The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high fat, moderate protein diet. An individual following a keto diet must eat no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day or less than 5% of their daily intake should come from carbs.
Eating a low amount of carbohydrates causes the body to switch from using direct glucose as its primary energy source to using fats instead. The body will start to break down fat cells and convert the resulting fatty acids into ketones.
Ketones enter the bloodstream and are used for energy by the active tissues and organs in the body. This process will continue until carbohydrates are reintroduced into the diet.
The Ketogenic Diet in a Clinic Setting
Originally, the ketogenic diet was used exclusively in clinical settings. It was first used as part of the treatment of epilepsy, as low-carb diets were shown to be effective at reducing the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures.
The keto diet is great for those with diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to aid with blood glucose regulation. Studies also show the benefits of the ketogenic diet for those with neurological disorders, obesity, and heart disease.
Nowadays, the ketogenic diet is popular among the general population. Many people go low-carb to improve their overall health or to aid in weight loss.
If you plan on following a ketogenic diet, it’s important to know which foods you can and can’t eat. You find lots of keto-friendly lunch and dinner meals for the whole family, or keto dessert recipes to enjoy online.
To make things easier for you, we’ve discussed the foods to include in your low-carb diet and those to avoid below.
Foods That You Can Eat on the Ketogenic Diet
Here is a list of keto-friendly foods that you are allowed to eat when following the ketogenic diet:
- Red meats, including beef, pork, lamb, and sirloin steak
- Deli meats, such as sausages and cold cut meats
- Poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- Fish and seafood of all kinds
- Tofu, tempeh, and soy-based meat alternatives
- Eggs, cheese, and full-fat dairy
- Nuts and seeds of any kind
- Non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, kale, green beans, and asparagus
- Low-sugar fruits, such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, lemons, and limes
- Dark chocolate
Foods to Avoid When You’re Following the Ketogenic Diet
To ensure you stay within the limit of 50 grams of carbohydrates each day, there is a range of foods that you should avoid when following the ketogenic diet. Mainly, it’s the foods that are traditionally high in sugars that you need to steer clear of on the keto diet, such as:
- High-sugar snacks, like cookies, candies, pastries, chips, and biscuits
- High-sugar drinks, such as fruit juice and sodas
- Starchy grains, like pasta, bread, crackers, potatoes, oats, and legumes
- High-sugar fruits, like apples, pears, and bananas
- Sugary sauces and dressings