Keto 2.0: Pros, Cons, and Food List – Should You Try It?

The keto diet, known for its numerous health benefits apart from weight loss, involves decreasing carbohydrates to only 5-10% and shifting the energy sources through increased fat intake. However, the increase in fat intake raised concern among medical professionals, prompting them to create keto 2.0.

This article will help you understand everything about keto 2.0, how it differs from traditional keto, its benefits, and its risks.

What’s the Difference Between Keto 2.0 and the Keto Diet?

The main difference between keto and keto 2.0 is the macronutrient ratio, where keto 2.0 allows more carbohydrates.

Traditionally, the keto diet focuses1 on very low carbohydrate intake and focuses more on foods containing high fat to activate ketosis and improve overall health. However, some people interpret a “high-fat diet” as eating greasy and oily foods, which contradicts its purpose.

Medical professionals have seen increases in cholesterol levels2 among followers of the keto diet, prompting them to create keto 2.0, and here’s how they differ:

Macronutrient Ratios: Keto 2.0 Allows More Carbohydrates

Traditional keto restricts carbohydrate intake more, while keto 2.0 allows more, at about 20% of calories per day. Keto 2.0 also has a stricter list of food options, aiming to have their advocates consume more fiber than the traditional keto.

Traditional Keto:

  • Fat: 70-75%
  • Protein: 20-25%
  • Carbs: 5-10%

Keto 2.0:

  • Fat: 50%
  • Protein: 30%
  • Carbs: 20%

Dietary Flexibility: Less Red Meat, More Fiber with Keto 2.0

Here’s the critical part: people have misconceptions about the traditional keto diet, thinking they can eat anything fatty, but that’s not supposed to be the case. We emphasize a well-balanced, nutrient-dense keto diet.

However, keto 2.0 focuses on more plant-based sources of nutrients, aiming to lower gastrointestinal issues previously observed when people started traditional keto.

With that said, keto 2.0 encourages less meat intake, especially red meat, getting more protein and healthier fats from fish, and focusing on increasing fiber intake.3 Besides that, traditional keto and keto 2.0 are similar.

Customization for Individual Needs

Because of the more liberated carbohydrate allowance, keto 2.0 claims to be more suitable for more people, especially those who need more carbohydrates, including athletes and those with health conditions that need increased fiber intake.

However, this does not mean that traditional keto is unhealthy. It’s crucial to understand that keto 2.0 was created to form a stricter set of boundaries to prevent keto followers from getting fat from meat options.

keto 2.0 focuses fish and avocados

Does Keto 2.0 Also Lead to Ketosis?

Yes, research suggests that keto macronutrient variations, such as those seen in keto 2.0, may still lead to ketosis. However, this depends on the following factors:

  • Body fat
  • Hormone levels (insulin and cortisol)
  • Daily activities
  • Gut microbiome
  • Circadian rhythm

While most will likely get into ketosis, some may just experience mild ketosis, while others may not be able to at all.

Most studies on ketosis use around 30 grams of carbohydrates and 1 g/kg body weight protein per day4 to achieve ketosis among its subjects.

However, a systematic review of clinical trials5 concluded that a low-carbohydrate diet (more than 50 g/day) shows the same benefits as a very low-carb ketogenic diet in terms of weight loss, decreased BMI and waist circumference, blood pressure, HbA1c, and increased HDL or good cholesterol.

Moreover, traditionally, concerns have been raised about excess protein hindering ketosis due to gluconeogenesis, a process where the body converts protein into glucose.

However, recent research indicates that moderate protein intake does not necessarily impede ketosis,6 especially when maintained at less than 1 gram per kilogram of body weight.

The bottom line is that the occurrence of ketosis on keto 2.0 greatly depends upon one’s body metabolism,7 but you may always incorporate intermittent fasting with keto 2.0 to enhance ketosis.

Benefits of Keto 2.0

Most studies suggest that taking 20% of carbohydrates doesn’t make that much change, which means you will technically reap the same benefits as doing the traditional keto diet.

These benefits include the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Stable blood sugar levels
  • Increased mental clarity
  • Increased energy levels
  • Anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects
  • Appetite regulation
  • Potential cancer benefits

However, due to the small changes, there are other benefits that you can get from keto 2.0, which include the following:

Enhanced Nutrient Diversity

By allowing a more diverse range of nutrient-dense foods, keto 2.0 addresses this concern. Including a broader variety of vegetables, fruits, and proteins ensures a more comprehensive intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, supporting overall health.

