Keto Food Pyramid: What To Eat And What To Avoid In A Keto Diet

Eglė

Eglė

Dec 06, 2019 — 8 mins read

If you want to start your transition to the ketogenic diet plan and have no idea what to eat and what to avoid, then it’s for the best that you follow a proper layout of the keto food pyramid. 

The keto food pyramid, like the one shown in the image above, is an illustration of all the types of keto-friendly foods that we should eat in specific quantities and proportions while following the ketogenic diet. 

To be more specific, the ketogenic diet largely focuses on eating:

  • 5-10% calories from net carbs (total grams minus fiber grams)
  • 20-30% calories from proteins
  • 65-75% of calories from healthy fats

If you look closely at the keto food pyramid, there aren’t any grains included. What is more, here are some foods that you can eat freely, whereas you need to consume other foods in limited proportions.

In this post, we have listed the categories of foods that you should eat as well as the ones you should avoid. Let’s start with the ones that you can eat in large proportions, eventually coming to the ones that can be consumed minimally or avoided all at once. 

Foods To Eat In Your Keto Diet

Meat: Unprocessed meats are keto-friendly because they are low on carbohydrates. The healthiest of meat products are those that are organic and grass-fed, including:

  • Goat
  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Beef
  • Pork (pastured and not farm-raised)
  • Bacon (Look out for added starch and preservatives)

Just remember that a keto diet is high on fat, so be sure not to have too much meat. Excess protein (which is more than what your body needs) gets converted into glucose, which makes it even harder for your body to go into ketosis. A regular amount of meat is just enough. 

Please note that processed meat such as sausages, meatballs, and cold cuts often contain added carbs. To be on the safe side, look at the ingredients and aim for those whose carbs are under 5%. 

Fish and seafood: Virtually every type of fish is good, excellent actually, especially fatty fish such as salmon. Though you may want to avoid breading since it contains carbs. Wild-caught fish is usually the best kind of fish to consume.

Eggs: You can eat eggs however you want, whether they are fried in butter, boiled, scrambled or like omelets. If you’re looking for the healthiest option, buy the organic ones. But the question here is, how many eggs can you eat, depending on the cholesterol? We advise that you should eat no more than 36 eggs per day, but fewer than that is also preferable. 

Healthy Fats And Oils

Even though most diet practices encourage people who eat less fattening products, the keto diet pretty much the opposite practice to it. However, it is worth mentioning that all sources of fat are healthy and keto-friendly. 

Here are some of the best sources of fat that you have to include in your keto diet plan:

The natural fat, high-fat sources

Most of the calories that you get from your keto diet plan should be from natural sources such as fish, meat, eggs, etc. But you can also use fat for cooking, such as coconut or butterfat, and can add plenty of olive oils to salads, etc. You can also consume delectable high-fat sauces such as Bearnaise sauce or garlic butter. Just remember that in keto diets, fat is your friend, but only the healthy kind, of course.

Here are some of the best healthy fats and oils that can help you achieve ketosis and help you burn fat faster and more efficiently:

Saturated fats:

  • Lard
  • Chicken fat
  • Tallow
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Coconut oil

Polyunsaturated fats:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Nut oils
  • Sesame oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Avocado oil

Monounsaturated fats:

  • Olive oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Avocado

Monosaturated and saturated fats are the most stable and have the highest smoke points, which makes them safe for cooking. As a matter of fact, most of our fat consumption should mainly come from these types of fats. 

Non-Starchy Vegetables: Non-starchy vegetables are fine whether they’re frozen or fresh. But the ones that are keto-friendly are usually the ones that grow above the ground, including the leafy and green ones. Some of the favorites include spinach, bok choy, asparagus, swiss chard, radicchio, chives, kale, endive, cucumber, avocado, and zucchini. 

Some of the ones that you have to eat in a limited proportion due to them having a high-carb content are:

  • Eggplants
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Fennel 
  • Turnips
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Leek
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Bean sprouts
  • Peas
  • Rhubarb
  • Artichokes
  • Tomatoes

Vegetables are an excellent source of good fat for your keto diet. You can fry them in butter or pour plenty of olive oil on your salad. Some people may even think of vegetables as a type of fat delivery system. They also add more variety, color, and flavor to your keto meals. 

In fact, many people just end up eating more vegetables in the process, even before they begin their keto diet. Before they know it, veggies soon end up replacing pasta, potatoes, rice, etc. 

High-fat dairy

The higher your healthy fat intake is, the better. Butter is an ideal source of high-fat dairy, high-fat cheese is also fine and high-fat yogurt can be had in moderation. Heavy cream can be used for cooking. 

Please refrain from drinking milk as added milk sugar quickly adds up (one glass equals 15 grams of carbs), so long as you use it sparingly in your coffee. Keep away from caffe latte as it consists of 18 grams of carbs. Also, stay clear from low-fat yogurts as they contain plenty of added sugars. 

