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A Beginner's Ketogenic Diet Guide & Food List

A Beginner's Ketogenic Diet Guide & Food List

You've heard a lot of praise for the keto diet and decided you want to give it a go. But knowing that keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet that can help you with weight loss and health is not enough for success. You need to get into the nitty gritty of keto before even attempting this diet.
 
Why, you ask? Because success is in the details. Keto diet involves precise macronutrient ratios that you need to stick to in order to reach ketosis – the main goal of this diet. Food quality and fat type also matters as does your choice of carbs.
 
Many keto dieters also rely on specific ingredients and supplements to make reaching ketosis easier. Knowing all this as well as the science behind keto will ensure you get the most out of this diet. It will also help you stay safe and have confidence along the way.
 
So, without further ado, let's dive into what keto is, how it works, and you'll also find a detailed keto food list by the end of this article.

Keto Diet – A Quick Overview

The ketogenic (keto) diet is a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein diet. The goal of this diet is ketosis – an altered metabolic state in which most of your body's energy comes from ketones. Ketones are molecules derived from fat, made in the liver, and whose primary function is serving as an alternative fuel to glucose.
 
In short, the keto diet is designed to generate more ketones, thus the name "ketogenic," i.e. ketone generating [1]. But why generate ketones? Well, when your body makes more ketones than usual, it means that it is burning fat at a fast rate to make these ketones. Burning fat and sparing muscle is the goal of weight loss, and no other diet is as good at this as keto.
 
However, when the keto diet was first designed back in the 1920s, it's goal was treating childhood epilepsy. In fact, the ketogenic diet is first and foremost an anti-epileptic diet. Studies found long ago that the brain experiences fewer seizures when running on ketones and low on glucose [2]. Before keto, people treated epilepsy with prolonged fasting – another way to boost ketone production.
 
But keto eventually fell out of use and interest as an epilepsy treatment after the introduction of anti-epileptic drugs. It was only in the past few decades that it went through a reemergence, but this time as a weight-loss and health improving diet. Research found it was effective and safe as a weight-loss tool, and now there are 40 studies focusing on the ketogenic diet carried out yearly [2].
 
Bonus – Keto Terminology
To become familiar with keto terminology you’ll find in this article, here are some common buzzwords and important concepts worth noting:
  • Ketosis– a healthy metabolic state where your body is making more ketones to fuel the brain and other organs.
  • Ketoacidosis– unlike ketosis, ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition and not seen in healthy dieters.
  • Keto-adapted – being metabolically adapted to burn fat for fuel instead of sugar. Many dieters say this is the ultimate goal of keto.
  • Kicked out of ketosis – no longer being in ketosis due to dieting mishaps.
  • Ketoer– Another way of saying "keto dieter."

How Keto Works

You'll often hear that keto helps transform people from being sugar burners into fat burners. This is a simple description of what keto does but it's precise nonetheless. Keto works by completely overturning your metabolism so that you start burning fat instead of the usual glucose. Low-calorie diets do this as well, but in a different way and with far more side effects.
 
Keto, on the other hand, hacks your body's fat burning mode like no other. Here's how keto works described in these 6 steps:
 
1. You lower your carb intake to below 50 grams per day. This is not enough to sustain your body's energy demand, so it looks for fuel elsewhere.
2. Your body first starts using glycogen in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is the stored form of glucose. Your body stores around 600 grams of glycogen, which is enough to fuel your body for the next 24 hours or even less if you exercise.
3. Once glycogen stores are up, blood sugar levels drop and this signals your body to start burning fat for energy. If you're eating fewer calories from fat than required for energy, your body oxidizes fat in your adipose tissue.
4. Stored fat is released in the form of free fatty acids that your body further breaks down into acetyl-CoA to make energy. However, your body cannot use all acetyl-CoA made because important intermediates for this process also deplete – like oxaloacetate for example [3].
5. As a result, acetyl-CoA from fats start to accumulate and this activates ketone body production. Your body produces three types of ketones:
  • Acetoacetate– The first ketone body made. It converts into the two other ketone bodies in liver mitochondria.
  • β-hydroxybutyrate– The second and most abundant ketone body, and the one supplying most energy.
  • Acetone – The least abundant ketone body but the most volatile. Ketoers often feel acetone on their breath which is a good indicator of ketosis.
6. With the exception of the liver, all organs in your body are able to use ketones. However, your brain uses most of the ketones made, and, in fact, 70% of its energy comes from ketones during low-carb diets. The reason being that the brain is not able to run on fat and is entirely reliant on glucose or ketones for energy.

