A lot of tasty foods are OK for keto eaters—avocado, fish, and butter, for example. Some other delicious foods might be keto friendly, but people who’ve had weight-loss success on the keto diet think you should avoid them anyway. Here’s why.
People on the ketogenic (keto) diet are fastidious carbohydrate counters. After all, most keto eaters aim to eat around 20 net—or total—carbs in a day. With a number that low, every single bite counts. Low- and no-carb foods may be particularly alluring for that reason, but Jessica Rosen, certified holistic health coach and co-founder of Raw Generation, says you should be wary. “Not all zero-carbohydrate foods are smart choices for a keto dieter,” Rosen says. “Artificial sweeteners may not have any carbs or calories, but they can negatively impact the healthy bacteria in your gut. That can lead to fat storage and digestive issues,” she says. “Degrading one’s gut bacteria can be particularly detrimental if you’re eating a diet high in difficult-to-digest proteins and fats.” Here are 12 things that happen to your body when you’re on the keto diet.
If you assume the keto diet consists of eating limitless breakfast meats, your idea of healthy keto eating may need some fine-tuning. “Processed meats such as sausage, hot dogs, bacon, and canned meats should be avoided as much as possible as they are loaded with carcinogens,” Rosen says.
“These processed meats have zero carbs so people think they are fine to eat on keto,” says keto expert and global integrative health coach Karissa Long. “But these ultra-processed meats typically contain nitrites. When nitrites are exposed to high heat in the presence of protein—that is, the meats they have been added to—they can turn into compounds called nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.” Rosen advises you instead pick “organic, grass-fed meat whenever possible.” Check out the 10 unexpected health benefits that come with a keto diet.
The average ketogenic dieter aims to get at least three-quarters of their macronutrients from fats. That includes sources like avocado, dairy, fish, nuts, and seeds. Many people rely on cooking oils for daily fat intake, too. These include canola oil, grapeseed oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil. However, Long says these may not be the healthiest choice. “These refined cooking oils are made by highly intensive mechanical and chemical processes to extract the oil from the seeds,” she says. “This process removes the natural nutrients from the seeds and creates a final product which oxidizes easily. The oxidation factor makes these oils more likely to break down into cancer-causing free radicals within the body, especially when heated.” Long says the consumption of these refined oils “has been linked to widespread inflammation within the body, elevated blood triglycerides, and impaired insulin response.” Stock up on these keto-approved foods at Costco.