Get the Skinny | New Year, New Habits: Nutritional Changes that Work – Keto Diet

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2018 is just days old, and with the New Year comes resolutions for new habits. And to help you kick off the “New Year, New You” theme, we’ve been Getting the Skinny with Registered Dietitian Molly Kimball on 3 popular approaches, including working with a dietitian and the Whole30 Diet, and today we’re digging in to the Keto Diet.

Molly’s Note: If you do try one of these popular diets, use it as an opportunity to help break and replace not-so-good habits, and to educate yourself and learn more about how you may respond to certain foods and ingredients so that you can make lasting behavioral changes that can stick around long after you’re “off” the diet.


The Keto Diet: What is it?  “Keto” is short for “ketogenic” and is a type of diet that has been used for 100-plus years for children with uncontrolled seizures. A very-high-fat, extremely low-carb, low-protein diet.

The Science: Carbs are usually our body’s main source of energy, but with the keto diet, fats become the primary fuel for the body. When we burn fat for energy we produce ketone bodies. Ketones can be detected in the urine, blood, and breath, so people following a keto diet will use test strips to test urine to confirm in ketosis.



Carbs: Most advocates recommend 20 grams or less. Includes carbs from even vegetables, avocado, nuts, etc.

Limited protein:  Generally 0.8 grams protein per pound of fat-free body weight.

Fats make up the rest:  This can include animal fats like butter, ghee, heavy cream, mayonnaise and bacon, as well as plant-based saturated fats like coconut oil, olive oil and vegan mayo.

Keto Calculators Keto blogger and cookbook author Maria Emmerich has an easy-to-use version on her website, – just search “keto calculator.”



  • Starchy and/or refined carbs are pretty much off-limits entirely, including bread, rice, pasta, cereal, potatoes, pasta, rice or legumes.
  • Sugar of any type is also out, including table sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, agave and coconut sugar.
  • Fruits: Only a small amount of fruit is allowed; mostly berries, because of their lower carb content.



  • Fats of all types
  • Meat, fish, poultry and eggs
  • Nonstarchy vegetables and leafy greens, fresh or frozen; carbs need be factored into daily allotment
  • Dairy, organic, full-fat is recommended for keto diets; carbs need to be accounted for in daily total
  • No-calorie plant-based sweeteners – e.g. Swerve
  • Beverages with zero sugar or artificial sweeteners, including water, sparkling water, tea and coffee



Coffee with coconut oil, butter, MCT oil or ghee (clarified butter)

Breakfast consists of some combo of fat plus protein:  eggs, cheese, bacon, sausage, butter, etc.

Lunch:  Burger (or burgers) with cheese, no bun. Salad with protein, avocado, nuts, oil and vinegar.

Dinner:  Fish, chicken, beef or pork with vegetables cooked with olive oil, served with avocado, guacamole or mayo-based sauce

Snacks:  Hardboiled eggs, cheese, avocado, nuts, nut butter, berries, and DIY fat bombs. (“Fat bombs” are any type of little snack bite centered on high-fat ingredients like butter, bacon, and/or coconut oil.)



Supplements: Consider adding a multivitamin and calcium supplement. As always, check with your physician before beginning any new program, and consider consulting with a registered dietitian to help you design a Keto Diet that fits within your lifestyle.

People with diabetes: Ketones aren’t harmful for most people. But it should be emphasized that for people with diabetes, ketones can build up and lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious medical condition. Symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination, fruity-scented breath, confusion, and consistently high blood sugar (over 300). If you suspect diabetic ketoacidosis, it is suggested to seek medical treatment immediately.



Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in|The Times-Picayune!   And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD

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