Benefits of Keto and Ketosis

Following a keto diet, as well as being in ketosis, comes with a wide range of benefits. From weight loss and improved blood glucose to better brain health and even cancer prevention, here are some of those benefits explained:
 

Weight Loss

Weight loss is the number one reason keto has been gaining popularity lately. Studies carried out over the past decade show that this diet is both safe and effective in tackling excess weight and even obesity [4]. So it's no wonder more and more people are jumping on the keto bandwagon. But how exactly does keto work for weight loss?
 
Well, there are two reasons behind keto's weight-loss effects. The ketogenic diet helps people lose weight because it a) boosts fat burning and b) suppresses appetite. The appetite-reducing effect of keto comes from the ketones themselves but also from the higher fat and protein intake. These two nutrients are notoriously difficult to digest and, in this way, suppress appetite.
 

Diabetes Control

Keto, being a low-carb diet, is ideal for blood sugar control. Researchers even confirmed keto to be extremely effective in reducing hyperglycemia in people with type II diabetes and also that the diet doesn't jeopardize overall health along the way [5]. Keto works in this regard by depriving the body of its number one source of sugar – carbohydrates. With little to no carbs in your diet, blood sugar levels are destined to drop significantly.
 
Keto also helps lower blood glucose via weight loss since maintaining a healthy body weight is essential for glycemic control. Experts explain that people who lose just 5-10% of their body weight have an almost 60% lower risk of developing diabetes [6]. Those who already have diabetes, however, will also notice an improvement in their blood sugar after losing a small amount of excess weight.
 

Brain Health

Researchers initially designed keto to be a treatment for epilepsy, which is a type of brain disorder characterized by seizures. Although doctors now rarely recommend keto as an epilepsy treatment, matter of fact is that that the diet works for epilepsy and other brain conditions.
 
Studies even show keto can improve Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and even help the brain heal from injury and stroke [7]. Researchers believe this neuroprotective effect comes from the greater energy ketones provide as well as their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action.
 
For those not suffer any brain disorder, you'll also feel the positive impact of keto on your brain health. Many ketoers report feeling greater mental acuity, sharpness, and greater levels of well-being on this diet. So, if better brain health is what you're after, then keto is your go-to diet.
 

Cancer Prevention

Keto can also lower your risk of certain cancers [8]. It's proven to be especially effective against brain, prostate, colon, pancreatic, lung, liver, and breast cancers. An explanation for keto's antiproliferative and anti-tumor effects is that it deprives cancer cells from its main fuel source – carbs.
 
You see, all cancers need glucose to proliferate and they can't use ketones like healthy cells. Keto also balances out insulin levels, which is also important when talking about cancer. However, keto also helps prevent cancer due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects mentioned earlier.
 

Cardiovascular Health

For a long time, researchers believed that high-fat diets cause cardiovascular disease (CVD). That's why so many doctors believed that keto is bad for cardiovascular health. However, there are many factors that play a role in CVD, and diet is only one of them. So, blaming fat doesn't do justice to people with CVD.  
 
With that being said, studies did examine the effects of keto on people's blood vessels [9]. And as it turns out, keto favorably affects cardiovascular health. The diet lowers blood triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and blood pressure. Keto also increases HDL (good) cholesterol and helps with weight loss and diabetes which are common risk factors for CVD.
 
Besides the major benefits above, keto can also reduce acne, treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), lower inflammation, and improving sleep. All these benefits come directly from ketones or from the lower intake of carbohydrates on this diet.

Keto Side Effects

Like every diet that strongly affects the metabolism, you should expect some side effects with this diet as well. Keto is not all sunshine and rainbows; you need to be prepared for potential problems. Luckily, you can easily mitigate most of these problems with a bit of tweaking and we explain how below:
 

Keto Flu

The keto flu is not really a flu but a side effect of carb withdrawal. Symptoms include fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, and brain fog. These are a result of drops in blood sugar and a loss of electrolytes. When you lose glycogen in the first few days of going keto, you also lose electrolytes.
 
