Keto diet: Foods to eat anytime
One of the goals of following a keto diet is to enter ketosis, a metabolic state where your body is using stored fat for energy instead of carbs. The body breaks down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies, which are used as energy in the absence of circulating blood sugar from food.
While reducing carb intake so strictly can be challenging, the list of food items that fit the criteria of a keto diet is quite long. Here are the food categories and foods to eat anytime by Dr. Josh Axe.
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What foods should I avoid on a keto diet?
A keto diet is different from regular, balanced eating recommendations. Many nutritious foods are sources of carbohydrates, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk, and yogurt.
On a keto diet, however, carbs from all sources are severely restricted to below 50 grams a day. People on the keto diet often eliminate bread, grains, or cereals from their diet and limit even most fruits and vegetables because of their carb content.
For most people, the keto diet requires making significant changes to how they usually eat. The diet requires avoiding all carb-rich foods, including:
Any type of sugar: That includes white, brown, cane, raw, syrups, honey, agave, and anything containing fructose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, or lactose.
Any and all gains: That includes wheat, oats, rice, and all products containing corn, including popcorn, polenta, and cornmeal.
Most processed foods: That includes foods in the bag or box, canned food, crackers, chips, pretzels, candy, cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, cereal, granola bars, meal replacements, canned soups, and anything containing artificial sweeteners.
Sweetened and caloric beverages: Soda, beer, wine, liquor, sweetened teas or sugary coffee drinks, fruit juices, milk, and dairy replacement beverages, like soy and Lactaid, are high in sugar and will disrupt your efforts to stay in ketosis.
Cow's milk and low-fat dairy: When you are on a strict ketogenic diet, you need to avoid cow's milk and low-fat dairy products.
Is a keto diet safe?
Since a keto diet requires eliminating foods that contain important nutrients, it isn’t recommended for people who have:
- Pancreatic disease
- Liver conditions
- Thyroid problems
- Eating disorders or a history of eating disorders
- Gallbladder disease or those who have had their gallbladders removed
- Heart diseases
Short-term health risks of a keto diet include:
- “Keto flu” which causes flu-like symptoms such as upset stomach, dizziness, headache, and fatigue
- Trouble sleeping
- Constipation due to low fiber intake
Long-term health risks of a keto diet include:
Should I follow a keto diet?
Although the keto diet is touted to have certain health benefits, including weight loss, it’s best to proceed with caution. Eating a balanced diet of healthy foods from a variety of food groups, along with daily physical activity, may be more beneficial.
So before starting a trendy diet of any kind, consider talking to a registered dietitian for health advice.
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EatRight. What is the Ketogenic Diet? May 15, 2019. https://www.eatright.org/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/what-is-the-ketogenic-diet
Harvard Health Publishing. Should You Try the Keto Diet? October 2018. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-try-the-keto-diet
Keto Diet by Dr. Josh Axe. Little, Brown Spark, Hachette Book Group. First edition: February 2019
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