Keto Diet: What Is The Ketogenic Diet And What Can You Eat On It
The keto diet has been around for years but it undoubtedly remains one of the most popular, and well researched, weight loss plans out there.
Its not one of the diets that work fast but rather a way to change eating habits and develop a healthier way of eating in the long term, fans of the diet claim. While some skeptics suggest its outdated for painting carbohydrates as non-essential and even representatives of Harvard Medical School have warned of its risks.
The low-carb, high-fat plan is a favourite of celebrities and sports people alike though, with many citing the diets benefits. Much like the high protein plan or the high fibre diet, the Keto diet utilises the foods we eat every day as well. Halle Berry is famously a fan, along with the Kardashians and basketball player Lebron James.
Calculate Your Macros With The Keto Calculator
Too many carbohydrate-rich foods can bring you out of ketosis and slow down your bodys fat-burning capabilities. To ensure you stay on track, use the free Perfect Keto macro calculator.
Youll also want to bookmark this page so you get familiar with non-ketogenic foods to avoid when youre trying to get into or stay in ketosis.
Know Everything About Keto
In addition to what not to eat on keto, there are also many things more you should know about this mysterious metabolic state. If done correctly, starting the ketogenic diet can change your life and become a miraculous eating strategy.
To get a blueprint for the ketogenic diet and know EXACTLY what to eat in what amounts and at what time, then you should check out my Ultimate Keto 21 Day Program.
- All the information about ketosis
- Full Keto Shopping list with macronutrients and calories
- 40+ delicious keto recipes for breakfast, dinner, desserts, and snacks
- 21-day ketogenic meal plan with exact quantities of what and how much to eat
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The Importance Of High Fiber Foods When Cutting Carbs
As you learn to count carbs and balance your ketogenic diet macros, understanding the role of net carbs can make your life so much easier.
There are many types of carbohydrates in food and not all of them impact your blood sugar the same way. Fiber, in particular, is a type of carb that is not easily digested or absorbed and tends to have little, to no effect on blood glucose. Thus, many will subtract fiber content from their total carbs consumed to get whats called a net carb count.
Fiber extracts are also commonly used to create no carb breads and other keto diet substitutes you can find in the market.
This allows you to more easily stay below your carb threshold and can provide various health benefits. not only is fiber associated with better heart health and digestion, but it also tends to be packaged in many naturally nutritious foods.
What Are The Drawbacks To The Keto Diet
With that being said, there are also some downsides to keto to be aware of before you jump right in. Because it’s a very restrictive diet, it’s easy to gain weight back after you end the diet if you don’t come off it correctlyaka following it for a few days a week or for a few weeks each month, according to research from Harvard Medical School. In addition, there’s also the dreaded “keto flu” to think about. But if you want to give it a try, here’s exactly which foods you can and can’t eat on the keto diet.
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Foods To Avoid On The Keto Diet: Unhealthy Low
Not all high-fat, low-carb foods are healthy. Just because a food is low in carbs doesnt mean it is good for your keto diet or your health.
Here is a list of some fats we recommend avoiding on keto:
- All partially and fully hydrogenated oils/fats
- Processed oils that are high in omega 6s
- Foods that are cooked any of these three fats/oils
Your fats should come primarily from fatty plant foods like avocado, coconut, and macadamia nuts and high-fat animal foods like high-fat diary, pasture-raised meats, and wild-caught fish.
Sweetened Yogurt Or Dairy
Natural yogurt and dairy products can vary in their carb content.
When adding dairy to your diet, steer clear of flavored or sweetened varieties, which will add to your carb count. This is especially common in flavored yogurt and cottage cheese.
Whole milk has 11 grams of carbs per cup . While you can enjoy it occasionally, know that unsweetened almond milk has just 3 grams of carbs in the same serving size, making it a more keto-friendly substitute .
Aim for plain full fat yogurt or cottage cheese. Strained varieties like Greek yogurt or Icelandic skyr are a good fit. For example, 1 tub of Greek yogurt has about 6 grams of carbs and 16 grams of protein .
Unsweetened coconut milk-based yogurts can also be a good option. Because theyre made from coconut milk, they generally have more fat and fewer carbs, around 16.5 grams of fat and 7.5 grams of carb per 3-ounce serving .
Be mindful of what you pair with these foods. Nuts, MCT or coconut oil, or unsweetened peanut butter can make this a filling keto-friendly snack, while granola or fruits can increase their carb count.
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Protein Foods To Avoid When Going Keto
This may come as a shock, however there is such a thing as too much protein on the keto diet. By devouring protein excessively, you can get kicked out of ketosis.
Just like with fruits, veggies, and fats, there are some dairy products that work with the keto diet and others that dont. Fatty dairy products like heavy cream, sour cream, yogurt, and butter are considered keto-friendly, but avoid all other milk, low or reduced fat dairy products, as they can be high in carb content.