This happens because glycogen binds to water, and when you lose glycogen you also lose water and, subsequently, electrolytes. Treating and preventing the keto flu is easy – simply boost your electrolyte intake and stay well-hydrated in the first week of keto. You can get electrolytes as supplements, from table salt, from low-carb vegetables, bone broth, and from bouillon cubes.
 

Constipation 

Constipation is fairly common on keto. Around 65% of those on the diet experience it at some point [10]. There are a few possible explanations why a low-carb, high-fat diet can leave you constipated:
 
  • Low fiber intake – fiber is an indigestible carb that keeps your bowel movements regular. It also gives stool bulk and feeds friendly gut bacteria. Because keto excludes many sources of fiber, it can lead to low intake if not planned right. Make sure you're eating low-carb vegetables, nuts, seeds, and keto diet fruit to prevent keto constipation.
  • Low food intake – Keto suppresses appetite, and this can make you eat less than you usually do. Although that can be a good thing when it comes to weight loss, low food intake can also lead to constipation. Eating at least 1,200 – 1,500 calories a day should help you lose weight while also keeping you regular.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is having abnormally low blood sugar. Healthy folks usually don't ever suffer hypoglycemia, even while on a keto diet. That's because a healthy body is perfectly adapted to keeping blood sugar stable even in the absence of carbs. However, people with diabetes and insulin resistance may experience hypoglycemia on low-carb diets like keto.
 
The hypoglycemia resulting from keto is likely a result of insulin medication. If you're diabetic or suffer other similar metabolic problems, do tell your doctor that you plan to go keto, so they can adjust your medication when needed. Chances are you'll need to lower or even discontinue your medication.
 

Kidney Stones 

Keto in and off itself does not lead to kidney stones. In fact, not everyone on keto gets kidney stones, but 1 in 20 people do [12]. Researchers aren't sure why this happens, but low potassium intake seems to be a major culprit. That's why in order to prevent kidney stones on this diet, you need to eat enough potassium.

Keto Diet Myths & Misconceptions

Keto is drastically different from what most people are used to eating and what medical experts recommend for weight loss and health. It's no wonder then that misconceptions and myths surround this diet. Most of these wrong ideas about keto come from lack of knowledge and some even from prejudice.
 

Keto Causes Muscle Loss

Many weight loss diets lead to muscle breakdown, but keto isn't one of them. In fact, study after study show that keto actually spares the muscles [13]. It's true that your body has a tendency to break down protein to make glucose when carb intake is low. This is common knowledge among athletes who make sure they're eating enough carbs to prevent protein from muscle being broken down.
 
However, the keto diet makes your body adapt to a change in energy supply – from relying on carbs to relying on fat for fuel. This change leads to a host of metabolic and enzymatic adaptations that help preserve muscle. And besides, because your brain will be running on ketones on this diet, your body does not feel the need to break down muscle tissue.
 

Keto Causes Ketoacidosis

In case you didn't know, ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition where blood ketones rise uncontrollably to unhealthy levels. It can be dangerous if not treated immediately, and those with type I diabetes are far too familiar with the dangers of ketoacidosis. If you're otherwise healthy, you have no reason to worry about ketoacidosis.
 
Insulin is responsible for the regulation of ketone body production. As long as your body is making enough insulin, ketone production stays within healthy limits which is between 1.5 – 3 mmol/L. Other than type I diabetes, conditions under which people can get ketoacidosis include alcoholism and starvation.
 

Keto Leads to Kidney Damage

This myth comes from another keto misconception which is that it's a high-protein diet. High-protein diets can be taxing on the kidneys which need to eliminate lots of waste product from protein metabolism. That's why people with kidney diseases need to be careful about their protein intake.
 
But keto is a moderate-protein diet. You only need to eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Your protein intake on keto needs to stay moderate even if you're athletic. That's because too much protein will kick you out of ketosis via a metabolic pathway called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis converts proteins into glucose, but not as much when protein intake is moderate.
 

Keto is Dangerous

The biggest myth of them all is that keto is just generally speaking dangerous. There's talk that it is deficient in key nutrients, causes atherosclerosis, increases your risk of heart attacks and stroke, or simply just wreaks havoc on your metabolism.
 
