Are you confused by the keto diet? This popular weight-loss diet involves eating a high-fat, moderate-protein, and extremely low-carb diet. The macro breakdown is 70 to 80 percent fat, 20 to 25 percent protein, and five to 10 percent carbs. It works by putting your body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. OK, so what does that mean in terms of what you can eat? You may have heard keto is all about bacon, butter, and fat bombs, but there’s more to keto than that.
This keto pyramid posted by Martina Slajerova, creator of the KetoDiet App (@ketodiet_app on Instagram), should help illustrate a little more clearly what you can and need to eat on a keto diet. At the bottom of the pyramid, and the foods you should focus on, are high-fat foods including healthy fats and oils, fatty fish, meat, organ meats, and eggs. This includes olive oil, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, MCT oil, avocado oil, salmon and other seafood, beef, dark-meat chicken, and lamb. You can eat lean protein like white-meat chicken, but you ideally want to focus on high-fat meats.
The next step on the keto diet food pyramid includes non-starchy veggies such as leafy greens including spinach, arugula, and Romaine lettuce, and other greens like cucumbers and zucchini. You’re allowed other veggies like peppers, cauliflower, asparagus, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, kale, and fresh herbs, but since these contain carbs, you don’t want to go overboard. These aren’t all-you-can-eat foods, and still need to be tracked to ensure you don’t exceed your daily carb limit.
Next on the pyramid is raw, full-fat dairy products, which can help you reach your fat and protein goals for the day. Grass-fed butter, ghee, heavy cream, unsweetened yogurt, sour cream, cheeses like blue, Parmesan, brie, Monterey jack, and mozzarella are allowed, but be mindful of your portions because of their carb count. If you’re dairy-free, it’s OK to skip this part of the pyramid — you’ll still be able to reach ketosis.
Last and top of the pyramid are berries, nuts, and seeds, which need to be eaten in moderation because of their carb content. The best sources of nuts and seeds are pecans, macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Aim for about one to two tablespoons a day to keep your carbs low. As for berries, go for antioxidant-rich, low-sugar blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries, with about a quarter-cup serving once a day.
As you can see, your plate on the keto diet will mostly be made up of fatty meat and oils, with a bit of non-starchy veggies, full-fat dairy, and a teeny bit of nuts and berries. You can track your daily macros and calories using an app like My Fitness Pal or KetoDiet to make sure you’re hitting your ratios. Since every body is different, you need to tailor this food pyramid to your lifestyle and your goals.