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Keto 101: Keto Variants

From targeted and cyclical keto, to high protein and dirty keto, there are many variations to choose from as you begin your journey. Find the one that suits your lifestyle best.


Keto Variants: find the right keto method for your lifestyle

Are you thinking about starting the keto diet, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you? While it may seem restrictive at first glance, there are several popular keto variants that have emerged, making the low carb, high fat diet more adaptable to your own dietary needs and desires. Read on to find out how you can make keto work for you.

Standard Keto Diet

Standard Keto: the original and most common

Standard keto is the most common approach. On the traditional version of the keto diet, you get 75% of your daily calories from fat, 20% from protein, and just 5% percent from carbohydrates. That means limiting carb intake to no more than 50 grams a day. This keto variant shifts your body into ketosis in just a matter of 2-4 days, making it a fantastic option for those who want to lose weight quickly and are comfortable with the higher fat intake.

Targeted Keto Diet

I’m extremely active and may need carbs to fuel my workout. Can I still go keto?

Yes! For athletes and those who work out intensely and often, the Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) is a great keto variant. TKD adheres to all the same tenets as the regular keto diet but with a huge exception: you are allowed to eat up to 25 additional grams of carbs 30-45 minutes before exercise. This allows your body to use those carbs during your workout, giving you more energy. Be sure to stay at or below 25 grams, though. That way you can slip back into ketosis after your workout.

Keep in mind that this method is really best for those who are frequently doing high-intensity, muscle-building exercise. A daily walk or hitting the gym a few days a week isn’t enough to merit switching to TKD. If you do decide to switch and see your weight loss plateau or even start to gain weight, simply go back to the standard keto variant.

High Protein Keto Diet

I want to build muscle/I need to prevent muscle breakdown. Can I go keto?

Absolutely! The “High Protein” keto variant is what you are looking for. Protein is vital for muscle mass building and maintenance, so with this keto variant, you simply up your protein and decrease your fat intake a bit. This means 65% of your caloric intake comes from fat, 30% from protein and, like standard keto, just 5% from carbs. With these ratios, your body will definitely stay in ketosis, though you may produce fewer ketones, meaning weight loss may be slightly slower.

Cyclical Keto Diet

I’m not sure I can live without carbs. Is there any way I can still go keto?

You bet! The Cyclical Keto Diet is the answer. As the name suggests, this keto variant has you cycling in and out of the diet. You do standard keto 5 days a week (or standard keto 6 days a week), followed by one or two days with a higher amount of carbs. On your “off” day(s), you basically flip your daily intake sources. So that means on these “carb” days, you should get 60-70% of your total calories from carbs, 15-20% from protein, and just 5-10% from fats.

The whole idea behind keto cycling is to eliminate the idea that you can never have carbs again. That is a huge turn off for a lot of people! With this one of many keto variants, you can have the best of both worlds. Just be careful not to go too offtrack on your “carb” days. It’ll only make it harder to get back on track!

Dirty Keto Diet

Standard keto seems time consuming. All that prep work and planning! Is there another way?

Yes (and no). There is the so-called Dirty Keto Diet. To better understand what that means, let's compare it to “clean” keto. Clean keto is, essentially, the traditional keto diet which focuses on whole, non-processed foods. Think grass-fed steak with organic broccoli for dinner. The “dirty” or “lazy” keto variant makes room for processed and packaged foods. So instead of reaching for bell pepper strips with a homemade yogurt sauce, you’ll nosh on “dirty keto foods” like pork rinds or beef jerky. This keto variation is great for those who require a high level of convenience.

If you lack time (or interest!) for meal prepping and cooking, dirty keto may be the easiest route. Dirty keto is also great for when you are traveling, unable to shop or cook for yourself, or are just too busy. Note, though, that these processed foods may be high in sodium, artificial flavors, or even have sneaky sugars. Read your labels! So, while “dirty keto” is a definite plus for busy people, think of it more as a crutch on stressful days while adhering, more or less, to a “clean” keto lifestyle.

Green Chef

Try these keto diet variants for a healthier you

Whether you choose to do the standard or cyclical keto, targeted or high protein, or even get dirty every now and again, these keto diet variants give you the flexibility to make the keto diet work for you. We at Green Chef want you to see us as a tool to help you achieve better health. Our keto meals are full of healthy, delicious keto friendly ingredients. What’s more, we take the guesswork out of portion sizes and relieve you of your shopping duties. Start your keto journey with us now!

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