This post may contain affiliate links, which helps keep this content free. Please read our disclosure for more info.
How to Keto
Ask seven different people how to do keto the right way, and you’ll likely hear seven different answers. This can be confusing for people researching the keto diet for beginners, and those who want to jump on the ketogenic bandwagon.
I’m here to say, there’s more than one way to keto! Hopefully, the keto police are not around to hear me say that.
In this post, I will break down 7 different types of keto diet methods I’ve run across since I began the keto diet in February 2018. (Read our success story!)
#1. Basic Keto
At its core, the keto diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet. The macros can vary from one method to another, but everyone method has the macros falling within a certain range.
Besides adhering to specific macros, keto’ers also eliminate grains, sugar, and high-starch vegetables.
#2. Lazy Keto
The lazy keto approach is where you do not track nor limit calories. Lazy keto’ers also rarely track fat and protein and only focus on staying under 20 grams of carbs a day to ensure they stay in ketosis.
For the people that lazy keto works for, that’s great! But if you are adhering to the lazy keto approach and don’t feel like you are meeting your goals, there are a few things to consider.
- You might just be eating too many calories. The keto diet is not a calorie free-for-all, and it is possible to eat keto AND gain weight. In fact, some bodybuilders eat keto with the intention to gain weight. So, calories matter.
- Too much protein can actually kick you out of ketosis. Your body turns excess protein into glucose, which your body will burn instead of fat. Too much protein = bad news for ketosis.
Lazy keto is great when it works. Of the types of keto diet to choose, people like this one because it seems like less effort. It’s certainly less time-consuming if you only have to track carbs but beware that overindulging in calories and protein can have a negative effect.
#3. Dirty Keto
It’s wrong to assume that all keto’ers eat clean on all types of keto diet. It was a misconception I had until I first heard the term “dirty keto”.
Remember, keto at its core is about minimizing carbohydrates while increasing fats. Using the base definition, a dirty keto’er will adhere to the macros but is less concerned about where the food is sourced.
The dirty keto approach allows you to eat from a fast food restaurant, as long as you skip the buns and fries…think, bun-less bacon cheeseburger or egg muffin minus the muffin.
A dirty keto-er may also eat a lot of overly processed packaged foods. The problem with processed and packaged foods, or even fast food, is that even though you may be staying within your macros, you are filling your body with other toxins and chemicals.
While dirty keto may be the easy way out and less of a time hog (no cooking), it will prevent you from experiencing many of all the glorious benefits of the ketogenic diet….and may also cause some digestion issues.
#4. Hard-Core Keto
On the flip side of lazy and dirty types of keto diet is Hard-Core Keto. I personally chose this route when I began keto in February 2018 because I wanted to go all in, and I spent the first six weeks on keto using this method.
While I salute the hard-core keto’er, it is super difficult to stick with long term!
This method eliminates ALL forms of sweets. ALL SWEETS. No swerve, no monk fruit, no erythritol. It claims that even the taste of something sweet can impact your blood sugar, causing an insulin response.
The diet also poo-poos the idea of exogenous ketone, intermittent fasting, and calorie deficits.
The hard-core keto diet allows all meats, but the vegetable list is severely limited. No tomatoes, no green beans, and cucumbers. If you’d like to see what kind of vegetables ARE allowed on hard-core keto, I recommend checking out the website, Common Sense Keto, and Coach Jack’s yes/no veggie list is here.
This method is great for kick-starting the keto diet, but after six weeks, I was ready to kill for something sweet. I especially recommend this method to anyone who doesn’t have a sweet tooth.
#5. Carnivore Keto
The carnivore keto method is exactly what it sounds like. No veggies! If you despise veggies, this is the way to go.
With carnivore, you only eat meat and food that comes from animals, such as eggs and dairy. A lot of people swear by the carnivore method, but I like my veggies too much.
#6. Vegetarian Keto
Mixing more than one specialty diet can be tricky, but not impossible. Since vegetarians still allow food from animals, it’s still pretty easy to meet the fat macro requirements.
Since the normal vegetarian diet relies on beans and grains for a large portion of the protein source (and neither are allowed on keto), the vegetarian keto’er will need to be intentional about getting enough protein from other sources.
Protein requirements can be met through protein powders, yogurt, nuts, and whole eggs. While at first glance it may seem that “vegetarian” and “keto” wouldn’t mix, it’s actually fairly easy to do!
#7. Vegan Keto
Of the types of keto diet listed in this post, the idea of a vegan keto boggles my mind. Props to those who can make it work!
Vegans eliminate ALL animal products (no eggs or dairy), which makes meeting protein and fat requirements super-tricky. This method takes a lot of careful planning to make it work.
Foods a vegan keto’er can eat include: coconut products, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butter, non-starchy vegetables, avocados, berries, and vegan dairy products (cashew butter, coconut yogurt, etc…).
Vegan protein sources such as tofu and tempeh can help a vegan meet their protein requirements on the keto diet.
For ideas on what to eat on a vegan keto diet, check out this Vegan Keto Guide.
Final thoughts on the 7 different keto methods
I find a lot of criticism amongst fellow keto dieters, people arguing over which method is correct. Instead of criticizing one another, let’s applaud each other for trying to improve our health.
Everyone who is on a journey to improve their health must start somewhere. When my husband and I first decided to improve our health and fitness eight years ago, it looked a lot different than it does today.
Foods that we considered healthy back then, we wouldn’t touch today. It’s a process. A process of learning and growing. A process that includes failures and successes…we do our best with the information we have in the moment.
So choose the keto method you can not only find the most success with but choose the method that you can stick to right now. It will likely change over time, but you gotta start somewhere ?
If you’d like to read more about my family’s journey into health and fitness, check out the following blog post.
Leave a comment below and let me know which is your favorite keto method!