If you are looking for healthy keto-friendly foods that’ll always keep you in ketosis, here’s the right place to be. In this piece, we’ll share the 16 best foods to eat on a keto diet and the meals you must avoid to effectively shed excess weight on the ketogenic diet.
It no longer a hidden fact – the keto diet has finally become famous. Interestingly, studies have shown that this low carb, high-fat diet is quite useful for weight loss and potent as a treatment for epilepsy and diabetes.
Other shreds of evidence suggest that it may be beneficial for some types of cancers and other diseases, too.
Here are some of the 16 foods to eat on a keto diet.
- Low-carb vegetables
Though these non-starchy veggies are low in carbs and calories, they are high in nutrients, including vitamin C and many other minerals. These veggies and some other plants contain fiber, which the human body can’t digest and absorb like other carbohydrates.
Therefore, please take a closer look at their digestible carb count, the total carbs minus fiber. Net carbs refer to carbohydrates that are absorbed by your body.
It is important to note that carbs and how they affect the body can be a bit controversial, and as a result, we believe more research is needed.
Lots of veggies are known to contain few net carbs. But consuming one serving of starchy foods such as yams or potatoes could push your body through the entire carb threshold for a day.
Meanwhile, the net carb counts of every non-starchy veggie range from less than a gram for one cup of raw spinach to seven grams for a cup of a cooked brussels sprout. Did you know that low carb vegetables make the perfect substitute for carb-rich foods? For instance:
- Spaghetti squash is a natural and perfect substitute for spaghetti.
- You can create zoodles from zucchini in place of regular starchy noodles.
Some types of keto-friendly vegetables are:
- Green beans
Eggs remain one of the healthiest and, of course, one of the most versatile foods in the world right now. One large egg has less than a gram of carbs and approximately 6 grams of protein, making it a perfect food for a keto lifestyle.
Eggs also have been shown to trigger hormones that enhance feelings of fullness. It is vital to take the entire egg, just as most of its nutrients exist in the yolk. These nutrients include zeaxanthin and antioxidants lutein, which ultimately helps protect your eye health-wise.
- Meat and Poultry
These two are considered staple foods on a keto diet. Fresh meat and poultry have no carbs, and they are both rich in B vitamins and lots of other beneficial minerals. They are a great source of topnotch protein and useful for preserving muscle mass during a low carb diet.
There are hundreds of types of cheese, but what do they all have in common? Top-quality nutrients, delicious tastes, and they are all low in carbs and rich in fat. All these attributes, coupled with the fact that it is quite tasty and contains a substantial amount of essential nutrients, make it suitable for a keto diet.
One ounce (which equals 28 grams) of cheddar cheese provides you with a gram of carbs. Simultaneously, seven grams of protein and twenty percent of the RDI are for calcium.
It is also high in saturated fat, though it hasn’t been shown to trigger heart disease risk. Some studies also suggest that cheese may protect against heart disease. Eating cheese may help reduce both the loss of muscle mass and strength, which occurs as you age. Cheese is also known to contain conjugated linoleic acid, a fat linked to body composition and fat loss.
In summary, cheese is a protein-, and calcium-rich food with lots of beneficial fatty acids and a minimal amount of carbs.
- Coconut oil
This oil has unique properties that make it perfectly suited for a keto diet. First and foremost, it contains a compound known as medium-chain triglycerides (also known as MCTs). Unlike the well-known chain fats, MCTs are taken up instantly by the liver and are all converted into ketones, or it can be used as an instant source of energy.
Also, coconut oil can enhance ketone levels in people battling Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system disorders and the brain. The primary fatty acid you’ll find in coconut oil is lauric acid. It is a slightly longer-chain fat, and it has been suggested that the oil’s mix of MCTs and lauric acid can promote a sustained ketosis level.
- Olive oil
An oil that provides remarkable benefits for the heart is also high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat known to decrease heart disease risk factors. That’s not all; extra-virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants, referred to as phenols. These compounds protect the heart by decreasing inflammation while also improving artery functions.
Olive oil is a pure fat source; thus, it contains no carbs. It remains an ideal base for healthy mayonnaise and salad dressing.
Because it isn’t as stable as saturated fat when it comes to high temperatures, we recommend using olive oil for low-heat cooking or adding it to foods after being adequately cooked.
- Cottage cheese and Plain Greek yogurt
Cottage cheese and plain Greek yogurt are very healthy and high protein foods. While they both contain minimal carbs, it won’t be farfetched to add them to this list (keto lifestyle). A half-cup) of plain Greek yogurt gives you 9 grams of protein and 4 grams of carbs. One hundred five grams of cottage cheese gives you 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbs.
Both have been shown to help decrease appetite while also promoting feelings of wholeness. Both make delicious snacks individually. However, both of them can be combined with cinnamon, chopped nuts, or other types of spices for an easy-to-prepare keto treat.
Saying avocados are healthy is an understatement; with 3.5 ounces of this fruit, or one-half of a medium avocado contains 9 grams of carbohydrates. But 7 of them are fiber. So, the entire net carb count is just 2 grams. These large berries are high in different vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, which is a vital mineral many people need in large quantities. A higher potassium intake can help make the transition to a keto diet more comfortable and smoother.
These fruits may help improve triglyceride and cholesterol levels. A study also found that participants taking one avocado every day has beneficial effects health-wise, especially for cardio-metabolic risk factors.
