Apart from the obvious limitation of net carb content in foods, it is also recommended to avoid processed food and any food that may contain preservatives and colorings.
Here is a list of the most common low-carb foods recommended for the ketogenic diet.
What foods are keto-friendly?
1. Grass-fed and wild animal sources
Grass-fed meat (beef, lamb, goat, venison), wild-caught fish & seafood (avoid farmed fish), pastured pork and poultry, pastured eggs, gelatin.
These are high in healthy omega 3 fatty acids (avoid sausages and meat covered in breadcrumbs, hot dogs, meat that comes with sugary or starchy sauces).
Offal, grass-fed (liver, heart, kidneys and other organ meats).
2. Healthy fats
Saturated (lard, tallow, chicken fat, duck fat, goose fat, clarified butter, ghee, butter, coconut oil).
Monounsaturated (avocado, macadamia and olive oil).
Polyunsaturated omega 3s, especially from animal sources (fatty fish and seafood).
3. Non-starchy vegetables
Leafy greens (Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, lettuce, chard, chives, endive, radicchio, etc.).
Some cruciferous vegetables like kale (dark leaf), kohlrabi, radishes.
Celery stalk, asparagus, cucumber, summer squash (zucchini, spaghetti squash), bamboo shoots.
What beverages and condiments can you eat?
Water (still), coffee (black or with cream or coconut milk), tea (black, herbal, kombucha, ).
Mayonnaise, mustard, pesto, bone broth (make your own), pickles, fermented foods (kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut (make your own).
All spices and herbs, lemon or lime juice and zest.
Whey protein (beware of additives, artificial sweeteners, hormones, and soy lecithin), egg white protein, and gelatin (grass-fed, hormone-free).
What foods can you eat occasionally on a keto-friendly diet?
1. Vegetables, Mushrooms, and Fruits
Some cruciferous vegetables (white and green cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fennel, turnips, rutabaga, and swede).
Nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers).
Sea vegetables (nori, kombu), okra, bean sprouts, sugar snap peas, wax beans, globe or French artichokes, water chestnuts.
Berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, mulberries, etc.).
Coconut, rhubarb, olives.
2. Grain-fed animal sources and full-fat Dairy
Beef, poultry, eggs and ghee (avoid farmed pork, it’s too high in omega 6s!).
Dairy products (plain full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, cream, sour cream, cheese)
Avoid products labeled “low-fat”, most of them are packed with sugar and starch and have a little sating effect.
3. Nuts and seeds
Macadamia nuts (very low in carbs, high in MUFA).
Pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds.
Brazil nuts (beware of the very high level of selenium – don’t eat too many of them!).
Fermented soy products.
4. Fermented soy products
If eaten, only non-GMO and fermented soy products (Natto, Tempeh, soy sauce or paleo-friendly coconut amino).
Edamame (green soybeans), black soybeans, unprocessed.
Healthy “zero-carb” sweeteners (Stevia, Swerve, Erythritol, etc.).
Thickeners: arrowroot powder, xanthan gum (keep in mind xanthan gum is not paleo-friendly – some people following the paleo diet use it, as you only need a very little amount).
Sugar-free tomato products (puree, passata, ketchup).
Cocoa and carob powder, extra dark chocolate (more than 70%, better 90% and beware of soy lecithin), cocoa powder.
Beware of sugar-free chewing gums and mints – some of them have carbs.
6. Some Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds with Average Carbohydrates (depending on your daily carb limit)
Root vegetables (celery root, carrot, beetroot, parsnip, and sweet potato).
Watermelon, Cantaloupe / Galia / Honeydew melons.
Pistachio and cashew nuts, chestnuts.
Only very small amounts, better avoided completely: apricot, dragon fruit (Pitaya), peach, nectarine, apple, grapefruit, kiwifruit, kiwi berries, orange, plums, cherries, pears, figs (fresh).
These are not all but is a good idea of what a ketogenic diet food list looks like.