Keto 2.0: What You Need To Know (And Should You Try It?)
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Keto 2.0: What You Need To Know (And Should You Try It?)

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Keto 2.0: What You Need To Know (And Should You Try It?)

Posted 3 years ago

Brian Stanton

Brian Stanton


Tony O’Neill, PT, DPT, MSc, RDN

Tony O’Neill, PT, DPT, MSc, RDN

Author and Scientific Reviewer

Expert Approved

A new version of the Ketogenic diet is catching on in the low-carb community. It’s called Keto 2.0, and at least two factors explain its emergence. 

First, standard Keto can be... (sigh)... strict. No fruit, no starchy veggies, hardly any carbs at all. Keto 2.0 widens your dietary latitude, allowing you to indulge in the occasional carbohydrate-rich food. 

The other factor? A growing movement towards “clean Keto” and away from “dirty Keto”. Keto 2.0 epitomizes this movement—encouraging more plants, more fish, and fewer hamburgers soaked in veggie oil from the local fast food joint. 

This article will add some color to Keto 2.0. You’ll learn what it is, who it’s best for, and how to curate your Keto 2.0 foods. Read on.

What Is Keto 2.0? 

Keto 2.0 is a high-fat low-carb diet with a special focus on plants and fish. 

Many people were already eating a Keto 2.0 diet before Keto 2.0 was a thing. In many ways, “plant-based Keto” and “clean Keto” are synonymous with this way of eating. 

On Keto 2.0, you’re advised to get your Keto fats (the bulk of your calories) from plants. Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, unrefined red palm oil, and nuts are all approved options. Combine these fats with a big pile of vegetables and you have the foundation of a Keto 2.0 meal. 

The only thing missing is protein, and that’s where Keto 2.0 becomes more restrictive. Meat like beef, lamb, pork, and poultry are out. Fish and nuts are in. 

You can think of Keto 2.0 like a Mediterranean Keto diet. More fish, more plants, less meat, and lots of olive oil. 

Eating more fish can be a very good thing. When you eat fatty fish like sardines and salmon, you get a nice dose of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA—essential fats best known for supporting brain health and lowering inflammation.[*]

Keto 2.0 vs Standard Keto 

Keto 2.0 is basically a modified Keto diet with a Mediterranean twist. Let’s do a quick rundown of their similarities and differences.

Keto 2.0 vs Standard Keto Similarities

Keto 2.0 and Standard Keto have the same central rule: Carb restriction. 

When you limit carbs, it keeps blood sugar and insulin levels low—which signals your liver to start burning body fat and producing ketones.[*

This fat-burning state, called ketosis, is the driver of the Keto benefits you’ve read about: Weight loss, stable energy, reduced cravings, clearer cognition, etc.[*

Both Keto and Keto 2.0 eliminate grains and refined sugar. Keto 2.0, however, is more flexible with potatoes, fruits, and other “healthy carbs”. More on that soon. 

On both diets, most of your calories come from fat, followed by protein, with carbs a distant third. It’s the source of the fat and protein that differs. 

Keto 2.0 vs Standard Keto Differences

Keto 2.0 isn’t necessarily a vegan or vegetarian Keto diet, but it’s certainly more plant-based.

Recall from earlier: Less meat, more fish, more plants. 

Less meat, especially red meat, means less saturated fat. That’s good, right?

Maybe not. Although saturated fat has been demonized for decades, the latest science has found no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease.[*] [*] You don’t need saturated fat to make Keto work, but it’s not the artery-clogging menace it’s often made out to be. 

The other main difference between the two diets: Technically, with Keto 2.0, you have the option of adding more carbs. 

Keto 2.0 Macros

A normal Keto diet has you eating about 60-70% of your calories from fat, 20-30% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrates. Keeping your macros in these ratios promotes the fat-burning state known as ketosis.[*]

On Keto 2.0, you have the option to ratchet up carbs to 20% of calories and ratchet down fat to about 50% of calories. Protein stays the same. 

Remember, this is optional. Depending on your activity levels, it’s likely you won’t enter ketosis at 20% carbs, even if those carbs are from healthy sources like fruits, potatoes, and yams.

That’s because keeping carbs low is the key to ketosis. It’s the first step in the chain of events that gets you burning body fat.  

