Foods to Eat on the Ketogenic Diet
1. Meat and Poultry
Meat and poultry are considered staple foods on the Ketogenic diet.
Fresh meat and poultry contain no carbs and are rich in B vitamins and several minerals, including potassium, selenium and zinc. They’re also a great source of high-quality protein, which has been shown to help preserve muscle mass during a very low-carb diet.
It’s best to choose grass fed meat if possible. That’s because animals that eat grass produce meat with higher amounts of omega-3 fats, conjugated linoleic acid and antioxidants than meat from grain-fed animals.
2. Fish and shellfish
Fish and shellfish are perfect for the Keto diet.. Salmon and other fish are rich in B vitamins, potassium and selenium, yet virtually carb-free.
However, the carbs in different types of shellfish vary. For instance, while shrimp and most crabs contain no carbs, other types of shellfish do. Shellfish can still be included on a ketogenic diet, as long as you’re keeping your carbs under 20g per day.
Here are the carb counts for 100g servings of some popular types of shellfish.
Clams: 5 grams – Mussels: 7 grams – Octopus: 4 grams – Oysters: 4 grams – Squid: 3 grams
Salmon, sardines, mackerel and other fatty fish are very high in omega-3 fats, which have been found to lower insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese people.
Aim to consume at least two servings of seafood weekly. If you don’t maybe, you should think about supplementing with Omega 3’s or Krill oil.
Eggs are one of the healthiest and most versatile foods on the planet.
One large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs and fewer than 6 grams of protein, making eggs an ideal food for a Ketogenic diet. Also, eggs have been shown to trigger hormones to make you feel full. Eat the whole egg as the yolk is incredibly nutrient dense and contains antioxidants.
Avocados are perfect for the Ketogenic Diet.
100 grams, or about one-half of a medium avocado, contain 9 grams of carbs. Although, 7 of these are fibre, so its net carb count is only 2 grams.
Avocados are also very high in several vitamins and minerals, including potassium, an important mineral many people may not get enough of. In addition, avocados can help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Non-starchy vegetables are very low in calories and carbohydrates, but they are high in many nutrients, including vitamin C and several minerals.
Vegetables also contain fibre which your body doesn’t digest and absorb like other carbs.
You can therefore look at the net carbs as you don’t digest and absorb the fibre.
This is why we don’t advise eating “starchy” carbs like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams or beets as they could easily put you over your entire carb limit for the day.
The net carb count for non-starchy vegetables ranges from less than 1 gram for 1 cup of raw spinach to 8 grams for 1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts.
Cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli and kale are perfect for the Keto diet and plenty of them.
Low-carb veggies make great substitutes for higher-carb foods. For instance, cauliflower can be used instead of rice or mashed potatoes, “zoodles” can be created from zucchini and spaghetti squash is a natural substitute for spaghetti.
There are hundreds of types of cheese. Fortunately, all of them are very low in carbs and high in fat, so they are ok for the Ketogenic diet.
Cheese is high in saturated fat, but it hasn’t been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.
Cheese also contains conjugated linoleum acid. This is a fat that has been linked to fat loss and improvements in body composition. Cheese is also high in protein, calcium essential fatty acids and very low carbohydrate.
7. Plain Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese
Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are healthy, high-protein foods.
They do contain some carbs, but they can still be included in the Ketogenic diet.
150 grams of plain Greek yogurt provides 5 grams of carbs and 11 grams of protein. That same amount of cottage cheese provides 5 grams of carbs and 18 grams of protein.
Yogurt and cottage cheese can also decrease appetite and promote feelings of fullness. Either one makes a tasty snack on its own. However, both can also be combined with chopped nuts, cinnamon and even double cream.
8. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has unique properties that make it suitable for the Ketogenic diet.
It contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Unlike long-chain fats, MCTs are taken up directly by the liver and converted into ketones or used as a rapid source of energy.
In fact, coconut oil has been used to increase ketone levels in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders of the brain and nervous system.
The main fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, a slightly longer-chain fat. It has been suggested that coconut oil’s mix of MCTs and lauric acid may promote a sustained level of ketosis.
9. Olive Oil
It’s high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been found to decrease heart disease risk factors in many studies.
In addition, extra-virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants known as phenols. These compounds further protect heart health by decreasing inflammation and improving artery function.
Extra-virgin olive oil is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It’s ideal for salad dressings, mayonnaise and adding to cooked foods, because it isn’t as stable as saturated fats at high temperatures. Much better to cook with coconut oil or butter.
Olives provide the same health benefits as olive oil, only in solid form.
Oleuropein, the main antioxidant found in olives, has anti-inflammatory properties and may protect your cells from damage). Olives vary in carb content due to their size. However, half of their carbs come from fibre, so their net carb content is very low.
11. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are healthy, high-fat and low-carb foods. They are also high in fibre, which can help you feel full and therefore, absorb less calories overall. Although all nuts and seeds are low in net carbs, the amount varies quite a bit between the different types.
Here are the different nuts and seeds you can include on your diet.
Brazil nuts: Cashews: Macadamia nuts: Pecans: Pistachios: Walnuts:
Chia seeds: Flaxseeds: Pumpkin seeds: Sesame seeds:
12. Butter and Cream
Butter and cream are allowed on the Ketogenic diet. Both contain only trace amounts of carbs per serving.
Again, we were told that butter and cream were the cause of heart disease due to their high saturated fat contents. Now, we know that this is flawed.
Like other fatty dairy products, butter and cream are rich in conjugated linoleic acid, the fatty acid that may promote fat loss.
13. Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles are a great addition to the Ketogenic diet. You can find them online.
They only contain less than 1 gram of carbs and 5 calories per serving because they are mainly water. In fact, these noodles are made from a viscous fibre called glucomannan, which can absorb up to 50 times its weight in water.
This forms a gel that slows down food’s movement through your digestive tract. This can help decrease hunger and blood sugar spikes, making it ideal for weight loss and diabetes management.
Most fruits are too high in carbs to be included on the Ketogenic diet, berries are an exception.
Berries are lower in carbs and higher in fibre.
In fact, raspberries and blackberries contain as much fibre as net carbs.
These tiny fruits are also loaded with antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and protect against disease
Blackberries Blueberries Raspberries Strawberries
15. Unsweetened Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea are incredibly healthy, carb-free drinks. These are ideal, especially when you are fasting.
They contain caffeine, which increases your metabolism and may improve your physical performance, alertness and mood.
Adding heavy cream to coffee or tea is fine, but stay away from “light” coffee and tea lattes. These are typically made with non-fat milk and contain high- carb flavourings..
Do NOT add cream if you are fasting, you can add MCT oil though.
16. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
70% Dark chocolate is allowed on the Ketogenic Diet.
In fact, cocoa has been called a “super fruit,” because it provides as much antioxidant activity as other fruit, including blueberries and acai berries.
Dark chocolate also contains flavanols, which may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and keeping arteries healthy.
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