In truth, keto is safe when you practice it accordingly. As far as we know, nobody has died by following the keto diet. You also need to keep in mind that the diet was primarily designed for children, so safety was an important factor for doctors who came up with it.
 
And as far as research is concerned, systematic reviews proved keto to be a safe diet [14]. It does not cause any life-threatening conditions, it's nutritious if you plan it right, and it provides health benefits that override its minor risks.

Keto Food List – Starting with Macronutrient Ratios

Now that you're more familiar with the ketogenic diet, you probably want to know how it looks like in practice. We already said that it's a high-fat, low-carb type of diet, but what does that mean exactly? Well, researchers have long ago established these nutrient ratios for the keto diet:
  • 5-10% calories from carbs
  • 20-25% calories from protein
  • 70-80% calories from fat
On a typical 2,000 calorie diet, this translates to 100 calories from carbs (25 grams), 400 calories from protein (100 grams), and 1,500 calories from fat (166 grams).
 
However, these are just estimated averages based on the standard keto diet. In practice, there are many variations of this diet. There are also different requirements for different body types and activity levels. That’s why in order to get your exact macronutrient ratios, it's best to use a Keto Calculator. Besides that, you can learn more about keto macros here, and how to tweak them to fit your specific needs.
 
When you establish your exact macros based on your specific goals and limits, it's important that you stick to them all the way through. There's no cheating on a keto diet. That's simply because one high-carb meal will kick you out of ketosis and you'll have to start all over again. Cheat meals will also slow-down your progress, stall your weight loss, and make it harder for your body to become keto-adapted.

Keto Food List – Ingredients You'll Need

On a keto diet, there are foods you are allowed to eat and foods you need to avoid. That's why every keto food list will include both. Here, you'll find a list of the most essential ingredients to add to your keto food list and also some you'll need to remove from your pantry. All ingredients are organized by macronutrient profile, food group, and diet type.
 

Fat

Of the three macronutrients, fat is the most important on a keto diet. Because around 80% of your diet will consist of this macro, it's important to choose the best type and sources of fat when possible. The four different types of fat in food include:
 

Saturated fats

Most animal sources of fat are saturated. However, some plant sources like coconut and palm kernel oils are also high in saturated fat. Saturated fat has gained a bad rap over the last century with medical organizations like the WHO advising people to reduce their intake to lower their risk of heart attack and stroke.
 
However, over 20 studies done recently show that there is no real link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease [15]. That's because saturated fat increases large LDL, helping lower small LDL which is the most damaging to health.
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Cheese
  • Fatty cuts of beef
  • Coconut oil
  • Palm kernel oil

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)

Both plant and animal foods have some amount of MUFAs. Keep in mind, though, that most food has a combination of different fats at different proportions. MUFAs are universally touted as healthy and research shows they especially protect heart health [16]. Great sources of MUFAs include:
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Lard
  • Tallow
  • Bacon
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Sesame oil

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)

The only two essential fatty acids happen to be PUFAs: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. They're called essential because your body can't make them on its own and needs to get them from food. Of the two, you should focus more on omega-3s as these are anti-inflammatory, great for heart health, and proven to be deficient in our diets.
The best sources of PUFAs include:
  • Fish & seafood
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • Seaweed
  • Soybean oil

Trans fats

These are the only fats you need to avoid on your keto diet. Trans fats lower good (HDL) cholesterol, increase bad (LDL) cholesterol, and increase triglycerides – a triple whammy for cardiovascular disease. They occur in small amounts in nature, but are abundant in man-made fats like some margarines, shortening, snack food, baked goods, and frying oil. Limit your intake of packaged food, fast food, artificial fat, and always read labels for trans fat.
 

Protein

Your body needs protein to build and repair tissue – that's why it's often called the building block of skin, bones, cartilage, muscles, and blood. Your body also needs protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other important chemicals. However, do keep your intake moderate on keto. As already explained, process called gluconeogenesis can turn extra protein from your diet into glucose, in this way sabotaging your diet.
 

Meat 

Beef, pork, poultry, and game are sources of high-quality protein but also iron, selenium, and B vitamins. Go for fattier cuts for a better balance of keto macros.

Fish & seafood 

Tuna, squid, shrimp, and clams are all sources of protein and healthy omega-3s.

