Types of Keto Diet – The Right Way to Keto
Are you confused about the Keto Diet? What is the right way to keto? With so many different types of ketogenic diets and countless opinions on every kind of keto, it can be mind boggling to sort through. Why are there so many types of keto diets? With so much seemingly conflicting information, how do you know which type of keto is the right way to keto?
Classic, cyclical, lazy, dirty? And what the heck is targeted keto, anyway? It’s enough to drive anyone a little batty.
Take a deep breath, and read on. Below, we’ll give you the lowdown on all the different type of keto diets – or at least the ones we are familiar with at this point! In the ever-growing landscape of the Keto world, there’s always some new keto variation around the corner.
If you know of a type of keto that we missed, please let us know about it in the comments! Maybe we’ll add it and include a link to your website if you want it.
Is there a Best Keto Diet?
Every individual is different, has different needs, and lives in different circumstances. That means that everyone reacts differently to any given type of keto diet.
How a person feels about and responds emotionally to eating is different. What choices are available to each person varies depending on their circumstances. Each person as a different budget, different amount time available, different tastes in food.
Like it or not, there is no one “perfect keto diet” that will work for every person, every time.
And let’s keep it real. Keto in any form may not be right for some people ever.
We don’t all have to do the same thing. That’s the beauty of this crazy, wonderful life we’ve all been given.
I do know that I have seen and experienced the powerful benefits that a ketogenic lifestyle can have and the positive change it can bring. I have seen life-changing weight loss and improvement in health. I have experienced improved mental health, gut health, energy and productivity. I have seen people go from skeptics to believers.
And not one person that I’ve coached or talked with has done Keto exactly the same as anybody else I know. Yet so many have had such great keto success.
Our goal here is to let you see all of the different ways to keto, and then find they best way for you right now.
There is nearly as many types of keto as there are types of people. Let’s find your best way to keto.
Pro Tip #1 – The right way to keto is the one that works for you right now.
Pro Tip #2 – The right way for you will change with time. It will change as you learn, as you see changes in your health, weight, stress, circumstances, keto cooking skills, and activity level. As you learn how to adjust and make it your own.
Pro Tip #3 – You’ll experiment a lot before you find the type of keto that works best for you. You’ll think you have it down, and you know what your perfect keto is. And then it will change. That’s ok.
Pro Tip #4 – You may end up with a hybrid of several types of keto. That’s ok.
List of Types of Keto Diet
Modern Classic Keto Diet
This is most common type of keto diet in use today, and generally a good starting point for most people. Modern Classic Keto limits carbs to 20 grams per day. Remaining calories are divided by percentage between protein (15-25%) and fat (65-85%), with the total calorie intake estimated based on current weight and goal weight. This keto calculator is a good one to help you figure your macronutrient ratio.
- Total carbs – Some people count all carbs, including fiber, in their 20 grams per day. This can lower the amount of plant-based foods significantly.
- Net carbs – Others only count “net carbs” and exclude fiber and sugar alcohols (most keto-friendly sweeteners are made with sugar alcohols, which have minimal effect on blood sugar.) Total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols = net carbs.
Therapeutic Keto Diet
Introduced in the 1920’s as a treatment for childhood epilepsy, The Therapeutic Ketogenic Diet was the beginning of the keto movement. It was already well known that fasting helped lessen seizures, so doctors created a diet that mimicked the effects of fasting but without the deprivation. A therapeutic ketogenic diet is very regimented, and its goal is to get the patient into deep ketosis and stay there. Both carbs and protein are kept very low (2-5% of calories from total carbs and 10-15% of calories from protein). The majority of calories (80-90%) come from fat. This protocol is usually undertaken with the advice and aid (and perhaps even supervision) of a medical doctor or nutritionist, and it requires strict weighing of food and tracking to maintain macronutrient ratios.
Calorie Restricted Keto Diet
Similar to therapeutic keto, a very low calorie ketogenic diet is most often undertaken with the advice and aid of a doctor or nutritionist. There is more and more evidence that calorie restriction, ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting are potential treatments for cancer alongside conventional treatment. Under the supervision of a medical professional, a Calorie Restricted Keto Diet can be a very effective way to get fast results for serious health conditions compounded by obesity.
Cyclical Keto Diet
A Cyclical Keto Diet is defined by cycling in and out of ketosis on some kind of regular basis. This is highly individualized, as some people like to have a regular schedule and some just go with the flow. For people who have been eating a ketogenic diet for a significant period of time, it is common to have a once per week meal that is relatively high in carbs. This can have both mental and physical benefits, and aids in making a ketogenic lifestyle a highly sustainable way of eating.
Moderate Keto Diet
This is a variation of the Modern Classic Keto but with less carb restriction. I currently follow a Moderate Keto Diet most days. While I don’t track regularly at this point, I eat a large amount of vegetables most days, and my net carb intake is usually somewhere between 30-45 grams of carbohydrate. This works for me right now.
Clean / Paleo Keto Diet
While the focus of a ketogenic diet is often on the macronutrient ratios, there are many amazing health benefits to be had by paying attention to more than just the amount of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. A clean keto diet is also focused on food quality, and we at Advantage Meals believe this plays a huge role in long-term health. We encourage grass-fed meat, pastured poultry, wild-caught fish and organic produce. A true Paleo Keto diet would avoid dairy and possibly nightshades. We tend more toward a Primal Keto diet, which includes organic, grass-fed dairy and a wide variety of vegetables.
