Ketogenic – What to eat?
A ketogenic diet (for omnivores) mainly consists of:
- full fat dairy products
- nuts and seeds
- low carb vegetables
- select fruit (citrus, berries)
You should avoid carbohydrate-rich foods such as cereal products, potatoes, legumes, sugar, some fruits, and ready-to-serve meals.
Now, let’s get into some more info about determining which foods are keto-friendly foods and which should be avoided.
Keto in Numbers: How Much of What to Eat?
- Carbohydrates: <5%
- Proteins: 20-30%
- Fat: 70-80%
Less than 50g of carbs per day.
Below are graphs comparing the Keto Diet to the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges in the USA.
Rule of thumb: Fat is the main component of ketogenic nutrition and is therefore the most important prerequisite for successful ketogenic nutrition.
Always Read Ingredients
It is of utmost importance to always read the ingredients on packaging very carefully, as sugar additives are often concealed (more on this in the next section). This problem affects pretty much all industrially manufactured products, such as beverages & sausages. The latter also often contain nitrates, nitrites, and sodium glutamate.
Hidden Sugar in Food
“Sugar” does not always appear as sugar on food labels – Sugar is often “camouflaged” by manufacturers & declared under different names so that the product appears to contain little or no sugar. Be careful not to accidentally get yourself out of your ketosis.
If you are just beginning to eat ketogenic food or you don’t always have all the alternative names for sugar in mind, remember these tips:
- Designations ending with “-ose” or “-syrup” are usually sugar.
- “Dextrose” and “maltodextrin” are also names for sugar.
- The more often they appear in the list of ingredients, the more sugar the food contains.
Check out my post on natural sugar alternatives here.
Quality of Food
In a ketogenic diet, it is not only a matter of keeping the carbohydrate content below 50g per day & the precisely calculated macro nutrient values for protein & fat. In a ketogenic diet, the quality of the food is more important. Like Hippocrates already said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food“.
Wherever possible, certified organic vegetables should be used, as they are neither genetically modified nor contaminated with pesticides nor artificial fertilizers–they also open up a whole new, healthy taste experience for you! When buying fruit you should also pay attention to this – but it should be said that fruit plays a subordinate role in the keto diet anyway.
The same applies to meat:
Because meat is an essential main ingredient for ketogenic omnivores (from the Latin words “omni” meaning “everything” and “vorare” meaning “to devour”), you should definitely rely on certified organic meat. This certifies that the animals have not been fed growth hormones or antibiotics – all things you don’t want in your food or in your body. Also, don’t neglect animal welfare here: With organic meat you support a species-appropriate attitude of the animals. Here you can learn a bit more about what it means to be “certified organic”.
Products of inferior quality influence your progress unfavorably and you will probably reach your goal slower.
Keto Diet Food List
The following is a quick ketogenic food list to help you get started in your new ketogenic life. Especially at the beginning it is difficult not to lose the overview and it’s a good idea to take some time to deal with which ketogenic foods are suitable for you so that you are not overwhelmed when trying to figure out what to eat. For a detailed PDF version, click here.
The following ketogenic food list is not complete, but considers the most “conventional” products that basically everyone knows and that end up in our shopping cart the most.
- sausages, such as ham, salami, bacon, smoked sausage (Only without additives & of high quality!)
- seafood, like mussels, squid, shrimps & fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, etc.
- eggs, bio and free-range
- cream (full fat), such as sour cream (Only without additives & of high quality!)
- fatty cheeses like Gouda, Mozzarella, sheep cheese, Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, cottage cheese, mascarpone etc.
- natural yogurt and quark in moderation (full fat)
- cabbage vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, pointed cabbage, Chinese cabbage, kale etc.
- green beans
- algae like Nori, Kombu, and Wakame
- sprouts such as brussels sprouts, alfalfa, broccoli, radish sprouts)
- spinach & other green leafy vegetables
- asparagus, green and white
- mushrooms and oyster mushrooms
- sugar snap peas
- sea buckthorn
Nuts and Seeds
- Chia seeds
- sesame seed
- macadamia nuts
- pumpkin seeds
- Brazil nuts
Fats and Oils
- For frying: Coconut oil or Biopalm oil
- For salads: extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil
- avocado oil
- macadamia oil
- Ghee (clarified butter, lactose-free & suitable for lactose intolerant people)
- beef tallow
- goose fat
Keto Baking Ingredients
- guar gum
- locust bean gum
- coconut flour
- almond flour
- hemp flour
- sesame flour
- linseed flour
- potato and bamboo fibers
- Agar Agar
- honey – in moderation
- dark chocolate with a cocoa content of approx. 70-80%
- unsweetened tea (green tea, black tea, herbal tea, etc.)
- high percentage such as vodka, tequila, whiskey, rum, gin, etc. with 0 carbs.
- others (150 ml):
- champagne – 1g carbs
- dry wine – 2g carbs
- sparkling wine – 3g carbs
- pay attention to the ingredients in cocktails and mixed drinks!
Click here for more info about drinks on the keto diet.
Foods to Avoid
- sugar, and products containing large amounts of sugar
- juices, sodas, and other sugary drinks
- bread, noodles, cereals, starchy foods, such as potatoes
- kernel oils, such as rapeseed oil, thistle oil, or sunflower oil.
In this post we discussed macro nutrients for the keto diet, and which foods are ideal to eat on the keto diet, and which are better left out.
- Carbs: <5% (Less than 50g a day!)
- Proteins: 20-30%
- Fats: 70-80%
- No sugar
- Always check the nutrition label!
Would you like a detailed keto diet food list as a PDF? Click here to learn more.
So, what are your favorite keto-friendly foods? Comment below!