The ketogenic diet has recently gained popularity. Studies show that the low-carb, high-fat diet works for weight loss.
A ketogenic diet limits carbohydrate consumption to less than 50 grams per day.
Although this may seem difficult, you can eat a lot of nutritious and delicious foods on a ketogenic diet.
What Food to Eat on a Keto Diet?
The basic guide is to limit carbs in your diet and to make your keto meals enjoyable and easy to prepare. So you can stick to it without getting bored with the preparation.
Meals on the keto diet should be low in carbohydrates and include green leafy salads drenched in fatty dressings.
Your daily ketogenic diet menu should include 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrate. Here are 11 super-healthy and delicious foods to eat on a ketogenic diet.
Avocados are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium.
Eating low-carb, potassium-rich foods can facilitate weight loss on a ketogenic diet. However, 100 grams of avocado contain 9 grams of carbs, and yet 7 grams of those 9 grams are fiber, so the net count of the avocado is just 2 grams.
Avocados can also improve the levels of triglycerides. A study reports that avocados can decrease LDL by 22% and increase good HDL cholesterol by 11%, which means they are heart healthy (1).
Eating non-starchy vegetables on a ketogenic diet is the best strategy. Dark green leafy vegetables are low in calories but high in nutrients, including vitamin C and fiber. Fiber is an important element of weight loss.
The body can’t digest or absorb fiber, but it can help you keep your digestive tract smooth and healthy.
According to the evidence, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli are high in antioxidants that protect against free radicals, which can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer (2).
Seafood, such as fish and shellfish, is an essential food on the keto diet. Salmon is rich in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium.
Some shellfish contain carbohydrates, but the proportion of carbohydrates varies between shellfish. For example, shellfish such as shrimp and crab do not contain carbohydrates, but other kinds do.
Shellfish such as shrimp and crabs should have a place in your ketogenic diet menu.
Some evidence shows that fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish are high in omega-3 fats, which can increase insulin sensitivity in heavy people (3).
Eating fatty fish can also decrease the risk of diseases and improve memory, so it makes sense to eat fish three times a week on a keto diet.
One egg has less than 1 gram of carbs and 6 grams of protein. This makes eggs an excellent food to eat on a ketogenic diet.
Eggs stimulate hormones that increase sensations of fullness. Eggs also keep blood sugar levels steady, resulting in lower calorie consumption.
You should eat the whole egg because most of the minerals are available in the yolk. This includes the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect eye health.
Egg yolks are high in cholesterol, but in most people, eating a whole egg does not increase bad cholesterol.
In fact, evidence shows that eggs may alter the shape of LDL cholesterol, which can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (4).
If you have high triglyceride levels, speak with your doctor about adding eggs to your keto diet menu.
You can eat all the cheese on the keto diet. One ounce (28 grams) of cheddar cheese contains seven grams of protein, and 20% calcium.
The amount of saturated fat in cheese is high, but it does not increase the risk of heart disease.
Some studies suggest that cheese may protect you from cardiovascular disease by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol (5).
Regular cheese eating may help minimize muscle loss in old age. Cheese contains conjugated linoleic acid, a lipid associated with fat loss and overall health gains.
A study in older adults shows that eating 210 grams of cheese per day increases muscle mass and strength (6).
6. Meat and poultry
Meat and poultry are the basic foods to eat on the keto diet. There are no carbs in fresh meat or poultry. Meats and poultry are rich in B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
By eating meat, you can maintain muscle mass during a low-carb diet. A study in older women found fatty meat can increase HDL cholesterol levels by 8% (5).
For meat, always go for grass fed meat. It’s because grass-fed animals produce more omega-3 fatty acids, linoleic acid, and antioxidants than grain-fed animals.
7. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has a distinct flavor that makes it an excellent choice for those interested in the ketogenic diet. It contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
In contrast to long-chain fatty acids, medium-chain triglycerides convert into ketones in the liver, and the body burns them as a source of energy.
Some evidence shows that coconut oil is beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders. Lauric acid is the main fatty acid in coconut oil (7).
Many professionals recommend coconut oil to get into ketosis. Furthermore, coconut oil can aid in weight loss in people who are overweight.
According to some evidence, men who ate 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil daily lost one inch of their waist circumference (8).
The best and safest way is to check with your doctor if adding coconut oil to your ketogenic diet is suitable for you.
8. Extra-virgin olive oil
Adding olive oil to your ketogenic diet can provide your heart with impressive advantages. It is high in oleic acid, a fat that reduces the risk of heart disease.
Evidence shows that extra-virgin olive oil, also known as phenols, has high levels of antioxidants. These compounds protect the heart’s health by reducing inflammation and helping the artery (10).
Olive oil contains no carbs and is a pure source of fat. It is a perfect base for mayonnaise and salad dressings. You can use olive oil in low-heat cooking or add it to foods after cooking.
9. Yogurt and cheese
Greek yogurt with cottage cheese is a high-protein, keto friendly cuisine. While both contain some carbs, the carb content in them shouldn’t hurt the keto diet.
Evidence shows that eating yogurt suppresses the appetite and facilitates a feeling of fullness. They are also easy to make and suitable for a quick meal (11).
10. Butter and cream
Butter and cream are excellent foods to eat on a ketogenic diet. Each portion contains only trace quantities of carbs. It is believed that the saturated fat in butter and cream may cause heart disease for many years.
Several major studies have shown that saturated fat doesn’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease for most people. Evidence shows that reasonably fatty milk consumption could reduce the risk of heart attacks (12).
Like other fatty products, butter and cream are rich in linoleic acid, which may help with fat loss. Before adding saturated fat to your keto menu, speak to your doctor.
11. Black coffee and tea
Tea and coffee are healthy, carb-free beverages. Black coffee and tea without sugar or milk are OK to drink on the keto diet.
Unsweetened coffee and tea can boost your metabolic rate and physical and mental performance. Evidence shows it may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes (13).
Avocados, veggies, seafood, and eggs are important ketogenic foods. Cheese, poultry, coconut oil, and grass-fed meat are additional keto foods. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which is the greatest choice for a ketogenic diet enthusiast. MCTs are converted into ketones in the liver and used as an energy source by the body. Extra-virgin olive oil is an excellent foundation for mayonnaise and salad dressings. Greek yogurt with cottage cheese are also good addon. Black coffee and tea are low-carb liquids that can increase metabolic rate as well as physical and mental function.
People use the ketogenic diet for weight loss, to control blood sugar, or for other health purposes.
You can add a wide range of nutritious and delicious foods to eat on a ketogenic diet.