Keto Diet: Benefits, Foods List, and Tips for Beginners

Dr. Santanu Goswami

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Santanu Goswami

Critical Care Medicine

10 min read

Key Takeaways

  • A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that conditions the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.
  • Given that the keto diet is based on a low-carbohydrates principle, there are several foods you simply shouldn’t consume
  • Given the complexity of this nutritional plan, don’t experiment with it without professional guidance.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy body weight, there are numerous approaches you can follow. Among the safest, most effective, and sustainable measures is to adopt a tailored meal structure that helps you achieve your desired goals. Over the years, various weight-loss diets have risen to popularity and have been adopted by the masses to shed kilos. While some of these are healthy, others have been proven to be fad diets that do more harm than good. Among the more popular ones for weight loss in recent years is the keto diet. You may be surprised to know that what was once used as an age-old form of therapy for epilepsy is now a recommended nutrition plan for those with the goal of losing weight quickly.

However, keto nutrition isn’t for everyone and should only be undertaken with professional guidance. This is because it is restrictive in practice and requires a proper nutritional balance to deliver its desired effect without any side effects. For this reason, even when opting for this diet plan for beginners, it pays to have the keto diet explained to you beforehand so that you’re familiar with the principles that guide it.

Additional Read: Top Myths On Weight Loss

For a clear answer to the common question, ‘What is a keto diet?’ and to learn about the other important factors that define it, read on.

What is the Keto Diet?

Simply put, a ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that conditions the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. During ketosis, fat is efficiently used as energy as it is converted to ketones in the liver. These ketones are then used to provide energy for the brain. Healthline Media outlines 4 main types of ketogenic diets, and they are as follows.

  1. Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbohydrates
  2. Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days
  3. High-protein Ketogenic Diet: 60% fat, 35% protein, 5% carbohydrates
  4. Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): Allows liberal consumption of carbohydrates before or after a workout and otherwise follows the SKD skew

Apart from these major types of keto diets, you may come across other combinations such as a very low carb ketogenic diet, calorie-restricted keto diet, or MCT keto diet, which focuses on getting fats from medium-chain triglycerides usually found in foods like coconut oil.

Benefits of a Keto Diet

Besides the fact that a ketogenic diet works well for weight loss, there are other potential health benefits associated with it. Keto diets may help:

  • Reduce seizures
  • Relieve PCOS symptoms
  • Protect the brain and its function
  • Control blood sugar, reducing the risk of certain cancers
  • Improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
  • Aid recovery from brain injury

Reduced Appetite

The keto diet can reduce appetite because it causes your body to burn fat for fuel rather than glucose. When your body is in ketosis, it produces ketones, a byproduct of fat burning. These ketones can suppress your appetite, making you eat less overall.

Weight Loss

The ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight. It is because the diet helps to burn fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. The keto diet can also help regulate blood sugar levels, leading to fewer cravings and hunger pangs. The keto diet is a healthy eating method that can improve overall health and well-being.

Improved Heart Health

A ketogenic diet, or "keto diet," is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that is gaining popularity among health-conscious individuals. The keto diet is known to have several health benefits, including improved heart health.

Improve Brain Function

A ketogenic diet has been shown to improve brain function in people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It is because keto helps to increase levels of ketones in the brain, which can then be used by the brain cells for energy.

Reduced Blood Sugar Levels

There is growing evidence that the keto diet can help to lower blood sugar levels. It is because the keto diet helps to promote a healthy balance of blood sugar-related hormones, including insulin and glucagon. In addition, the keto diet can help to decrease inflammation, which is a significant contributor to high blood sugar levels.

Lower Blood Pressure

There is growing evidence that the keto diet can help to lower blood sugar levels. It is because the keto diet helps to promote a healthy balance of blood sugar-related hormones, including insulin and glucagon. In addition, the keto diet can help to decrease inflammation, which is a significant contributor to high blood sugar levels.

Keto Diet Tips for Beginners

  1. Are you thinking about starting a keto diet? If so, here are a few tips to get you started on the right track!
  2. First, ensure you understand what a keto diet is and what it can do for you. A keto diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that can help you lose weight and improve your health.
  3. Next, calculate your daily calorie needs and ensure you get enough fat and protein. A keto diet should consist of about 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
  4. Once you figure out your calorie needs, it's time to start planning your meals. Ensure you include plenty of healthy fats, such as avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil. And don't forget to include some protein-rich foods, such as chicken, fish, and eggs.
  5. Finally, ensure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. A keto diet can cause dehydration, so drinking plenty of fluids is essential.

These tips will help you start a healthy and prosperous keto diet.

 Keto Diet Foods

A keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It involves reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with healthy fats. You can eat various foods on a keto diet, including meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, and certain oils and dairy products. Meats, such as beef, chicken, and pork, are typically high in fat and low in carbohydrates. Fish, such as salmon, tuna, and trout, are also good options.

 Keto Diet Foods List

From the outside looking in, this diet may seem indulgent since it is centered on high-fat, high-protein foods, many of which are usually demonised for their unhealthy nature. However, given how this diet works, these foods can work favourably if consumed in a controlled manner. Here are the foods you should consume when on a keto diet.

Low-carb vegetables

Tomatoes, onions, greens, peppers


Red meat, white meat, bacon, ham, turkey, and other unprocessed meats


Boiled, fried, omelettes, scrambled


As guacamole or plain


Unprocessed and cottage

Cream or butter

High-fat dairy


Salt, pepper, and herbs

Fatty fish

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout


Avocado, olive, and coconut

Nuts and seeds

Walnuts, almonds, pecan, chia seeds, flax seeds

Foods to Avoid on a Keto Diet

Given that the keto diet is based on a low-carbohydrates principle, there are several foods you simply shouldn’t consume. These can affect the overall efficacy of the diet and can set you back by weeks if you’re not careful. To highlight the foods you should avoid, here is a list.