Improved Satiety and Adherence

With a slightly higher protein and fiber allowance, keto 2.0 may enhance feelings of fullness, potentially promoting better adherence.

The increased flexibility in food choices can also contribute to a more sustainable approach, making it easier for individuals to incorporate into their lifestyles.

Potential Metabolic Flexibility

By introducing a more flexible carbohydrate threshold, keto 2.0 may promote metabolic adaptability. This flexibility could be particularly advantageous for individuals with varying physical activity levels or fluctuating energy demands.

Sustainable Long-Term Adherence

With its emphasis on a balanced and varied dietary pattern, keto 2.0 aims to be more sustainable over the long term. Including a wider array of foods may enhance the overall palatability of the diet.

Lesser Risk for Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea and constipation, are the most common side effects of the traditional keto diet,8 mainly due to the lack of fiber intake.9

With keto 2.0, these risks are expected to decrease and even improve overall gut health through increased vegetable and fruit intake.10

Risks and Side Effects of Keto 2.0

Keto Flu and Transition Symptoms

Although potentially less severe due to the adjusted macronutrient ratios, individuals entering ketosis with keto 2.0 may still experience transitional symptoms,5 often called the keto flu.

Adequate hydration, electrolyte balance, and gradual dietary changes can help mitigate these effects.

Nutrient Deficiencies

While less restricted to vegetables than traditional keto, one can only eat so many carbs with the 20% allowance. For females, 20% is about 400 calories,11 which could be too few if you eat the wrong carbohydrate source.

For instance, a cup of rice has 206 calories for 0.6 g of fiber, while a serving of green lettuce (100 grams) only has 15 calories for 1.3 g of fiber. As you can see, whether with traditional keto or keto 2.0, the right food options are all that matter to avoid nutritional deficiencies.

Should You Try Keto 2.0?

The answer to this depends on you. If you’re choosing between traditional keto and keto 2.0, there isn’t really much of a difference, except for the less red meat and more vegetables on keto 2.0.

Therefore, keto 2.0 can be a good transition for former vegetarians.

If you haven’t started any keto diet yet, keto 2.0 would be an excellent start to get your body acquainted with how ketosis works and move to traditional keto to achieve a higher level of ketosis.

Keto 2.0 might look more flexible on paper but more restrictive. Restricting animal proteins also does not allow the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, such as beef liver.

We do not recommend keto 2.0 in the long term since traditional keto offers more health benefits and food options.

Keto 2.0 Food List

If you want to try keto 2.0 and don’t know what to eat, we’ve created this food list of healthy options to achieve the required nutritional balance.

50% Fat

  • Fatty Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Sardines)
  • Oils, such as extra virgin olive, coconut, flaxseed, and avocado oil
  • Nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, walnuts, and cashews
  • Seeds such as sunflower, chia, and flax
  • Avocados
  • Dairy: fresh cheese, nut butter, nut cheese.

30% Protein

  • Fish: Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines, Trout, Tuna
  • Shellfish: Shrimp, Crab, Lobster, Mussels, Clams
  • Eggs
  • Tofu, Tempeh, Edamame, Lentils, Chickpeas (moderate carb content, but high in fiber)
  • Almonds, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds

20% Carbohydrate

  • Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Lettuce)
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Bell Peppers
  • Berries (Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries)

The Bottom Line

Keto 2.0 refines the traditional ketogenic diet by prioritizing plant-based and fish sources for fats and proteins, along with low-carb, high-fiber options.

It offers a balanced and customizable approach to achieving and maintaining ketosis. But it may take longer to get into ketosis.

While there is evidence of ketosis while doing keto 2.0, results still vary per individual, and personal choices greatly affect the outcomes.

Keto 2.0 is more restrictive and built around the fear of saturated fat that many researchers and low-carb health professionals have worked so hard to dispel.

If you’re unfamiliar, the latest research has shown that the idea that saturated fat causes cardiovascular disease is unfounded,12 and replacing saturated fat in your diet with omega-6 may adversely affect your heart.13

Moreover, studies14 show that keto diets increase the size of LDL particles while decreasing their number in the bloodstream, eliminating the concerns about cholesterol levels some people have.

Keto 2.0 is a step back from the purpose of keto influenced by outdated concerns of mainstream health. If you want to reap the full health benefits, take keto 2.0 as a stepping stone to traditional keto.

