The Keto Diet has been gaining a lot of attention and name in the weight loss space for quite some time now. Keto diet foods, full of fats with zero amount of carbs, were originally curated to cure diabetes and epilepsy. However, the exciting high-fat and low-carb diet has now been widely used for weight loss.
The ketogenic diet follows the principle of ‘maintaining ketosis’, a metabolic state that uses fat and protein to produce energy rather than glucose sourced from carbohydrates.
How the Keto Diet Plan for Weight Loss Works
As you already know by now, the ketogenic diet requires a lot of fat and protein consumption as compared to carbohydrates. So, when you eat less than 50 carbs a day, your body quickly runs out of fuel. This takes 3-4 days. Then, your body starts to break down fats and protein for energy which in turn helps to shed some pounds. This process is called ketosis.
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In this diet, it takes more calories to change fat into energy than it does to change carbohydrates into energy. Due to this, following a keto diet will show better weight loss results in the first 3-6 months of incorporating it.
21 Foods You Can Eat on Keto
1. Seafood– Fatty seafood like salmon, snapper, tuna, halibut, cod, trout, catfish, scallops are keto-friendly. These are very high in omega-3 fats, which lower insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese people.
Make sure to choose fish and seafood without added sugars to keep your carbs low.
2. Shellfish– They are rich in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium. Shrimp and most crabs contain no carbs while other types of shellfish do. Shellfish like clams, mussels, octopus, oysters, squid, crabs, and lobsters are good choices.
3. Eggs– They are one of the most delicious and versatile foods ever. One egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs and about 6 grams of protein, making it perfect for a ketogenic diet. You can have them either boiled, poached, fried, scrambled, or make a quick omelet.
4. Meat and Poultry– Meats are a keto staple. They don’t contain any carbs and are rich in vitamin B and several other vitamins. Meat and Poultry are also a high source of protein that helps in preserving muscle mass while consuming a low-carb diet.
- deli meats
- organ meats
- tofu, extra firm
5. Cheese– There are so many different types of cheese available. Most of them are low in carbs and high in fat. Here are a few:
- blue cheese
- colby jack
- goat cheese
- string cheese
6. Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese– According to studies, both yogurt and cottage cheese have proven to reduce appetite and maintain a feeling of fullness. They are protein-rich foods with low carbs that make for a healthy and tasty snack.
7. Butter and Cream– Contrary to popular belief, moderate consumption of butter and cream either have neutral or even beneficial effects on heart health. They are obviously low-carb foods that help in weight loss due to the fatty acid in them.
8. Fats and Sauces– While most of your fat comes from foods like meat, poultry, eggs, and fish, you can also opt to cook with olive oil, add cheese or cream to your salads, and so on. Sauces like Bearnaise sauce, garlic butter, and mayonnaise are also keto-friendly if used moderately.
9. Low-carb vegetables– Non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens and salad veggies are highly keto-friendly.
- brussels sprouts
10. Avocados– Avocados are a high source of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, an important mineral many people may not get enough of. Due to its high potassium content, it makes the transition to a ketogenic diet easier.
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11. Fruits and Berries– Most fruits are high in carbs to be included in a keto diet plan but fortunately, berries are an exception. Berries and melons are keto diet foods that contain a high amount of fibre and little carbs.
12. Coconut Oil– It possesses a lot of properties suitable for a ketogenic diet. It helps with obesity and belly fat.
13. Olive Oil– Olive oil is a pure fat source with zero carbs in it. It can be used for salad dressings. Extra-virgin olive oil is also high in antioxidants.
14. Nuts and Seeds– They are healthy and low-carb foods. However, a few kinds of nuts like cashews contain considerably higher carbs than other nuts. While frequent consumption of nuts is generally considered healthy, you still have to be mindful of the amount you intake.
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
15. Olives– They work similar to olive oil. Due to their difference in size, their carb content also varies. However, their digestible carb content is low since their carbs come from fiber.
16. Shirataki Noodles– Popularly known as the ‘miracle noodles’, Shirataki noodles are a great option for a ketogenic diet. Since they have a low-calorie count and an ability to suppress appetite due to a high level of fiber, it makes your stomach feel full.
17. Unsweetened Coffee and Tea– Coffee and Tea are carb-free drinks. Due to the caffeine in them, they increase metabolism and alertness. Make sure you don’t opt for ‘light’ coffees or tea lattes. They have high carb levels in them.
18. Beverages– Here are a few keto-friendly beverages you can choose from:
- Juices of vegetables (celery, cucumber, kale, spinach)
- Lemon and lime juices
- Flavoured water like sparkling water and lemon flavoured water
- Plant-based milk options (almond milk, coconut milk, flaxseed milk)
- Alcoholic beverages (low-carb beer, vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila, dry wine, champagne)
19. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder– Yes, you can include chocolate in your keto diet. But keep in mind to only choose dark chocolate that contains 70% cocoa solids. They are great sources of antioxidants.
20. Coconuts– The ‘meat’(white, fleshy interior) of the coconut contains a high amount of fat and fibre and a moderate amount of carbs and protein, making it an ideal keto-friendly food. You can use it in salads, smoothies and stews.
21. Herbs and Spices– Almost all herbs and spices fit well in a ketogenic diet. As long as you are using them moderately and counting your carbs, you are good to go!
- Thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne
- Ground ginger
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
What can you not eat on keto diet?
- Sweet treats: Any food that contains sugar is a big no-no. Candies, cakes, pastries, sodas, biscuits, ice cream, desserts, pastries, sweetened yogurts, breakfast cereals, etc. should be avoided.
- Starchy food: All types of bread, bagels, pasta, popcorn, pizza, rice, corn, cereals, oatmeal, crackers, potatoes, muesli, granola, chips, French fries.
- Legumes: Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc
- Condiments: BBQ sauce, ketchup, hot sauces that contain sugar, and also a few salad dressings
- Almost all fruits: Bananas, apples, mango, plums, grapes, oranges, pineapple, watermelon, and more.
Possible Keto-diet Plan Side Effects: Why is keto diet bad?
The keto diet is usually advised to be seen as a ‘kick-start’ diet to be followed before switching to a more suitable one. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, keto produces great benefits only during the first 3-6 months of incorporating it. Experts say that after 12 months of intaking keto diet foods, its weight loss advantages may disappear.
According to a New York Times article, people on keto may also experience stomach issues and gastrointestinal distress due to a drastic change in food habits.
The keto menu includes a lot of delicious and versatile food options that not only help in weight loss but also help in achieving other health goals.
Keto diet foods focus on high-fat foods rather than carbs, thus, not compromising on your favorite options of meat, fish, eggs, veggies, and beverages in it.
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Enjoy a simple and nutritious lifestyle while also keeping in mind the side effects of the keto diet.