If keto is too restrictive for you, keto 2.0 may be a better fit for your needs.
Probably by now, you have heard of the ketogenic diet (or keto diet)—a diet that requires carb restriction, increased fat consumption and a moderate protein intake. Research, such as a 2020 review in Cureus, has shown that this diet may be linked to some positive health outcomes, including short-term weight loss, better blood pressure and improved blood sugar control, leading many people to test the keto waters to see what it’s like.
But the keto diet isn’t all roses. Cutting carbs and eating loads of fat can lead to some unsavory side effects, including constipation, fatigue and potential nutritional gaps—specifically thiamin, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium, per a 2021 article in Frontiers in Nutrition. Additionally, this diet is relatively restrictive, especially for carb lovers, which can lead people to find difficulty complying with the set guidelines over the long run.
So, what’s the solution for people who want to reap the benefits of a keto diet without complying with such a restrictive eating method? Keto 2.0 is a less-restrictive version of the OG keto diet that has become popular in its own right.
This article will cover the keto 2.0 diet, how it differs from the traditional keto diet and what you need to know if you choose to follow it.
The Characteristics of Keto 2.0
Keto 2.0 can be viewed as a “new and improved” version of the keto diet. “Keto 2.0 is a more liberalized version of the ketogenic diet that allows for more daily carbohydrates,” Taylor Fazio, M.S., RD, CDN, a registered dietitian, told EatingWell. While the ketogenic diet typically reduces total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams daily, keto 2.0 “increases [the] daily carbs limit to 20% of daily calories,” Fazio added. For a person who follows a 2,000-calorie diet, this would mean that they can eat up to 100 grams of carbs every day. “This increased allotment of carbs allows those on keto 2.0 to include more nourishing foods such as fruits, certain vegetables and some fiber-rich whole grains,” shared Fazio.
Here’s a comparison between the percentage of calories from each macronutrient when following keto 2.0 versus what the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends:
|Macronutrient||Keto 2.0||2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans|
As you can see, keto 2.0 is much higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates than the Dietary Guidelines recommends for most adults. The percentage of calories consumed from protein when following keto 2.0 and the Dietary Guidelines are similar.
What’s the Difference Between Keto 2.0 and the Keto Diet?
Both keto and keto 2.0 are far lower in carbs and higher in fat than what is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. Specifically, here are the macro differences between the two:
Similarities and differences between keto and keto 2.0 include:
Both Restrict Carbs, but Keto 2.0 Allows More
The keto diet and keto 2.0 require people to limit their carbohydrate intake. Yet, keto limits carbs to 2% to 10% of the calories consumed, while keto 2.0 allows for a bit more of this macro—up to 20% of carbs can come from carbs. For comparison, the Dietary Guidelines recommends people consume 45% to 65% of their calories from carbs.
To put that into perspective, 1 cup of cooked long-grain enriched white rice has around 45 grams of carbs, meaning that someone who follows keto 2.0 and consumes 2,000 calories per day could eat more than 2 cups of rice per day while adhering to the diet. However, someone following a strict keto diet—if only allowed 2% of carbs (10 grams of carbohydrate)—could eat less than 1/4 cup of rice per day.
Both Increase Fat Consumption, but Keto Requires More
The keto and keto 2.0 diets require you to increase your fat consumption. Keto specifies people consume 90% of their calories from fat, or 70% to 80% if less restrictive, while keto 2.0 sets a goal of 50% of calories from fat. Both limits exceed the 20% to 35% calories from fat limit suggested by the Dietary Guidelines.
You May Experience Less Constipation on Keto 2.0
While no studies exist that confirm that following keto 2.0 results in fewer instances of constipation versus the keto diet, Dale Bredesen, M.D., a neuroscience researcher and neurodegenerative disease expert, explains that switching to keto 2.0 allows for the benefits of increased prebiotic fiber, which can help support a healthy gut microbiota and possibly help support regular bowel movements.
Many sources of fiber are also sources of carbohydrates. So, if a keto 2.0 participant chooses high-fiber carbs to meet their quota (think berries, fruit with the peel, beans, quinoa), they will consume more fiber, which may help them have more regular bowel movements, per a 2022 preliminary study in Przeglad Gastroenterologiczny.