Dairy to avoid:
29. Fat-free or low-fat yogurts
Factory Farmed Animal Products
Its always best to opt for grass-fed and organic animal products. Not only do they taste better, but theyre better for you.
Grain-fed dairy and meats are typically lower in nutrients, and factory farmed animal products are usually high in omega-6s .
Keto Diet Lunch And Dinner Recipes
When it comes to lunch and dinner, aim for plenty of quality protein foods and non-starchy veggies to keep you feeling satisfied, and then add healthy fats to support ketosis and provide massive flavor.
Curb cravings and hit your macro goals with this delicious low carb chicken parm recipe.
Make your standard lettuce wraps more exciting and high protein with these chicken guacatillo wraps.
Indulge without the carbs when you make this decadent cauliflower mac and cheese recipe.
Get plenty of good fat and quality protein with these tasty salmon cakes, served with a zesty chimichurri sauce.
You can keep your snacks simple with staple choices like plain almonds, string cheese, or jerky, or take things up a notch with these protein packed matcha fat bombs.
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Bread Pasta Rice & Grains
Bread is probably the worst and most common food to avoid on a ketogenic diet because its full of carbs! A plain bagel can have as many as 48 grams of carbs .
Bread, Pasta, Rice, & Grains to avoid:
- Potato chips
While its not technically a food, beer should also be avoided given most brews are made from grain and barley and contain a hefty amount of carbs per glass!
Hip Tip: New to Keto? Check out this 5-day meal plan with a grocery shopping list to help get you started!
Foods Beginners Should Avoid On The Keto Diet
The cornerstone to master the ketogenic diet for beginners is to know which foods you should avoid.
The white crystal is pure poison for your health and makes losing weight almost impossible.
Sugar can appear in countless forms, such as sweets, pastries, cakes, ice cream, chocolate, lemonade, juice, honey, agave, or maple syrup.
Contrary to popular belief, you should also avoid zero-calorie sweeteners and zero drinks, as they can negatively affect metabolism and fuel cravings .
After decades of optimizing food production, most processed products contain cheap synthetic ingredients instead of expensive natural ones.
If you turn over some brand-name products, youll be surprised whats inside. In particular, look for hidden sugars, starches, emulsifiers, stabilizers, sweeteners, and other chemical additives.
Also, labeling them as low-carb or keto foods rarely makes fake food aid weight loss, even if there are few net carbohydrates.
Sauces and Dressings
Ready-to-eat foods are a mecca for added sugars. I often cant believe how much sugar can be in hot mustard.
Moreover, balsamic vinegar is often 50% sugar. Likewise, ready-made dressings are pumped with sugar and sweeteners.
With barbecue sauces, the result can often be even worse. For this reason, it makes sense to make sauces yourself or to invest the amount in pasture-raised meat instead, which tastes better without any need for condiments.
Protein Bars and Drinks
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How Are Ketogenic Diets Used In A Medical Setting
Ketogenic diets were originally developed to treat epilepsy in children as it appears to reduce the frequency of seizures. It should be noted that using the diet in this context should not be attempted without the supervision of a specialised doctor. From these medical origins, the diet was picked up by the mainstream media and marketed as a weight loss regime it is in this context that we will be discussing the diet for the purpose of this article.
What Are The Benefits Of The Keto Diet
1. Weight Loss
One of the main reasons people choose to undergo a diet is to lose weight. Because the ketogenic diet forces the body to use fat as an energy source, youll certainly see results if you stick to the plan.
There are over 30 scientific studies showing that, compared to other diets, low-carb and keto diets result in more effective weight loss. Dr Sohere Roked, from OMNIYA MediClinic, adds that because you are removing carbs and sugars largely from your diet, fat is the bodys main source of energy and will burn that when it has no other option.
2. Controlled blood sugar
Dr Roked confirms that keto naturally lowers blood sugar levels youre not eating as many carbs, so your body cant produce glucose.
3. Increased energy
Because a keto diet helps your body turn fat into an energy source, it is also helping to increase your energy levels as it is giving your body a more reliable energy source.
This allows you to feel more energised throughout the day.
Better appetite control
Fat is naturally more satisfying and ends up leaving us in a satiated state for longer. This means you should find yourself craving less junk food and snacking in-between meals less on the keto diet.
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Salad Dressings And Mayo Made With High
Oils with high polyunsaturated fat content are more vulnerable to damage when exposed to heat, air, and light all of which will occur during the production of most dressings, mayos, and other condiments.
For optimal health, stick with products made from MCT oil, EVOO, and avocado oil Or make them yourself with the quick keto recipes found in our condiment section.