Targeted Keto Diet
Targeted Keto is mainly by high-level athletes, this approach adds in 10-20 grams of carbohydrate both pre- and post-workout to fuel the intense glycolytic activity associated with very intense activity. This is usually not necessary for the average person, even if you workout regularly. Powerlifters, CrossFitters and people trying to gain large amounts of muscle mass may benefit from this approach. Athletes should also be keto adapted (in ketosis for at least 6 weeks) before experimenting with adding carbs around workouts.
High Protein Keto Diet
Historically, the ketogenic community has warned against consuming too much protein, as excess protein can be converted to glucose inside the body. How much is too much varies widely by person and situation, though. People who exercise regularly, have major healing to do, or even high stress levels may need more protein. As with almost everything in nutritional research, the majority of clinical trials have been performed in a carbohydrate-based system. New research is exploring the role of glucagon in relation to insulin, and the corresponding effect this may have on protein and gluconeogenesis (the creation of glucose inside the body). Anecdotally, many people find they can maintain ketosis while eating higher amounts of protein, and they feel better when doing so. We may find soon that excess protein is not converted to glucose when you are in a ketogenic state. As with everything, experiment to find the level that feels right to you.
MCT Keto Diet
In the MCT ketogenic diet, a person consumes approximately half of their fat intake as a MCT Supplement (medium chain triglycerides.) MCTs are a type of fat that are metabolized differently due to their chemical structure, and they more easily produces ketones. More ketones means less fat needs to be consumed to stay in ketosis, and this lessens some of the restriction on carbs and protein. It seems to work best if some type of MCT is consumed with each meal. MCT oil, coconut oil, coconut butter, and coconut milk are all good sources of MCT. These can cause digestive distress in some people, so incorporate them slowly if you choose to add them to your diet.
Modified Atkins Keto Diet
The Modified Atkins Keto Diet (MAD) is a modification of the original Atkins Diet which limited carbohydrates but encouraged high consumption of protein. There was no specific limit to or encouragement of fat intake. Modified Atkins brings the ratios closer to Modern Classic Keto by decreasing protein intake and increasing fat. MAD typically limits carb intake to 10-20 grams, with remaining calories being consumed in a 1:1 ratio of protein to fat.
Lazy Keto Diet
Lazy Keto is a blanket term used to refer to a Keto Diet that involves little to no tracking of food intake or macros. Particularly once you have been ketogenic for a period of time and are familiar with this way of eating, the focus centers on making sure carb intake is kept to a minimum and the rest just kind of falls into place. Many people who enjoy a keto lifestyle practice Lazy Keto to some degree. If you find that your weight loss stalls or your health benefits do not progress, you may need to track for a few days again to find out why. Often sneaky carbs are the culprit or mistakenly eating too much fat and therefore too many calories to support weight loss. Tracking for a few days will point this out, and then you can return to Lazy Keto.
Dirty Keto Diet
We live in a world of processed food, thus the need for Dirty Keto. For some people or in some situations, eating a clean, whole food diet and following a ketogenic protocol is not possible or is too hard to sustain. We all have our own needs, and time and ease are important factors to consider. For Dirty Keto, as long as a food meets the macros, it’s good to go. While we advocate for a cleaner approach to keto, we absolutely believe that Dirty Keto is better than No Keto. If it keeps you off the Standard American Diet (SAD) and lowers your carb intake and insulin levels, it will be an improvement. That being said, if you find that you don’t make progress with Dirty Keto, you may want to consider switching out highly processed and manufactured foods. The less processed a food, the better for you.
No Cook Keto Diet
This the easiest way to start a keto diet, by far. No Cook Keto is just what it sounds like: eating meals that require minimal prep and no cooking. No Cook Keto takes advantage of some processed foods, already prepped foods, and eating out. While not perfect, No Cook Keto makes a ketogenic diet accessible and easy, and that can make all the difference for someone trying to get out of the SAD. Not to mention anyone who lives a busy life (and who doesn’t?!), at least occasional No Cook Keto meals are a blessing.
Ease In Keto Diet
Easing into a Keto diet is for those not ready to go full Keto just yet but want to take steps in that direction. We believe that a Primal style of eating is the best way to transition to a lower carb way of eating. By starting out with small steps, a person can remove grains, sugars, legumes and processed oils and already be lower carb than most of America. From there, the move to ketosis is much closer and more attainable.
Founder Advantage Meals
Angela earned her Master's Degree in Holistic Nutrition 14 years ago and began her lifelong journey of nutrition and wellness learning. She began keto meal planning and cooking over a decade ago when she began working with local clients who were under the direct supervision of a medical doctor. Angela is the author of No Cook Keto, the easiest keto meal plan available.
Disclaimer: I am neither a licensed nutritionist nor medical professional. I never prescribe diets. I only share my personal experiences and those of my clients for informational purposes only. Nutrition details are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical nutritional data. You should consult your medical professional before making any major changes in the way you eat.