Alternatives to the Keto Diet


Dieting trends have evolved over the years, and today people want to prioritize their health and wellness. The ketogenic lifestyle appeals to many for its fair share of health benefits, but if it’s not your cup of tea, let’s talk about keto diet alternatives

Following a diet plan is not just about losing weight anymore, but involves adopting a fulfilling lifestyle and developing sustainable eating habits. Not every person has the same fitness and nutritional goals, so how come they follow the same diet?

Keto allows efficient weight loss by restricting carbs instead of creating a calorie deficit. However, you may have tried it and felt that it was not for you. If you’re looking for variation or considering a switch, here’s the list of top keto diet alternatives to choose from:

11 Keto Diet Alternatives

Do you seek a diet with lesser or varied limitations yet similar results to keto? One of the following keto diet substitutes and replacements might resonate with your likes and needs: 

The Cyclical Keto Diet

Let’s start with a diet that is closest to how keto works but still allows you to splurge on carbs every now and then. The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) is a keto alternative that lets you switch between periods of strict carbohydrate restriction and periods of higher carbohydrate consumption.

The Ketogenic Phase, having a duration of 5-6 days, requires you to follow the standard ketogenic diet. This entails consuming a high percentage of calories from healthy fats (70-80%), a moderate amount from protein (15-25%), and minimum carbs (5-10%).

The ketogenic phase is followed by a Carb Refeed or Carb-Loading Phase that typically lasts 1-2 days. During this period, you significantly increase your carbohydrate intake to replenish muscle glycogen stores and acquire a temporary boost of energy.

Mild Keto

Mild Keto is a refreshing take on keto diet alternatives that prioritizes micronutrients and nutritionally balanced meals. The slightly less restrictive nature of this diet permits more flexible macronutrient ratios while aiming to maintain ketosis.

Rather than obtaining a whopping 70-80% of your calories from fat, mild keto trims it to 60-65%. This leaves room for around 20% of calories from protein and another 20% of calories from carbs.

Nonetheless, bear in mind that the quality of carbs still matters, so always select high-value foods to strengthen your nutrition game.

Mild keto is likely to spare you the need for vitamin and mineral supplements often required with the standard keto diet. 

High-Protein Keto

If you solely wish to increase the amount of protein in your diet, the High-Protein Keto is a seemly alternative for Keto. This version of keto is particularly suitable for bodybuilders aiming to improve muscle mass.

The percentage of carbohydrates in the High-Protein Keto diet remains the same as in the regular ketogenic diet. However, the percentage of calories from protein can be raised up to 35% and the proportion of calories from fat is reduced to 55-60%

Despite the emphasis on protein, High-Protein Keto still includes a substantial amount of dietary fat, and thus the body can remain in ketosis. 

Paleo Diet

Our ancestors from the Old Stone Age relied on their hunting and foraging skills to survive. Therefore, their diet consisted of unprocessed foods in their raw or natural form.

The Stone Age is also known as the Paleolithic Period, and that’s where this keto diet alternative derives its name from. The purpose of the Paleo diet is to keep it simple and eat food in its organic form; this includes naturally occurring sugars like honey and maple syrup as well.

Paleo does not restrict any nutrients from your diet, which makes it well-balanced and fairly flexible. However, it excludes all refined or processed foods, which may limit options to a great extent. 

Atkins Diet

Out of all the alternatives to keto, the Atkins Diet has been around for the longest time. This diet involves the manipulation of carbohydrate consumption to promote weight loss and improve overall health.

The Atkins Diet consists of four phases: Induction, Balancing, Pre-Maintenance, and Maintenance. “Induction” is the most restrictive phase, which limits daily carbohydrate intake to around 20-25 grams, which is pretty much the same as in the Keto diet.

In the next phase “Balancing,” you gradually increase your daily carbohydrate intake by adding more vegetables, nuts, and seeds. During “Pre-Maintenance,” you approach your target weight and further increase carbohydrate intake by including fruits and starchy vegetables in your diet.

