If you’ve read a little about the Keto diet and you’re ready for next steps… figuring out your daily carb limit and stocking your fridge with delicious keto-friendly foods, this article is for you!
Or, maybe you’ve been doing a “lazy” version of keto, where you’re just trying to eat low carb without knowing your exact carb limit. If you’ve decided you would like to tighten the reigns and be more disciplined about your routine, this article is a great place to start.
If Keto is totally new to you, try this Keto beginner’s article!
So, for a quick refresher… A keto diet is one where you want to get the body to switch from burning sugar to burning fat for fuel. You do this by greatly reducing the amount of carbs you eat each day, along with eating a moderate amount of protein and lots of healthy fats, allowing your body to shift into fat-burning mode.
So, you’re probably thinking, how much do I have to reduce my carbs, and how do I know how many to eat? Let’s talk about that…
How to Find Your Keto Carb Limit
To start off, everyone is going to have a different carb amount that they need to eat each day in order for their body to reach ketosis.
Though some people use certain apps such as MyFitnessPal and Cronometer to find the exact limit they should hit, some people prefer to simply limit their carbs to a level that is appropriate for most people to get into ketosis (and then look for some of the common initial keto side effects including bad breath, weight loss and reduced appetite to make sure they’ve reached ketosis). (1)
For those that aren’t going to dig a little deeper to find their personal carb limit, a safe bet is to lower your total carbs to about 35 grams per day (and 25 grams of net carbs).
Net carbs – Subtract the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs to reach your net carbs.
Let’s take a look at some of the foods you should eat and stay away from on the keto diet plan…
BEST FOODS TO EAT:
Meats (poultry, beef, pork, etc.)
Seafood and Fish (especially fatty options like Salmon and Herring)
Dairy – Eggs, hard cheeses, cream, butter, etc.
Nuts and seeds – almond, walnuts, etc.
Berries and low sugar fruits – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.
Leafy greens & above ground veggies – spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
Healthy fats – avocado, coconut oil, olive oil
BEST FOODS TO AVOID:
Grains (wheat, oat, barley, corn, rice)
Sugar (cane sugar, honey, maple syrup)
High carb fruits – bananas, apples, oranges
Root veggies – Potato, yams, etc.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the food/drink categories you should avoid so you have a better idea…
Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs on Keto
You probably know some pretty basic “rules” about what a good carb and what a bad carb is (i.e.: white bread bad, wheat bread good), but wash them away! There are totally different rules in keto…
Typically, there are refined and unrefined carbs. Refined being the processed, bad kind where much of the fiber is removed along with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. White bread, white rice and processed cereals are examples of refined carbs. (2)
Unrefined carbs are usually considered good carbs and are in their natural state, such as whole grains, legumes, veggies and fruits.
However, the rules of keto are those of a low-carb diet and therefore, you have to re-think things. On keto, “bad carbs” are anything that is high in carbs, whether refined or unrefined.
Instead, the “good carbs” on keto are fiber-rich, low-carb sources like cucumbers, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli and lettuce.
That being said, here is a more in-depth list of foods to avoid on keto, using our new knowledge of “bad carbs” … (3)
Keto Diet Food List
More In-Depth List: Carbs to Avoid on Keto
- Rice (all types)
- Sprouted Grains
- Dried fruits (raisins, dates, etc.)
- Fruit syrups
- Fruit concentrates
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Sweet Potatoes
- Agave Nectar
- Cane Sugar
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup
- Maple Sugar
- Raw Sugar
- Turbinado Sugar
More In-Depth List: Proteins to Avoid on Keto
You can eat a good amount of protein on the keto diet, but it’s the type that’s important. Avoid low-fat and low-quality proteins. For instance, milk, low-fat dairy and factory-raised animals. You should aim for high-quality sources in their most natural state.
Dairy to Avoid:
- Butter Substitutes
- Grain-fed dairy
- Low-Fat or Fat-Free products such as yogurts, cream cheese, whipped topping
- Shredded Cheese (which contains potato starch)
Animal Protein to Avoid:
- Factory-farmed fish and pork
- Grain-fed meats
- Processed meats (hot dogs and packaged sausages which contain nitrates)
More In-Depth List: Fats to Avoid on Keto
The majority of your diet will be fats, so make sure to choose the highest quality fats possible. The healthier the fat, the better.
Fats to Avoid:
- Inflammatory oils including…
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Soybean oil
As you can see, there is still quite a variety of keto diet foods that you’re allowed to eat on a keto diet, so you won’t feel deprived! And many people say that once they drastically cut down their carb amount, they feel notably more satiated throughout the day, and are able to make wiser choices when they do eat.
Have you tried Keto? Do you have any tips or favorite recipes? Tell us in the comments below!