Keto Basics

What is keto?

Little to no grains (breads, pastas, rice), Root Vegetables (potatoes, carrots) or Sugar (including fruits)


20 Net carbs per day

  • Total Carbs – Fiber – SOME Sugar Alcohols = Net

Everyone has their own “rules” on how to keto, do your own research; learn the science and keto your way. The key is stay under 20 carbs. The “no’s” are simple – No grains, no sugars (by any name), no root vegetable, no fruit, no starches…all of the “no” ingredients fall into one of those categories. There are ones you need to decide on…Like oils, soy and peanut butter and figure out which sweeteners are safe or ok for you. Someone else’s keto might not be the best for you.

Some people believe that ingredients are as important as the carbs, I personally don’t, UNLESS you are sensitive to a particular food and it causes bloating, inflammation or pain to you, then of course you should avoid it.

No matter how you keto – This is non-negotiable

Drink lot of fluids

Electrolytes are a must! See Chart A at the end

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

Use a Keto calculator to find your MACROS and stick with them. Update every 10-15 pounds.

This is my favorite one –

Once you establish your numbers I suggest using a food log app such as Cronometer

Testing for ketones – See how ketones are made and used in Chart B at the end

Urine sticks only test for acetone, the waste product of ketones. We want BHB’s, that’s what our bodies use. BHB’s can’t be tested with urine strips. Also, once you are fat adapted and using your ketones efficiently, you will not have much acetone left to test. Only blood and breath can be used to test BHB’s.

I use a KetoMojo and love it.

Before you start weigh yourself and measure everything, then take pictures. You will regret it later if you don’t.

Scales might not move when inches fall off…pictures show more than you will believe. You might not like what you see, but every month you will be happy you did it.

Read the ingredients in EVERYTHING!

NOTE – The USDA says if a product has less than 1 gram of any nutrient (CARBS) they can list it as zero on the nutrition label. For example, heavy whipping cream has 0.4 grams of carbs per tablespoon, but most brands list it as zero. If you put a tablespoon in your coffee, it’s not a big deal…but if you make a whipped dessert or a cream sauce where you would consume a 1/2 cup or more…you are adding real carbs to your daily count (almost 4) and when you have a limit of 20, that can mess up your macros.

Great explanation of this –


Good Fats –

  • Butter
  • Heavy Cream
  • Mayo – watch for sugars
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado
  • Avocado Oil
  • Full fat dressing – watch for sugar


All fresh meats are acceptable – Fattier cuts and dark meats are a good thing.

Any fresh seafood – Oysters and clams in moderation (They have about 1 carb each)

Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are extra good.

Watch processed meats for sugars and carbs

  • Hot Dogs
  • Sausage
  • Deli Meats
  • Pre-seasoned & marinated meats
  • Canned meats


  • Eggs – as much as you want
  • Beans – NO
  • Nuts and nut butters – in moderation and watch for added sugars

VEGETABLES – See common net carb amounts in Chart C at the end

  • Green and leafy – As much as you want
  • Most above ground veggies – Almost as much as you want

No root vegetables

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Beets

No grains that pretend to be vegetables

  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Chickpeas(Garbanzo beans)

Watch the carbs on…

  • Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Mushrooms
  • Squash
  • Green Beans
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes


Little to no fruit!!

Berries on occasion – small amounts

If you NEED fruit – occasional and VERY small amounts (count the carbs)

  • Melons
  • Starfruit
  • Kiwi
  • Passionfruit

Worst fruits- 

  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Cherries

Once you hit your goal weight and go on a maintenance diet you can add small amounts of fruits and starchy vegetable back in.


FULL fat foods only – stay away from “low fat” foods, they usually have sugar and you need the fats.

Fats are high calorie so there is a limit, but fats keep you full so don’t cut them out.

Best choices –

  • Avocados
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter

Be careful with cottage cheese and limit yogurt to full fat, plain greek yogurt. No low fat dairy products

No regular milk. There are alternatives for everything though. See the options at the bottom in Chart D

SWEETENERS – See the glycemic index of sweeteners at the bottom on Chart E

Best Sweeteners – 

  • Stevia
  • Erythritol
  • Monk Fruit

Watch out for – 

  • Maltitol – Belly issues (raises blood sugar in most people)
  • Isomalt – Belly issues
  • Xylitol – Very TOXIC to dogs (great stuff otherwise)
  • NO sugar, honey, agave, coconut sugar


Alcohol is not forbidden on this diet, but there are a few things you might want to know.

Lots of alcohol has carbs and some is sugar filled. If you’re going to drink stick with dry red wines, low carb beers and unsweetened spirits like vodka, rum and whiskey…flavored alcohols may sweetened. Typically, anything over 80 proof will be carb free.

You will not have the tolerance you normally would while eating keto, and you will likely have one hell of a hangover the next day. Drinking can also stall your weight loss and possibly kick you out of ketosis (temporarily) because your liver can not process ketones and alcohol at the same time.

Heavy or frequent drinking is not recommended. Know your new limits and be safe.

Here are some other charts to help you along the way… Keto Reference Charts

Ketone map

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