess to be built on scientific principles, but few can say that their success has transcended from disease to weight loss! The Ketogenic Diet is your opportunity to take control of your health and your life. Are you tired of the same look in the mirror every morning? Miss how you used to look ten years ago? It’s time to stop regretting and start acting.

You might have tried low-carb diets in the past that showed little to no results. That’s because you were going low-carb without a target or a purpose. The Ketogenic Diet provides its adherents with a standard of success: Ketosis. Vague promises of losing weight have left you desperate for a real solution and lucky for you, you’ve found it.

Ketosis offers a measurable results that begin to present themselves within WEEKS! A study by the American Journal of Health discovered that people who were on the Ketogenic Diet lost 12 lbs in 4 weeks! Talk about results! This is your time. Stop thinking about losing weight, and start DOING with the Ketogenic Diet!

Ketogenic Diet Food Starter Kit

It wouldn’t be called a diet if you could eat whatever you wanted! That’s why it’s essential to understand the foods you need to have a successfully enter Ketosis. In this section, we’ll give you a brief overview of the different food groups that will launch your Ketogenic Diet into overdrive!

Ketogenic Diet Food Pyramid


Fats are the most important part of the Ketogenic Diet. If it wasn’t for the large amount of fats that the diet necessitates, it wouldn’t be the Ketogenic Diet! Fats will replace carbs as the fuel your body feeds off of.

If you fail to ingest the suggested amount of fats, your body will begin to survive on itself. Failure to properly fuel on fats (minus the carbs you’re cutting) could send you into Rabbit Starvation – which could be lethal. Eat your fats, friends!

In order to successfully execute your Ketogenic Diet plan, approximately 70% of your caloric intake needs to come from fats. Below is a list of foods that will provide you with healthy fats as you pursue the Ketogenic Diet!

There are many other sources for good fat, which we document in other articles. But remember, this is a primer. We’re giving you ideas to get started. Once you’re up and running, we’ll begin to introduce more variables for the diet!


If dieting means that you’re going to be hungry all the time, than you’re setting yourself up for failure. And anyone who’s told you that you will experience hunger constantly while you’re on the Ketogenic Diet hasn’t done their homework. Studies have actually shown that IF you are ingesting the correct amount of protein, you’ll be more satisfied than with carbs.

But dieter beware, if you ingest too much protein, you could knock yourself out of Ketosis. We’ll cover the basics of protein amount in Chapter 5, but before we do that, here are some foods that will provide you with clean protein as you begin your Ketogenic Diet adventure:

**Added bonus, many of these protein also provide healthy fat!

  • Fish (wild caught): Salmon, Tuna, Cod
  • Poultry: Chicken, Duck, Turkey
  • Red Meat: Beef, Venison, Lamb, Goat
  • Pork: Chops, Loin, Bacon
  • Eggs

All sources of protein are not equal. Remember, much of the protein that’s in stores today is loaded with antibiotics and hormones that could cause health effects that even the Ketogenic can’t prevent. You would hate to ruin a well executed Ketogenic diet with poor sources of protein!


Vegetables? This one should be easy, right? Wrong! In order to execute a successful Keto campaign, you need to look for two characteristics in the vegetables you consume:

  • Vitamin Might
  • Carbohydrate Light

Ok ok, that attempt at rhyming was terrible, but it’s meant to help you succeed! Seek out leafy greens and other vegetables that grow above ground. Examples of these super vegetable can be found below!

  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Tomato
  • Green Beans
  • Raw Carrots

What About Fruit?

Remember what one of the major staples of the Ketogenic Diet is? Low-Carb. That means you’re going to have to cut on how much and what types of fruit you eat. Many fruits can provide you with a shot of glucose and fructose, which are the sugars you’re attempting to turn your body away from depending on. Below is a list of fruits that you should not eat while on the Ketogenic Diet:

Grapes: 1 cup of grapes could contain as much as 26 grams of carbs!

Bananas: A single Banana could give you a shot of up to 24 grams of carbs.

Pears: While they might delicious any other time, Pears pack up to 22 grams of carbs. So find a new snack if you hope to pursue the Ketogenic Diet.