Carbohydrate content affects ketosis

Sugar-free foods

Contain sugar alcohols affect ketone levels


Certain sauces have sugar and unhealthy fat content

Beans and legumes

Lentils, chickpeas, peas, and others

Starches or grains

Cereal, pasta, rice, wheat-based products


Almost all fruit barring berries

Sugar-rich food

Candy, soda, juices, etc

Low-fat foods

Usually high in carbohydrates

Root vegetables

Potatoes, carrots, parsnips

Non Vegetarian Keto Diet Plan

Are you thinking of trying a keto diet but not sure it's for you? If you're not a fan of vegetables, you may wonder if a keto diet is still possible.

The good news is you can do a keto diet as a non-vegetarian! Many people enjoy the meat-based keto diet more than a traditional, plant-based keto diet.

Remember a few things to remember if you're considering a non-vegetarian keto diet. First, you'll need to make sure you're getting enough protein. It can be easily done by including plenty of meat, fish, and eggs in your diet. You may also want to supplement with a high-quality protein powder to ensure you get all the nutrients you need.

Second, you'll need to make sure you're getting enough fat. It is what will help you feel satiated and help you stay in ketosis. Good fat sources include avocados, olive oil, coconuts, and nuts.

Lastly, you'll need to make sure you're getting enough carbs. While you don't need as many carbs on a keto diet as on a traditional diet, you still need some to fuel your body and keep your energy levels up. The best sources of carbs on a keto diet are low-carb vegetables like leafy greens and cruciferous veggies.

If you're ready to try the keto diet, there are plenty of delicious non-vegetarian recipes out there to get you started!

Vegetarian Keto Diet Plan 

Are you considering a vegetarian keto diet? This approach to eating combines the benefits of a vegetarian diet with the low-carb, high-fat principles of the keto diet.

The result is a nutritious, delicious, and sustainable way of eating that can help you reach your weight loss and health goals.

You can adapt a vegetarian keto diet plan to suit any lifestyle and level of health and fitness. Whether a beginner or a seasoned pro, this diet can help you achieve your goals.

Here's a quick overview of what you need to know about the vegetarian keto diet:

The Basics

The vegetarian keto diet is, put, a vegetarian diet that follows the principles of the keto diet.

It means that you'll be eating mostly plants, with a few animal-based products allowed.

The Benefits

There are many benefits to following a vegetarian keto diet.

Some of the most notable benefits include weight loss, improved mental clarity and concentration, reduced inflammation, and improved heart health.

The Guidelines

There are a few guidelines to follow when following a vegetarian keto diet.

First, you'll need to ensure you're getting enough protein. You can include various plant-based protein sources in your diet, such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, and nuts.

Second, you'll need to ensure you're getting enough healthy fats. It can be done by including avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts in your diet.

Side Effects of Keto Diet

While it does have its benefits, adopting the keto diet on a long-term basis may cause a few health complications. These side effects aren’t restricted to the long-term practice of following a keto diet, and may also occur right at the start. This is because certain pre-existing conditions don’t adjust to their diet plan too well. For instance, those with diabetes and those who are insulin-dependent are not advised to go on a keto diet. Similarly, those with kidney disease, pancreatitis, and eating disorders should also avoid it.

However, for those who do get on the keto diet, here are some possible side effects of following a long-term plan.

How Long Should you Maintain a Keto Diet?

There are studies that back the health benefits that a keto meal plan provides. However, many of these studies were conducted over periods of a few weeks, extending to a maximum of a few months. While other studies did find benefits up to a period of 2 years, there isn’t enough data to suggest that a keto diet remains beneficial for longer. Ideally, it is best to adopt the keto diet for a few months, achieve your weight goals, and then switch back to a less restrictive diet for maintenance.

Given the complexity of this nutritional plan, simply understanding the keto diet meaning is clearly not enough. As such, it is crucial that you don’t experiment with it without professional guidance. While you may think you know what is keto, experts are cautious and some even deem the diet controversial. The side effects of the keto diet are very real and can cause lasting damage to your health if you’re not careful. However, if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, consult a specialist and have them draw up a keto diet for beginners, specifically designed for you. This is the best route to take as nutritionists will not recommend it to you if a risk exists. A good way to find the best dieticians in your area is to access the healthcare platform provided by Bajaj Finserv Health.

With it, you can not only find the best doctors in your vicinity but also book appointments online and consult with them virtually over video. For dietary care, virtual consults are a lot more convenient and easier to handle. Moreover, you can use the ‘Health Vault’ feature to track your vitals and store digital patient records. You can send this information to doctors digitally and get timely tweaks to your keto diet plan for optimal results. It is time to make your health your priority!

Published on 23 Nov 2020Last updated on 18 Nov 2022

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Santanu Goswami

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Santanu Goswami

, MBBS 1

Dr. Santanu Goswami is a General & Critical Care Medicine based out of Hooghly and has experience of 20+ years. He has completed His MBBS from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Wardha. He wass attached with Critical Care Unit Woodlands Multispeciality Hospital. Presently he is attached to B.M.Birla Heart Research Centre Kolkata. His special interests are in the fields of Cholesterol Management in Primary Care, Metabolic Syndrome, Cardiovascular Medicine, Chest, Diabetes & Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Santanu is a member of the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine


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