Targeted Ketogenic Diet- Is it Better than Standard Keto?

targeted ketogenic diet

If you’re someone who works out on a regular basis, the Targeted Ketogenic Diet might suit you best. This diet is just like the standard keto except that it allows you to eat a little more in the way of carbs.

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet or TKD is gaining huge popularity recently, especially among athletes, bodybuilders and even those who just want to eat more carbs although this is misguided as you will find out further on.

Those who find the keto diet challenging to maintain due to its restrictive nature have turned to the TKD. This diet allows them to eat more carbs but they have to be eaten before, during, and after a workout.

Sound appealing, right? So let’s take a closer look at what the Targeted Ketogenic Diet is and see if it is better than the standard ketogenic diet.

What is a Targeted Ketogenic Diet?

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet is just like the regular keto diet, except that you’re allowed to eat more carbs when working out.

Muscles need glucose for any type of anaerobic training. When they don’t have enough glucose, they will lack endurance and strength during exercise that requires a lot of effort.

It’s meant for those who are exercising regularly and are performing high-intensity exercises for longer periods. Examples are Crossfit, High-Intensity Interval Training, and Sprinting. However, the TKD will only work for you if you are already in ketosis.

Related reading: Are Slow Carbs Better Than Low Carbs for Weight Loss?

According to Drew Manning, an expert on keto and fitness and wrote the book, The Complete Keto,

“Targeted Ketogenic Diet, or TKD, is a way to transition to incorporating more carbohydrates in your diet after you have been in strict ketosis for a while. It is important to know that you should be strict keto for at least 60 days before transitioning to TKD because your body needs to become fat adapted first.”

By following the TKD after you’ve been on the standard keto, your body will already be aware of how to properly utilize glucose. It will still continue to produce ketones even when you consume some extra carbs.

Benefits of the Targeted Ketogenic Diet

If you do the Targeted Ketogenic Diet correctly, you will remain in ketosis despite eating more carbs. Therefore, you’ll enjoy the same benefits as what you will get when following the standard ketogenic diet.

Here are some of the biggest benefits of the keto diet:

  • Appetite control
  • Decreased level of insulin
  • Enhance the body’s fat burning abilities
  • Improve cognitive performance
  • Lower blood sugar level
  • Stable energy
  • Weight loss

Benefits of TKD For Your Exercise

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet has also been found to help improve your workout performance. Compared to the standard keto, the TKD will give you more energy for your exercise.

Consuming fast-absorbing carbs such as glucose or dextrose after, before, or during your intense exercises will make you feel fully energized, which is important for your workout routines.

Ginger Hultin, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has this to say about the TKD

“The idea here is that you may protect the body from burning its own muscle for fuel because you have enough glucose floating around in the blood stream for your body to use as energy and yet still stay in ketosis after the workout.”

Since you are eating the carbs to improve your workout performance and repair any damaged muscles, you could end up building even more muscles. But in order for you to get these benefits from the Targeted Ketogenic Diet, you must be in:

Fat adapted state – fat-adaptation is when your body is already in the state of ketosis, which will normally take place weeks after following the standard keto diet.

Glycogen depleted state – this happens when the carbs that you consume will remain in your blood instead of getting stored in muscles.

What To Eat on a Targeted Keto Diet

In terms of macronutrient, the TKD is pretty much the same as the standard ketogenic diet. You should still maintain 60% of healthy fats, 30% protein, and only 10% of carbs.

You should only eat healthy fats like avocados or olive oil. If you’ve been following the keto diet for a while, then you should already know the best fats to eat on a low carb diet.

It’s best to avoid eating fat just before or after exercise because it will impair your digestion and absorption of the carbs which you don’t want as you won’t get the benefit of it.

Of course, you must also eat the right proteins. It should contain all the essential amino acids that can fuel the growth of your muscles. Most importantly, be very careful with the type of carbs that you consume.

When following the Targeted Ketogenic Diet, you should consume about 15 to 50 grams of fast-absorbing carbs like glucose or dextrose. This must be taken before, during or after your workout session.

Take note that the type of carbs that you eat on the TKD will also matter. Just because you’re allowed carbs, doesn’t mean you can eat any type of carbs out there.

Only certain healthy carbs will do

Some advice I’ve read says to eat high glycemic foods that absorb fast into the body — sweet tarts, white bread or candy bars. This is bad advice and plain wrong. This diet does not give you carte blanche to eat whatever carbs you like.

If you want to take advantage of the TKD benefits, focus on eating healthy carbs. Examples are sweet potatoes, white potatoes, fruits, or even some white rice or a shot of glucose. You only need few bites not a whole plateful!

Should You Try the Targeted Keto Diet?

If you’re already in ketosis and you want to incorporate intense workouts in your lifestyle, then you should give the Targeted Ketogenic Diet a try.

However, to further understand if this diet is safe for you, you may want  to talk to a nutritionist or exercise therapist who is familiar with keto.

For those who are following keto for its health benefits, it is best to stick with the standard keto diet. There’s a chance that the TKD could put you out of ketosis unless you are doing some intensive exercise or you’ll miss out on the health benefits of keto.

Related reading: 5 Amazing Health Benefits of a Keto Diet

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet can work well for endurance athletes. CrossFit trainers can also benefit from this diet. As mentioned above, it can provide you with more energy to keep up with the rigorous exercises.

Anyone who wants to transition into eating some extra carbs while on keto may benefit from the TKD. Just make sure to check your blood ketones so you will know if you’re in the state of ketosis. Remember that if you are not yet in ketosis, the TKD will not work for you.


You’ll find several different types of ketogenic diets these days. Regardless of the type of keto diet that you want to follow, you must understand what the diet is all about to make sure that it’s the right one for you.

As for the Targeted Ketogenic Diet, you should follow it only when you’re in ketosis and that you’re performing intense workout exercises. It’s not better than standard keto for yuou if you are not working out regularly.

And remember, even though you are allowed to eat some more carbs with this diet it’s not much more and the quality of food is very important.


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