In recent years, the keto diet has definitely been one of the hottest trends in weight loss. But the keto -- or ketogenic -- diet might be an eating plan that stands the test of time because so many people experience real success while following it. It calls for eating an extremely low-carb high-fat diet. By replacing carbohydrates with healthy fats, you send your body into ketosis, a metabolic state that allows for more efficient fat burning. The keto diet can not only help you lose weight but also reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and other chronic health issues.
Understanding what you should eat on a keto diet can be tricky, though, which is why many people turn to keto diet books to help follow the plan. Take a look at our buying guide to learn how to choose the best keto diet book, like our top pick, Maria Emmerich Keto Comfort Foods, which contains more than 170 recipes that prioritize taste while sticking to the principles of the keto diet.
Considerations when choosing keto diet books
Type of keto diet
While there is a basic low-carb high-fat principle that guides all keto diets, there are actually several different keto diet types. That's why you want to choose a diet book that's geared toward your preferred keto plan.
Standard keto diet (SKD) typically calls for just 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. You can usually eat a moderate amount of protein, with the goal being 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs.
Cyclical keto diet (CKD) adheres to the standard plan of 50 or fewer carbs per day. It calls for eating as many as 150 grams of carbs on the seventh day to make the plan easier to follow. Some cyclic plans call for two days of greater carb intake.
Targeted keto diet (TKD) generally follows the standard keto eating plan, but it allows for eating additional carbs 30 to 60 minutes before you plan to exercise.
High-protein keto diet is similar to the standard keto plan, but it includes additional protein. In most cases, the goal is usually 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
Dirty keto diet follows the standard keto diet, but it doesn't put emphasis on the nutritional value of the food you're eating. It works well when you're on vacation or traveling for work, but it's not an ideal long-term eating plan.
Type of diet book
Once you settle on the type of keto diet that's easiest for you to follow, you have to decide what type of keto diet book best meets your needs.
Beginner keto diet books are ideal for anyone new to the diet. They typically provide a detailed explanation of the eating plan as well as tips for how to follow the lifestyle. Beginner books usually have simple recipes that can be prepared quickly, so they also work well if you don't have much time for cooking.
Cuisine-specific keto diet books usually focus on specific types of dishes or cuisine because they help you learn to follow the diet. Some keto diet books are dedicated to breakfast foods, desserts, or appetizers, while others offer recipes for specific types of food, like comfort-food favorites.
Comprehensive keto diet books provide the most detailed information on the keto diet, how it works, what its benefits are, and tips for following the lifestyle. They usually contain at least 100 recipes but may offer as many as 200.
Appliance-based keto diet books provide keto-based recipes that can be made in a specific kitchen appliance, such as a slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Even a keto diet book that's focused on a specific type of food or kitchen appliance should offer a basic overview of the plan and its health benefits. A glossary with some of the key terms involved in the diet is helpful too.
In addition to specific recipes that follow the keto diet principles, some keto diet books offer detailed meal plans. They provide specific menu ideas for one week, two weeks, or even one month's worth of meals and usually include grocery lists as well for easier shopping.
If you want clear easy-to-read information that you can find quickly, opt for a keto diet book that contains charts. You might find a chart of foods that are appropriate for the diet, the carb content of common foods, or grocery shopping lists that you can easily see at a glance.
Keto diet book prices
Keto diet books can range anywhere from $8 to $40. Paperback books along with e-reader or Kindle versions are usually the most affordable, costing between $8 and $20. Hardcover books and those that are spiral bound, so they can lay flat, usually range from $19 to $40.
Q. Is the keto diet safe?
A. For most people, the keto diet is perfectly safe. But before you begin any diet or eating plan, you should always speak to your doctor to determine if it might adversely affect any health issues you might have.
Q. Are there are side effects to the keto diet?
A. Some people experience what's known as the "keto flu" during their first few days on the diet, which usually involves nausea, headaches, muscle cramps, fogginess, and fatigue. These symptoms usually only last one week, though. Some people also experience bad breath on the keto diet.
Keto diet books we recommend
Best of the best: Maria Emmerich Keto Comfort Foods
Our take: A user-friendly book that focuses on keto-approved comfort food recipes to make the plan feel less like a restrictive diet due to the emphasis on flavor.
What we like: Features 170 different recipes as well as a detailed overview of the diet. Recipes include easy-to-acquire ingredients that still produce results on the diet. Includes detailed photographs of the recipes to make the book even more user-friendly.
What we dislike: Recipes are somewhat complex and aren't always fully keto-friendly.
Best bang for your buck: Jen Fisch The Easy Five-Ingredient Ketogenic Diet Cookbook
Our take: A book that contains easy-to-follow recipes, which don't include expensive ingredients. It's an ideal choice for anyone on a budget, with a busy schedule, or new to the diet.
What we like: Recipes only require five ingredients per dish. Offers a great deal of variety amongst the recipes. Makes the keto diet seem doable without giving up delicious foods.
What we dislike: Doesn't offer the most sophisticated or complex recipes.
Our take: Contains plenty of scientific research to help beginners understand the diet, but it also provides experienced keto dieters with effective tools for following the plan.
What we like: Features detailed scientific information that explains the diet and how it works. Provides a plan for going keto in five steps, so you can see immediate results. Includes advice for eating out as well as a two-week meal plan.
What we dislike: Recipes aren't particularly quick to prepare and can be somewhat expensive.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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