Keto Lingo A to Z

Want to learn to speak keto? From BPC to NSV, we've got you covered here! Browse these insider terms and tips, and you'll have a working vocabulary for the keto way of eating, as well as lifestyle wellness concepts. Active members of the Senza Keto & Fasting community see new Keto Lingo definitions regularly in the daily app feed. Follow along there, for a step-by-step guide to living a fun, informed, and rewarding keto life.

Active Calories

Additional calories burned during exercise, above and beyond your baseline daily caloric burn. The Senza keto app tracks active calories to adjust your nutrition goals for the day. You can adjust the exercise settings under your profile.


Apple Cider Vinegar. A zero-carb flavoring used in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and DIY kombucha drinks. Buy it raw, unfiltered, and "with the mother" for maximum health benefits.


Chemical compounds in plants that block the absorption of individual proteins, vitamins, and minerals. See this List of Common Antinutrients and learn how to eliminate them.


During multi-day fasts, the body gets rid of unwanted, non-functioning cells. Learn more on Autophagy: What Is It and 8 Ways to Enhance It


The percent of a nutrient that your body can absorb and use. For example, animal protein has a higher bioavailability than plant protein. 


Sometimes called citizen biology, this term refers to the process of experimenting with one's own body by adjusting nutrition, sleep, and other lifestyle factors to improve health, performance, aging, and longevity.

Blood Sugar\Blood Glucose Level

The amount of sugar present in one's blood at any given time. A fasting blood sugar of less than 100mg/dL or 5.6 mmol/L is considered normal. A blood meter device can measure both blood glucose and ketone levels from a single drop of blood. 


Body Mass Index, defined as an individual's weight in kg divided by the square of height in meters.


Basal Metabolic Rate, which refers to the energy needed to run the body's basic functions in a resting state. Senza estimates BMR based on a user's profile information to determine recommended macro settings.

Body Composition

The relative breakdown of muscle, bone, and body fat relative to overall tissue. When combined with strength training, the keto way of eating can help shift body composition toward increased leanness.


Shorthand for bulletproof-style coffee, which contains a tablespoon or more of butter, ghee, coconut oil, cacao butter, MCT, or other high-quality fat for energy.


An espresso drink made with half-n-half instead of milk, for a lower net carb drink. 


Coronary Artery Calcium, a scan that shows the amount of calcification in three main coronary arteries. Learn more about Keto & Heart Disease in this post from Dr. Peter Attia: Coronary artery calcium scan


One of three macronutrients, carbohydrates are a source of fuel that the body converts into glucose for energy. Sugar, starch, and fiber are included in the total grams of carbohydrates.

Carnivore Keto

The carnivore way of eating focuses on animal foods including meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and limited dairy. Most people following the carnivore lifestyle eat almost zero carbs and avoid all plants, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds - due to the inflammatory effects of antinutrients on the body.


Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices are wearable sensors that measure real-time glucose levels, so you can see trends and fine-tune how you do keto. Senza can import this data to your Trends page.


Clever name for a keto-friendly cheese waffle, usually made using a combination of shredded cheese, cream cheese, and almond or coconut flour. The Senza Recipe Box has many variations on this theme.

Chronic Inflammation

A constant, low-level immune response that can arise from lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of sleep, or high stress and contributes to adverse health conditions. 


Shorthand for Calories In, Calories Out, a way of  eating that focuses only on energy intake without considering macronutrient requirements and quality of foods eaten.

Clean Keto

A way of eating that is not only very low in net carbs and but also high in food quality. Eating a "clean" diet implies avoiding harmful chemicals and ingredients, such as additives, emulsifiers, artificial coloring/flavoring/sweeteners, and residual pesticides/herbicides used in conventional row crop agriculture.


A health condition that exists along with - and usually independently of - another illness or medical condition. For example, researchers are studying comorbidities related to COVID-19. 

Copycat Recipe

Keto copycat recipes mimic the flavors of well known restaurant favorites, such as Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup or Wendy's Chocolate Frosty. See more examples in this Hip2Keto blog post: "12 Keto Copycat Recipes


Shorthand for Conventional Wisdom, or the long-held beliefs that may need to be set aside in order to recover one's health.

Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD)

Also known as Carb Cycling, this way of eating refers to eating higher carbs one or two days a week and very low carb the rest of the time. This pattern is best suited by advanced keto-ers and athletes focused on increasing strength and performance. For people who are focused primarily on weight loss, carb cycling tends to start a vicious cycle of cravings and hunger that is difficult to break.

Deprescribing Meds

A planned and supervised process of reducing doses or stopping medication that may be causing harm or no longer providing benefit. Always ask your doctor about adjusting meds with keto. Read more about this process on the Diet Doctor blog: Have you ever heard your doctor use the word "deprescribe?"

Dietary Fat

Fat is one of three macronutrients found in food, and the primary source of energy for people on keto. Senza provides the fat macro as a ceiling to stay below for weight loss. In most cases, there's no need to eat the full amount of dietary fat each day.


Widely available from mobile clinics, this six-minute scan reveals a complete picture of your body composition, including bone, fat tissue and muscle. Learn more on this Body Spec page: What are DXA scans?

Egg Loaf

Popularized by @keto.sam.iam on Instagram, this keto-friendly dish can be made savory or sweet, and there are many variations on the theme. Read about the origins of this creative inspiration in a June 2020 post, from the creator herself: The Keto Egg Loaf


Did you know, our environment and behavior can influence which genes are turned on or off? Learn the basics on the "What Is Epigenetics" website: A Super Brief and Basic Explanation of Epigenetics for Total Beginners


A common ingredient in many keto products, this sugar alcohol and alternative sweetener does not spike blood glucose like real sugar does. You can buy it plain, or blended with other sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit extract. Wellness Mama Katie answers many questions here: Erythritol: Is This Artificial Sweetener a Healthy Alternative to Sugar?

Exogenous Ketones

Available as salts or esters, these supplements provide an exernal boost in ketones that are not produced by the body. See the Virta Health article by Stephen Phinney & Jeff Volek for an informed perspective on the pros and cons of ketone supplements

Fat Adapted

You can begin producing ketones within a few days of eating very low carb, but it takes weeks for the body to use them efficiently as the primary source for energy. We call this the process of becoming fat-adapted.

Fat Bombs

These keto treats are low in carbs and relatively high in healthy fats like butter, ghee, coconut oil, and cacao butter. Fat bombs are fun to make and delicious to eat; however, they are quite high in calories. Be sure to track accurately in your Senza Food Journal, so you can be sure to stay within your macros for the day. Find recipes on The Keto Summit blog post: What Are Keto Fat Bombs? How to Make Them in 3 Easy Steps

Fat Head Dough

Mozzarella, cream cheese, egg and almond flour form a versatile, low-carb dough for everything from rolls and bagels to pizza crust. Search the Senza Recipe Box for ways to make this dough.


Using a lower carb vegetable, such as cauliflower, turnip, or radish, in place of potatoes to make traditional recipes more keto-friendly. Enter the keyword "faux" in the Senza Recipe Box to find some suggestions.


Fiber is one of the three types of carbohydrates. It generally is not digested by the body, so Senza subtracts grams of fiber from total carbohydrates to calculate the net carbs for keto. More fiber may not be necessary or beneficial for optimal health. See this perspective from Dr. Georgia Ede on the Diagnosis Diet blog: Pulp Fiction: The Truth about Fiber

Glucose Ketone Index (GKI)

The GKI approximates insulin levels for people who are fat-adapted. If you are recording ketone and glucose measurements in Senza, you can see your GKI scores in the trends view.

Glycemic Index (GI)

A GI score refers to the relative impact of a food on blood sugar. A serving of 50g of pure cane sugar has a GI of 100. By comparison, maltitol has a GI of 60, while erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit extract have scores of near zero. Find the GI scores of common sweeteners on this Diet Doctor blog post: Keto sweeteners - the best and the worst

Glycemic Load (GL)

Glycemic Load takes the GI score a step further and considers portion size to estimate the effects of different foods on blood sugar. To learn more about GI and Gl in connection with keto, see the post, Glycemic Index VS. Glycemic Load on the website.