At the Maintenance phase, you’ve reached your desired weight, so you maintain a balanced diet and keep your macronutrient proportions in check.

Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)

The Targeted Keto Diet is yet another substitute to keto, largely recommended for athletes and gym buffs. Unlike the classic ketogenic diet, this version allows for targeted consumption of carbohydrates before or after intense physical activity.

The targeted approach provides a quick boost of energy during workouts while still maintaining a state of ketosis for the rest of the day.

Individuals on the Targeted ketogenic diet consume a controlled amount of carbs strategically around their training sessions. This carbohydrate intake is timed to provide energy for the exercise period and to support post-workout recovery.


The Whole30 diet promotes the consumption of whole and unprocessed foods for a 30-day period. It bears similarity to the Paleo diet with greater restrictions on the intake of sugar.

This short-term diet prohibits you from including artificial, as well as natural added sugars to your diet. The exclusion of sugars, grains, and processed carbs in the Whole30 diet makes it one of the most promising Keto Diet Alternatives

Even though Whole30 allows you to eat carb-rich fruits and starchy vegetables without limitations, it is still way more restrictive than keto. Dairy foods are totally off the table, and even organic healthy fats can only be consumed in moderation. 

Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet

The Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet cuts down carbohydrates from your meals, though not as much as the keto diet.

If you cannot drastically decrease the number of carbs in your daily food intake, this diet is a fair substitute for keto. I would also recommend this diet if you are not comfortable deriving up to 80% of your calories from fat every day.

This version of the Mediterranean diet offers more flexibility in food choices as compared to keto, and it is suitable as a long-term diet plan. It focuses on whole foods and provides a more balanced macronutrient ratio. 

Dukan Diet

The Dukan diet is a complex diet, consisting of four distinct phases: Attack, Cruise, Consolidation, and Stabilization. On the contrary, keto provides a constant diet approach.

While Keto focuses on a high-fat diet, the Dukan diet emphasizes lean proteins whilst minimizing portions of fats and carbs. Moreover, each phase of the Dukan diet is subject to different rules and food restrictions.

This alternative to Keto leads to rapid weight loss in the beginning, and it becomes more gradual after the first phase. In comparison, Keto itself allows for continuous and uniform weight loss by keeping the body in ketosis. 

The South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet is another feasible Keto diet alternative for people who do not want to restrict carbohydrates in their diet severely. 

Like the Dukan diet, it has multiple phases; the first phase excludes most carbs and sugars from the diet, but healthy carbs are gradually reintroduced in the later stages.

The South Beach diet promotes balanced meals and healthy eating habits over time, whereas keto focuses on minimizing carb intake and rapid weight loss through ketosis.

Carb Cycling

Carb Cycling and Keto are poles apart when it comes to the basic principles of each diet. Nonetheless, one thing both diets have in common is that they rely on carbohydrate manipulation to induce weight loss.

With Carb Cycling there are low-carb days, moderate-carb days, and high-carb days. The duration and interchange between these days depends upon your lifestyle, fitness goals, and personal preference.

Generally, high-carb days correspond with greater physical activity or intense workouts, and low-carb days coincide with rest days. 

The Carb Cycling diet is a Keto diet replacement for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who need more carbs to optimize physical performance on particular days. 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to Keto Diet Alternatives, the options are diverse, and the possibilities are endless. While the keto diet offers four individual variations tailored to different needs, you’re not limited to just those.

Diets like Atkins, Paleo, and Carb Cycling offer similar weight loss results minus some of the rigid rules of keto. The ultimate choice is yours because it all hinges on your preferred lifestyle, readiness for change, and motivation to achieve your fitness goals.

Whether keto didn’t work out for you or you long for a change, it’s okay. We hope that one of the keto diet substitutes proves to be the right fit for your journey to a healthier and happier you!