Full-fat dairy 

Avoid milk because it's high in lactose – a type of sugar. Instead, choose full-fat and fermented products like yogurt, cream, aged and cream cheese which are low in lactose.

Eggs 

Eggs contain easily-digestible protein, some of which has antioxidant properties [17].

Nuts and nut butters 

Peanuts and almonds are also rich in protein as well as fat.

Tofu 

A vegan source of protein that's much lower in carbs than pure soymilk from which it is made.
 

Carbohydrates

On keto, you need to eat low-carb vegetables and keto-friendly fruit. These foods will allow you to eat enough fiber, vitamins, and minerals while keeping your carb intake low. On the other hand, high-carb food like wheat and legumes make it hard to meet your fiber requirements without going overboard with the carbs. Here's a list of low-carb food to add to your keto food list:
 

Leafy greens

Spinach, lettuce, kale, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, arugula, chard, parsley, and endive are all low in carbs usually have less than 5 grams carbs per 100 grams serving.

Above-ground veggies 

Not all vegetables growing above ground are low-carb, but most are. Examples include peppers, eggplants, zucchini, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, snow peas, Brussels sprouts, olives, and okra.

Berries 

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and acai berries are all low in carbs, usually having bellow 5 grams per 100 grams serving. Still, use them sparingly when you want to sweeten your breakfasts and desserts.

Low-carb keto fruit 

A small number of keto fruits are low in carbs and can be part of your keto diet. lemons, starfruit, coconuts, and honeydew melon are some examples.
 
There are three reasons you still need some amount of carbs on keto: to burn fat (fat burns in the flame of carbohydrates), to get fiber, and to spare muscle. While your body can survive without carbs, it functions best when you eat a small amount to meet basic needs.
 

Food Swaps and Keto Substitutes

This list includes ingredients that are not essential on a keto diet, but that make it much, much easier. As you already know, keto excludes some well-known kitchen staples like grains, rice, legumes, and pasta. Keto experts came up with alternatives to these foods to help create variety for your keto meals.
 

Nut flours

Coconut, almond, and hazelnut flours replace wheat flour in the keto diet. Now you can make keto muffins, pancakes, waffles, and keto cheesecake using these low-carb and gluten-free alternatives. Chickpea flour is also acceptable on a keto diet, but in smaller amounts since chickpeas are higher in carbs than nuts. A great thing about nut flours is that they're another powerful source of dietary fiber.
 

Nut milks

We already said that dairy milk contains lactose which is essentially milk sugar.
Lactose is what gives milk and milk products a subtly sweet taste. It's also what causes digestive problems in people with low levels of lactose-digestive enzymes (lactose intolerance).
 
Nut milks like almond and coconut milk are lactose free and keto-approved. And as far as soymilk is concerned – a cup contains 12 grams net carbs which is too much when you're trying to keep your carb intake low.
 

Keto Sweeteners

Sugar, honey, and corn syrup are obviously not allowed on keto. These sweeteners are pure sugar and high on the glycemic index scale, which means they could kick you out of ketosis in no time. To make keto desserts and sweeten your coffee and tea, go for these low-carb sweeteners:
  • Stevia - Stevia h as zero net carbs and calories and is a natural sweetener made from the stevia plant. It's hundred times sweeter than sugar, so you don't need to use much to achieve the same level of sweetness. Your body eliminates stevia compounds completely through urine.
  • Erythritol - Erythritol is a sugar alcohol. It's been around since the 1800s and is FDA-approved. Like stevia, this sweetener is also much sweeter than sugar and contains zero carbs and calories.
  • Monk fruit - Monk fruit sweeteners are another natural low-carb option for keto dieters. You'll usually find these products containing a combination of sweeteners in addition to mon fruit to reduce product costs.
You can also find sugar-free maple syrup to go with your keto pancakes. It's made from maple extract, sweetened with a low-carb sweetener, and thickened with xanthan gum.
 

Cauliflower

This low-carb vegetable is incredibly versatile. Ketoers use it to make cauliflower rice, faux mashed potatoes, and a couscous imitation. All you'll need is a fresh head of cauliflower and a blender or food processor. Add the raw cauliflower to your blender and blitz until you get rice-like buts. You can cook and steam it to make rice or couscous and mash it to replace potatoes.
 