As always, people with certain conditions should seek medical advice before starting traditional keto or keto 2.0.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is keto 2.0 a real thing?

Yes, numerous medical professionals advocate for keto 2.0, claiming its benefits for ketosis while maintaining nutrient balance to avoid compromising gut and vascular health. Even without lean meat sources, keto 2.0 focuses on plant-based fat to achieve ketosis.

Is 2.0 a good ketone level?

Nutritional ketosis often shows blood ketone levels of 0.5 – 3 mmol/L, which means 2.0 ketones is a good indication that ketosis has started.

What is stage 2 keto diet?

Stage 2 ketosis, often known as phase 2, is a progression level that involves adaptation, entering nutritional ketosis, and sustaining adherence for metabolic benefits.


1Masood W, Annamaraju P, Khan Suheb MZ, et al. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2023 Jun 16]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

2Schmidt T, Harmon DM, Kludtke E, Mickow A, Simha V, Kopecky S. Dramatic elevation of LDL cholesterol from ketogenic-dieting: A Case Series. Am J Prev Cardiol. 2023 Apr 6;14:100495. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpc.2023.100495. PMID: 37096158; PMCID: PMC10121782.

3Barber TM, Kabisch S, Pfeiffer AFH, Weickert MO. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients. 2020 Oct 21;12(10):3209. doi: 10.3390/nu12103209. PMID: 33096647; PMCID: PMC7589116.

4Dashti HM, Mathew TC, Hussein T, Asfar SK, Behbahani A, Khoursheed MA, Al-Sayer HM, Bo-Abbas YY, Al-Zaid NS. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2004 Fall;9(3):200-5. PMID: 19641727; PMCID: PMC2716748.

5Batch, J. T., Lamsal, S. P., Adkins, M., Sultan, S., & Ramirez, M. N. (2020). Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article. Cureus, 12(8).

6Hiroux, C., Schouten, M., Simon, C., Crampes, F., Hespel, P., & Koppo, K. (2022). Effect of increased protein intake and exogenous ketosis on body composition, energy expenditure and exercise capacity during a hypocaloric diet in recreational female athletes. Frontiers in Physiology, 13.

7Gershuni, V. M., Yan, S. L., & Medici, V. (2018). Nutritional Ketosis for Weight Management and Reversal of Metabolic Syndrome. Current Nutrition Reports, 7(3), 97.

8Rew, L., Harris, M. D., & Goldie, J. (2022). The ketogenic diet: Its impact on human gut microbiota and potential consequent health outcomes: A systematic literature review. Gastroenterology and Hepatology From Bed to Bench, 15(4), 326-342.

9Yang, J., Wang, P., Zhou, L., & Xu, F. (2012). Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: A meta analysis. World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG, 18(48), 7378-7383.

10Lakshmanan, A. P., Mingione, A., Pivari, F., Dogliotti, E., Brasacchio, C., Murugesan, S., Cusi, D., Lazzaroni, M., Soldati, L., & Terranegra, A. (2022). Modulation of gut microbiota: The effects of a fruits and vegetables supplement. Frontiers in Nutrition, 9.

11Osilla EV, Safadi AO, Sharma S. Calories. [Updated 2022 Sep 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

12Ramsden, C., Hibbeln, J., Majchrzak, S., & Davis, J. (2010). N-6 Fatty acid-specific and mixed polyunsaturate dietary interventions have different effects on CHD risk: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition, 104(11), 1586-1600. doi:10.1017/S0007114510004010

13Hamley, S. (2017). The effect of replacing saturated fat with mostly n-6 polyunsaturated fat on coronary heart disease: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Nutrition Journal, 16.

14Wood, R. J., Volek, J. S., Liu, Y., Shachter, N. S., Contois, J. H., & Fernandez, M. L. (2006). Carbohydrate restriction alters lipoprotein metabolism by modifying VLDL, LDL, and HDL subfraction distribution and size in overweight men. The Journal of nutrition136(2), 384–389.

Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc. is an author and blogger from Austria who writes in-depth content about health and nutrition. His book series on Interval Fasting landed #1 on the bestseller list in the German Amazon marketplace in 15 categories.

Stephan is a true man of science, having earned multiple diplomas and master's degrees in various fields. He has made it his mission to bridge the gap between conventional wisdom and scientific knowledge. He precisely reviews the content and sources of this blog for currency and accuracy.

Click on the links above to visit his author and about me pages.

Leave a Reply