Best Keto Diet Books

Updated June 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best keto diet books

Last Updated June 2019

One of the latest trends in weight-loss diets, the ketogenic or “keto” diet is so effective for some of its devotees that it may be here to stay. So, what exactly is this diet that you’ve heard so much — or so little — about? Simply put, a keto diet drastically reduces the amount of carbs you eat and increases the amount of healthy fats you consume. A percentage of protein is allowed. This is supposed to put your body in the metabolic state of “ketosis” where it burns fat instead of carbs. Sounds simple enough until you try to eat that way 24/7!

Fortunately, there are great keto diet books on the market to help you navigate cravings and rescue you from eating the same meal every day. These books contain recipes, from simple to epicurean, and also explain the details and frequently asked questions about the diet.

Whether you’re looking to save time on your meal prep or trying keto for the first time, we’ve got you covered with our top picks of keto diet books. If you want a more in-depth look at keto cookbooks, continue reading our shopping guide.

The keto diet was originally developed to treat epilepsy in the 1920s. Doctors found that increasing a patient’s ketone levels reduced epileptic seizures.

Benefits of a keto diet

Typically a keto diet increases your fat (emphasis on healthy fats like avocado and eggs) intake to 75 percent of your daily calories and decreases your carbohydrate intake to a mere 5 percent. Protein accounts for the remaining 20 percent of your daily calories.

So, why are carbs so limited? When your body doesn’t have carbs (glucose) to burn, your liver converts the fat you’re consuming into “ketones” which it uses as fuel. Essentially, a keto diet shifts the way you convert food into energy from burning sugar to burning fat.

You can expect a list of health benefits if you follow the diet carefully, including the following:

  • Weight loss. Ketones suppress the hormone that produces hunger while increasing the hormone that makes you feel full. People on a keto diet can go longer periods without eating, which makes your body draw on your fat reserves.

  • Lower blood sugar. The keto diet can lower blood sugar and stabilize insulin levels to such a dramatic extent that it can help diabetics cut back on their medications. (Always consult a doctor before doing so.)

  • Less inflammation. Inflammation linked to cancer and degenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s may be reduced by a keto diet.

  • Improved brain function. Your brain is at least 60 percent fat, and to keep it running you specifically need essential fatty acids and saturated fats. A keto diet provides these fats to keep your brain sharp and energized.

  • Other reported benefits: Increased energy, alleviation of depression and anxiety, improved levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and fewer epileptic seizures.
EXPERT TIP

Keto diet books are also great resources for followers of a paleo diet. You can swap out some ingredients, like dairy, for Paleo-friendly substitutions.


Staff  | BestReviews

Types of keto diets

There are actually a few different types of keto diets out there, all a variation on the theme of less carbs and more fats.

A standard keto diet has a very low carb allowance: 50 grams a day, though some adherents eat only 20 grams. To give you an idea, an apple has 21 grams of carbs. Followers of a standard or full keto diet stick to this carb count every day.

A cyclical keto diet follows the standard keto diet of 50 grams or fewer of carbs a day, with the exception of a “carb refeed” day on the seventh day of the week when you can up your carb intake to 150 grams. For some people, a standard keto diet can lead to burnout, thyroid problems, and dry eyes. Using carb cycling will help avoid these potential problems.

A targeted keto diet follows the carb restrictions of a standard keto diet, with the exception of eating extra carbs 30 minutes to an hour before a workout.

A dirty keto diet also follows the standard keto diet but with disregard to the nutrient value or quality of the food consuming. For example, you could go to a fast food restaurant and order a bunless cheeseburger chased down with a diet soda and still be keto. This works if you’re traveling and really have no better options, but is not recommended in the long run because of a host of negative effects, such as the inflammation, cravings, increased blood pressure due to the high sodium, and bloating.

Keto diet books will accommodate whichever variation of the diet you decide on, save for the dirty keto diet as these materials tend to focus on natural, nutritious foods. This being said, there are a handful of books out there designed just for a dirty or “lazy” keto diet.

Guilt-free indulgence

For keto followers for whom food is ritual, this cookbook delivers family favorite dishes by deftly substituting no-no ingredients with keto-friendly ones. With 170 comforting and nourishing recipes, no deprivation is involved when following this hearty diet book.

Types of keto diet books

Even within the niche market of keto diet books, there is quite an offering of selections to suit your preferences and needs.

  • Introductory keto diet books

Keto diet books for beginners are a great introduction for first-time keto dieters. These tend to have lengthy explanations of the ketogenic lifestyle and easy to make recipes. Simple and easy keto diet books boast time-saving recipes with a smaller ingredient list. These books are ideal for busy people who don’t have a lot of time to cook, or who do not care to invest in specialty ingredients like ghee or coconut aminos but still want to follow a keto diet.

  • Keto diet cooks for traditional dishes

Comfort food, including Southern comfort food, keto diet books are for those who want to indulge in delicious recipes without guilt. Using keto-friendly substitutions, these cookbooks offer delectable recipes such as brownies and fried chicken so you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods.

Keto dessert recipe books are also available if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth or expand your baking repertoire. They may not be as good as the real deal, but they come close enough for die-hard keto dieters who want the foods they are used to.

  • In-depth keto diet books

Comprehensive keto diet books contain 100 to 200 recipes. These “ultimate” or “complete” guides also offer solid information on the whys and hows of a ketogenic lifestyle. Many regular keto books, however, also offer these trappings.