For decades, industry and government told us whole grains were healthy. They were wrong. The body does not need dietary carbs to thrive. And grains can spike blood sugar the same as refined sugar.


Grass-fed animals are raised on pasture and eat their natural diet, instead of the industrial grains that are used to fatten to conventionally raised animals. The nutrition content of grass-fed meat is higher than grain-fed; grass-fed meat contains fewer residual pesticides, and farmers who raise animals on pasture tend to follow more sustainable methods of farming. Learn more from ancestral health expert, Chris Kresser: Why Grass-Fed Trumps Grain-Fed


The period of one's life during which one is generally healthy and free of serious disease.

HIIT Workouts

High-intensity training refers to interval workouts with short bursts of near-maximum effort. This type of exercise is not recommended during the transition to ketosis. It's best to take it easy on exercise while your body adapts to burning fat for energy.


With only 0.4g of NC per tbsp, Heavy Whipping Cream is a popular keto ingredient for coffee, sauces, baked goods, and more. Choose a brand that contains only cream and no emulsifiers such as carrageenan, polysorbate 80, or gellan gum.

Hyperpalatable Foods

Manufacturers know how food affects brain chemistry, so they engineer hyper-palatable products that are high in carbs, fat, artificial flavors and additives to disrupt your body's natural hunger signaling.


Intermittent Fasting, or time-restricted feeding, is a pattern of eating during only a few hours of the day, while allowing the digestive system to rest for a longer period of time overnight. IF pairs well with keto to support weight loss.


If It Fits Your Macros is a way of thinking about fat loss purely from a macro nutrition point of view. Approached this way, keto can help to improve body composition, but IIFYM does not consider food quality or address health concerns of the heart, brain, or other organs.

Instant Pot

This popular appliance has taken keto kitchens by storm because it allows you to sauté, slow-cook, and pressure-cook all in one "smart" device. There are thousands of low-carb IP recipes published, and you can make large quantities of keto food in a relatively hands-off way.

Insulin Load

Insulin Load = Total Carbs - Fiber + .56 Protein. This formula helps you see the insulin response to foods you eat. Check it out in Senza Trends.


Shorthand for Low Carb High Fat, this term is seen less frequently, now that we understand restricting carbs is really the key to maintaining the state of ketosis. Although the keto way of eating is not "low fat," the term "high fat" can be misleading, since calories and overall energy intake do matter.

Loaded Cauliflower

If you're missing baked potatoes with the works, try a Loaded Cauliflower Casserole and enjoy all the toppings, without the carbs.


Short for macronutrients, this term refers to the three main nutrients found in food: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. For keto, your "macros" are the settings to follow for initiating and maintaining the state of ketosis, while making progress toward your health goals.


Imagine a pizza-like dish with all your favorite toppings, only ground meat instead of wheat flour for the crust. Delicious! Search the Senza Recipe Box for ideas.

Mindful Eating

A process of eating with intention, noticing how one feels after consuming a certain food, and making connections between food and health.


@benbikmanphd defines this term as "meeting one's caloric needs (unlike malnutrition), but not in a way that nourishes the body." To correct misnutrition, you have to eat real, unprocessed foods.

Mug Cake

Mug cakes and muffins are a popular keto treat for one. Search the Senza Recipe Box for ideas. Here's a tip: You'll have better luck with these recipes if you test how long it takes to scramble an egg in your microwave first.


Short for "not oatmeal," this grain-free breakfast substitute is made of low-carb nuts and seeds instead of high-carb oats. Search the Senza Recipe Box for DIY ideas.

Nose to Tail

A way of eating that refers to consuming all the parts of an animal, including nutrient-dense organ meat.


A Non-Scale Victory happens when you experience something positive on your keto journey that's not related to weight.

Nutrient Density

There are 43 essential nutrients that we have to eat because the body cannot produce them. Nutrient-dense foods give you the greatest quantity of these nutrients for the fewest calories.


One Meal a Day is a form of intermittent fasting in which you consume all calories and nutrients needed for the day within a one-hour window. OMAD can pair well with keto once you're fat adapted.

