Ketogenic diet is now a household name for all of us. For many, however, this form of the very low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet is not only a diet, but also a lifestyle.
In a nutshell: In the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are permanently removed from the body, the cells look for alternative energy sources and so-called ketosis occurs.
This allows maximum fat burning and an increased occurrence of ketone bodies in the blood.
Especially to lose weight and get rid of the annoying bunch, a ketogenic diet promises comprehensive success.
The main advantage of the ketogenic diet is to keep insulin levels consistently low and thus to stimulate fat metabolism.
Various studies confirm that ketogenic nutrition not only promotes weight loss, but also significantly increases performance and thus general well-being (1).
But trying a new form of nutrition can be a challenge, especially at the beginning. What can I eat to get into ketosis, how do I prepare my meals and how does it work in the restaurant?
Don’t worry – because this initial frustration can easily be overcome. It is true that the smarter we are and the more we know, the easier it is to transition to a ketogenic diet and the quicker you will feel the first symptoms and signs of ketosis.
Keto food list: The 15 best foods
The ketogenic diet limits carbohydrate intake, depending on age, gender and weight, to 20-50 grams per day. This can be a bit intimidated at first glance, but if you familiarize yourself with ketogen-friendly foods, it automatically works out much better.
We’ve put together an ultimate list for you to fall back on again and again.
These 15 healthy foods are pieces of gold in your ketogenic diet. Healthy, delicious and yet few carbohydrates – perfect!
1) Meat and poultry
Meat and poultry should be your go-to staple of a ketogenic diet.
Fresh meat and poultry do not contain carbohydrates, but a whole lot of vitamin B and important minerals such as potassium, selenium and zinc (29).
In addition, meat and poultry provide an excellent source of high-quality protein. Protein not only keeps you full when eating a low carbohydrate diet, but also helps you maintain your existing muscle mass, especially when you lose weight.
Ideally, you’re just trying to eat the meat of animals that feed on fresh grass. Because their meat contains especially much of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and conjugated linoleic acid. These in turn help to reduce body fat percentage and body weight and also have anti-inflammatory effects. (32).
Avocados contain one of the healthiest fats as they have abundant unsaturated fats. These can be used as long-term energy sources and also make you full full for a long time thanks to their high fibre content.
Due to the many fiber, regular consumption of avocados also affects a regulated digestion.
The power fruit is a real miracle cure and also helps to replenish the body’s electrolyte storage. This is especially important for athletes and athletes who lose a lot of electrolytes after a sports unit due to the constant sweating.
150 grams of the fruit contains 975 milligrams of potassium, a mineral that regulates the body’s fluid balance. This is super important if you are on a ketogenic diet, as only a few carbohydrates are added to the body.
With a low-carb diet, the body stores less water and electrolytes, which can lead to lack of fluid, dizziness, circulatory weakness and other symptoms of keto flu.
3) Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds usually all contain a lot of healthy fatty acids. However, every nut and every seed naturally brings different nutrients.
A handful of almonds, for example, already covers 10 per cent of your daily calcium needs, while the same amount of pumpkin seeds covers more than a quarter of the daily zinc requirement.
Top tip: Grab some raw vegetable sticks and enjoy them with some spoonfuls of peanut or almond butter. A healthy snack with a high fat content is the perfect snack with a ketogenic diet!
Here you can check the carbohydrate content of all nuts and seeds (28 grams per serving) at a glance:
- Almonds: 6 grams
- Brazil nut: 3 grams
- Cashew cores: 9 grams
- Macadamia nut: 4 grams
- Pecans: 4 grams
- Pistachios: 8 grams
- Walnuts: 4 grams
- Chia seeds: 12 grams
- Flaxseed: 8 grams
- Pumpkin seeds: 5 grams
- Sesame seeds: 7 grams
- 4) Dark chocolate and cocoa powder
- Good news for chocolate lovers: Chocolate can also be part of a ketogenic diet! However, it is important that only dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70% is chosen.
28 grams of chocolate with 100% cocoa content, for example, has only 3 grams of carbohydrates. The same amount of chocolate with 70-85% cocoa content contains up to 10 grams of carbohydrates. (92, 93).
Fish and seafood are other fixed points of a ketogenic diet. A lot of fat, a few carbohydrates and a high content of vitamin B, potassium and selenium – fish varieties, such as salmon, are therefore optimal for the ketogenic diet! (4).
With seafood, you have to be a little careful, because here the different fruits also have different carbohydrate content. Shrimp and other crab animals contain virtually no carbohydrates, Venus or mussels (5).
Seafood is definitely suitable for the ketogenic diet, but you should choose them wisely to keep carbohydrate consumption low.
Here is an overview of the carbohydrate content of one serving (100 grams) of popular seafood:
- Clams: 5 grams
- Oysters: 4 grams
- Mussels: 7 grams
- Octopos: 4 grams
- Squid: 3 grams
- Ideally, try eating at least 2 portions of seafood a week!
Eggs are cheap, easy to prepare and can be cooked in many different ways. Eggs are not only delicious, but also bring with them a lot of important nutrients such as choline.
The yolk provides an ideal source of choline, a substance that has cell-protecting functions. Choline also plays a key role in strengthening the brain, memory, metabolism and mood, according to the National Health Institute (NIH).
Eggs are also one of the few foods that have high levels of vitamin D, significantly supporting eye and bone functions, as well as keeping cholesterol levels low.
There are hundreds of types of different cheeses – and thank God all of them have little carbohydrates and lots of fat, making them the perfect companion in ketosis.
