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Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb Diet

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb Diet

  • September 26, 2020
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I know it may be challenging to follow a healthy low-carb diet, especially if you are new to it. I hope this comprehensive list of keto-friendly foods will help you make the right choices, whether your goal is to lose weight or manage a health condition such as type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and even cancer.

The KetoDiet approach is simple: It’s about following a low-carb diet where the focus is on eating real food, not just food low in carbs. You can browse through hundreds of our keto recipes and filter by carb content, allergies or categories to help you meet your carb intake and start burning fat for energy.

To help you stick with the diet, I’ve also created several free and premium meal plans including some that are dairy-free and sweetener-free – check them out!

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What to Eat and What to Avoid

In short, you should eat REAL food (meat, eggs, nuts, yogurt, vegetables and occasionally some fruits). 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 colourings.

KetoDiet is not just about losing weight at any cost; it’s about adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Keto Food Pyramid

Here’s our KetoDiet food pyramid we created for you – click on it to see the large version. Feel free to pin, share and print it!

Ketogenic Food Pyramid Follow us 134.8k

Quick Guides – Fats & Oils

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb DietFollow us 134.8k

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb DietFollow us 134.8k

Quick Guides – Vegetables & Fruits

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb DietFollow us 134.8k

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb DietFollow us 134.8k

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb DietFollow us 134.8k

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb DietFollow us 134.8k

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb DietFollow us 134.8k

Quick Guides – Nuts & Seeds

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb DietFollow us 134.8k

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb DietFollow us 134.8k

Below is a list of the most common low-carb foods recommended for the ketogenic diet. If you get my app, you’ll be able to search through thousands of foods included in the KetoDiet database.

EAT Freely

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, ghee, butter – 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)

Healthy fats

  • saturated fats (lard, tallow, chicken fat, duck fat, goose fat, clarified butter (ghee), butter, coconut oil and MCT oil)
  • monounsaturated fats (avocado oil, macadamia oil and olive oil)
  • polyunsaturated fats: omega 3 fatty acids, especially from animal sources (fatty fish and seafood)
  • You can find a complete guide to fats & oils in my post here. (which oils and fats are ideal for cold use, which for high-heat cooking and which to avoid)

Non-starchy vegetables and mushrooms

  • 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
  • mushrooms (white, brow, Portobello, shiitake, chanterelle, etc)

Fruits

  • avocado

Beverages and Condiments

Eat Occasionally

Vegetables and Fruits

  • some cruciferous vegetables (white and green cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fennel, turnips, rutabaga / swede)
  • nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers)
  • some root vegetables (parsley root), spring onion, leek, onion, garlic, winter squash (pumpkin)
  • 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

Grain-fed animal sources and full-fat Dairy

  • beef, poultry, eggs and ghee (avoid farmed pork, it’s too high in omega 6 fatty acids)
  • dairy products (plain full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, cheese) – avoid products labeled “low-fat”, most of them are packed with sugar and starch that will only stimulate your appetite. You can read more in this post: Dairy on a Ketogenic Diet.
  • bacon – beware of preservatives and added starches (nitrates are acceptable if you eat foods high in antioxidants)

Nuts and seeds

  • macadamia nuts (very low in carbs, high in monounsaturated fats)
  • pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds
  • brazil nuts (beware of very high level of selenium – don’t eat too many of them!)
  • You can read more in this post: Nuts & Seeds on a Ketogenic Diet, and in this post: Is Flaxseed Healthy?

Fermented soy products

  • if eaten, only non GMO and fermented soy products such as Natto, Tempeh, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) or paleo-friendly coconut aminos
  • Edamame (green soy beans), black soybeans – unprocessed

Condiments

  • 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 from sugar alcohols like sorbitol, maltitol and xylitol that may raise blood sugar and cause digestive issues

Some Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts and Seeds with Average Carbohydrates – depends 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)

Alcohol

  • dry red wine, dry white wine, spirits (unsweetened) – avoid for weight loss, only for weight maintenance

Avoid Completely
Food rich in carbohydrates, factory-farmed meat and processed foods

  1. Any foods with added sugar. Avoid sweeteners that raise blood sugar, cause insulin spikes, stimulate your appetite and kick you out of ketosis.

  2. All grains, even whole meal (wheat, rye, oats, corn, barley, millet, bulgur, sorghum, rice, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains), quinoa and white potatoes. this includes all products made from grains (pasta, bread, pizza, cookies, crackers, etc.) sugar and sweets (table sugar, HFCS, agave syrup, ice creams, cakes, sweet puddings and sugary soft-drinks).

