If you’re on a ketogenic diet and trying to lose weight, it might be hard to decide what foods to eat. Studies show that being on a keto diet, which includes consuming high-fat, low-carb foods, can help shed some pounds and keep the weight in check.
While the mention of consuming fats might be surprising, it has been proven that weight gain does not occur due to consuming fats but by consuming excessive amounts of simple sugars.
Thus, limiting your intake of carbohydrates and including healthy fats in your diet is an essential step to take during weight loss.
So, to make things easier for you, I have mentioned all the keto-friendly foods that you must include in your diet.
Foods To Eat In Keto Diet
Meat And Poultry
All kinds of meat and poultry are a great addition to your keto diet. They contain very little amounts of carbohydrates and are rich in fats.
A 100 g serving of chicken contains about 5 grams of fat and 30 grams of proteins. Proteins are very important during the keto diet because they prevent muscle wastage and also keep the immune system healthy while you’re on a restrictive diet.
You may add beef, lamb meat, chicken, and deli meats to your diet.
However, you should prefer consuming bison and beef over lamb and pork because they are usually grass-fed and contain more amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than the rest of the cattle which is grain-fed.
Butter And Ghee
Butter is an excellent source of good fats and a little bit of protein. On top of that, it contains negligible amounts of carbs. 100 grams of butter can provide around 82.2 grams of fat which is a lot. It is much healthier as compared to cheese and cream available in the market.
Ghee is clarified butter and it has almost equal amounts of fats as butter. But ghee has no carbohydrates at all. This is because the butter is heated until all the milk solids, which might have some carbohydrates, come on top. Later, they are removed and pure ghee is used.
Butter and ghee show no significant adverse health effects if consumed moderately and paired with proper exercise. They can be used for cooking and baking as well.
High-Fat Vegetables And Fruits
Everyone knows about the benefit of consuming fresh, green leafy vegetables and colorful fruits. Here’s another reason to add them to your plate. Green leafy vegetables like zucchini, asparagus, and kale and fruits like olives and avocados are rich in plant fats. Zucchini and asparagus are rich in minerals and are a great way to balance your keto diet and get those essential nutrients for developing a healthy body. Avocados and olives are rich in omega-3 and contain good amounts of fiber. 100 g of avocado contains about 1.9 g of proteins and around 19.7 g of fats. The antioxidant, Oleuropein present in olives protects the cells from damage and may also lower the levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) also known as bad cholesterol in the body.
These fruits and veggies are non-starchy and very low in calories but can keep you full for a longer time, making them a great addition to your breakfast.
Eggs are rich in good fats and proteins. They contain almost no amounts of carbs and are an excellent choice for vegetarian people as well. Two large eggs contain about 14.1 grams of protein and 9.6 grams of fats. Other than that, they also contain antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin that keeps the heart and other organs protected during ketogenic dieting.
Eggs can be cooked in many ways, be they fried, scrambled, boiled, or poached. But it has been observed that boiling and poaching eggs can avoid the denaturation of proteins and fats and you might get some extra amounts of proteins that way.
You can consume boiled eggs and then drizzle them with some olive oil or even eat them with a fat-rich dip to make them tastier and healthier.
Coconut oil is the best option for people who want to consume oils during the keto diet. It is 100% fat and you can replace it with your regular cooking oil because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil is rich in MCTs which are medium-chain triglycerides and these MCTs are directly used by the liver for energy generation. These MCTs can provide enough energy and can keep the heart and brain healthy.
But you must consume it with precaution as it has been seen that in people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, excessive consumption of coconut oil can cause an increase in levels of ketones generated. Also, coconut oil is rich in another kind of fatty acid called lauric acid which may significantly cause ketosis and harm the body.
Other than that, if you are suffering from any heart-related condition, avoid the use of coconut oil.
Shirataki noodles are a type of viscous noodles made from a fiber called glucomannan and these are said to have a lot of health benefits. These noodles are mostly water and contain less than 1 gram of carbs. These are also very low in calories and can provide only up to 15 calories per serving.
The noodles, when consumed, form a gel-like consistency inside your stomach and slow the movement of food, thus keeping you full for a long time. This not only may help in weight loss but might also reduce the spike in blood sugar levels and help with diabetes management.
You can easily replace your regular carb-rich noodles with these in all recipes. They taste bland but the taste can be enhanced by adding spices.
Typically, you are supposed to avoid carbohydrates during keto diets but berries make an exception here. This is because of the tremendous health benefits they have to offer. Berries are rich in essential minerals and vitamins such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, vitamin B complex, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Your body may go through a lot of stress during keto dieting. So, these nutrients are essential to keep your body healthy and prevent any kind of damage caused due to the sudden change in your diet.
Other than that, vitamin C present in berries like blueberries, mulberries, and strawberries is known to be a best friend of ketogenic dieting. It helps in accelerating the metabolic processes and effectively breakdown fats in the body. It also acts as an antioxidant to relieve the body from oxidative stress generated due to excessive fat metabolism.
Dark chocolates are rich in good fats and can be added to your keto diet. 70% or more cocoa content of dark chocolates accelerates the speed of metabolism and makes it a better choice over milk chocolates.
Usually, dark chocolates are unsweetened and do not contain any significant amounts of simple sugars. They are rich in complex carbohydrates that do not contribute much to the energy needs of the body. It is also rich in antioxidants and keeps the body healthy during dieting and weight loss.
Cheese and Greek yogurt
Cheese and other full-fat dairy products like Greek yogurt are rich in good fats and may be a great food to consume during the keto diet. Greek yogurt promotes the feeling of fullness by decreasing your appetite. Though you should avoid flavored yogurt as they are sweetened and contain a good amount of carbs.
Cheese is a good source of proteins and fats and does not consume considerable amounts of carbohydrates. 100 grams of feta cheese contains 20.2 grams of fats, 15.6 grams of proteins, and about 1.5 grams of carbs while 100 grams of cheddar cheese contains 34.9 grams of fats, 25.4 grams of proteins, and 0.5 grams of carbs in it.
According to a study, it was seen that people who suffered from muscle loss during the keto diet, when provided with a cheese-rich diet, experienced a lot less muscle loss and were healthier than those who didn’t consume any cheese.
You must prefer consuming organic cheese instead of synthetically prepared one.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds can be an excellent source of healthy fats. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and also provide a lot of nutrients. You can easily replace your unhealthy snacks with nuts. But you need to make sure you watch the portions. Consuming too many nuts can actually be harmful to your heart health. Along with that, make sure to eat nuts that are rich in complex carbs and fiber like macadamia and pecans. Nuts like cashews are rich in simple carbohydrates and may not be the best option for you.
You can also add sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds to your breakfast bowls or just munch them as it is.
Other than helping you lose weight, the keto diet may even help with blood sugar control and improving obesity-related issues. But, make sure you are going easy on yourself because the keto diet may seem restrictive and difficult for people doing it for the first time.
Also, make sure to keep in touch with your healthcare provider. In case you feel any negative health changes due to consuming the above-mentioned foods, immediately discontinue consuming them and discuss it with your doctor.
Keto diet isn’t for everyone. The foods that you’re supposed to consume are rich in fats and may trigger certain people who are already suffering from high cholesterol and heart diseases. Also, the keto diet includes the generation of ketone bodies that might be harmful, if the diet is not consumed in moderation. So, make sure you speak to your dietician before going on a strict keto diet.
Rachel has been a freelance medical writer for more than 18 years. She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2005 and is currently practicing as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at a Level I trauma center.