Apples: 1 medium apple counts for 21 grams of carbs. Yikes!

Pineapple: Spongebob lived in one. Many tropical countries make them a staple of their diet. But Pineapples contain 20 grams of carbs.

But before you get too hesitant to try the Ketogenic Diet because of your love of fruit, know that you can eat some fruits. You just have to be picky. Listed below are some low-carb fruits to curb your appetite:

Strawberries: At 6.6 grams of carbs per cup, Strawberries could be your saving grace if you feel a sweet tooth coming on.

Blackberries: A half cup of blackberries is around 5.9 grams of carbs.

Cantaloupe: Half of a raw Cantaloupe weighs in at 5.7 grams of carbs.

As you read the more detailed recipes and diets on our site, we want you to know that we’re here for you. Going without grains, sweets, and most fruits can be drag at first, BUT there are so many delicious options while you’re on the Ketogenic Diet!

Just remember:

  • Fats First
  • Protein Second
  • Carbs Third

Learn more about fruits and berries and how they affect keto diet.

Getting Started

After you have all of the background information and correct foods, you’ll need a starting point to reference. This section gives you guidelines on getting your Ketogenic Diet kicked off the right way! You can’t succeed unless you start, so make sure you read this section!

If you are interested what the first few weeks will be like, read our Mastering the Ketogenic Diet Induction Phase article.

The Key is in the Carbs

By now you should know that the Ketogenic Diet requires that you consume no more than 50 grams of carbs a day. If you’re serious about hitting this number daily, you’re going to need a Carb Counter of some sort. Assuming that you own a smartphone, there are many carb counting apps available. Most of these are cheap or free.

Some of our favorites are:

Get one of these apps and make a habit of counting the carbs before you eat them. If you wait until after you eat, you’ll forget. Trust me.

Protein Requirements

The Ketogenic Diet isn’t a high protein diet. So before you go and eat five steaks in one sitting, know that protein is essential, but not everything. The amount of protein that you’ll consume while on the Ketogenic Diet depends on your gender, height/weight, and activity level.

You’ll discover how much protein you need per day by determining what your lean body mass is. Once you’ve obtained this number, you can know that you are eating the correct protein amounts. It’s also important to state that if you eat too much protein, you could trigger an insulin reaction, which would defeat the purpose of Ketosis.

In the Ketogenic dieting world there is much debate on whether or not to count calories. Although we do not believe that it is a life or death matter, we do believe that counting calories can help. Specifically, it can help to determine how many calories you will need to either maintain or lose weight.

It can also help you with figuring out just how many grams of fat you’ll need to obtain the correct ratio of fat to protein to carbs. So if you’re going to count carbs, we suggest using the CARROT calorie counter. It’s easy to use and the condescending robot voice on the app is hilarious.

Setting up YOUR Ketogenic Diet

Protein Requirement:

  • Determine Lean Body Weight
  • Multiply Lean Body Weight by one – this is the amount of protein in grams you should consume daily.
  • Take your daily protein amount and multiply it by four. Since there are 4 calories in one gram of protein, this number will give you the amount of daily calories being taken up by protein.

Fat Requirement:

  • Subtract the daily amount of calories taken up by protein from your necessary daily caloric intake.
  • Take the remaining amount of calories and divide it by nine, which is the amount of calories in a gram of fat.
  • The number you get will be the amount in grams of fat you need to eat per day.

Carb Requirement:

  • The amount of carbs (30 – 50 grams) you’ll consume will come from the protein and fat amounts.

Amount of Meals

**The amount of meals you eat a day is up to you.

Divide the number of meals you’re going to eat per day by the per day amounts of fats and protein and you’ll have the number of fat and protein in your meals.

About the Author Nate Arnold

I started this website because it was hard to find trustworthy, evidence-based information about the ketogenic diet. Information that was published and peer reviewed by respected scientific journals. After years of research, I'm sure you'll achieve great results in a healthy way following my advice. I do my best to translate scientific research jargon into plain English. Remember, it's always a good idea to consult a doctor before starting a new diet!

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