Paleo Keto

The paleo or ancestral way of eating focuses on foods that were part of the human diet before modernization. Paleo recipes generally do not use dairy, grains, legumes, or refined sugar as ingredients; however some do call for honey, coconut sugar, and other "natural" sweeteners, which are relatively high in carbs for someone following a keto diet. The term Paleo Keto refers to foods and recipes that are dairy-free, nutrient dense, and very low in net carbs.


Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids come in two types: omega-6 (inflammatory) and omega-3 (desirable). The ideal ratio for the human body is 1-1; however modern industrial farming and processed foods have raised our levels to dangerously high omega-6s. As Dr. Cate explains, eliminating seed oils is an important step to recover one's health. The Hateful 8: Enemy Fats that Destroy Your Health

Recipe Mod

A traditional recipe that has been adapted to be lower in net carbs and made into a keto-friendly meal.  

Regenerative Agriculture

A sustainable way of farming that focuses on rebuilding soil through rotational grazing and other practices. For more info, read Sacred Cow by Diana Rodgers and Robb Wolf.

Resistant Starch

Resistant types of starch are not digested by the body and may be beneficial for the gut. Examples include soluble tapioca fiber (different tapioca starch) and green bananas or plantains. 

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

Your Resting Metabolic Rate is the number of calories the body burns to maintain its basic functions, such as breathing and circulation, while completely at rest.

Sous Vide

Sous Vide refers to both a cooking method and a countertop appliance, also called an immersion circulator. The device circulates temperature-controlled warm water around a vacuum-sealed bag of meat, eggs, fish, or other foods, for optimal texture and even doneness. Meat usually is seared on the grill after the sous vide bath. Try cooking your steaks this way and you'll never go back! Read the article on The Kitchn: 4 Reasons Why Sous Vide Cooking Is Actually Practical for Home Cooks

Sub in a Tub

Coined by Jersey Mike's the sub-in-a-tub concept is when you order all the fillings of a traditional sandwich, except served in a bowl instead of on bread. For examples, see the keto fast food guide by Mr. SkinnyPants: Jersey Mike's Sub in a Tub Guide for Low Carb Dieters

Sugar Alcohols (Polyols)

Sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrate that do not spike blood sugar in the same way as pure cane sugar. Mostly derived in labs from starch, glucose, and sucrose, they have become widely used in low-carb products to reduce the amount of sugar needed to produce an appealing taste. Most people subtract grams of sugar alcohol from total carbs to calculate net carbs; however all sugar alcohols are not the same. Maltitol, for example, has more than half the glycemic load as pure cane sugar, yet food companies are allowed to label it as zero carb. If you're curious to try sugar alcohols as an alternative sweetener, look for products that contain erythritol instead of maltitol or sorbitol.

Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)

You might hear keto athletes talking about a TKD protocol to replenish muscle glycogen between intense workouts. Learn more on the Ketogains website: The Ketogains TKD Protocol

Theme Nights

Choosing a meal template for each day of the week simplifies your keto cooking decisions: Soup Sunday, Meatball Monday, Breakfast for Dinner, Burger Night, Pizza Friday... You get the idea!


Invented by Jimmy John's, an unwich is a low-carb sandwich without the bread, usually wrapped in lettuce leaves. Search the Recipe Box in the Senza feed for ideas.


A powerful blender, such as the Vitamix, is essential to the keto lifestyle. You'll use it to make high-fat coffees, smoothies, nut butters, pesto, and more. 


A Well Formulated Ketogenic Diet refers to a way of eating that is not only restricted in carbs but also nutrient-dense, while achieving a balanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.


Many people refer to keto as a Way of Eating (WOE), which is different from a diet, in that it implies a long-term lifestyle change and is open to interpretation and personalization, as long as one maintains the state of nutritional ketosis.

Zero Carb

Zero Carb-ers follow the carnivore way of eating, eat foods from the animal kingdom only, and avoiding all plants. For some, this approach helps maintain weight loss and optimal health. More info, follow Amber O'Hearn @KetoCarnivore on Twitter or join @ZeroCarbHealth on Facebook.

More Resources

For more help getting started with keto, see these posts:


Content provided by Senza is not medical advice. It is intended for informational and educational purposes only.