Starting any new diet can be daunting. It often involves drastically modifying your eating habits while also keeping track of all the new rules.

Although it’s possible to dive pretty deep into the complexities of the ketogenic diet and ketosis, going keto can actually be a remarkably straightforward diet to follow!

Instead of feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of ditching carbs and embracing the keto lifestyle, start following these ten simple rules today to keep you on the right track.

10 Basic Rules for the Keto Diet

1. Do your homework

If you dive headfirst into the keto diet without doing your research, it’ll be much harder to hit your goals!

Not only should the diet be compatible with your goals and lifestyle, but different versions of the keto diet exist that can be tailored to your needs.

While the standard keto diet may be ideal for losing weight, a modified version exists for those with highly active lifestyles. It’s important to figure out your best option.

Doing more research will also help you better understand the path to ketosis, what results to expect, and the guidelines you need to follow to be successful.

2. Watch your carbs

The whole purpose of keto is to force your body to metabolize fats instead of carbohydrates, so you’ll need to pay close attention to your carb intake.

You’ll need to be able to accurately count carbs and understand how fiber affects the net carb content of the food you eat.

Fiber is fine for keto, so you can subtract a food’s fiber content from its total carbs. This will give you the number you need to keep track of your intake.

Additionally, not all carbohydrates are the same, so while heavily processed carbs need to go, you can still enjoy healthier whole grains in moderation.

While this part may seem to be the most challenging, it gets easier with practice, so don’t despair! Eventually, dieters get to the point where they don’t have to read every label and count every carb. It just becomes second nature.

3. Eat more fat

Unfortunately, fat has become a bit of a dirty word in the nutrition sphere; however, this is a wildly inaccurate perception.

While some fats are worse than others, and moderation is always recommended, they actually help you feel full for longer, which is beneficial for losing weight [1].

Fat isn’t just a key part of ketosis. There are plenty of high-fat foods which come with numerous health benefits, such as nuts, olive oil, and avocados.

4. Stock up on non-starchy vegetables

Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and asparagus are packed with nutrients and form a core part of the keto diet.

On top of their high vitamin and mineral content, they help you fill you up with fewer calories. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Fiber is crucial for a healthy digestive system.

Related: Best Low-Carb Vegetables for the Keto Diet

5. Try more probiotic foods

Without sufficient fiber in our diet, our body struggles to digest food, which can result in intestinal discomfort and constipation. Keto requires cutting out some of the more popular sources of fiber like fruit, so we need an alternative to keep our gut healthy.

Fermented vegetables such as pickles, sauerkraut, or kimchi are excellent probiotics that boost the healthy bacteria in our gut [2], as is natural yogurt.

6. Cook at home

Due to the somewhat restrictive nature of keto, you’ll naturally find yourself eating out less, which is actually a good thing.

Cooking at home gives you much more control over what you’re eating. You’ll avoid falling foul of the hidden excesses in restaurant meals that could stop you from reaching your goals.

When done right, eating at home will also save you money in the long run!

7. Plan and prep your meals

One of the most common excuses people have for not maintaining keto is that they don’t have time to make specially prepared meals.

If you set aside time each week to plan your meals, you’ll have a much better idea of your nutritional intake. It’ll also save you from scrambling around in the cupboards for a decent meal come dinnertime.

Planning will also give you a precise idea of the ingredients you’ll need each week. This makes shopping a breeze and reduces the likelihood of buying cheat-foods that will knock you off track and add more to your bill.

Ideally, you should take the time to prepare the bulk of your meals for the week, which will certainly make things more convenient.

8. Track your progress

One of the most critical skills for keto is the ability to monitor your diet and progress accurately so you can identify the need for any adjustments. The simplest indicator of success is weight-loss, although more accurate measures do exist.

You can buy keto urine tests that can give you a rough idea of your level of ketosis. However, the best method is to invest in a blood-ketone testing device that will provide you with a perfect reading every time.

Based on the outcome of your monitoring, make sure you reassess your diet if necessary, and make the right changes.

9. Try intermittent fasting

Since the keto diet has hit the mainstream, many practitioners have combined the program with intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is a popular method for losing weight and achieving ketosis. While you may not want to attempt it right away, it can be worth trying once you’re more comfortable with the basics of keto.

By fasting for intermittent periods, your body will burn through its remaining carbs faster and turn to fat for energy, which is the ultimate keto goal.

10. Don’t give up

The keto diet requires discipline and attention, so it can take some time to get the hang of.

Unfortunately, when dieters fall at the first hurdle, they write off keto and miss out on improving their health dramatically.

If you do struggle to achieve ketosis initially, or manage to get there but make a mistake that kicks you out of it, don’t be disheartened. The benefits of keto are well worth the effort and perseverance.

Whether you’re new to keto or have been practicing for some time, sticking to these 10 basic keto rules is guaranteed to help your path to a healthier lifestyle.


[1] Montmayeur JP, le Coutre J, editors. Fat Detection: Taste, Texture, and Post Ingestive Effects. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2010.

[2] Shi L. H., Balakrishnan K., Thiagarajah K., Mohd Ismail N. I., Yin O. S. (2016). Beneficial properties of probiotics. Trop. Life Sci. Res. 27 73–90. 10.21315/tlsr2016.27.2.6