What is Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets.
This includes reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis.
When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It converts fat in the liver into ketones, which can supply energy to the brain.
Ketogenic diets can drastically decrease blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with increased ketones, has many health benefits.
Being on a diet is not the easiest thing in the world, especially when you don’t know what to eat. We have put together this ketogenic diet food list to help people find out what they are eating and shopping.
Below you can find a quick visual guide to eating on a ketogenic diet. Let’s go over some of the recognizable items that people use on keto:
All of the above foods meet the strict 5% carbohydrate allowance that we use on keto. In general, you can eat from the following food groups:
Fats & Oils: Try to get your fat from natural sources like meat and nuts. Supplemented with saturated and monounsaturated fats such as coconut oil, butter and olive oil.
Protein: Where possible, try to stick with organic, pasture-grown and grass-fed meats. Most meats do not contain sugar, so they can be consumed in moderate amounts. Remember that too much protein on a ketogenic diet is not a good thing.
Vegetables: Fresh or frozen does not matter. Stick with ground vegetables, leaning towards leafy / green objects.
Nuts and seeds: In moderation, nuts and seeds can be used to create some great textures. Try using fattier nuts like macadamias and almonds.
Dairy: Most dairy is fine, but be sure to buy full-fat dairy items. Hard cheeses usually have fewer carbs.
If you scroll down, you can break down what kind of food to eat, along with some ideas in each section! If you’re not much of a planning type and will follow to get food ideas, then have a look at our Keto Academy Program.
Fats and oils
When you are on a ketogenic diet, fat will be the majority of your daily calories, so choices should be made keeping in mind your likes and dislikes. They can be added in many different ways to add to your meal - topping sauces, dressings, or simply a piece of meat with butter.
Fats are important for our body, but they can also be dangerous if you are consuming too much of the wrong type of fat. There are a few different types of fats that are included in the ketogenic diet. Different foods usually have different combinations of fats, but unhealthy fats are easier to avoid. Here is a brief overview :
Saturated fats: Eat this Some examples of these are butter, ghee, coconut oil, and lard.
Monounsaturated fats: Eat this some examples of these are olive, avocado and macadamia nut oil.
Polyunsaturated fats: Understand the difference naturally animal protein and fatty fish contain polyunsaturated fat which is very good for you, and you should eat it. Polyunsaturated fats processed in “heart healthy” margarine spreads are bad for you.
Tran’s fats: Avoid completely. These are processed fats that are chemically altered (hydrogenated) to improve shelf life. Avoid all hydrogenated fats, such as margarine, as they are associated with heart disease.
Saturated and monounsaturated fats such as butter, macadamia nuts, avocados, egg yolk and coconut oil are more chemically stable and less inflammatory for most people, so they are preferred. Below, you can see some common ways to increase fat content on a ketogenic diet.
Below, you will find a visual list of proteins that are commonly consumed on a ketogenic diet. Note that the higher the protein content, the less you will want to consume.
When it comes to protein, your best bet is to choose grazing and hay. This will minimize your bacterial and steroid hormone intake. Where possible, try to choose darker meat with poultry, as it is much lighter than white meat. Fatty fish intake is a great way to get omega 3 as well.
Some examples of how to get your protein on a ketogenic diet are given below:
Fish: Preferably eating anything that is caught wild such as catfish, cod, flounder, halibut, mackerel, mahi-mahi, salmon, snapper, trout and tuna. Fattier fish is better.
Shell: Clams, oysters, lobster, crab, scallops, muscles and squid.
All eggs: If possible try to free them from the local market. You can prepare them in many different ways, such as fried, crunchy, steamed, burnt and fried.
Beef: Ground beef, steak, roasts and stew meat. Stick with fattier cuts where possible.
Pork: Ground Pork, Pork Loin, Pork Chops, Tenderloin and Ham. Watch out for added sugars and try to stick with fattier cuts.
Poultry: Chicken, duck, quail, pheasant and other wild game.
Internal organs / organs: Heart, liver, kidney and tongue. Offal is one of the best sources of vitamins / nutrients.
Other meat: Veal, Goat, Lamb, Turkey and other wild game. Stick with fattier cuts where possible.
