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August 13, 2021


Christine VanDoren NSCA-CPT, ACE
5 Variations of the Keto Diet

Fact Checked By Christine VanDoren NSCA-CPT, ACE
 August 13, 2021

Keto Variations

The ketogenic diet has become increasingly popular among those wanting to lose weight and improve their overall health.

There are many versions, with each targeting someone different.

Whether you are just wanting to brush the surface or dive in head first, there is something for you.

Check out the following five variations listed below, as they are some of the most popular and easy to follow!

Standard Ketogenic Diet

The standard ketogenic diet is the most common version and is used primarily by beginners (1).

It is a very low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat combination.

Out of the total daily calorie intake, 10 percent is carbohydrates, 20 percent is protein, and 70 percent is fats.

Being the most researched keto diet, short-term studies have shown that weight loss can be achieved as long as you stay in ketosis.


Too many carbohydrates or protein can take you out of ketosis, while too few fats or protein will deplete your energy and reduce muscle mass.

Overall, the carbohydrate intake of the standard ketogenic diet is very low but if you eat enough fats and protein, you should feel satiated.

This diet is sustainable when the appropriate steps are taken.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

The cyclical ketogenic diet is based around the idea of systematically coming in and out of ketosis and is mostly used by athletes (2).

This is one of the best ways to sustain a ketogenic diet long-term.

There are two primary ways to cycle.

The first is to have five days on, and then two days off. The second is to have thirty days on, and then two days off.

It is optimal that you are not in a state of ketosis for longer than 30 days.

You should also never be out of ketosis for longer than 48 hours.

During those two days, you should consume 450 to 600 grams of carbohydrates each day.

When you reach a state of ketosis, you will notice weight loss and an increase in energy and mental clarity.

However, when you have been in that state for a longer period, you may start to plateau and stop losing weight.

This is your body’s signal to you that it is time to cycle.

Allowing yourself to enjoy carbs for a designated time will help reset your metabolism and get you back on track.

This reset increases your ability to burn fat and gives the body an overall wake-up call.

During this temporary change, you will not come too far out of a state of ketosis because you will be simply refilling your muscles and liver with the influx of carbohydrates, as they have been depleted of glycogen for a long time already.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet

The targeted ketogenic diet allows you to eat carbohydrates at specific times while following the standard restrictions otherwise (3).

The additional carbohydrates are permitted 30 minutes before intense workout sessions.

This variation of the keto diet is best for bodybuilders and professional athletes.

Although those who regularly run and do cardio gym classes are engaging in intensive exercise, this diet is not ideal for them.

By allowing yourself to ingest carbs right before your workout, you are giving yourself a boost of energy that is burned through quickly.

The timing of the carbohydrate intake is extremely important; the carbs will end up being burned before they can even affect the state of ketosis.

If you do not end up burning the carbs fast enough, your body will be taken out of ketosis.

Try consuming easily digestible carbs to make everything work more efficiently.

Lazy Ketogenic Diet

The lazy ketogenic diet is designed for those still wanting to pursue a keto diet, but with minimized stress. You are eating a very low amount of carbohydrates daily, but you are not counting or tracking your macronutrients (4).

The lazy diet is popular among people who have histories of eating disorders or strongly dislike counting macros.

Aim to have every meal contain high amounts of fat with the least amount of carbs as possible.

This can be made easier by always shopping for keto-friendly foods and having them in the house.

Many people utilize this style when they are first starting to follow a keto diet, as it can sometimes be overwhelming.

Others start with counting and then later revert to the lazy diet.

If you are going to do the latter, first track and take note of how many carbs are generally in the foods you like to eat regularly.

This allows you to have the knowledge you need later on to be successful.

In addition to not counting macros, you can even take it a step further and choose to throw out your scale if you want to take that numerical factor out as well.

If you ever worry if you are still in a state of ketosis since you are not tracking, you can utilize keto sticks, as these will let you know.

Mediterranean Ketogenic Diet

The Mediterranean ketogenic diet does not focus quite as much on percentages of macros as it does what specific foods you are putting in your body (5).

This variation is used by many people who aim to improve their heart health.

The main food sources that are included in the Mediterranean diet are virgin olive oil, red wine, salads, and fish, and the amount of calories that can be consumed is unlimited.

Olive oil serves as the primary source of fat and is the most important part of the diet, as it improves many risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Red wine provides an apparent protective cardiovascular effect, and it contains both phenolic and ethanol compounds.

Vegetables are the main source of carbohydrates and are an important focus because of their high contents of fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and water.

Fish is the main source of protein and contains high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids.

These fatty acids (EPA and DHA) contribute to increased insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammatory markers.

This version of the keto diet is chosen by some because of its known association with longer life spans, effective weight loss, and improved blood pressure and lipid profile.

There are many versions of the ketogenic diet, and multiple factors to take into consideration.

Ranging from improved performance in the gym to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, the keto diet can help you achieve your health goals.

The standard, cyclical, targeted, lazy, and Mediterranean options are some examples of the best ones to try.

Give them a go and learn what is best for your body!

Brown, J. Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) Plan. KETO Resource. Retrieved from https://www.ketoresource.org/articles/keto-diet/cyclical-ketogenic-diet-ckd-plan/

Brown, L. 5 Types of Ketogenic Diets. KETO Resource. Retrieved from https://www.ketoresource.org/articles/ketogenic-diets/

Perez-Guisado, J. October 26, 2008. Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: A Healthy Cardiovascular Diet for Weight Loss. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2586625/

Shilpa, J. September 2018. Ketogenic Diets: Boon or Bane? National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6251269/

Sloam, J. February 20, 2018. How to Do Lazy Keto. Yummy Inspirations. Retrieved from https://yummyinspirations.net/2018/02/how-to-do-lazy-keto/