For more information about the best keto products and recipes, check out the following guides:
For a comprehensive list of options, read through our guide to keto drinks and beverages.
Dried Fruit Or Trail Mix
When fruit is dried, its sugar is concentrated into smaller serving sizes.
For example, a single pitted Medjool date has 18 grams of carbs, 2 of which are dietary fiber .
While dates are nutritional powerhouses, they concentrate too much sugar to reasonably be part of a keto diet.
Similarly, mixed dried fruit packs 31 grams of carbs per 1/4 cup , which can easily put an end to ketosis .
These are often blended into trail mix, which also often includes chocolate chips, candies, or sugar-coated nuts. This is another food to avoid, as it can easily put you over your carb allotment for the day.
Instead, aim for fresh berries to satisfy your sweet tooth. These are fairly low carb, with less than 4 grams of carbs per 1/4 cup (
If youre craving starchy vegetables, try lightly grating them onto a salad or bowl rather than making them the main feature of a dish.
You can also swap these for small or moderate portions of jicama, which is naturally slightly lower in carbs, at less than 3 grams of carbs per 1/4 cup .
Mashed or riced cauliflower can also be a good substitute for starchy potato-centered recipes.
As a rule of thumb, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber, and celery are generally better suited for your keto goals.
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What About Carbs During Exercise
You might wonder if you need more carbs to support your workouts. The truth is that the importance of carbs for exercise is often way overblown.
For competitive athletes and bodybuilders looking to build a large amount of muscle, there might be a need for strategic carb re-feeds. In this case, a targeted ketogenic diet might be appropriate, where carb intake is increased slightly around workouts.
Otherwise, you probably dont need those extra carbs.
Does The Keto Diet Work
For many people, the keto diet is an effective way to lose weight and manage various health conditions.
Multiple studies suggest that it helps with weight loss in two main ways: reducing hunger and promoting the loss of water weight.
Firstly, the state of ketosis helps to decrease the bodys level of the hormone gherlin, otherwise known as the hunger hormore. Reducing this hormone in the body could cause people to eat less through the day and consume fewer calories as a result, potentially ending in weight loss.
Secondly, the keto diet has been associated with a loss of water weight due to the substantial reduction in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, when theyre stored in the body, hold water. So when you reduce the amount of carbs going into the body, including during the keto diet, these stored carbohydrates are released with the water, resulting in weight loss in some circumstances.
Halle Berry is just one of the celebrities who has raved about the benefits of the keto diet.
She also credits the keto diet as largely responsible for slowing down my ageing process, and helping her lose her baby belly, control her appetite, and boost her energy and mental performance.
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What Foods Are Allowed On A Ketogenic Diet
Foods that are generally allowed include high-fat meats, fish, oils, nuts, high-fat dairy such as cheese, and low-carb vegetables such as leafy greens.
Unsurprisingly, reducing carb levels means cutting out bread, pasta, rice, and most conventional baked goods. However, achieving such low levels of carbs also means skipping legumes, root vegetables, most fruits and starchy veggies, such as potatoes.
List Of Foods You Can’t Eat On The Keto Diet:
- Starchy vegetables and high-sugar fruits
- Sweetened yogurt
- Honey, syrup or sugar in any form
- Chips and crackers
- Baked goods including gluten-free baked goods
Don’t get too discouraged. Dietitians Stone and Laura Dority, M.S., R.D., L.D., with Keto Knowledge LLC, say that no foods are really off-limits on the keto diet. It’s about total carbohydrate intake and how you choose to “spend” your carbs. Generally, you should stay under 20-40 grams of carbohydrates per day. “The exact amount needed to achieve ketosis can vary on the individual, though, with carb prescriptions ranging from 10 to 60 grams per day. This total is for net carbohydrates ,” says Stone.
Dority adds, “Individuals who are really active can eat more carbs than someone who is sedentary.”
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Top Food And Drinks To Avoid On Keto
Since a keto meal plan is all about hitting your macros, just about any food is allowed on this eating plan. However, certain high sugar foods can make sticking to your nutrition goals a real challenge.
Additionally, cutting back on heavily processed foods, saturated fats, trans fats, and empty calories can support your overall health, wellbeing and how successful you are.
Here are the top foods to steer clear of to support your macro and health goals.
Practical Application: How To Know If A Food Is Both Keto
Although you can get results from following a general keto diet food list, you may want to eat some foods or food products that you arent sure about. In this case, you will have to apply the three keto-friendly food principles to see if the food in question can fit into your diet.
To do this, you will need to consider the foods:
- Net carb content
You will know that the food in question is keto-friendly for you if:
- It helps you stay within your carb limit.
- It helps you meet your fat and protein needs or you can meet your macros with that food in your diet.
- It improves your health and well-being.
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