Zoodles

You can't enjoy spaghetti and other past on keto. But you can substitute them with zoodles – faux noodles made from zucchini, aka zucchini noodles. You can cut these noodles using a vegetable peeler and cook or fry for 1 – 3 minutes. Don't overcook your zoodles to avoid making them limp and mushy.
 

Bread crumbs substitute

To replace the crunchiness of breadcrumbs in casserole dishes, you can finely grind pork rinds in a food processor. Keep in mind that pork rinds have a sharp taste and flavor when making your meals.
 

Lettuce wraps

If you don't know how to eat your tortilla filling without the carby wraps, use lettuce instead. Lettuce leaves also work well with bunless burgers and unwiches.
 

Condiments' and Spices

To make your keto meals taste even better, having condiments and spices in your kitchen is a must. Let's start off by saying that most spices are ok on keto. Even when made from food high in carbs, you need to take into account that you will use them in small amounts. Spices to add to your diet are.
  • Salt & pepper
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Curry powder
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
As for condiments, you'll need to pay special attention to the ingredients. But to not waste your time reading labels, here's a list of high-fat or low-carb or both condiments to add to your keto food list:
  • Mayonnaise – Mayo is over 75% fat, and mostly the healthy PUFAs kind.
  • Mustard– Yellow mustard is a low-carb and low-fat condiment. Great for when you're trying to reduce your calorie intake.
  • Ranch dressing – Ranch dressing is over 50% fat and 2 tbsp will give you only 1 gram of net carbs.
  • Tamari sauce – Some soy sauces are high in carbs, but tamari is low in carbs having only 1.2 net carbs per tbsp.
  • Hot sauce – For those who like it hot, hot sauce has a negligible amount of carbs.
  • Full-fat Caesar dressing – High in fat and low in carbs, make a Caesar salad using this dressing.
  • Apple cider vinegar – ACV is a low-calorie condiment with many healthy benefits, just one of which is lowering blood glucose [18].
  • Horseradish– One tablespoon has just around 1 gram of net carbs.

Food to Avoid

Food you'll need to avoid or limit on keto include for the most part high-carb foods. It's also a good idea to avoid anything heavily processed and high in trans fats. With all that in mind, here's a list of items to remove from your fridge, pantry, and keto food list:
 

Grains

This includes all grains. Wheat, rice, oats, corn, and millet are examples of grains. Most grains are high in carbs, often low in fat, and contain some amount of protein. But all have carbohydrates as their most prominent macro. Also, avoid all products made from grains such as:
  • Wheat flour- over 70% carbohydrates with just one tablespoon providing 17 grams net carbs.
  • Pasta– including whole grain and buckwheat pasta.
  • Couscous– couscous is made from durum wheat semolina.
  • Bread and pastry – on keto, you can eat coconut and almond flour bread instead.

Legumes

Although legumes are healthy, they're not really keto-approved. Legumes like peas, beans, lentils, and soy can contain over 17 grams of net carbs per cup.
 

High-Carb fruit

Most fruit is high in sugar. There are a couple exceptions, though, that we mentioned earlier. Fruit you'll need to keep away from on keto include bananas, apples, pears, watermelon, plums, figs, persimmon, and other fruit with a notably sweet taste which is a dead giveaway of its carb content.
 

Dried Fruit

Dried figs, apricots, dates, prunes, and raisins have even more sugar per unit of weight than their fresh counterparts. Avoid these at all costs. An exception would be freeze dried berries, but you also need to use those sparingly as well.
 

Below-ground/root veggies

Carrots, onions, parsnips, potatoes, beetroot, sweet potatoes all grow below ground and al are high in carbs. Some of these vegetables are collectively called tubers and they serve as the plant's energy reservoir in the form of starch. Not all below-ground vegetables are necessarily bad on keto. Daikon radish and fennel grow below ground but are fairly low in carbs.
 

Sugar and honey

These products are pure carb and you need to use them in large amounts to sweeten most dishes and beverages. Coconut sugar, agave nectar, and rice syrup are also not approved.
 

Sweets and desserts

Chocolate, muffins, cookies, and cakes are sweetened with sugar and made using grain flours. Don't eat these unless made with keto-approved ingredients.
 

Juices

Especially soda drinks and fruit juice. These cause sharp blood sugar spikes, increase appetite, and are the number one cause of weight gain and diabetes in the West [19].

