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

  • Net Carbs = Total Carbs – REAL Fiber and Erythritol and Allulose.
  • Net Carbs = Total Carbs – REAL Fiber and HALF of Other Sugar Alcohols (and no maltitol at all)

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.

Avoid or limit grains, sugars (by any name), root vegetables, fruits, starches… There are other ingredients you need to decide on…Like oils, soy and peanut butter and figure out which sweeteners work best 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 – Hydration and electrolytes are not negotiable

Drink lot of fluids

Electrolytes are a must! 

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

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

Traditional keto is 5c/25p/70f, which is fine for some…I prefer higher protein 5c/35p/60f. Carb Manager has a setting for this or you could use the Ketogains Calculator to find your macros.

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

Testing for ketones –

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


Meats – Real, unprocessed meats … all of them

  • Caution – Some organ meats have carbs

Meats – Processed…Read ingredients and nutrition labels

  • I am willing to allow 1 carb per serving

Seafood – All seafood is acceptable

  • Caution – Mollusks (Scallops, clams, oysters, squid…) have carbs


Eggs – Eggs are great, enjoy!

  • Keep boiled eggs in the fridge for snacks or meals on the go.


Vegetables – Avoid the obvious (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, corn…)

  • Weigh and track ALL veggies, at least until it becomes habit
  • Besides the obvious high carb, starchy vegetables, just about any others can be eaten in moderation.
  • Dried and dehydrated veggies will have more concentrated carbs and sugars.
  • Always check macros on a new vegetable, there are some surprises out there.


Fruits – All fruit is limited, even berries.

  • Weigh and track ALL fruit
  • Most people stick to berries only –  small amounts
  • Other fruits can be consumed, some are even lower carb than berries. Do what works for you but account for every carb.
  • Dried and dehydrated fruits will have more concentrated carbs and sugars.


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.

Dairy – Stick to processed and separated dairy (yogurt, cheese, heavy cream, half & half…)

  • Avoid straight milk, the lactose makes it high in sugar and carbs
  • Be aware that even heavy cream has carbs (0.4 per tbsp)
  • The higher fat your dairy is, the higher calories it has

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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