What to eat on a keto diet

What’s on and off the menu to put you on the fast track to ke­to­sis

Men's Fitness - - Fuel -

The ke­to­genic diet isn’t sim­ple. You want to load up on fats and pro­tein and keep your carb in­take low – but all fats and pro­teins aren’t alike, and there are some veg­gies higher in car­bo­hy­drates than others. Oh, and fruit is pretty much banned. But don’t worry: we’ve put to­gether the best and worst of each cat­e­gory so you can go keto with con­fi­dence.

PRO­TEINS

EAT THIS Meat and of­fal (kid­neys, liver, heart) from grass­fed or pas­tur­eraised an­i­mals con­tain vi­ta­mins A and E along with tons of an­tiox­i­dants. Wild-caught and sus­tain­ably har­vested seafood is higher in omega 3 fatty acids (and bet­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment than farmed fish). Freerange, or­ganic eggs con­tain higher lev­els of vi­ta­min A and E, be­tac­arotene, and omega 3 fatty acids than the caged va­ri­ety.

NOT THAT Fac­to­ry­farmed an­i­mal prod­ucts and seafoods, which are lower in nu­tri­ents than their health­ier coun­ter­parts; and pro­cessed sausages and hot dogs, which, more of­ten than not, have preser­va­tives called ni­trates that have been linked to can­cer.

VEG­ETA­BLES

EAT THIS Dark leafy greens like Swiss chard, spinach, kale, and let­tuce, and cru­cif­er­ous veg­gies, like cab­bage, cau­li­flower, broc­coli, and brus­sels sprouts. You can also have low­er­carb veg­gies such as cu­cum­ber, cel­ery, as­para­gus, squash, and cour­gette as well as night­shades (aubergine, toma­toes and pep­pers). Also fine are root veg­eta­bles, like onion, gar­lic, and radishes, and sea veg­gies, like nori and kombu. The guide­lines are sim­ple: fo­cus on dark, leafy greens, then any­thing else stuff that

grows above the ground, then root veg­eta­bles. NOT THAT Starchy, high­carb veg­eta­bles and legumes like pota­toes, yams, corn, parsnips, peas, beans are great, nu­tri­tious whole foods that work well in the reg­u­lar diet of a guy look­ing to get healthy and fit. But their high carb lev­els make them a no-go for achiev­ing ke­to­sis.

FATS

EAT THIS Sat­u­rated fats in­clud­ing co­conut oil, ghee, grass-fed but­ter, duck fat and lard, are all es­sen­tial for a healthy im­mune sys­tem, dense bones, and proper testos­terone lev­els. Mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats like al­mond, macadamia, olive and av­o­cado oils boost heart health and pro­vide vi­ta­min E, im­por­tant for vi­sion and a strong im­mune sys­tem. Polyun­sat­u­rated omega 3s, as found in wild-caught salmon, sar­dines, and sus­tain­ably har­vested seafood, help pre­vent heart dis­ease and stroke and re­duce blood pres­sure. Fi­nally there’s medi­um­chain triglyc­erides (MCTs), fatty acids that are eas­ily ab­sorbed and used for en­ergy. They help weight loss by in­creas­ing sati­ety and revving up me­tab­o­lism. Co­conut oil’s a source, but you can buy a con­cen­trated form of MCT oil.

NOT THAT Re­fined fats and oils like sun­flower, rape­seed and corn oils, which have been pro­cessed at high tem­per­a­tures, cre­at­ing free rad­i­cals that can dam­age cells. Trans fats, found in mar­garine and other spreads as well as pro­cessed foods like bis­cuits, con­trib­ute to weight gain and in­crease stroke risk.

DAIRY

EAT THIS

Full-fat dairy prod­ucts such as cheese, yo­gurt, cot­tage cheese, cream and sour cream. Dairy should be eaten spar­ingly, but when you do eat it, stick with full-fat be­cause it’s more fill­ing and nu­tri­tious.

NOT THAT Milk is off the list be­cause it con­tains a lot of lac­tose, a form of sugar, which makes it high in car­bo­hy­drates. When cheese is made, all the sugar is eaten by bac­te­ria and turned into lac­tic acid, cut­ting the carb con­tent way down. Lowand re­duced-fat dairy prod­ucts are to be avoided as they’re highly pro­cessed, which strips out nu­tri­ents like the fatty acids that make you feel full. Plus, sugar is of­ten added to make up for a loss of flavour and tex­ture, so some ac­tu­ally have more sugar than full-fat dairy. Avoid pre­grated cheese, which con­tains a carby po­tato starch that keeps it from stick­ing to­gether.

NUTS AND SEEDS

EAT THIS Macadamia nuts, pecans, wal­nuts, al­monds, flaxseeds, and sun­flower seeds. Be care­ful when eat­ing nuts, be­cause they’re calo­rie-dense and can eas­ily put you over your carb limit for the day.

NOT THAT Cashews, pis­ta­chios and chest­nuts are on the higher end for carbs in nuts, and should be avoided.

FRUIT

EAT THIS Avo­ca­dos are low in carbs and have great fat and fi­bre con­tent, and berries are OK since their carb con­tent is neg­li­gi­ble.

NOT THAT Fruits in gen­eral, dried or oth­er­wise, are for­bid­den since most have high sugar and carb con­tent.

DRINKS

DRINK THIS Wa­ter, sparkling wa­ter, black cof­fee, unsweet­ened and herbal teas and unsweet­ened nut milks. Caf­feinated drinks are fine for most peo­ple – just don’t go pour­ing in sugar or milk. Lower-carb al­co­hol like wine and spir­its in mod­er­a­tion is OK, es­pe­cially if you’re at the point where you’re just try­ing to main­tain weight.

NOT THAT Soft drinks, fruit juices, sweet wines, most beers and flavoured spir­its are filled with way too much sugar and/or carbs to be al­lowed if you’re se­ri­ous about keto. Some peo­ple will drink diet and zero-sugar soft drinks, but avoid them if you can be­cause the cit­ric acid and as­par­tame of­ten found in them may de­rail your trip to ke­to­sis.

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