  3. Factory-farmed pork and fish are high in inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids and farmed fish may contain PCBs, avoid fish high in mercury.

  4. Processed foods containing carrageenan (e.g. some almond milk products – watch for additives), MSG (e.g. in some whey protein products), sulphites (e.g. in dried fruits, gelatin), BPAs (they don’t have to be labeled!), wheat gluten.

  5. Artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Equal, sweeteners containing Aspartame, Acesulfame, Sucralose, Saccharin, etc.) – these may cause cravings and have been linked to other health issues such as migraines.

  6. Refined fats / oils (e.g. sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, canola, soybean, grapeseed, corn oil), trans fats such as margarine.

  7. “Low-fat”, “low-carb” and “zero-carb” products (Atkins products, diet soda and drinks, chewing gums and mints may be high in carbs or contain artificial additives, gluten, etc.)

  8. Milk (only small amounts of raw, full-fat milk is allowed). Milk is not recommended for several reasons. Firstly, all the dairy products, milk is difficult to digest, as it lacks the “good” bacteria (eliminated through pasteurization) and may even contain hormones. Secondly, it is quite high in carbs (4-5 grams of carbs per 100 ml). For coffee and tea, replace milk with cream in reasonable amounts. You may have a small amount of raw milk but be aware of the extra carbs. Lastly, farmers in the United States use genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH). rBGH is injected to dairy cows to increase milk production. Opt for full-fat dairy labeled “NO rBGH”.

  9. Alcoholic, sweet drinks (beer, sweet wine, cocktails, etc.) – you can try my low-carb cocktails and drinks.

  10. Tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, banana, papaya, etc.) and some high-carb fruit (tangerine, grapes, etc.) Also avoid fruit juices (yes, even 100% fresh juices!) – better to drink smoothies if any, but either way very limited. Juices are just like sugary water, but smoothies have fiber, which is at least more sating. This also includes dried fruit (dates, raisins, etc).

  11. Mainly for health reasons, avoid soy products apart from a few non-GMO fermented products which are known for their health benefits. Also avoid wheat gluten which may be used in low-carb foods. When you give up bread, you shouldn’t eat any part of it. Beware of BPA-lined cans. If possible, use naturally BPA-free packaging like glass jars or make your own ingredients such as ghee, ketchup, coconut milk or mayonnaise. BPA has been linked to many negative health effects such as impaired thyroid function and cancer. Other additives to avoid: carrageenan (e.g. almond milk products), MSG (e.g. in some whey protein products) and sulfites (e.g. in dried fruits, gelatin).

  12. Legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentil, peanuts, etc). Apart from peanuts, legumes are relatively high in carbs and should be avoided. Apart from their high carb content, legumes contain lectins and phytates which makes them hard to digest. They have been linked to leaky gut syndrome, PCOS, IBS and Hashimoto’s. When it comes to peanuts, some people avoid them while others use them in moderation. If you are considering peanuts, make sure you read this post first: Peanuts on a Ketogenic Diet: Eat or Avoid?

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Net Carbs in Commonly Used Recommended Foods

Animal products

Source Net Carbs (grams) Serving size
meat and fish 0 150 g / 5.3 oz
organ meats, liver (average) 3 150 g / 5.3 oz
prawns (cooked) 1.4 150 g / 5.3 oz
eggs 0.7 piece, large
cream (full-fat) 1.6 1/4 cup, 60 ml / 2 fl oz
butter 0 1 tbsp
cheese (hard) 0.4 30 g / 1 oz
cream cheese (full-fat) 1.6 1/4 cup, 50 g / 1.75 oz