  • Appliance-based keto diet books

Instant Pot or Crock-Pot diet books offer a variety of keto recipes you can make in the specified kitchen appliance, should that be your go-to for meal prep. There are also keto cookbooks designed for pressure cookers and one-pot recipes.

DID YOU KNOW?

“Macros” is a term used in keto diet books, which is short for macronutrients. These are the nutritional elements that make up your caloric intake, such as fat, protein, carbohydrates, and minerals.

DID YOU KNOW?

Weight loss is the primary reason people follow a keto diet, but other reported health benefits include insulin and blood sugar reduction and increased energy.

Keto diet book features

In addition to recipes, many keto diet books contain the following helpful features:

  • Overviews of the ketogenic diet and its health benefits. This may include a brief history of fad diets, scientific research and an explanation of the health benefits of keto, and a breakdown of the terminology.

  • Charts are a very helpful component of many keto diet books. Lists of foods to enjoy on the diet and those that should be avoided are particularly useful, as are lists of the carb contents of certain foods and handy shopping lists of pantry staples while on the diet.

  • Stories of the author’s own health struggles, particularly weight loss, are a nice personal touch that some keto diet books include.

  • Frequently asked questions about the keto diet. These address common concerns, problems many have in following the diet or achieving the desired results, how to transition out of the diet without losing the benefits it achieved, and so on.

  • Meal plans are a very helpful addition to recipes. A 14-day or 30-day meal plan offers structure — and shopping lists! — to get the ball rolling.

Efficient and easy recipes

An excellent starter book for a beginner keto dieter and also for those looking to streamline their time in the kitchen. It’s one-stop shop cooking with these 5-ingredient recipes that are easy to follow and tasty to eat.

Keto diet book prices

Paperback keto diet books cost as little as $8 and up to $20, but many home chefs find spiral-bound diet books to be more convenient when cooking because they can lie flat while open to a recipe. This type of binding is more expensive and priced anywhere from $25 to $40.

Of course, your least expensive option is usually an e-book like a Kindle download, which is generally half the price of the paperback option. For instance, if a keto cookbook is priced around $20, the e-reader price is typically $9.99. However, cooking around your Kindle might not be ideal.

Tips for success on a keto diet

  • When beginning a keto diet, drink lots of water with electrolytes. Carbs tend to retain water, so you may find yourself using the bathroom more than usual when you start a ketogenic diet as your body sheds that water.

  • If you’re a woman, a lower carb diet can disrupt your hormone balance. You may do better on a moderately low-carb diet of 100 to 150 grams of carbs a day while still consuming a high level of fat.

  • Find a supportive community while attempting a keto diet. It can be confronting to loved ones who aren’t on the diet, and challenging to maintain if food is a big part of your social life.

  • Sticking to whole, real foods is always best. So, getting most of your fats from plant-based foods, meat, fish, and other one-ingredient foods will be better for your health overall than, say, recreating that chicken pot pie and cake with keto substitutions.

  • Always consult with a doctor or health care practitioner before starting a keto diet, especially if you have thyroid or other medical issues.

Other products we considered

Let’s face it: a ketogenic diet is not the easiest diet to follow — or understand! This is why we love books that simplify the process, like Keto Made Easy: 100+ Easy Keto Dishes Made Fast to Fit Your Life. You don’t have to miss out on your favorite foods with these easy-to-follow, easy-to-make recipes from this popular food blogger duo. It also has five meal plans for different kinds of keto diets, including vegetarian. A Bible for many keto dieters, Leanne Vogel’s The Keto Diet Book: The Complete Guide to a High-Fat Diet not only boasts 125 recipes but also is a great resource chock full of information to answer your every question about this sometimes perplexing diet. We love that it has five 28-day meal plans, taking the stress out of planning every meal for weeks or even months on end.

The keto diet is not “one size fits all.” For the best chance at success, tailor the keto diet to your biology and lifestyle with a targeted, standard, cyclical, or dirty keto diet.

FAQ

Q. What is the difference between a paleo and keto diet?

A. The paleo diet mimics how our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors ate during the Paleolithic era. It avoids grains but allows high-carb foods, such as sweet potatoes and carrots, that the keto diet eschews. Another differentiator is that traditional Paleo diets don’t allow dairy whereas full-fat milk products are a part of a keto diet. However, some Paleo diets allow ghee and other dairy products.

Q. How do you know when you’re in ketosis and your body is burning ketones instead of glucose?

A. Good question. For an accurate reading of when you’re in ketosis — that is, when your ketone levels measure 0.5 to 5 millimoles per liter — use urine sticks, a breath analyzer, or a blood meter. A less scientific way is to track your body for signs of ketosis: weight loss, a metallic taste in your mouth (produced by ketones), or reduced hunger.

Q. What is the “keto flu” and how can I avoid it?

A. When you first start a ketogenic diet, you may temporarily experience flu-like symptoms such as dizziness, brain fog, irritability, stomach trouble, insomnia, and more, as your body switches from burning glucose to burning fat. These symptoms can occur for a few days up to a few weeks and are a natural reaction that you’re encouraged to push through. You can alleviate symptoms by increasing hydration, electrolytes, and natural salt consumption. Get lots of rest and exercise gently. Lastly, consuming activated charcoal binds any toxins stored in the fat you’re shedding and can reduce nasty detox symptoms.

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