Protein sources Fattier meat cuts are better since they have more fat and less protein. In order to reduce the intake of bacteria, antibiotics, and steroid hormones, choose organic eggs and organic or grass fed animal foods.
- Clean proteins obtained from local sources of clean, grass fed meats and poultry are the best choice.
- Meat: beef, wild game, veal, lamb, goat. Grass-fed meat is better as it has an improved fatty acid profile.
- Poultry: turkey, chicken, quail, duck, Cornish hen, pheasant, goose.
- Fish or seafood of any kind and wild caught is the best choice: calamari, anchovies, cod, catfish, flounder, herring, halibut, mackerel, salmon, mahi-mahi, sole, sardines, tuna, scrod, snapper, and trout.
You can also consume canned tuna and salmon, but if they contain no added fillers or sugar, and you should avoid fried and breaded seafood.
- Whole eggs: You can consume them scrambled, omelets, fried, deviled, hard-boiled, poached, and soft-boiled.
- Shellfish: crab, clams, lobster, shrimp, scallops, squid, oysters, mussels. Note that you should avoid crab meat, as it is rich in additives, like gluten and sugar.
- Peanut butter and soy products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame should be consumed I limited amounts as they are rich in carbohydrates, but they are excellent sources of protein.
Whey protein powders, pea, rice, pea, hemp or other vegetable protein powders. Note that whey protein is insulinogenic, that it, it can lead to an insulin spike in the body, so you should consume it moderately in case you face difficulties in losing weight or getting into ketosis.
Fats and Oils
When on a ketogenic diet, most of the calories are supplied by dietary fats. Therefore, you should keep the digestive tolerance in mind.
The majority of people cannot stand the consumption of high amounts of mayonnaise, vegetable oil, or even olive oil over time. However, this is useful due to the fact that vegetable oils are rich in polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids.
They stimulate inflammation in the body, and may lead to sickness if they are the only source of fat, so it is advisable that you cook them.
Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in margarine, nut oils, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, canola oil and safflower oil.
Most nuts, except for walnuts and macadamias are rich in Omega 6 fatty acids as well. Moreover, the consumption of polyunsaturated fats, like Omega 6 and Omega 3 fats, is essential too.
Yet, you should balance their consumption and take only a teaspoon daily. Another vital aspect of a low-carb diet is the consumption of tuna, wild salmon, and shellfish, which will balance Omega 3 fatty acids.
In order to get the needed amount of Omega 6, you can consume a few nuts or some mayonnaise during the day. Also, you can take small amounts of krill or fish oil as a supplement for Omega 3s, instead of seafood.
Most people easily tolerate saturated and monounsaturated fats like macadamia nuts, egg yolks, butter, coconut oil, and avocado, as they are less inflammatory, but more chemically stable. You can mix oils and fats in dressings, sauces, and various other basic meals.
To reduce the intake of trans fats, you should eliminate hydrogenated fats like margarine. In case you use vegetable oils (canola, olive, sunflower, soybean, safflower, flaxseed and sesame oils), make sure they are “cold pressed”, and avoid heating vegetable oils.
Moreover, you should keep cold pressed oils like flaxseed and almond in the fridge to prevent rancidity.
Since they contain high smoke points, you should use clean non-hydrogenated lard, coconut oil, ghee (butter with milk solids removed), beef tallow, and olive oil for frying.
- Olive oil, organic
- Duck fat, organic
- Organic Red Palm oil
- Avocado oil
- Macadamia Nuts
- Lard such as organic leaf lard (not hydrogenated)
- Organic coconut oil, coconut cream concentrate, coconut butter
- Peanut Butter: in limited amounts, and unsweetened
- Butter- organic, if possible
- Beef tallow, preferably from grass-fed cattle
- Almond oil
- 85-90% dark chocolate in small amounts, or Chocoperfection low carb chocolate
- Seed and most nut oils: Sesame oil, Flaxseed oil, etc. in small amounts, as they are rich in inflammatory Omega 6 fats, and avoid heating them.
- Macadamia oil
- Chicken fat, organic
Nuts and Seeds
In order to eliminate anti-nutrients, it is best to soak and roast your seeds and nuts. They are extremely rich in calories and higher in carbs per serving.
Therefore, in the case you find it hard to lose weight and get into ketosis, you should reduce or avoid nuts.
- Peanuts are in fact legumes and are rich in protein and Omega 6 fats, so limit amounts.
- Seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.. ) are abundant in Omega 6 fats, so you should reduce their amounts.
- Nut flours, like almond flour. You can use almond flour in baking.
- Nuts: pecans, almonds, macadamias, and walnuts are the lowest in net carbs and should be consumed in small amounts. Cashews, pistachios, and chestnuts are richer in carbs, so be careful when consuming them.
- Most nuts are abundant in Omega 6 fats, which promote inflammation in the body, so nuts should not be your main protein source.
It is best to consume raw dairy products or organic. However, dairy proteins (whey and casein) are insulinogenic, so you should reduce or completely avoid their intake in case you cannot lose weight or get into ketosis.
- Mascarpone cheese
- Cream cheese (count each 1-ounce portion as 1 carb)
- Full-fat sour cream -avoid products with additives and fillers.
- All kinds of hard and soft cheeses: (approximately count each 1-ounce portion as 1 carb)
- Full fat cottage cheese
- Unsweetened whole milk yogurt (high in carbs, so reduce its intake)
- Heavy whipping cream
Most non-starchy vegetables have reduced carbs amounts. However, make sure you avoid chemicals and pesticides, so you can grow your own or buy organic vegetables only.
You should also avoid starchy vegetables as they are rich in carbs, such as peas, corn, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and most winter squash.
You should also reduce the amounts of sweeter vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and summer squashes.
Any leafy green vegetable
- Celery root
- Swiss chard
- Summer squash
- Dandelion greens
- Dill pickles
- Bean Sprouts
- Collard greens
- Bok choy
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Snow Peas
- Bamboo Shoots
- Bell peppers
- Water chestnuts
- Brussels sprouts
- Beet Greens
- Lettuces and salad greens (Boston lettuce, endive, mache, sorrel, arugula, chicory, radicchio, escarole, fennel, romaine)
- Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) can be enjoyed occasionally in small amounts, as they are the lowest in carbohydrate. Avoid other types of fruit as most are too high in carb and can interfere with ketosis.
- Japanese Shirataki noodles
- Pork Rinds (these are great with dip, or as a substitute for bread crumbs, but note they are also high in protein, so limit amounts)
The taste buds will be significantly refreshed if you avoid sweetened foods. Yet, you can always use some sweeteners, but use the liquid products if possible, as the powdered forms often contain some kind of sugar, like maltodextrin, or dextrose.
- Stevia, in its liquid form
- Monk Fruit
- Splenda, liquid
- Inulin and Chicory Root
- Xylitol (dogs should not consume foods with this sweetener)
- Lo Han Guo
Some studies suggest that sucralose leads to numerous issues for the human health. The consumption of sugar, nutritive sweeteners and honey has been found to negatively affect the blood sugar, but there is still not enough evidence to support these claims.
- lemon water
- Herbal tea (unsweetened)
- Coconut milk (unsweetened, carton or can)
- Almond milk (unsweetened)
- Decaf tea (unsweetened)
- Flavored seltzer water (unsweetened)
- Decaf coffee
- Lemon and lime juice in reduced amounts
- Clear broth, bone broth
You should use sea salt instead of commercial salt as it is often cut with some kind of powdered dextrose, while commercial spice mixtures, like steak seasoning, often include sugar. Yet, spices contain carbs, so if you add them to your meals, you should count them as well.