Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): Complete Guide

If you haven’t had the chance to read our overview article about ketogenic dieting variations, you might not know what the standard ketogenic diet (SKD) is. At its most basic, standard ketogenic dieting focuses mainly on proteins and fats; carbohydrate intake is minimal.

By keeping carbohydrates low enough, the body relies on fatty acids and molecules called ketones for energy (rather than glucose/sugar). This shift in substrate metabolism has a variety of benefits, including an increase in cognitive function, more energy throughout the day, less risk of blood sugar swings, and possible reduction in risk from certain types of cancer.

Moreover, there are three different types of ketogenic diets, and all of them are beneficial for your health and well-being. Ultimately, the type of ketogenic diet you follow varies upon your goal(s).

The standard ketogenic diet is ideal for health and longevity benefits. This article will walk you through everything you need to start your own SKD. 

Ketogenic Diet Variations

Which ketogenic diet variation you follow mostly revolves around your goals and genetic metabolic tendencies. Regardless, you should start with at least two weeks on a standard ketogenic diet. This will give your body a chance to adapt to ketosis and its new primary fuel sources. Naturally, we’re assuming you are coming off a diet rich in carbohydrates.

After these initial few weeks on a standard ketogenic diet, you can assess how you feel and which ketogenic diet variation to stick to in the long-term. The other options are a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) and a targeted ketogenic diet (TKD).

How to Set Up Your Own Standard Ketogenic Diet

Below are the necessary steps to take to calculate your energy needs and macronutrient intake on a standard ketogenic diet. The first calculation steps will give you your macronutrient needs assuming you follow a SKD.

As a starting point for the majority of individuals looking to lose weight, a 500-calorie deficit per day will suffice. However, there is no preset cookie-cutter calorie intake for fat loss, nor is there one for people looking to build lean mass. Inevitably, you will have to adjust your nutrient intake values higher or lower depending on your rate of fat loss (muscle gain).  Note that your calorie intake will fluctuate from day to day if you decide to use a CKD or TKD.

The following example shows how to calculate macronutrient needs for someone with 180 lbs of lean body mass following a 2200-calorie SKD:

Tip: It is best to divvy out all your macronutrients proportionally over four to six meals each day.

Take-Home Points

In summary, ketogenic dieting entails very low-carbohydrate intake, along with higher fat and protein intakes. Therefore, you will need to avoid direct starch sources and monitor carbohydrate intake pretty strictly on a standard ketogenic diet. Steer clear of foods like wheat, rice, potatoes, cereal, etc. Your diet should be mostly animal proteins, eggs, nuts/nut butter, coconut, MCT oil and cruciferous vegetables.

The standard ketogenic diet variation is typically best for individuals looking to improve overall health and longevity (from ketosis). If you exercise intensely, consider following a CKD or TKD.


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