More than half of the fruits on earth are very high in carbs, and for that, they aren’t keto diet worthy, but berries are an exception to that. They (the berries) are low in carbs but high in fiber. Also, blackberries and raspberries both contain as much fiber as digestible carbohydrates.
These small fruits are packed with antioxidants known for reducing inflammation while also protecting against different diseases.
Carb counts for 3.5 ounces of some berries include:
- Strawberries: 7 grams’ net carbs (equaling nine grams’ total carbs)
- Blackberries: 11 grams’ net carbs (which is sixteen grams’ total carbs)
- Blueberries: 9 grams’ net carbs (twelve grams’ total carbs)
- Raspberries: 6grams’ net carbs (twelve grams’ total carbs)
- Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are both healthy, rich in fat, and are all low-carb foods. Taking nut frequently has been linked to heart disease prevention, depression, certain cancers, and other forms of illnesses. More importantly, nuts and seeds are packed with fiber, naturally designed to help you feel full and an intake of fewer calories in its entirety.
Even though nuts and seeds have low net carbs, the amount varies quite slightly among the different types. What are the carb counts for an ounce of some popular nuts and seeds? They are:
- Cashews: 8 grams’ net carbs
- Sesame seeds: 3 grams’ net carbs
- Brazil nuts: a gram net carbs
- Almonds: 2grams’ net carbs
- Pecans: 2 grams’ net carbs
- Macadamia nuts: 2 grams’ net carbs
- Pistachios: 5 grams’ net carbs
- Flaxseeds: zero gram net carbs
- Shirataki noodles
These noodles contain less than a gram of net carbs and fifteen calories per serving because they are mainly water. More importantly, shirataki noodles are primarily made from viscous fiber known as glucomannan. It can absorb up to fifty times its actual water weight.
Glucomannan forms a gel that helps slow down the food’s movement in your digestive tract. Slowing down the movement of these foods can help reduce blood sugar spikes while reducing the feeling of hunger as well. All of these make it healthily beneficial, not just for weight loss but also for diabetes management.
These noodles come in different shapes, including fettuccine, linguine, and rice. You can substitute them for regular noodles in a variety of recipes.
They provide similar health benefits as olive oil (which we’ve highlighted earlier), but only in solid form. The main antioxidant found in olives is Oleuropein. It (Oleuropein) has inflammatory properties and can protect your entire cells from damage.
An in-vitro study shows that consuming olives may also help decrease blood pressure and prevent bone loss, though there are not human trials just yet.
They (olives) vary in carbohydrate content due to their varying sizes. But half of the carbs come from fiber. So, it’s safe to say their digestible carb content is shallow.
Ten olives (same as 34 grams in weight) contain 2 grams of total carbs plus a gram of fiber. It works out a net carb count of about a gram, depending on the size.
- Butter and Cream
Both butter and cream are ideal fats to include on a keto diet. Each fat contains only a few traces of carbs per serving. For decades, both fats were believed to trigger or contribute to heart disease, no thanks to their high saturated fat content. But several extensive studies have shown that, for many people, saturated fat has nothing to do with heart disease.
Interestingly, some studies suggest that moderate consumption of fat dairy may reduce heart attack and stroke risk.
Just like other fat-rich dairy products, both butter and cream are packed with conjugated linoleic acid, which is the fatty acid that promotes fat loss.
- Dark chocolate & cocoa powder
Dark chocolate and cocoa are sweet sources of antioxidants. Cocoa is also known to provide at least as much antioxidant activity just like any other fruit, including acai berries and blueberries. Dark chocolate has flavanols that reduce heart disease risk by lowering blood pressure while keeping arteries in a healthy state.
Surprisingly, chocolate can be included in a keto diet. But it is essential to select chocolate dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa solids and eat in moderation. One ounce of unsweetened chocolate (which should be 100% cocoa) has 3 grams of net carbs.
Both coffee and tea are very healthy, carb-free drinks. The two drinks contain caffeine, increasing one’s metabolism, and improving your physical performance and alertness. Coffee and tea drinkers have been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes significantly. What’s more, those with the highest coffee intake have a lower risk of developing diabetes.
Fish (in general) and shellfish are both keto-friendly, and fish are very rich in potassium, B vitamins, and carb-free. But the carbs in different types of shellfish tend to vary. For example, while crabs and shrimp contain no carbs, other shellfish do.
While it’s still customary to add these shellfish to a keto diet, it’s vital to account for these carbs when staying within the carbs intake threshold.
Here are the different carb counts for 3.5 ounces of some known types of shellfish:
- Squid: 3 grams
- Claims: 4 grams
- Octopus: 4 grams
- Mussels: 4 grams
- Oysters: 3 grams
Mackerel, salmon, sardines, and other fatty fish are very rich in omega-3 fats, which are useful for lowering insulin levels and increasing insulin sensitivity in people with obesity. American Heart Association recommends eating 1 to 2 seafood meals weekly.
A keto diet is used to achieve weight loss but is that all there is to it? Of course not! with what you’ve read so far, you’ll realize that there’s more to the keto diet. Turning it into more of a lifestyle can help with proper blood sugar management, amongst other benefits health-wise.
But that’s not all; contrary to what you’ve heard about nutritious food tasting awful, the foods we have put together in this piece are not only healthy but are tasty and versatile as well. Consuming keto-friendly foods is the only way to reap its benefits.