Who Shouldn’t Eat Keto
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid the keto diet as it eliminates too many nutritious foods needed to support the mother and infant during an important time of growth. In general, healthy children should not eat a keto diet for the same reasons, as it doesn’t provide the nutrients their bodies need.
Type 1 diabetics should be cautious and be closely monitored by a physician or dietitian if they are eating a keto diet. And lastly, people with disordered eating should not eat keto as the limitations can make eating disorders worse. Amy Kubal, MS, RD, LN, summed it up perfectly, when she told me that a ketogenic diet “is not a magic weight loss bullet or miracle cure. It should not be done without guidance or without evaluating if it’s an approach that is physically and mentally sound for you.”
What Are Ketogenic Diet Foods
The keto diet is quite similar to the Atkins and other low-carb diets, which promotes eating food thats low in carbohydrate content and consuming more fat instead. With low-carb consumption, the body undergoes a metabolic process called ketosis.
In ketosis, the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates, which is very effective when you want to lose weight, have more mental clarity, and energy. When ketosis is achieved, the body will undergo changes, such as decreased appetite, carbs changes in the urine or breath, and improved focus and energy. Usually, it will take approximately 3 days for the body to enter ketosis after starting a keto diet, but it will take several weeks before your body adapts to burning fat instead of carbs efficiently.
In general, the benefits of a keto diet plan are quite the same with other low carb diets, but the results are usually amplified. For example, not a lot of diet plans actually improve your mental focus the way keto diet does.
With the keto diet, you should expect a decrease in insulin and blood sugar levels and an increase in ketones. Among the keto diet foods you can eat belong to the food groups enumerated below:
How To Shop For Keto Approved Foods
The easiest way to tell if something fits into your ketogenic diet is by checking the nutrition label. For packaged foods, check the nutrition facts for the serving size, calories, macros, and keep an eye out for key nutrients – is this product a good source of any essential vitamins and minerals? Is it high in sodium?
Remember to look for net carb counts not just total carbs!
Check the ingredient label too! This will tell you exactly what’s in the food and where your calories are coming from.
You can also opt for more nutrient dense, whole foods that help you control your sugar intake, support good health and get you results faster on a keto diet. Nutrient dense foods are foods low in calories that are also a good source or excellent source of essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
While many fresh food options dont have a nutrition label, you can use a nutrition tracking app that has a searchable database to make sure you are getting healthy options that are low in carbs and a good source of nutrition.
The Trifecta app allows you to search over 6 million fresh and packaged foods to get accurate nutritional information in seconds!
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What Do You Eat
Because the keto diet has such a high fat requirement, followers must eat fat at each meal. In a daily 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 75 grams of protein. However, the exact ratio depends on your particular needs.
Some healthy unsaturated fats are allowed on the keto diet like nuts , seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil. But saturated fats from oils , lard, butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.
Protein is part of the keto diet, but it doesn’t typically discriminate between lean protein foods and protein sources high in saturated fat such as beef, pork, and bacon.
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits in small portions. Vegetables are restricted to leafy greens , cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
Dark Chocolate And Cocoa Powder
Dark chocolate and cocoa are delicious sources of antioxidants.
In fact, cocoa provides at least as much antioxidant activity as any other fruit, including blueberries and acai berries .
Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and keeping arteries healthy .
Somewhat surprisingly, chocolate can be part of a ketogenic diet. However, its important to choose dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 70% cocoa solids, preferably more, and eat in moderation.
One ounce of unsweetened chocolate has 3 grams of net carbs (
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How To Follow The Keto Diet On A Budget
Fresh, high-fat avocados and low-carb berries, not to mention nuts and other unprocessed foods, can break the bank, especially if they’re not already part of your budget. Fortunately, there are a few hacks you can follow to cut down on costs while following the keto diet. Buying frozen fruits and nuts in bulk are just two examples.
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.
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Benefits Of The Keto Diet
One thing many people will notice first on the diet is weight loss. But much of that is water weight. Sugar is stored in your body and bonded with water. So, when you start cutting carbs, your body uses the sugar and releases the water, creating the appearance of weight loss.
Aside from dropping pounds, other benefits of the keto diet include:
Blood sugar control. The diet is linked to lower blood sugar.
Heart health. The keto diet can improve total cholesterol levels and sometimes boost the level of good cholesterol. This may help lower the risk of getting heart disease.
Retaining lean body mass. As we age, it’s common to lose muscle and sometimes feel weaker. The keto diet may help you keep muscle longer, which is likely because youd be getting more protein and limiting unhealthy foods.
