This article is reviewed by a team of registered dietitians and medical doctors with extensive, practical clinical and public health experience.
Keto Diet Foods List: Everything You Can & Can Not Eat
The majority of obesity instances are due to bad eating habits. Today, obesity affects about a billion people, including 39 million kids, 340 million teenagers, and 650 million adults.
And according to the World Health Organization, nearly 167 million children and adults will be overweight or obese by 2025, putting their health at risk.
Because these figures are concerning, millions of individuals are altering their diets. Diets like Paleo and Ketogenic (keto), combined with exercise, help people lose weight. And science backs up some of these weight loss and keto diet promises.
One study, among several others, included 89 obese people for a year on a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet. They were on a keto diet for the first half of the year, and the second half was a calorie-reintroduction Mediterranean diet. After a year, the individuals lost 10% of their body weight, one testament to the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet.
This article examines keto food lists for overall health and weight loss.
Foods You Can Eat on the Ketogenic Diet
First and foremost, before we delve deeper into the keto foods list, let’s look at what a ketogenic diet looks like. A ketogenic diet contains foods with this profile: low carbohydrates (carbs), high fat, and moderate protein foods. Such a diet makes the body naturally switch its energy source from sugars consumed to the fats stored through a metabolism state called ketosis.
While in ketosis, the body burns fats converting them to ketone bodies that the body uses as energy. So, the keto-friendly foods below help the human body make that switch naturally and stay in that state for weight loss.
One of the keto foods that happen to be an abundant supply of healthy fats is avocados. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, folate, magnesium, and potassium. They also offer the body a better absorption of beta carotene and an increased supply of lutein and omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy, beneficial fats and nutrients can help you feel fuller between meals.
Avocado has a glycemic index (GI) of about zero, making it a low-glycemic fruit. Foods with a low glycemic index boost blood sugar levels slower than foods with a moderate or high GI index.
A half-medium avocado has 9 grams of total carbohydrates (carbs) and 7 grams of fiber. Also, consuming organic plant fats such as avocados can help increase good cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels.
Usually, fruits are too heavy in carbs to be consumed on a ketogenic diet, but berries are exceptional keto fruits.
Berries, especially strawberries and raspberries, are full of fiber and low in carbohydrates. Although blackberries and blueberries have fewer carbs than other fruits, they may not suit stringent keto diets.
Antioxidants in these little fruits may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation against illness.
Cheese contains no carbohydrates and is abundant in healthy saturated fat. This makes it an excellent choice for your heart if you follow a ketogenic diet.
But its consumption must be monitored closely. One ounce of cheese has roughly 30% of the recommended intake for saturated fat, so if you’re concerned about heart disease, watch your quantities when eating cheese.
It also contains a lot of calcium, protein, and fermented probiotics. Because of its probiotic contents, it is suitable for gut health.
Conjugated linoleic acid, CLA, found in cheese, has been related to weight loss and improved body composition.
Furthermore, frequent cheese consumption may aid in the retention of muscle mass and stamina reduction associated with aging.
Some of the keto cheese you may eat on keto are:
- Blue cheese
- Colby jack
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Colby jack
- Goat cheese
Fresh Meat and Poultry
Poultry and fresh meat are zero carbs and are high in minerals and B vitamins. They also supply high-quality protein that might help you maintain muscle mass on a very low-carb diet.
Both these types of meat are a staple in almost all keto recipes.
Consider selecting grass-fed beef over grain-fed meat since it contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fats than grain-fed meat.
Plain Greek Yogurt and Plain Yogurt
Plain and Greek yogurt are both abundant in calcium and protein. Protein and calcium have been found in studies to lower hunger and enhance fullness.
When the yogurt has a higher fat content, you may feel fuller longer. And the ketogenic diet fully supports the inclusion of other high-fat dairy products like heavy cream for this reason. It helps you lose weight by reducing carb cravings that lead to binge eating and unhealthy snacking.
Plant-based, Unsweetened Milk
Soy, coconut milk, and almond milk are among the plant-based kinds of milk that are keto-friendly.
Unsweetened variants are the best since they contain fewer calories. Sweetened alternatives include too much sugar to be considered keto-friendly. But not all plant-based milk is keto-friendly.
Take, for instance, oat milk should be avoided. That is because bland oat milk is too high in carbohydrates.