One serving of cheddar cheese, for example (about 28 grams) contains only 1 gram of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fat and 20% of the recommended daily requirement of calcium (20).
While cheese has a slightly higher proportion of saturated fat, studies show this does not pose increased risks to heart disease. Some studies even show that regular consumption of cheese even protects against heart disease (21, 22).
Cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fat that promotes fat loss and favors a defined body.
8) Low-Carb Vegetables & Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are an integral part of a ketogenic diet. However, with a ketogenic diet, you should choose the vegetables wisely, as many also have a surprisingly high carbohydrate content.
There is not one perfect, golden rule. But if you choose the vegetables with care, then you can include most varieties in your diet plan without any problems.
You should limit the following foods:
- Vegetables with a high carbohydrate content. Included are onions, parsnips, garlic, mushrooms and pumpkin.
- Night shade plants. These include tomatoes, aubergines and peppers.
- Citrus fruits, including limes, limes and orange juice or peels in the water.
- Try to completely avoid starchy vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes or bananas.
- In general, everything that grows under the ground has more carbohydrates and should be limited in the ketogenic diet.
9) Olive oil
Olive oil contains fat rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and oleic acid. These mostly protect against coronary heart disease, as many studies have found. (47).
Extra virgin olive oil also contains a lot of antioxidants, also known as phenols. These substances have a positive effect on the protection of the cardiovascular system, as they also inhibit inflammation in the body and improve artery function.
Since olive oil is a pure source of fat, it also contains no carbohydrates. This makes olive oil the perfect base for salad dressings or healthy mayonnaise. Due to the fact that olive oil as unsaturated fatty acid is not as stable as saturated fats at high temperatures, the oil is ideally used for dishes that are prepared in a small flame.
10) Butter and cream
Butter and cream contain healthy fatty acids, which are why they are welcome to be part of a ketogenic diet. Both contain only a minimal carbohydrate content.
Similar to other fatty dairy products, butter and cream also contain much of the conjugated linoleic acid, which again promotes fat loss. Butter is also one of the most essential ingredients for the Bulletproof Coffee — a breakfast drink of the ketogenic diet.
11) Coconut oil
With a ketogenic diet, coconut oil is an integral part of the problem.
Coconut oil contains, among other things, medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Unlike long-chain fats, MCTs are absorbed directly by the liver and converted into ketones. These reresponers act as immediate and fast energy suppliers.
Lauric acid is one of the fatty acids (C 12) that are the main ingredient in tropical oils such as coconut oil. Coconut oil, thanks to the mix of MCTs and lauric acid, is thought to promote a sustainable state of ketosis. An alternative source of MCTs is concentrated MCT oil.
Blackberries, strawberries and raspberries contain fewer carbohydrates than other fruits and contain loads of useful antioxidants and fibre.
Due to the sugar withdrawal during the ketogenic diet, then such fruits taste naturally sweet and can be used perfectly as a small snacking in between.
Here is an overview of the carbohydrate content for different types of berries (100 grams per serving):
- Blackberries: 10 grams
- Blueberries: 14 grams
- Raspberries: 12 grams
- Strawberries: 8 grams
13) Unsweetened tea and coffee
Coffee and unsweetened tea contain virtually no carbohydrates. For this purpose, they contain caffeine, which has a positive effect on your metabolism and can therefore also directly affect the performance, attention and mood. (83, 84, 85).
Coffee and tea lovers can rejoice again: If you consume these drinks regularly in moderation, the risk of developing diabetes is also reduced, according to some studies (86, 87).
The addition of some whipped cream is also not prohibited. Attention, however, with fat-reduced versions of ready-made coffees and teas. These often contain fat-free milk as well as carbohydrate-rich flavours.
14) Low-carb yogurt and curd
Greek yoghurt or curd are healthy and protein-rich foods. It is precisely because they have a low proportion of carbohydrates that they can be ideally included in a ketogenic diet.
One serving of Greek yogurt (about 150 grams), for example, contains 5 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of protein.
Yogurt also regulates appetite and causes a natural feeling of volley. Ideal – a few nuts, cinnamon and sugar-free sweeteners and voila – the perfect ketogenic snack for in between!
15) Other dairy products
These dairy products you are allowed to eat in ketosis
With a ketogenic diet, protein-rich products are often added to a meal. Try to keep your protein consumption at a moderate level, though. The majority of your meals should include proteins, vegetables and extra fats or oils.
Raw or organic dairy should be at the top of the list here. Highly processed foods typically have 2 to 5 times the amount of carbohydrate as organic dairy products.
In addition, it is true that they always prefer to resort to the full-fat dairy products rather than the low-fat variants, as they usually contain more carbohydrates.
Here are a few suggestions on which dairy products you can incorporate with a ketogenic diet:
- Whipped cream
- String fats such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mascarpone, creme fraîche etc.
- Melted cheese like mozzarella, brie, blue cheese, colby, or Monterey Jack
- Hard cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan, feta, Swiss cheese etc.
However, watch out for the calorie content: Cheese usually already has many calories in small amounts. So if your focus is on losing weight, then the cheese consumption should be reduced somewhat.
A ketogenic diet can have a positive effect on your body fat content and performance. Due to the increased protein and fat intake, one is not only full for longer, but also one consumes fewer calories.
In addition, one can rejoice in a lot of health benefits: A reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, less body fat and improved cholesterol. Even in certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, a ketogenic diet can play an important role.
So if you would like to make your diet more ketogenic, then you should first and forgo carbohydrates and put in addition to sufficient vegetables, especially healthy fats.