What To Keep In Mind When Creating Your Ketogenic Meal Plan
If youve decided to move forward in trying the keto diet, you will want to stick to the parameters of the eating plan. Roughly 60 to 80 percent of your calories will come from fats. That means youll eat meats, fats, and oils, and a very limited amount of nonstarchy vegetables, she says.
The remaining calories in the keto diet come from protein about 1 gram per kilogram of body weight, so a 140-pound woman would need about 64 g of protein total. As for carbs: Every body is different, but most people maintain ketosis with between 20 and 50 g of net carbs per day, says Mattinson. Total carbohydrates minus fiber equals net carbs, she explains.
One thing to remember: Its easy to get kicked out of ketosis, says Mattinson. Meaning, if you eat something as small as a serving of blueberries, your body could revert to burning carbohydrates for fuel rather than fat.
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Spices Seasonings And Condiments
Be mindful of added sugars or high-glycemic sweeteners in spice blends or condiments. But other than that, spices and seasonings are fair game for keto. Technically, carbs can add up in spice-heavy dishesbut dont worry about a teaspoon of turmeric, especially when your spices are spread throughout an entire dish.
When youre shopping for spices and sauces, check the labels for additives like sugars, milk solids, potato starch, corn starch or MSG. Even unsweetened ketchup contains natural sugars from all those tasty tomatoes. Tired of reading the labels on store-bought salad dressings? Make your own! Start with these MCT oil salad dressings.
Heads up: Table salt often contains undisclosed fillers and anti-caking agents, so for the most healthful way to salt your food, add sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to your shopping list.
Additionally, spices and herbs can spoil in your home. Thats why we recommend using high-quality, fresh or recently opened herbs and spicesparticularly black pepper, garlic, nutmeg and paprika.
Different Types Of Ketogenic Diets
There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:
- Standard ketogenic diet : This is a very low carb, moderate protein and high fat diet. It typically contains 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbs .
- Cyclical ketogenic diet : This diet involves periods of higher carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high carb days.
- Targeted ketogenic diet : This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
- High protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
However, only the standard and high protein ketogenic diets have been studied extensively. Cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced methods and primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes.
The information in this article mostly applies to the standard ketogenic diet , although many of the same principles also apply to the other versions.
There are several versions of the keto diet. The standard version is the most researched and most recommended.
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Work On Your Relationship With Food And Ease Out Of Tracking
The ketogenic diet isn’t sustainable long term for the majority of people, Lambert said, and for any diet to provide lasting results it needs to be.
“Your body is healthiest when you’re free from illness and food isn’t stressing you out,” she said.
If food is a source of stress and anxiety, it could be a sign of disordered eating, according to Lambert.
“Having that fear of weight gain is another real defining factor for disordered eating,” she said.
Lambert recommends learning about intuitive eating principles and focusing on eating mindfully to help you relax around food and enjoy it without counting.
“It takes a lot of work on oneself and you may need to do a lot of self exploration, perhaps therapy, and identify how you think and feel,” Lambert said.
Consider reaching out to a qualified professional to help you develop a healthier relationship with food.
Wishing you well,
As a senior health reporter at Insider and a self-described fitness fanatic with an Association for Nutrition-certified nutrition course under her belt, Rachel Hosie is immersed in the wellness scene and here to answer all your burning questions. Whether you’re struggling to find the motivation to go for a run, confused about light versus heavy weights, or unsure whether you should be worried about how much sugar is in a mango, Rachel is here to give you the no-nonsense answers and advice you need, with strictly no fad diets in sight.
Foods To Focus On While On A Keto Diet
The most important thing to understand when following keto , is that it should always consist of mostly whole food, and high quality food products. What exactly is whole food? These are foods that are minimally processed, in their whole form without cheap, inflammatory, and blood sugar spiking ingredients. Unfortunately, with the large upswing in popularity of the ketogenic diet, many food corporations have seen the trend and started making highly processed, pro-inflammatory, ketogenic alternatives. Youve all seen them, the ice cream, the granolas, and the cereals, all claiming to be keto friendly or keto approved. Not all of these products are inherently bad, some are really high quality products, you just need to make sure youre reading the label to make sure. Here are the foods that should make-up the majority of your diet:
- Protein: chicken, beef, turkey, fish, seafood, eggs, full-fat dairy
- Fats: avocado, olives, coconut, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, egg yolks, butter, tallow, ghee, full-fat dairy, nuts/seeds, MCT oil, cocoa butter
- Non-starchy vegetables: cauliflower, avocado, broccoli, Spinach, zucchini, lettuce, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, asparagus, kale, green beans, brussel sprouts
- High quality food products: some protein powders, cauliflower rice, avocado/olive oil salad dressings, beef jerky, etc
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Condiments To Avoid On Keto
Its best to make salad dressings and condiments like ketchup yourself so you know whats in them. Some exceptions are avocado-based mayo and other sugar-free mustard products. In general, ketchup has a ton of sugar, so definitely avoid it or make it using natural sugar alternatives. If the DIY route isnt an option, avoid condiments that are:
Complete Keto Diet Food List: What You Can And Cannot Eat If You’re On A Ketogenic Diet
Make eating keto a lot easier with this comprehensive keto diet food listplus learn if it’s the right diet for you.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein and very low-carbohydrate diet. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy, but on a strict ketogenic diet, less than 5 percent of energy intake is from carbohydrates . The reduction of carbohydrates puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis is when the body starts breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies to use for energy, in the absence of circulating blood sugar from food. Once the body reaches ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until you start eating carbohydrates again.