Seafood and Fatty Fish
Fish is abundant in B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium, and potassium and is high in protein and low in carbs. Omega-3 fats in sardines, salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, and other fatty fish significantly reduce blood sugar levels and boost insulin sensitivity.
Frequent fish intake has also been related to a lower probability of chronic illness and enhanced psychological health. To get the best out of this group of keto foods, you need to aim for at least two 3-ounce portions of fatty fish per week.
Non-starchy veggies like leafy greens are low in carbohydrates and calories. However, they are abundant in nutrients such as vitamin C and minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc. They also include antioxidants, which help protect cells from free radical damage.
Low-carb veggies with less than 8 g of net carbohydrates per cup are ideal. Net carbs are total carbs without fiber. Broccoli, white mushrooms, zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, bell peppers, spinach, and cucumbers are suitable vegetables when on a keto diet.
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are low-carb and high fat. Nuts may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, cancer, and other chronic disorders.
Both of these keto foods are high in fiber, which can assist you in feeling full and reduce your calorie consumption naturally.
Even though most nuts and seeds have a low net carb content, the quantity varies greatly depending on the kind of seeds or nuts. Almonds are the lowest in carbohydrates and thus ideal for keto.
The other kinds of nuts that are keto-friendly are:
- Pecans: 109 grams contains 15 g carbs.
- Chia seeds: 100 grans contain 42 g carbs.
- Sesame seeds: 100 grams contain 23 g carbs.
- Macadamia nuts: 100 grams contain 14 g carbs.
- Walnuts: 100 grams contain 14 g carbs.
- Hemp seeds: 3 tablespoons contain 1 g carbs.
- Pumpkin seeds: 100 grams contain 54 g carbs.
- Flaxseeds: 100 grams contain 29 g carbs.
Olive oil has numerous cardiovascular advantages. It’s abundant in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Olive oil is a natural fat source with no carbohydrates that vegan companies use to make healthy mayonnaise and salad dressings.
Extra-virgin olive oil is also strong in polyphenol antioxidants, which are plant components that preserve cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation and enhancing arterial function.
Since olive oil isn’t as stable as saturated fats at high temps, it’s preferable to utilize it for low-heat food preparation or to drizzle it over keto foods.
Coconut oil and avocado oil are two other great plant-based healthy oils to try while eating keto.
Other Keto Foods to Eat or Add on Food as a Topping
The additional drinks and foods you can eat on keto are
- Unsweetened coffee.
- Eggs: 100 grams of boiled eggs contains 1.1g of carbs.
- Cocoa powder and dark chocolate include flavanols, which may minimize your risk of cardiovascular disease by maintaining your arteries healthy and lowering blood pressure.
- Shirataki noodles are composed of glucomannan, a viscous fiber. This fiber produces a gel, which slows the passage of food through the digestive system tract. This may lead to weight loss and better diabetic control by reducing hunger and blood sugar surges.
List of Foods You Can’t Eat on the Keto Diet
This section covers the foods you should not eat while eating keto, mainly because they are high-carb foods.
On the list of sugary foods, we have sodas, juices, dried fruits, sweetened yogurt, and more that we shall briefly highlight in this section:
Sugary Sodas and Juices
Sodas and some juices are sugary liquids jam-packed with empty calories, the enemy of weight loss.
For example, a 372-mL can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of carbohydrates. And so, one beverage can quickly push you over the threshold based on your daily carb intake.
Even though the long-term health implications of these beverages are debatable, a single serving is unlikely to be damaging, although consumption may take you out of the ketotic state.
You may substitute soda and sugary juices with sparkling water or distilled water flavored with lemons, cucumbers, or fresh orange juice for a healthier choice. These options are just as hydrating and are lower in carbohydrates.
All the water diluting the sugar is gone whenever a fruit is dried, and the entire composition left is sugar. Numerous kinds of dried fruits like dates and raisins have multiple health benefits. But they are not so good to eat on the keto diet.
One date that is approximately 7 g contains around 5 g of carbs. And one pitted Medjool date contains a carb content of 18 total grams minus 2 grams of fiber. They can be delicious with numerous advantages, but if you still want to have some equally tasty treats for your sweet tooth, consider strawberries or raspberries if you’re on a weight loss journey on a keto diet.
Sweetened and Low-Fat Dairy
Sweetened dairy that includes sugary yogurt and milk can also compromise keto diets. Each cup of whole milk at approximately 244 ml contains 11 grams of carbohydrates.
