Following a ketogenic diet puts you in a state of ketosis where you burn fat for fuel. When this happens, your body has the unique ability to tap into those stubborn fat stores, so you lose FAT, not water or muscle. For this unique metabolic shift to happen we must adhere to a diet with a macronutrient profile that is high fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best foods to put on your shopping list so you can get started shedding fat and be well on your way to experiencing the benefits of long-term health.
The amount of healthy fats needed on a ketogenic diet may vary from person to person, depending on the ability to get and maintain nutritional ketosis but a general guideline is that 70-75% of the diet comes in the form of healthy fats. These fats are important for providing energy, making hormones and increasing satiety. The best fats to incorporate are MCT Oil, Full Fat Dairy and Cream, Avocado, Coconut, high quality Butter or Ghee, Olives and of course all the corresponding oils: Olive, Avocado, and Coconut as well as Lard, Tallow, and Duck Fat. Nuts and their oils and milks are acceptable, just check the carbs and watch your portions, cashews are higher in carbs than walnuts as an example. Full fat dairy including yogurt, heavy cream, milk, sour cream, cream cheese, and hard cheese are great, too.
Protein sources on a ketogenic diet should be high quality, organic when possible, and wild caught if available in order to consume the best possible nutrient profile. All meats are acceptable including organ and game meats like venison and pheasant. It’s better to select more fatty cuts of meat like chicken thighs over chicken breasts.
Wild-Caught Salmon is one of my favorite dishes but you can include all fish including Trout, Bass, Tuna, Flounder, Sardines etc. The same goes for shellfish and other seafood, look for the highest quality. Just make sure you don’t eat too much but include: Crab, Lobster, Shrimp, Scallops, Mussels, Oysters.
While it can be confusing which foods fall under a specific macronutrient, a great strategy is to count vegetables as your carbohydrates. When choosing vegetables, leafy greens like arugula, spinach, and chard are your best bet but most are acceptable. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are highly nutritious and full of fiber but are higher in carbs than cucumber, bell peppers and zucchini. Fruits that can be used in moderation include berries, lemon and lime. But legumes and potatoes should be eliminated.
Foods to Avoid
One of the benefits of being on a keto diet is that you end up eliminating sugars, grains, processed foods, fake foods, and all the foods that spike insulin levels. Let’s look at what you need to avoid.
Avoid all sugars including artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, honey, agave, maple syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc. This also includes sweets like cookies, soda, cakes, and pies unless they are made with acceptable ingredients. Acceptable sweeteners include stevia, monk fruit, allulose, and sugar alcohols like erythritol.
Avoid anything “low fat” including margarine, butter, skim milk, or low-fat cheese. Full fat versions of these foods are much better and help you reach your fat macros.
Avoid all flours, grains, cereals, chips, and crackers except coconut or almond flour or any flour made with something naturally low in carbs like walnut flour. Check labels.
Many packaged and processed foods contain inferior oils that have a short shelf life and become rancid by the time they are sold or they contain an unhealthy ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats and can be inflammatory. For these reasons it’s best to avoid any processed foods that contain canola, vegetable, safflower, or sunflower oil and stick to coconut and avocado oil for cooking and olive and MCT oil for drizzling.
Head over to our shop page where you will find an abundant selection of healthy desserts made with Cream, MCT oil and erythritol that will keep you burning fat for fuel without the insulin spike!!