What You Can (and Can’t) Eat on a Keto Diet
In case you’ve somehow missed it, the keto diet is the latest fad taking over the weight loss world. Followers (including Kourtney Kardashian and Halle Berry) claim the high-fat, low-carb eating plan has helped them shed pounds almost immediately — all while chowing down on bacon and cheese.
Nutritionists, including the Good Housekeeping Institute’s own Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, remain more skeptical. The diet’s aim of inducing ketosis — a metabolic process where the body uses fat instead of carbs for energy — can backfire becauseny weight you may lose while on it can return when you stop. RDs and other experts like U.S. News and World Report agree that Mediterranean-style eating plans have more research behind them and produce better, more long-lasting results.
But if your friends have gone #keto and you’re curious about what that exactly entails, the basic premise is fairly simple. The diet focuses on eating mostly fat, limited amounts of protein, and almost no carbs at all. The “do” list includes: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables that grow above ground, nuts and seeds, fats and oils, and some dairy products. In terms of drinks, most keto diet guides advise people to stick to water and skip diet soda, even though it’s artificially sweetened. (No Diet Coke — sorry!)
What You Can Eat on a Keto Diet
chicken, pork, steak, ground beef, lamb, bacon, ham, turkey, sausage (in limited amounts and fattier cuts)
butter, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, lard, avocado oil, mayonnaise
cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, asparagus, cucumber, onion, mushroom, spinach, lettuce, green beans, olives
heavy cream, cheese (soft and hard), cream cheese, sour cream
almonds, peanuts, peanut butter, almond butter, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts
salmon, snapper, trout, tuna, cod, catfish, halibut, clams, oysters, lobster, crab, scallops, mussels
blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
hard liquor, dry wine, champagne
The Ultimate Keto Diet Foods List of What You Can (and Can’t) Eat
If fast weight loss while consuming nearly unlimited amounts of fat sounds too good to be true, “think again,” keto diet devotees say. Followers of the trendy high-fat, low-carb meal plan swear it clears the brain while lowering the number on the scale.
Although long-term health effects of the diet, which requires roughly 80% of your daily calories to come from fat, are still unknown for the average person, the Keto diet has long been used to treat children with epilepsy and people with diabetes.
But the biggest question of all is how does eating keto diet foods cause you to lose weight when you’re eating bacon, butter, and cheese? Keep reading for the details, plus learn which foods you can (and can’t!) eat on this diet.
Carbs (5-10% of calories)
Approximate grams of carbs per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet: 40
“Drastically limiting your intake of glucose, the usual energy source for your cells, reduces insulin secretions in your body. Since low levels of glucose are coming in, the body uses what is stored in the liver and then the muscles,” says Rania Batayneh, MPH, the author of The One One One Diet: The Simple 1:1:1 Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. After about three or four days, all of the stored glucose is used up.
“For an alternative source of energy, your liver will start to convert fat into ketones, which will then be released into the bloodstream and be used by your cells for energy. Basically, your brain and muscles will be fueled by fat instead of carbohydrates,” says Michelle Hyman, MS, RD, CDN a registered dietitian at Simple Solutions Weight Loss.
Nosh on noodles or other high-carb foods and you’ll send your body back into glucose-burning mode; eat too little and you’ll likely feel your energy dragging. Most keto dieters aim to eat between 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day to maintain that ketone-burning state called “ketosis.”
You should aim to score your carbs from high-fiber, water-rich fruits and vegetables to naturally boost hydration and keep your digestive system humming along. Unsure of whether a produce pick is low in carbs? Reach for options grown above the ground (leafy greens, peppers, and stalk-shaped vegetables), rather than below ground (root veggies like potatoes, carrots, and parsnips), as they typically offer fewer carbs.
Good examples of carb keto diet foods:
- Green Beans
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts