What Can You Eat on The Keto Diet?

Reviewed on 2/18/2021

What Is the Ketogenic Diet?

The keto diet is set up to help you avoid most carbohydrates like breads and pasta, focusing instead on lean meats and low-sugar vegetables and fruits. This eating plan is meant to spur fat burning in a process called “ketogenesis.”
The keto diet is set up to help you avoid most carbohydrates like breads and pasta, focusing instead on lean meats and low-sugar vegetables and fruits. This eating plan is meant to spur fat burning in a process called “ketogenesis.”

A ketogenic diet (“keto diet”) is a type of low-carbohydrate (“low-carb”) diet centered on consumption of protein and fat. 

Keto diets have been used since the 1920s as effective treatments for epilepsy, but in recent years keto diets have become popular for weight loss

What Can You Eat on The Keto Diet?

A keto diet has a high fat requirement and followers eat fat at each meal. For example, in a daily 2,000-calorie diet, dieters would consume 165 grams of fat, 75 grams of protein, and just 40 grams of carbs. 

Protein is consumed on the keto diet and it can be lean protein or protein high in saturated fat such as beef, bacon, or pork.

Both saturated and unsaturated fats are allowed on the keto diet such as:

  • Nuts 
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Seeds 
  • Flax 
  • Chia 
  • Tofu
  • Avocados
  • Butter 
  • Lard 
  • Oils (olive, palm, coconut)
  • Cocoa butter 

Some fruits and vegetables are allowed on a keto diet but those that are high in carbohydrates are discouraged. Fruits and vegetables permitted on a keto diet include: 

  • Berries in small portions
    • Blackberries
    • Blueberries
    • Raspberries
    • Strawberries
  • Certain fruits in moderation
    • Melons
    • Starfruit
    • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Garlic
  • Leafy greens 
    • Kale
    • Spinach
    • Swiss chard
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Summer squashes
  • Zucchini

What Are Risks of a Ketogenic Diet?

It is unknown if keto diets are effective for weight loss. There are only short-term studies and it is not known if a ketogenic diet works long-term or what the risks might be. 

There are numerous risks that come with eating a high-fat diet such as a keto diet:

  • Constipation is common because the keto diet is low in fiber-rich foods
  • Increased cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart disease due to the high saturated fat consumed in the diet
  • Nutrient deficiency due to restrictions on many foods, including healthy fruits and vegetables
  • Liver problems may be made worse due to the high fat content of the diet
  • Kidney problems may develop due to the high protein requirements
  • Confusion and irritability may occur due to lack of healthy carbohydrates

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Reviewed on 2/18/2021
References
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-try-the-keto-diet

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/ketogenic-dietary-therapies-for-the-treatment-of-epilepsy