The ketogenic diet, known as the keto diet for short, is a low-carb, high-fat diet with plenty of advantages.
While many people find that adopting a strict keto diet helps them with weight loss and improves their overall health, others add keto-friendly meals to their existing diet. They find it helps them reduce the number of carbs they eat while enjoying healthy, filling, and nutritious meals.
To help you understand some basics about keto-friendly foods, we have provided this simple keto food pyramid. By familiarizing yourself with this simple list, you will understand some of the basic foundations of adopting a keto diet!
Just like the food pyramid you know in school, you can break down the keto diet into groups of varying sizes. The larger groups, which form the base blocks of the pyramid, contain food items that should make up most of the calories in a keto diet, while the smaller groups, located at the peak of the pyramid, should be eaten less frequently in smaller amounts.
From the top of the pyramid to the base, the keto pyramid is as follows:
You will notice that certain types of food are missing from the keto pyramid because you should always avoid them when on a ket diet. These include foods with refined sugars, bread and grain-based products, and low-quality, heavily-refined vegetable oils.
While it may sound overly strict, the keto diet is simple and leaves plenty of room for creativity. You can cook and enjoy a wide variety of delicious and filling meals.
Starting from the base and moving upwards, we will now take a closer look at the five food groups that form the keto food pyramid:
If you are on a strict keto diet, most of the calories you consume will come from foods high in healthy fats and oils. About half of your calories will come from high-quality fat sources, which is why healthy fats and oils are at the base of the keto food pyramid.
While it is true that we have been conditioned to avoid fat, this is due to the efforts of the sugar industry, which pushed decade’s worth of inaccurate dietary information on the public. The truth is, healthy fats are necessary for our bodies to function properly. They provide our bodies with nutrient-dense calories without all of the unnecessary and unhealthy carbohydrates and refined sugars.
Typical keto-friendly foods found in the Healthy Fat and Oil portion of the keto food pyramid include:
Naturally, these healthy oils and fats will rarely act as meals on their own, but they are calorie-dense, so they will quickly become your friend in the kitchen. You will use these oils and fats to make meals with proteins and low-carb vegetables, or you can add them to drinks to act as a meal replacement, like pouring MCT oil or grass-fed butter into your morning coffee.
Remember to avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils and margarine at all times!
Fatty proteins are essential to the keto diet and will help your body meet a lot of its nutritional needs. These macronutrients are essential for the body, and they form the building blocks for our bones, muscles, skin, blood, and more.
While they may sound unhealthy at first, these fatty protein sources will help to fuel your body and keep you feeling energized and healthy. These protein sources form the second tier in the keto food pyramid.
Typical fatty protein foods include the following:
As you know, vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, so you will still include plenty of vegetables in your keto diet; however, it is important to avoid starchy vegetables, like potatoes, corn, and carrots. These vegetables are high in carbohydrates, which you are looking to avoid with your keto diet.
Low-carb and non-starchy vegetables that you will find in the third tier of the keto food pyramid include:
The next tier of the keto pyramid consists of foods you should have in moderation, but it is okay to eat them daily. Most people on a keto diet will use these fatty and calorie-dense foods as snacks.
It is important to choose keto-friendly dairy products, which means they are full-fat and contain no added sugars, and they are as low in carbs as possible. Full-fat sour cream and certain types of yogurt can work.
Typical foods in this section of the keto pyramid include:
Fruit can be high in natural sugars, which is why they are at the top of the pyramid and are the keto-friendly food you should eat in the smallest quantities. Avoid fruits that are high in carbs, like bananas. Instead, look for fruits that have less than 10 grams of carbs in a full cup.
These types of fruits can include:
The keto food pyramid is fairly easy to comprehend, and it is a great way to learn the basics. As always, you should focus on eating healthy fats and avoiding carbohydrates.
In addition to eating the right foods, it is just as important to avoid drinking sugary drinks. Instead, stick to unsweetened teas, black coffee, and plenty of water.