Lastly, if you’re hungry, do not try to snack on cheese because doing so will reduce the process of weight loss. 

Keto-friendly nuts

Nuts can be taken in moderation, but you should be really careful when using them as snacks since it’s very easy to eat more than you need to in order to be satisfied. Keep in mind that cashews are relatively high in carbs. 

Nuts include:

  • Macadamia nuts - these are the best types of nuts because they’re high in healthy fats and low in carbs. 
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flaxseeds 
  • Almonds
  • Berries: A moderate amount of berries is okay for keto. You can have them with real whipping cream, which is actually a popular keto dessert. 

Drink

Water: This is the best beverage for just about any occasion. You can have it flat, sparkling or ice. You can have it hot like tea, or add some natural flavoring to it such as sliced cucumbers, limes or lemons. If you experience some symptoms of the keto flu, be sure to add a few shakes of salt in your water. 

Coffee: Coffee without sugar is good. Even a small amount of milk or cream would be fine. But if you want some extra fat with each sip, add some butter or coconut oil to get bulletproof coffee. If the weight loss process is stalling, then forget about the cream in your coffee. 

Tea: Tea is great whether green, black, mint, Orange Pekoe, herbal or mint. It’s fine as long as you don’t add sugar. 

Bone Broth: It’s satisfying, hydrating and chock full of electrolytes and nutrients. Not to mention, it’s quite simple to make. 

For Special Occasions

You can decide when the time is right to have the following foods, but your weight loss might slow down a bit:

Dark chocolate: A square of dark chocolate, especially with cocoa above 70%, is just enough to hit the spot. You can try some 85% gourmet chocolate shaved over berries and whipped cream. 

Foods To Avoid In Your Keto Diet


Foods that are high in carbohydrates are the greatest enemies of the ketogenic diet. These include the following:

Sugar: This one should not be anywhere near your radar during your keto diet venture. Therefore, you have to nix all of your fruit juices, soft drinks, sports drinks, and sugary water. You should also avoid sweets, especially cookies, candy, cakes, chocolate bars, donuts, breakfast cereals and frozen treats. 

You should read the labels of products with hidden sugars, such as condiments, sauces, drinks, dressings, and packaged goods. Maple syrup, honey, and agave also have sugars in them. 

Starch: Pasta, bread, potatoes, especially sweet potatoes, porridge, french fries, potato chips, muesli and so on. Wholegrain products are a little less bad. 

Legumes such as lentils and beans are high in carbs as well. Only a small number of root vegetables (besides potatoes and sweet potatoes) could be okay. 

There are only a few good keto replacements for these items, which include:

– Keto bread

– Keto pasta

– Keto rice

– Keto porridge

Fruit: Obvious, because of the sugar content. You can eat once in a while, as in not regularly. 

Beer: Otherwise known as liquid bread that is full of rapidly absorbed carbs. Though there are a few low-carb beers. 

Margarine: It’s a factory-made product that imitates butter and is high in omega-6 fat content. Not only does it not have any taste benefits, but it also tastes bad. It’s also linked to allergies, asthma and other inflammatory diseases. 

Alert!

Since the ketogenic diet has become really popular over the years, many food companies want to capitalize on this viral outbreak by attaching “low-carb” or “keto” to their new products. Be on the lookout for special “keto” or “low-carb” products like chocolate bars, pasta, energy bars, snack foods, protein powders, cookies, cakes, and other similar treats. To be on the clear side of things, just read the labels for natural low carb ingredients. The fewer ingredients there are, the better it will be for your health. 

That’s because these packaged products are not the ideal weight loss solution you’d want to go with your keto diet plan. They may either have hidden carbs that are not indicated on the label, or they may want to keep you attached to high-carb food cravings and addictions they’re attempting to replace. 

Be sure to carefully analyze the labels. Quite often, you will find products that are full of chemicals, additives, sugar alcohols and sweeteners. In actuality, they are processed junk foods merely using the “keto” label. For all you know, the labels are an absolute lie. Previously, a large pasta company was fined $8 million for lying about their products’ carb content. 

In other words, don’t replace high-carb junk food with keto junk. Don’t even exchange real sugar for fake sugar. If it’s a treat you want, then make a low-carb version of a dessert. Fortunately, once you’re completely adapted to the keto diet lifestyle, those nasty high-carb cravings and needs will eventually be a thing of the past. 

You might also want to be wary of labels that read “net carbs.” That is a creative marketing ploy to hide the real carb content. 

Eat Real Food

Therefore, you should also set your sights on eating good, less processed, real food. In fact, the food that you need to buy for your keto diet plan shouldn’t even come with a list of ingredients. 

Make sure that when you follow the keto diet plan, the maximum number of carbs you accumulate in your body for the day is no more than 20 grams for maximum effect. But if you’re still adapting, you should at least aim for less than 100 grams of carbs a day. 

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