You May Take in More Phytonutrients on Keto 2.0
Keto 2.0 allows for more carbs than the original keto diet. Because of this, people who follow keto 2.0 may consume more fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes—foods that contain plant compounds, or phytonutrients, that may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits, per a 2022 article in Nutrients.
Does Keto 2.0 Also Lead to Ketosis?
Ketosis happens when the body burns fat for energy instead of glucose (sugar) and is an integral part of the ketogenic diet. When the body is deprived of carbohydrates, it can form ketones, entering a state of ketosis and contributing to weight loss. These ketone bodies can be easily used for energy production, allowing the body to maintain efficient fuel production, even when calories are restricted, per StatPearls.
“The major issue with keto 2.0 is whether, in fact, ketosis is achieved, and this will depend on a complex set of issues, such as cortisol levels, circadian rhythms, body fat, gut microbiome, insulin resistance and other factors,” Bredesen shared. “For some, mild ketosis is likely to occur, whereas, for others, it will not.”
Since keto 2.0 does not require you to limit carbohydrates as strictly as the ketogenic diet, one concern is that the body might not enter a state of ketosis when following this newer version.
Bredesen added that “for those in whom ketosis is not triggered [when following keto 2.0], the diet is simply a relatively low-carb diet, and cannot be referred to as ‘keto.’ Lack of ketosis reflects lack of fat burning and therefore, much less likely weight loss.”
Benefits of Keto 2.0
“Following a lower-carbohydrate diet [like keto 2.0] reduces intake of sugar-laden foods and other simple carbohydrates. Monitoring carbohydrate intake can encourage participants to read nutrient fact labels and ingredient lists, increasing their nutrition knowledge and awareness. For most Americans, managing blood sugar through increasing fiber, proteins, healthy fats and limiting foods that are not nutrient-dense, such as foods avoided in keto 2.0, can assist in improving metabolic health,” shared Fazio.
Following keto 2.0 involves including certain foods in your diet while eliminating others. Some of the foods that are consumed on the keto 2.0 diet are:
- Olive oil
- Low-carbohydrate vegetables
- Low-sugar yogurt
- Unsweetened plant-based milk
Fazio explained that “fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains are all forms of carbohydrates. Within the set parameters of keto 2.0, [dieters] may be limiting these nutrient-rich foods.”
While it is true that keto 2.0 allows for more carbohydrate consumption than the ketogenic diet, this macro is still limited. Sticking to a 20% carbohydrate limit makes it challenging to consume the recommended 1½ to 2 servings of fruit, 3 to 5 servings of whole grains, and 3 servings of dairy daily, per the Dietary Guidelines. Not eating enough of these nutrient-packed foods can increase the risk of underconsumption of certain micronutrients, including vitamin C.
“Eliminating any food group can also increase food anxiety and the potential to result in disordered eating,” Fazio shared.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is keto 2.0 different from keto?
Keto 2.0 allows participants to eat more carbohydrates than what is allowed on the keto diet. The keto 2.0 diet allows 20% of calories from carbohydrates, and the original keto diet allows only 2% to 10%. Additionally, keto 2.0 is lower in fat than traditional keto.
Is there a healthy version of keto?
Whether or not the keto diet is right for you depends on a variety of reasons, and you shouldn’t try it without medical supervision. That said, your specific choices can result in a healthier diet, depending on what ends up on your plate. Opting for nutrient-dense foods, like avocado, nuts and berries, will result in a healthier keto diet.
What ketone level is best for weight loss?
“The idea is to burn fat, and that is reflected in ketone level. The goal is mild ketosis, which is 0.5-3.0 mM body β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB),” explained Brednesen. This can be tested from a urine test.
The Bottom Line
Keto 2.0 is a version of the keto diet that allows for more carbohydrates and doesn’t emphasize as much fat intake as the original keto version. Since this is a newer diet, no clinical trials are available to determine whether this diet is safe or effective. Theoretically, following a keto 2.0 diet can be a viable option for those who want to adopt a ketogenic lifestyle but want to include more carbohydrates. However, until reliable data is available that focuses on the outcomes of this diet, nobody can definitively say that following this diet is a good idea or otherwise.
If you follow the keto 2.0 diet, including nutrient-dense foods, like berries, avocado, nuts, olive oil, fruit, veggies and eggs, can help you avoid experiencing nutritional gaps. And before you start this (or any diet), ensure your health care provider gives you the green light to embark on your keto 2.0 journey before you start limiting your carbs and bumping up your fat intake.