Although you can have a glass sometimes, unsweetened almond milk that offers only 3 grams of carbs per glass is a better option. It is a better keto-friendly alternative than whole milk.
Low-fat dairy, usually advertised for reduced-fat consumption, goes against the entire keto diet because of the low-fat content. These dairy products also generally have higher sugar content to compensate for the low fat.
For keto, eat dairy that is exclusively high-fat dairy instead.
When on keto, you should not consume sugary condiments like honey and maple syrup. The composition of these two is essentially sugar, carbs, and calories which would compromise your ketogenic diet.
For example, 21 grams of honey, one tablespoon, contains 17 grams of carbs, whereas one tablespoon at 13 grams of maple syrup contains 20 grams of carb content.
These additives include antioxidants and other micronutrients, but they can increase blood sugar, causing you to lose ketosis.
Condiments such as Ketchup, Barbeque Sauce, and Others
Sugar-laden seasonings such as barbecue sauce, ketchup, and sweet chili sauce are examples of sugary spices that are low in nutritional and health benefits.
For each 9-gram package, these condiments can contain anywhere from 3 to 4 grams of carbohydrates, depending on the type. For example, each 35-gram dish of sweet chili sauce has 15 g of carbs.
Although some of those options aren’t as heavy in carbs as others on this list, they’re tempting to consume in large quantities. They may quickly compromise keto diet foods if you consume more than minimal portion sizes.
But there is a way to escape this additional carb intake. Opt for hot vinegar-based condiments like Tabasco if you want to add more spice to your meal without increasing your daily carb intake count.
Fat-rich mayonnaise and whole-grain dijon are also wonderful choices. Just remember to read the label for the carb count.
Starchy Vegetables and Potatoes
White and sweet potatoes are excellent potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber sources. Still, it would be best to avoid them on the keto diet due to their high carbohydrate content.
Corn and peas are two more healthy but starchy vegetables to avoid. Carrots and beets are starchy veggies with fewer carbohydrates per serving. So if they fit into your daily carb allotment, you might be allowed to include small quantities of these.
If you want starchy vegetables, grate them gently into a salad or bowl instead of having them the main course during keto cooking.
Other Non-Keto Friendly Foods
Here are other foods you should avoid when on a keto diet:
- Legumes like kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
- Processed meats with unhealthy fats.
- Grains like quinoa, millet, rice, wheat, and oats.
- Milk and white chocolate.
- Most fruits.
- Bread, cereal, pasta, popcorn, and other starchy foods.
Foods and Drinks You Can Sometimes Have on the Keto Diet
Moderating the foods you eat when on a ketogenic diet is what your body needs for nourishment to avoid deficiencies.
Fruits help supply the body with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, but they may not all be fully keto-friendly. But from time to time, including them in your diet would be wise. Berries are the best fruits to choose from on a keto diet.
You may also have to eat starch like rice, pasta, or other flour foods, but for a healthier option, go for brown varieties with fewer calories and carbs.
You may also have to eat some starchy veggies like carrots and beets but in minimal quantities.
Lastly, even with all the ketogenic diet foods listed above, moderation is always crucial since there are consequences to eating a high-fat diet long-term, especially animal fat. Eventually, they may cause negative effects. So, regardless of what you are having, have it in moderation.
If you want to lose weight quickly, you’ll probably do whatever it takes, including adopting the keto diet. Now, you know what to take and avoid when on the meal plan.
Include foods that promote ketosis, which causes the body to transition to fat-burning mode spontaneously. Also, stay away from meals that could jeopardize your diet.
However, use caution when following any diet, including keto. Get first-hand advice from a dietitian or medical practitioner who can guide you through creating a healthy keto meal plan. They will help you avoid nutritional deficits and other adverse effects such as the keto flu.
If you’re going to do it, do it correctly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the foods you can eat on keto are high-fat dairy, eggs, strawberries, raspberries, nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil, avocado oil, heavy cream, and olive oil/
Yes, you can. Keto-friendly milk includes coconut milk, macadamia nut milk, unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, flax milk, cashew milk, pea milk, and half-and-half and heavy cream.
Yes, it is. But you must do it with the help of a medical practitioner or an expert who ensures that you are fulfilling the entire nutritional intake that your body needs to stay healthy.
Keto diet foods are low-carb foods, moderate protein, and high in fat content. They are foods that trigger the body to enter ketosis, a metabolic state that makes it burn fat for fuel that facilitates weight loss.
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