Traditionally, the ketogenic diet was only used in clinical settings to reduce seizures in children with epilepsy. “Now there is a lot of interest in the diet’s effectiveness in helping with other neurological conditions, cancer, diabetes, PCOS , obesity, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease,” says Emily Stone, M.S., R.D. People also eat keto to lose weight .
Even if you know that you need to eat a very low-carb, high-fat, moderate protein dietit can be confusing to know which foods to eat. Here’s our guide to foods you can eat, foods you should avoid and foods you can sometimes have when you’re following a ketogenic diet.
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Putting It All Together Three Key Steps To Starting The Keto Diet
Although you can find a seemingly endless stream of info on how to maximize your keto diet, most of your results will come from these three steps:
- Eat keto-friendly foods and avoid carb-ridden foods.
- Eat the right amount of calories, fats, carbs, and protein to meet your goals .
To find out if the keto diet is safe and effective for you, make sure you are tracking these variables in some way:
- How you feel
- The changes in your body composition
- Relevant biomarkers
- Is keto safe and healthy for me?
- Is keto getting me the results I want?
- Am I following keto correctly?
So, now that you know how to start your keto diet, whats next? Take a look at some of our other keto articles for more specific info:
Want to learn more keto diet success tips? . Or the worst keto diet advice
Struggling to break through your weight loss plateau? Read through this article.
Looking to maximize exercise performance? Check out our guide to keto and exercise.
Trying to cut down on meat, fish, or dairy consumption for any reason? Find the right keto diet variation for you:
Effects On Heart Health
As discussed, the keto diet can have positive short-term effects on weight loss, blood sugar control, triglyceride levels, and HDL levels. However, there are concerns of negative effects on heart health with the ketogenic diet.
Many studies have shown the association of keto diets with increased LDL , but this finding is not consistent in all studies. Keto diets that are high in saturated and trans fats seem to be responsible for the increased LDL levels.
Another study showed higher incidence of atrial fibrillation in people on carbohydrate-restricted diets.
The keto diet has also been associated with increased mortality. This effect was especially true when animal-based fats were substituted for carbohydrates. Substituting plant-based fats for carbohydrates, on the other hand, improved mortality.
To minimize this risk of heart disease while on a ketogenic diet, it is prudent to minimize processed foods high in saturated and trans fats, and instead choose plant-based foods with higher unsaturated fat content.
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Q: How Much Weight Will I Lose
A: The amount of weight you lose is entirely dependent on you. Obviously adding exercise to your regimen will speed up your weight loss. Cutting out things that are common stall causes is also a good thing. Artificial sweeteners, dairy, wheat products and by-products .
Loss in water weight is common when you first start a low carb diet. Ketosis has a diuretic effect which can cause a significant amount of weight dropped in only a few days. While I hate being the bearer of bad news, this isnt fat. But on a side note, that shows that your body is starting to adjust itself into a fat-burning machine!
Theres a huge list of keto-friendly recipes for you to choose from, go check them out! See our growing list of keto recipes >
Carbs Can Provide Fuel For Intense Workouts
Carbs are the body’s preferred fuel source and help us perform at our best, nutrition coach Dr. Mike Molloy previously told Insider.
They also provide essential fiber.
A post shared by RHIANNON LAMBERT BSc MSc RNutr
“In order to maintain good gut health and prevent risk of bowel cancer, it’s important to get enough carbohydrates in the diet for fiber, and gut health is linked to weight maintenance as well,” Lambert said.
There’s no perfect balance of macros that suits everyone, so Lambert said you need to find what works best for you. She recommends looking at food as more than just numbers because we all metabolize food differently.
“Calories and macros aren’t the be all and end all because they don’t give you the whole picture of how many calories your body absorbs from an item of food, which is unique to every individual,” Lambert said.
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