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Karthikeyan Kesavaraj | 07 Jul 2020
The main component of a keto diet is to lower your carb intake to 20–40 net grams per day to achieve ketosis. To ensure you’re still getting the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body requires, it is important that the carbs you do eat come from nutrient-rich, non-starchy sources. Eating plenty of whole foods also helps you stay fuller longer and prevents sugar cravings.
Aim to eat 12–15g of net carbs from a variety of vegetables per day.
Protein should make up 20-30% of your diet. Eating the right balance of protein while on a low carb diet is important in protecting muscle mass and supplying the liver with enough amino acids to make new glucose for the cells and organs in your body that can’t use ketones as fuel.
Meat and poultry are excellent no-net-carb sources of protein and some of the most keto-friendly foods. Make sure to get your protein from a variety of different sources and aim for three 100 to 150 grams servings of protein each day. Eggs are also packed with protein as well as vitamin A and antioxidants. Enjoy your eggs any style, especially with some foundation vegetables mixed in for a filling, balanced meal.
Fish and shellfish are rich in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy fats as well as a great source of vitamins D and B2, calcium, and minerals like zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Aim for 4–6 ounce servings of fish or shellfish a couple times a week, and try to avoid products that are higher in carbs like imitation crab.
Because cheese contains about 1 gram of carbs per ounce, try to consume no more than 4 ounces per day (an ounce is about the size of a 1-inch cube). We recommend choosing the full-fat varieties when possible.
Low carb keto diets replace your reduction of carbs with an increase in fat, typically accounting for at least 60% of your daily calories. But not just any fat; make sure to choose healthy fats from high-quality plant and animal sources, such as olive oil, avocado oil, and nuts, as well as cheese, eggs, meat, and fish, which are also protein sources.
While these oils are free of carbs, the recommended daily intake for added fats is 2–4 tablespoons. Steer clear of unhealthy fats —i.e. trans fats typically found in packaged and fried foods—like partially hydrogenated oils. When cooking with the following healthy options, avoid heating oils above their smoke point.
Low in carbs and high in fat, nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and make for a healthy snack or salad topping. Seeds are also a great source of fiber. Try to avoid nuts coated in extra sugar or “flavored” nuts, as the flavoring typically adds extra carbs. Consume almonds, cashews, pine nuts, and pistachios in moderation, as they have a higher carb count than the nuts and seeds listed below.