Bacon and Sausage: Check the label for anything that is cured in sugar, or if it contains additional filler. Should not be associated with nitrates.
Vegetables and Fruit
Below, you will find a visual list of fruits and vegetables that are commonly consumed on a ketogenic diet. Note that the higher the amount of carbs, the less you will want to consume.
Vegetables are a paramount part of a healthy keto diet, but sometimes we cling to decisions that we may later regret. Some vegetables are high in sugar and do not cut it nutritionally - so we need to get them out.
The best types of vegetables for a ketogenic diet are high in nutrients and low in carbohydrates. These, as most of you can guess, are dark and leafy. Anything that resembles spinach or kel will fall into this category and it will be the best thing to include it in whatever you can.
Be careful and monitor vegetables (and their associated carb counts) in any of your meals. Try to limit your intake specifically:
High Carb Vegetables: This includes onions, parsnips, garlic, mushrooms and squash.
Nightshades: It includes tomatoes, brinjals and chilies.
Java Plum: This includes raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.
Sour: It contains lemon, lime, and orange juice (or zest) in water and in dishes.
Avoid completely starchy vegetables and large fruits such as potatoes and bananas.
Below, you will find a visual list of dairy that is commonly consumed on a ketogenic diet. Note that the higher the amount of carbs, the less you will want to consume.
Dairy is usually consumed with food on keto. Try to keep your dairy consumption to a moderate level. Most of your food should come from protein, vegetables and excess fat / cooking oil.
If available, raw and organic dairy products are preferred. Highly processed dairy normally contains 2–5x carbohydrates such as raw / organic dairy so it grows over time. Be sure to choose fat-free or low-fat full-fat products, as they will have more carbs and less “filling” effects.
Some examples of dairy to eat on keto are:
- Greek yogurt
- heavy whipping cream
- Cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mascarpone, cream fraiche, etc.
- Soft cheese which includes mozzarella, brie, blue, colby, monterey jack, etc.
- Aged Cheddar, Parmesan, Feta, Swiss, including hard cheese.
Cravings and Sugar Addiction
Most cravings occur from sugar. Sugar, at the end of the day, is an industry that runs on addiction. Several studies have shown that sugar stimulates the brain’s reward centers.
When we consume sugar continuously, we release dopamine in our brain - creating an addiction and an increased tolerance. Over time, you will have to consume large and high amounts of sugar to continue the secretion of dopamine. Once our body is dependent on a chemical reaction in the brain, we can find that we are craving things even when we are not hungry.
When trying to shift from a high carb diet to a ketogenic diet, craving can certainly be stronger. It is always good to try to clean the house before you start so that you do not eat food around you that can harm you. We recommend that when switching to keto, you prohibit using the sweetness completely for the first 30 days. This usually leads to breaking the sugar addiction and ultimately no cravings.
Apart from sugar, food cravings sometimes occur due to lack of nutrients in our body. The craving usually goes away if you complete your nutritional intake in a different way. Below you will see some ways to get rid of the pesky cravings that hit you.
Foods to Avoid
By now, you should have a good idea of what to eat on a ketogenic diet. Make sure you read through the list of acceptable foods to make mental foods and re-read what kind of food you want to eat.
If you are still unsure of any products or foods that may not be compatible with keto, do not worry too much. Below, you will find a list of things for which you should always look outward.
Sugar: It is commonly found in soda, juice, sports drinks, candy, chocolate, and ice cream. Anything that is processed and sweet, you can most likely think of sugar. Avoid sugar at all costs.
Grain: Any wheat products (bread or buns), pasta, cereals, cakes, pastries, rice, corn and beer should be avoided. This includes whole grains such as wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat and quinoa.
Starch: Avoid vegetables (like potatoes and yam) and other things like oats, musli, etc. Some root vegetables are fine in moderation - be sure to read the section on vegetables.
Trans fats: Margarine or any other dispersed replacement butter should be avoided as they contain hydrogenated fat (bad for us).
Fruits: Avoid any large fruits (apples, oranges, bananas) as they are very high in sugar. Some berries can be consumed in small quantities - do read the section on fruits.
In general, the more “real” the food, the better for you. While some processed foods are acceptable, many are not. Make sure you read through the ingredients and nutrition information to make sure it can fit into your diet.