Do’s and Don’ts on the Keto Diet

Make sure you’re following the keto diet correctly with these pointers.

By Rachel Bowman, Michael Bohl, MD, MPH
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The Benefits of the Keto Diet (2:56)

The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that tricks your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. It’s proven to help with weight loss, but in order for it to be effective, you need to eat the right kinds of foods. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts to ensure that you see results on this diet.

DO Eat Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like arugula, spinach, kale, and cabbage are best to eat on the keto diet because they are low in carbohydrates. You should only be eating 5 percent carbs in comparison to 20 percent protein, and 75 percent fat.

DON’T Eat High-Sugar Fruit

Some fruit, while healthy, contains a lot of carbohydrates. Since the keto diet focuses on low-carbs you should eliminate all high-sugar fruit like mangoes, grapes, cherries, and bananas, from your diet.

DO Increase Your Intake of Seeds

Seeds are a great source of healthy fats, which will help your body reach a ketogenic state to burn fat. Consider adding flaxseeds, chia seeds, and sesame seeds into some of your dishes to boost the flavor and help burn fat simultaneously.

DON’T Buy Grain-Based Items

Grain-based foods like bread, pasta, cookies, and rice should be permanently removed from your grocery list. These foods are high in carbs, starch, and calories and should be avoided on most diets but are specifically bad if on the keto diet.

DO Add Nuts into Your Diet

Walnuts, almonds, and pecans are just some of the nuts you should consider adding into your diet. Nuts contain healthy fats, which make them a great snack to have on the keto diet.

DON’T Consume Sugar: Processed or Natural

It’s important to eliminate all carbs – which includes sugar – from your diet in order to succeed on the keto diet. Whether it’s a cookie or a banana, both should be taken out of your diet to allow your body to turn stored fat into fuel rather than adding increasing and storing fat on your body.

DO Eat Lean Protein

On the keto diet, about 20 percent of your diet should be protein. Lean protein is your best bet because it is low in unhealthy fat content. Make lean meat, fish, and eggs a part of your daily routine.

DON’T Eat High-Carb Vegetables

The keto diet is a low-carb diet, therefore, any item that is high in carbs is not good to have – even if they are vegetables. Vegetables that are high in carbs like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn should not be on your grocery list. Instead, opt for low-carb veggies like leafy greens.

DO Cook with High-Fat Oils

Oils with healthy fats, like coconut oil and olive oil, are best to use on the keto diet. They are an easy way to incorporate healthy fats into your diet. You should avoid cooking with processed vegetable and seed oils.

DON’T Drink High-Calorie, High-Sugar Beverages

Drinks like milk, soda, juice, sports drinks, smoothie, beer, wine, and cocktails are off-limits on the keto diet. Avoid adding extra carbs, sugar, and calories into your diet by cutting out these drinks.

DO Drink Low-Calorie, Low-Sugar Beverages

Still and sparkling water, coffee, and tea are the best beverages to have on the keto diet. They can help you stay hydrated while avoiding added carbs into your diet. When drinking coffee and tea, be sure to avoid added sugars.

DON’T Eat Carbs

The keto diet is low-carb. This means most, if not all carbs should be avoided including those found in black beans, chickpeas, and lentils. While beans and legumes are rich in protein, they also contain large amounts of carbohydrates, which you’ll want to avoid.

Related:

8 Healthy Tips from the Keto Diet

The Keto Diet Shopping List

Are You Following the Keto Diet Correctly?

Graphic by Anne Van Wagener

Article written by Rachel Bowman

Article written by Michael Bohl, MD, MPH