Keto Supplements and Products

The keto diet is perfect all on its own. Stick to your keto macros, eat a variety of healthful food and you'll be in ketosis in no time while also supporting your health. But the diet is hard to adhere to and mishaps happen even to the best of us. That's why we have keto supplements to correct diet mistakes and even to make things more convenient.
 

MCT Oil

A concentrated and purified source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), this keto product can help your keto diet multiple ways:
  • MCT oil boosts ketone production.
MCTs are digested at a fast rate and they reach the liver fairly quickly after intake. In the liver's cell mitochondria MCTs are converted into ketones for almost immediate energy.
  • MCTs burn calories
Studies found that MCTs oxidize quickly in the liver and with that quick oxidation you also burn calories [20].
  • MCTs oil suppresses appetite
Fat is not as satiating as protein or even as carbs. But MCTs are an exception to this rule. Studies show that MCTs oil is even more satiating than MCTs from coconut oil in its unpurified form [21].
 
With these benefits in mind, MCTs are a great tool for immediate energy and ketones. If you need a quick boost of energy in the morning, add MCT oil to your coffee. If you had a cheat meal, MCTs can help bring you back on track quicker. They're also perfect for appetite control and fat burning.
 

Exogenous Ketones

Another product to add to your keto food list are exogenous ketones. They're essentially ketones made in the laboratory and bound to salts or alcohols for easy absorption. Their purpose on a keto diet is to give you an instant source of ketones. Their benefits include:
 
  • Easier and quicker ketosis
In order to get into ketosis, adopting a keto diet is non negotiable. But exogenous ketones help speed up this process and also make it easier.
 
  • Treating the keto flu
The keto flu is also called carb withdrawal and happens in the first weeks of a keto diet. It's a result of electrolyte imbalances. As soon as your body gets used to running on ketones, you can expect the keto flu to wane. But in the meantime, exogenous ketones help reduce keto flu symptoms and even prevent the keto flu.
 
  • Correcting mistakes
If you accidentally had more carbs than you should have, exogenous ketones can bring you back on track. In other words, they help prevent ketoers from being kicked out of ketosis.
 
You can also use these products for your workouts. When you're on a keto diet, your glycogen stores get depleted quicker and this can negatively affect your workouts. Exogenous ketones help spare muscle glycogen and work as a source of muscle fuel themselves.
 

Collagen Peptides

When it comes to protein supplements, collagen peptides take the lead. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, making up much of your ski, cartilage, and connective tissue. Collagen peptides are the supplement form of this protein.
 
These supplements are valuable on a keto diet largely because they're non-inflammatory. They're also much easier to digest than whey or casein protein. You can use them to boost your protein intake, for appetite control, and even for their anti-aging benefits.
 

Other Supplements to Consider

The keto diet is fairly restrictive, so meeting your needs for certain nutrients can be tough at times. Consider adding these supplements if you lead busy lifestyle and struggle to eat a variety of keto food:
 

Fiber supplements

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate and important nutrient. Unfortunately, meeting your daily need for fiber, which is around 30 grams a day, is tough on a low-carb diet. Psyllium and methylcellulose are two popular fiber supplements that you can easily add to your keto smoothies, yogurt, and other food.
 

Vitamin C

Because you'll be eating less fruit on a keto diet, vitamin C deficiency can also become a problem. It's a good idea to eat lemon, avocados, and leafy greens daily to get enough of this important nutrient. Otherwise, a supplement containing 90 -120 mg of vitamin C can help.
 

Electrolytes

Supplementing your diet with electrolytes can help you get over the keto flu. You don't necessarily need to use supplements, though. Bone broth, a bouillon cube, a sugar-free sports drink, and a pinch of salt here and there also helps replenish electrolytes.

Conclusion

The keto diet seems simple at first: you eat more fat and limit carbs to fewer than 30-50 grams per day. However, for the diet to really work, knowing how this diet looks like in practice and which ingredients you need to support ketosis and good health.
 
From learning about ketosis and gluconeogenesis to making a list of foods you need to eat and those you need to avoid is essential for keto success. Follow our easy guide to learn everything you need about ketosis and base your keto food list on our list and you’ll become a keto pro in no time.
 

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