Vegetables

Source Net Carbs (grams) Serving size
lettuce (sliced, average) 0.5 1 cup, 50 g / 1.75 oz
swiss chard, sliced 0.8 1 cup, 35 g / 1.25 oz
collard greens, sliced 0.8 1 cup, 35 g / 1.25 oz
bok choy, sliced 0.8 1 cup, 70 g / 2.4 oz
asparagus 2.7 150 g / 5.3 oz
green beans 6.4 150 g / 5.3 oz
summer squash (zucchini / courgette) 3.2 150 g / 5.3 oz
winter squash (pumpkin) 9 150 g / 5.3 oz
cucumber 2.2 150 g / 5.3 oz
spinach, cooked 1.2 1/2 cup, 90 g / 3.2 oz
kale (Italian dark-leaf) 2.1 150 g / 5.3 oz
kale (curly) 5.4 150 g / 5.3 oz
savoy cabbage 4.5 150 g / 5.3 oz
cabbage (white) 5 150 g / 5.3 oz
cabbage (red) 7.9 150 g / 5.3 oz
celery stalk 1.6 3 medium, 120 g / 4.2 oz
peppers (green) 3.5 piece, 120 g / 4.2 oz
peppers (red) 4.7 piece, 120 g / 4.2 oz
tomatoes, chopped 4.8 1 cup, 180 g / 6.3 oz
eggplant (aubergine) 3.5 150 g / 5.3 oz
broccoli, chopped 6.1 150 g / 5.3 oz
cauliflower 4.5 150 g / 5.3 oz
mushrooms, white 3.4 150 g / 5.3 oz
mushrooms, brown 5.6 150 g / 5.3 oz
onion, white (sliced) 2.2 1/4 cup, 40 g / 1.4 oz
garlic 0.9 1 clove

Fruit

Source Net Carbs (grams) Serving size
strawberries, sliced 4.7 1/2 cup, 85 g / 2.9 oz
raspberries 3.3 1/2 cup, 62 g / 2.2 oz
blackberries 3.1 1/2 cup, 72 g / 2.5 oz
blueberries 8.9 1/2 cup, 74 g / 2.6 oz
avocado 3.7 piece, average (200 g / 7 oz)

Nuts & Seeds

Source Net Carbs (grams) Serving size
macadamia nuts 1.5 30 g / 1 oz
almonds 2.7 30 g / 1 oz
pecans 1.2 30 g / 1 oz
hazelnuts 2 30 g / 1 oz
walnuts 2 30 g / 1 oz
cashew nuts 7.6 30 g / 1 oz
pumpkin seeds 1.3 30 g / 1 oz
sunflower seeds 3.2 30 g / 1 oz
tahini (unsweetened sesame paste) 1.8 1 tbsp
chia seeds 0.4 1 tbsp
pistachio nuts 4.9 30 g / 1 oz

Condiments & Other

Source Net Carbs (grams) Serving size
almond milk (unsweetened) 0.3 1/4 cup, 60 ml / 2 fl oz
coconut milk 1.6 1/4 cup, 60 ml / 2 fl oz
coconut milk (creamed) 2.7 1/4 cup, 60 ml / 2 fl oz
olives 0.2 30 g / 1 oz
sauerkraut (solids only) 0.5 1/4 cup, 35 g / 1.25 oz
mustard 0.7 1 tbsp
tomato puree 5.7 1 tbsp
apple cider vinegar 0.1 1 tbsp
coconut aminos 1 1 tbsp
dark chocolate (85%) 5.7 30 g / 1 oz
coconut flour 3.2 1/4 cup, 30 g / 1 oz
almond flour 2.2 1/4 cup, 25 g / 0.9 oz
flax meal 0.6 1/4 cup, 38 g / 1.3 oz
psillium hush powder 1.4 1/4 cup, 16 g / 0.6 oz
Erythritol 0.5 1 tbsp
stevia (drops) < 0.1 1/4 tsp
wine (red, dry) 6 1 glass / 5 fl oz
wine (white, dry) 6 1 glass / 5 fl oz
spirits (sugar-free, ~ 40% vol) 0 1 jigger / 1.5 fl oz

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Low-carb Sources of Your Daily Protein

Protein is not found just in meats. There are many meat-free and plant-based sources of protein! The more fat the meat contains, the less protein is usually has.

Meat, Fish and Seafood

Source Protein (grams) Serving size
turkey / chicken breast, raw 37 150 g / 5.3 oz
chicken thighs, raw 29 150 g / 5.3 oz
beef, lean steak, raw 31 150 g / 5.3 oz
beef steak, ribeye, raw 28 150 g / 5.3 oz
pork loin (chops), raw 31 150 g / 5.3 oz
venison steak, raw 32 150 g / 5.3 oz
lamb chops, raw 28 150 g / 5.3 oz
duck (meat only), raw 30 150 g / 5.3 oz
duck (meat and skin), raw 17 150 g / 5.3 oz
bacon, raw 12 3 slices / 90 g / 3.2 oz
chorizo salami, raw 22 90 g / 3.2 oz
salmon, raw 32 150 g / 5.3 oz
tuna, raw 37 150 g / 5.3 oz
cod, raw 27 150 g / 5.3 oz
sardines, raw 30 150 g / 5.3 oz
mackerel, raw 28 150 g / 5.3 oz
sea bass, raw 28 150 g / 5.3 oz
sea bream, raw 36 150 g / 5.3 oz
prawns, shrimps, mussels, clams, raw 22 150 g / 5.3 oz
octopus, raw 19 150 g / 5.3 oz
squid and calamari, raw 23 150 g / 5.3 oz
lobster, raw 25 150 g / 5.3 oz
gelatine 6 1 tbsp

