Thinking about transitioning to a Keto diet? Which one? That’s right, there’s more than one option out there. It’s all about finding the option that works for you, so let us introduce you to the different types of Keto so you can see which diet may fit your personal goals and health needs. As with any dietry changes, we always reccomend speaking to your doctor first.
The main differences between the different types of Keto is the ratio of the Marcos you consume. So what exactly are Marcos? Marcos (or Macronutrients) are the food groups that give your body uses in the largest amounts, and tehy provide energy. They include protein, carbohydrates and fats.
As you may have guessed, this is the most common and one of the stricter forms of Keto Diet. For a Standard Keto Diet, generally you would consume a low amount of carbs, moderate proteins and a large amount of fat. Typically this is broken down into 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbs. The idea is that your body begins running on fat rather than carbs. This process is called Ketosis.
Many people find that this strict diet helps them enter Ketosis and therefore helps them lose weight.
This isn’t a particularly flexible diet, it can be difficult to count Macros and make sure you are eating nutrient rich foods.
As the name suggests, the Cyclical Keto diet involves a cycle in which there are days where you have a higher amount of carbs and lower amounts of carbs, normally with around a 2:5 split. The higher carb days are known as “refeed” days because they work to replenish the reduced amount of glucose lost in the lower carb days. It’s often confused with a diet called “Carb Cycling” which similarly includes days of lower and higher amounts of carbs, but the overall amount of carbs consumers are too high to induce Ketosis.
It’s more flexible, if you struggle to cut carbs as drastically as is required in the Standard Keto diet, this might be the one for you. Many people also find it helps with muscle strength and physical performance, so it’s a popular diet amongst body builders.
Drawbacks It’s easy to over do the carbs on the higher carb days, which means that Ketosis is not achieved. There's also very little research on this specific form of Keto, so we always advise speaking to a doctor before trying it.
A Targeted Keto Diet is a sort of hybrid between our Standard Keto Diet and the Cyclical Keto Diet. WIth this method, easily digestible (simple) carbs are added around workouts (usually around 30 minutes before) rather than for full days at a time. It’s a method often adopted by people who prefer endurance based exercises rather than high intensity workouts. This is because the increase in carbs can give your body more energy to exercise. If you're a runner and find that the standard Keto diet has lowered your performance, then the Targeted Keto Diet may be a good choice for you.
Whilst increasing your insulin levels isn’t usually the goal with a Keto diet, increasing your insulin before exercise can help with muscle repair and prevent breakdown. The increase in carbs on workout days could therefore help you build strength. Again, little research has been done on this diet.
It’s hard to get the balance right, some people find that increasing their carbs before a workout can kick them out of Ketosis.
This diet is probably the most similar to the Standard Keto, however as the name suggests, an increased amount of protein is consumed. The ratio is often 5% carb, 35% protein and 60% fat. As with all Ketogenic diets, very little research has been carried out to measure the long term effects.
If you struggle to consume as much fat as is required for Standard Keto diets, this might be the right option for you. It can also be considered as a stepping stone toward transitioning to Standard Keto if that is your goal.
When you consume excess protein, this can be converted into glucose which may kick you out of Ketosis.
A Dirty Keto Diet follows the same ratio as a Standard Keto Diet, however there are no restrictions on where you get your marcos from. This means instead of mainly consuming monounsaturated fats and simple carbs, you can consume more saturated, trans and polyunsaturated fats. You can also eat more complex carbs on this diet if you wish.
This is a much more flexible form of Keto, there’s much more allowance for consuming processed foods. If you struggle with the rigidity of a Standard Keto diet then Dirty Keto might be for you. Complex carbohydrates are more likely to keep you fuller for longer as they are more difficult for the body to break down. Complex carbs are also more likely to be high fiber foods, and fiber can be lacking on other Keto Diets.
In a Dirty Keto Diet, you are likely to be consuming less nutrient rich foods. Processed foods often contain high amounts of sugar which can bring you out of Ketosis, and they can also contain high amounts of sodium. Saturated, trans and polyunsaturated fats which are increased on this diet can also increase your risk of conditions like heart disease.