Nonetheless, carbs aren’t always incompatible with Keto. Consider adding carbs in these situations:

  • Hard exercise. Although fat fuels most exercise just fine, carbs can boost performance for harder or longer bouts of activity. These activities—which include CrossFit, marathons, jiu-jitsu, and HIIT training—are known as glycolytic because they demand glucose (carbs) for power.[*] Also: As a general rule, the more active you are, the more carbs you can tolerate and stay in ketosis.   
  • Weight loss plateaus. Some people do everything right on Keto and still get stuck at a certain weight. Counterintuitively, these folks may benefit from occasional carb refeeds. Why? Because eating carbs stimulates the release of leptin, a hormone crucial for bodyweight regulation.[*
  • Bored with Keto. Hey, you don’t need to be strict Keto your whole life. If you’re pining for fruit or sweet potatoes, give them a try and see how your body reacts. 

One more recommendation. If you’re doing Keto for the health benefits, don’t bump up the carbs until you’ve eaten a Standard Keto diet for at least a month. This will give you time to fat-adapt and establish a baseline. Then you can start fiddling with carbs. 

Quick note: If you’re using Keto to manage a specific condition like diabetes or epilepsy, be careful about bumping up carbs. Consult a knowledgeable health care provider before making any significant changes.

Sample Keto 2.0 Meal Plan

If you’re used to eating low-carb, the Keto 2.0 diet will be familiar territory. Here are some battle-tested Keto 2.0 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert:

Breakfast: Egg, Spinach, and Cheddar in a Mug

Lunch: Keto Asian Salmon Salad

Snack: Crispy Keto Kale Chips

Dinner: Keto Crab-stuffed Fish

Dessert: Keto Mug Dark Chocolate Brownie

Still hungry? Grab a handful of almonds. Nuts make awesome Keto foods, 2.0 or otherwise. 

Should You Do Keto 2.0?

Keto 2.0 isn’t so different from a normal Keto diet. You just subtract meat, replace the protein with fish and nuts, and go big on vegetables. 

You also have the flexibility to add more carbs. But since this could interfere with the health benefits of Keto, you’ll want to approach this shift mindfully. In general: The more active you are, the more carbs you can handle and stay in fat-burning mode. 

If you’ve always leaned towards a plant-based Keto diet, Keto 2.0 is probably for you. But remember, the additional carbs are optional. 

You can simply upgrade to Keto 2.0 by keeping carbs low, and bumping up plant and fish intake. Best of both worlds. 

If you do decide to change your Keto game plan, don’t do it alone. Make sure you're using the Carb Manager app to track macros, get expert support, and access thousands of Keto-friendly recipes. That’s how you make low-carb living easy. 

Comments 5

  • IncredibleMacadamia433393

    IncredibleMacadamia433393 10 months ago

    This is not a keto diet I don't even know why they're calling it Keto. I don't know what it is but it's not for me. No way am I going to cut out meat and chicken especially. I like plants No problem but more as part of a balanced diet. I cut down my carbs tho and that works for me. I mean let's be real here regular Keto can be restrictive enough and then you have something else here that is even more restrictive by cutting out people's favorite foods. Reducing carbs I totally agree with But to encourage people to eat more rabbit food basically and give up their favorite foods or meats is just not for me.

    • PatFNP

      PatFNP a year ago

      Why is poultry not a good choice? Never been a big fan of fish but could do chicken or turkey breast daily very easy.

      • lowcarbdieter2c52

        lowcarbdieter2c52 2 years ago

        I did this for 2+ years as an ovo lacto vegetarian. One of the things you guys are missing is that you can add yogurt. I figured out you could make yogurt using whole milk as a base but adding up to about 2 extra pints of heavy cream. Too much heavy cream and it won’t set up all the way. Sweeten with stevia and keep portions small but it adds huge health benefit (and protein). Also, mushrooms coupled with olive oil or other healthy fat can be a good protein source. What I’ll say is that in my experience if my carb excesses were all from low carb veggies and yogurt AND my fat intake was high enough absolutely I stayed in ketosis (confirmed repeatedly with test strips.

        • StellarRadish613557

          StellarRadish613557 3 years ago

          Check out Leanne Vogel for more info on "carb ups"! She doesn't stick to macro tracking, but she has great recipes and ideas similar to this article!

          • Winning@Life

            Winning@Life 3 years ago

            Interesting. Looks like my favorite eating plan is Keto 1.75? lol! I was already gravitating towards this style of eating with the exception of poultry. Chicken game hen, turkey bacon/sausage/drumsticks/ground, occasional lamb, and frequent servings of fish/crab/shrimp.