For vegetarian options, these are the main sources of protein:

Eggs and Dairy

Source Protein (grams) Serving size
eggs, chicken 6.3 piece, large
eggs, duck 9 piece, large
cream (heavy whipping) 1.1 1/4 cup
cream (soured) 1.2 1/4 cup
cream cheese 3.5 1/4 cup
hard full-fat cheese (e.g. cheddar) 14.2 60 g / 2 oz
mozzarella 13.8 60 g / 2 oz
feta 8.1 60 g / 2 oz
mascarpone 3.6 1/4 cup
ricotta 6.9 1/4 cup

You can always boost your protein intake with high-quality whey protein powders. There is a good overview of other protein powders here (includes vegan options).

Apart from legumes (peanuts, chickpeas, lentils, etc.) and quinoa, which are not a part of the paleo diet, these are the main sources of protein for vegan-friendly diets:

Nuts and Seeds

Source Protein (grams) Serving size
almonds 6 30 g / 1 oz
walnuts 4.3 30 g / 1 oz
pecans 2.6 30 g / 1 oz
hazelnuts 4.2 30 g / 1 oz
macadamia nuts 2.2 30 g / 1 oz
cashew nuts 5.2 30 g / 1 oz
pistachio nuts 5.7 30 g / 1 oz
brazil nuts 4.1 30 g / 1 oz
pine nuts 3.9 30 g / 1 oz
pumpkin seeds 8.6 30 g / 1 oz
sunflower seeds 5.9 30 g / 1 oz
sesame seeds / tahini paste 5 30 g / 1 oz

Bestselling Keto Books

Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid on a Low-Carb Diet

Keto Chaffles

Order and get 5 bonus chaffle recipes!

My latest keto cookbook!

75 Delicious Treats for Your Low-Carb Diet

Chaffles are the epitome of simplicity and versatility

Simple Keto

Meal-prepping, planning, and shopping strategies

100+ delicious low-carb recipes

Quick & easy, no stress, no complication

The Beginner’s KetoDiet Cookbook

Easy keto guide

100+ delicious low-carb recipes

Whole foods, optimized for nutrition

The Keto All Day Cookbook

My best keto recipes

100+ delicious low-carb recipes

Allergy-free options

Quick Keto Meals in 30 Minutes or Less

Quick and easy meals

100+ delicious low-carb recipes

Allergy-free options

Sweet & Savory Fat Bombs

Sweet treats & savory snacks

100+ delicious keto recipes

Allergy-free options

Keto Slow Cooker & One-Pot Meals

100+ delicious low-carb recipes

Ideal for batch cooking and meal prep

Allergy-free options

The KetoDiet Cookbook

150+ delicious low-carb recipes

Quick guide to keto

Keto food list

Super Low-Carb Snacks

100+ delicious low-carb recipes

Tasty paleo treats and snacks

Ultra low-carb fat bombs

Get it now

Have any of my books?

Claim your Premium Diet Plans

Vegetables, Fruits and Other

Source Protein (grams) Serving size
broccoli 2.6 1 cup, chopped
broccoli raab 1.3 1 cup
sugar-snap peas 1.7 1 cup
green beans 1.8 1 cup
bean sprouts 1.5 1 cup
spinach 5.3 1 cup, cooked
kale 2.2 1 cup
artichoke 4.2 medium piece
asparagus 2.9 1 cup
cauliflower 2.1 1 cup, chopped
mushrooms, average 1-2.5 1 cup, sliced
coconut 1 1/4 cup, shredded
coconut milk 1.1 1/4 cup
avocado 4 piece, average
tempeh (fermented soy – paleo if non-GMO) 7.7 1/4 cup
sun-dried tomatoes 1.4 1/4 cup
seaweed (e.g. wakame) 10 1 cup
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About the Reviewer

This article has been reviewed by Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE who is a qualified expert. At KetoDiet we work with a team of health professionals to ensure accurate and up-to-date information. You can find out more on the About us page.

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