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
Fat (70-80% of calories)
Approximate grams of carbs per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet: 165
Here’s where the bulk of your intake comes into play. Several studies have shown that a higher-fat diet can reduce cravings and levels of appetite-stimulating hormones ghrelin and insulin.
When you’re assembling your keto diet food stash, go full-fat. And don’t stress over the dietary cholesterol content, a factor of how much animal protein you eat, suggests a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. Instead, focus on consuming a higher ratio of unsaturated fats (flaxseed, olive oil, nuts) to saturated fats (lard, red meat, palm oil, butter).
Since you’re consuming a vast majority of calories from fat, it’s crucial to focus on fueling up with options that are less likely to clog your arteries and less likely to increase your cancer risk.
Good examples of fat keto diet foods:
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Hemp hearts
- Natural, no-sugar-added nut butters