Which Type of Keto Diet is Right for You?
If you’re considering the keto diet to support your weight loss and fitness goals, you’re not alone. It can be overwhelming to sift through the vast amount of information on the internet. Plus, when learning on the internet, you can never be sure what to trust.
We’ve done the work for you. In this article, we’ll talk about the four different types of keto, which version of the keto diet is best for you, and we’ll even throw out some keto supplements to help support you along the way.
What is the Keto Diet, Anyway?
The keto (short for ketogenic) diet is another variation of the ever-popular low-carb diet. The difference between the keto diet and the Atkins diet is the emphasis on eating high-fat foods and significantly fewer carbs.
The high-fat, low-carb approach aims to force the body to use a metabolic process known as ketosis. Ketosis happens when the body is starved of its primary source of energy—carbohydrates—and is forced to convert fat into energy for basic cellular functions.
During ketosis, the body’s insulin production goes down, releasing fatty acids from stored body fat. The bulk of the fatty acids make their way to the liver, where they are turned into ketone bodies, also known as ketones. The body then uses ketones as energy for the basic cellular functions in place of carbohydrates.
Keto Diet History
The idea of strategically modifying the diet to use ketones instead of carbs for energy began first as a means of treating epilepsy, a neurological condition in which nerve cells in the brain are disturbed, causing seizures.
The keto diet was a popular therapy for patients suffering from epilepsy in the 1920s and 30s. However, when pharmaceutical anticonvulsant therapies emerged, the diet (as therapy) was largely abandoned.
It was found that in roughly 20-30% of epileptic people, anticonvulsants failed to control seizures. In these cases, physicians still used the keto diet to help manage the condition.
Types of Keto Diet
Recently, the keto diet has made a comeback, not to treat epilepsy but to lose weight. With this change in objective came a change in the approach, and there are now various ways to participate.
In general, the different approaches to the diet simply involve different macro breakdowns. As you might know, macros is short for macronutrients and refers to the percent of calories from fats, carbs, and proteins.
For reference, the average person consumes:
- 45-65% carbohydrates
- 10-35% proteins
- 20-35% fats
Below are the four main types of keto diet.
Standard Ketogenic Diet
In the standard, most popular form, the typical macro breakdown is 75% fats, 15-20% protein, and 5-10% carbs. To force the body into ketosis, you must consume about 150 grams of fat daily and no more than 50 grams of carbs.
Now, 50 grams of carbs is not very much at all—roughly the amount of a single blueberry muffin. In addition, it’s probably just a fraction of the carbs you consume regularly.
Switching to the keto diet means finding new ways to feed yourself since you likely have to ditch most of your current staples. However, while many unhealthy high-fat foods are now synonymous with the keto diet, thanks to social media, that doesn’t mean that they are all of a sudden good for you.
So, all those “keto” recipes with bacon are just as bad for your heart as they were previously (sorry). One of the major issues with keto is the idea that all fat is okay, and that’s simply untrue. You should still try very hard to limit or eliminate trans fats and limit saturated fats. Further on, we will cover how to consume fats using nutrient-dense foods and keto supplements.
Targeted Keto Diet
The targeted keto diet is better for those individuals who are very active or athletic. The macro breakdown is 65-70% fat, 20% protein, and 10-15% carbs. The additional allotted 20-30 grams of carbs are in recognition of the fuel required to perform athletic activities.
The extra carb allowance is to be used directly before and after activities to support work and recovery. These carbs should come from whole foods like dairy, grains, fruits, or sports nutrition products, not from empty carbs, typically known as junk food.
The idea behind the TKD is that these additional carbs consumed around workouts are burned off, so they don’t get stored as body fat. It is important to understand this is just a theory—there is not much scientific research surrounding anything but the standard keto diet.
Cyclical Keto Diet
Like the TKD, the cyclical keto diet is also not well researched, so it is based on theory. The macronutrient breakdown is 75% fat, 15-20% protein, 5-10% carbs on designated keto days, and on “off” days, 25% fat, 25% protein, and 50% carbs. Generally, people observing the CKD have two off days and five keto days.
The theory is that your body will cycle in and out of ketosis on keto and non-keto days, allowing you to achieve a better balance and, in theory, achieve better diet adherence. This is one potential way to make an otherwise short-term diet solution achievable for the long term.
In addition to all of this being theory, it’s also worth noting that science shows it takes between two and four days for the body to reach ketosis, and some people take even longer. This fact is definitely something to ponder before diving into CKD.
For best results, you still can’t go crazy with empty carbs and excessive calories on your off days. If you do this, you could potentially halt any fat loss you would’ve otherwise achieved, and, in the worst case, you could potentially gain weight.
High Protein Keto Diet
The macros are 60-65% fat, 30% protein, and 5-10% carbs in the high protein keto diet. This means you’re consuming roughly 120 grams of protein every day, in addition to 130 grams of fat.
Some may find the HPKD easier to adhere to than the SKD because it allows for more calories from protein than fat. The problem is that the body can convert protein into glucose, which will prevent ketosis.
Since ketosis is the entire reason for doing the keto diet, in our opinion, this version doesn’t make much sense. Again, remember there isn’t much research on this or any other variation of the keto diet. You could potentially still lose weight, but it can likely be attributed to lower calorie consumption than anything else.
Which Type of Keto is Best?
If you’ve read our other articles about the keto diet, you know that we always focus on the SKD. As previously mentioned, the standard keto diet is the only one with well-documented scientific research. Therefore, it’s the only one that we can make any kind of valid claim about.
Around here, we follow the science, so we recommend going the standard route if you want to do the keto diet. Otherwise, we always tend to lean towards recommending intuitive and mindful eating as opposed to any diet.
Learning to feed your body the nutrient-dense foods it craves and listen and observe your body’s hunger and fullness cues are always more sustainable ways to lead a more healthful, balanced lifestyle—the kind that naturally leads to weight loss and healthy maintenance.
Keto Supplements that You Should Take, Regardless of Your Type of Keto
We will step off the anti-diet soapbox and return you to your regularly scheduled keto diet guide. If you do choose to follow the standard keto diet, it’s important to ensure you’re still giving your body vital nutrients so it can keep functioning properly.
Various keto supplements can help you achieve this. Make sure you’re trading your typical supplements for keto supplements, meaning your protein powders, pre-workouts, etc., should all be keto-friendly.
In addition to swapping your standard supplements, you can use several keto supplements to meet your new dietary needs.
No matter what type of keto diet you do, these are the three keto supplements you should consider taking every day:
- MCT Oil
- Ketone Supplement
MCT or medium-chain triglyceride oil is a type of dietary fat molecule that is smaller than other fats. The size of the molecule means they’re easier to digest and absorb. The rate at which these MCT oils reach the bloodstream allows them to be a readily available energy source.
While research is still being gathered on the benefits of MCT oil, the theory is that MCT oil helps you feel fuller for longer, which prevents you from overeating. In addition, it can help produce more ketones, which is why it’s such a popular keto supplement.
All in all, MCT oil helps you meet your fat goals and provides energy for the brain and muscles. Our most popular MCT oil keto supplement is Pure MCT Oil by PVL.
The next helpful keto supplement is an actual ketone supplement-something that provides your body with ketones before it naturally enters the process itself.
The key ingredient in this keto supplement is beta-hydroxybutyrate or BHB. It’s the chemical ketone naturally produced when carbs are drastically reduced and the body switches into ketosis.
BHB can also be formulated in a lab and made into supplement form. This is known as an exogenous ketone, and they increase blood ketone levels the same way ketosis does.
With this keto supplement, folks can switch into ketosis faster, and in some cases, without observing the keto diet at all. In addition, the use of ketone supplements can help reduce the symptoms known as the keto flu that can occur when first transitioning to keto. Our most popular ketone supplement is Ketovita by ANS Performance.
Collagen is another excellent keto supplement because it is a source of protein without added carbs or sugars. It’s also a complete protein, which means it includes all nine essential amino acids needed for the body to use proteins to their full capacity.
Many standard protein supplements contain carbs that, in other cases, might be beneficial for performance and recovery. However, when adhering to the keto diet, you can’t spend your limited carbs on your supplements. So looking for a protein supplement without carbohydrates is critical.
In addition to providing pure protein, collagen is also an excellent supplement because it helps to support joint health and reduce inflammation. It also visibly improves the appearance of hair, skin, and nails, resulting in a youthful glow. Our most popular keto collagen supplement is Bovine Collagen by North Coast Naturals.
Here are our top keto supplement replacements for protein powders and BCAA supplements.
Ketosys Performance Fuel by ANS Performance
For a keto supplement replacement of your typical protein, take a look at Ketosys. It has 20 grams of protein, and it also includes 32 grams of fat—14 grams of which are MCT oil. This keto supplement effectively replaces your protein and combines your MCT oil supplement in one, saving you money and efforts.
Vegan Protein by Beyond Yourself
One potential downfall of the keto diet is excessive meat and dairy. All animal products contain cholesterol—a substance that our bodies need very little of, and what little we do need is naturally produced by the body.
Limiting cholesterol is important, so if you’re feeling tapped out on animal products, you can opt for a vegan protein supplement. You’ll meet your protein goals sans animals, and you’ll be able to maintain ketosis.
Pure BCAA by Pure Vita Labs
Another common supplement that might need replacing is your BCAA supplement. Pure BCAA by PVL provides nothing but the branched-chain amino acids you use to fuel and repair your muscles. You won’t have to worry about any sneaky added sugars that slip past other BCAA nutrition labels here. This product is certified pure and keto-friendly.
The keto diet has been around for a long time but has only recently been adopted as a low-carb diet with big promise and scientific research to support it. The goal is ketosis, and if you want to reach this metabolic process, follow the science and stick to the standard keto diet. Use keto supplements to support your nutrition, and before you know it, you’ll be in ketosis heaven.