Keto Intelligence: the Official Food List and Guidelines

Fats

Animal fat, fatty fish, nuts, avocados, egg yolks, and saturated/monounsaturated fats like coconut oil, butter, and olive oil are all great sources of fat. (Click to see full list)

Proteins

Be wary of consuming too much protein. Any excess will be turned into sugar (glucose) in the blood stream — meaning increased insulin production, which reduces fat burning. Beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, shellfish, organ meat, and egg whites are all excellent sources of protein.

Unprocessed Meat

All unprocessed meat, whether frozen or fresh, is keto-friendly, containing only trace levels of carbohydrates. Brined poultry might contain added sugar, so be sure to check the ingredients. Organ meats are especially nutritious — if you find the taste unpleasant, try including them in flavorful stocks and stews. (Click to see full list)

Processed Meat

Almost all processed meat has sugar added to it, including cured ham that still requires cooking. Be sure to check the label and count the net carbs in your daily tracking. (Click to see full list)

Seafood

All unprocessed fish is keto-friendly. Shellfish is particularly nutritious; it is second to only to organ meat for nutrient density. (Click to see full list)

Dairy and Eggs

Stick with full-fat dairy, such as butter, heavy cream, and full-fat yogurt, and soft cheeses such as brie, mozzarella, and cream cheese. Hard cheeses have fewer carbs than soft cheeses, but they are also much higher in protein — as always, be wary of your protein intake. No milk or half-and-half allowed. (Click to see full list)

Vegetables

Stick to leafy green vegetables and ones that grow above-ground. Fresh, frozen, or canned are all fine, but check the labels of canned vegetables for added ingredients other than salt.

To keep your daily net carb intake low enough for weight loss, you’ll need to avoid root vegetables. For many people, root vegetables are high enough in net carbs to kick their system out of ketosis — even if they follow an otherwise strict regime. Avoid beets, jicama, parsnips, potatoes (purple, white, and sweet), rutabagas, turnips, water chestnuts, and yucca. (Click to see full list)

Nuts and Seeds

Be careful with nuts and seeds — it’s very easy to overeat them.  Weigh out a serving for the day so that you know when to stop. Note that peanuts are a legume, not a nut, and as such are not part of a keto diet. (Click to see full list)

Legumes

Legumes should be avoided completely. They generate too much insulin for a keto diet and prevent weight loss.

Fruit

Most fruit will also result in excess insulin and should be avoided. However — and we don't recommend this if your goal is to stay in strong ketosis — fruit can sometimes be a better alternative to sweets and other snacks. Stick to small amounts of blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries. Strawberries create a higher insulin response in most people.

All fruit should be fresh, frozen, or canned — be sure to check for added sugar. Dried fruit has a highly concentrated amount of sugar, even with no added ingredients, so it's easy to consume more sugar than you plan to. (Click to see full list)

Other Acceptable Foods

Condiments, sauces, alternative flours, and other foods are fine if they don't contain added sugar or flour. Make sure to check the labels for their net carb content. All herbs and spices are acceptable, just be wary of spice mixes that contain sugar. (Click to see list)

Non-alcoholic Beverages

Many drinks contain added sugar — be diligent about checking labels. (Click to see full list)

Diet soda is NOT on the list approved beverages. Depending on your insulin sensitivity and neurological profile, diet soda can interfere with the adjustment processes when determining your ideal macros. After completing the Keto Intelligence program, it may be possible for some people to reincorporate diet soda in their diet.

Alcoholic Beverages

Many people need to cut out beer and wine. The fermentation process for beer and wine converts some of the sugar to alcohol, but not all. Hard liquor is the better choice — even though it’s made from grains and starchy vegetables, hard liquor is fermented and distilled, which converts all sugars to alcohol. (Click to see full list)

If you choose to drink a beer or wine for very special occasions, drink a low carb beer or a dry white or red wine.

Non-Keto Foods

This list of foods is not complete or exhaustive, but it includes many common foods that may be mistaken for keto-friendly. (Click to see list of common non-keto foods)


Full Lists

Fats

Avocado oil
Butter
Chicken fat
Cocoa butter
Coconut butter
Coconut oil
Cod liver or fish oil

Duck fat
Egg yolks
Flaxseed oil (cold pressed)
Ghee or clarified butter
Lard (pig fat)
Macadamia oil
MCT oil

Olive oil (cold pressed)
Red palm oil
Sesame oil
Tallow (beef or sheep fat)
Walnut oil


Unprocessed Meats

Beef (70-80% lean ground beef and fatty steaks like rib eye)
Bison Deer
Elk
Goat
Horse
Lamb
Moose

Pork (see processed meat for info on ham)
Rabbit
Sheep
Veal
Chicken
Cornish Hens
Duck

Goose
Pheasant
Quail
Turkey
Organ Meat (gizzards, heart, kidney, liver, sweetbreads, tongue, tripe, or stomach muscle)


Processed Meats

Bacon
Canadian bacon
Deli meat (salami, bologna, liverwurst, pate, hams, chicken, turkey, prosciutto)

Ham, uncooked
Jerky, no sugar added
Sausages (Italian, chorizo, breakfast, brats, hot dogs, kielbasa, knockwurst, pepperoni)


Seafood

*The starred fish in the list below are fatty fish, many containing significant amounts of omega-3s, which improve cardiovascular health and cellular integrity while also reducing inflammation.

Anchovies
Arctic char
Bass
Butterfish/pompano*
Carp*
Catfish*
Chilean sea bass*
Cod*
Eel*
Flounder
Grouper
Haddock
Halibut*
Herring*

Mackerel*
Mahi Mahi
Orange roughy
Perch
Red Snapper*
Rockfish
Sablefish/black cod*
Salmon (including smoked salmon)*
Sardines*
Shad*
Shark
Sole
Tilapia
Tuna*

Turbot
Trout*
Whitefish*
Abalone
Caviar
Clams
Crab
Lobster
Mussels
Oysters
Shrimp
Scallops
Squid


Dairy and Eggs

Aged cheddar
Aged swiss
Brie
Butter
Colby

Cream cheese
Cream (heavy)
Eggs (whites and yolks)
Feta
Ghee or clarified butter

Gouda
Mozzarella
Parmesan
Sour cream
Yogurt (full fat)


Vegetables

*Limit your consumption of the starred vegetables in list below. If your macro for net carbs is relatively low, experiment to see if you can add these vegetables. Even though they are relatively low in carbs, for many people these veggies push you over your insulin limit.

Arugula
Artichokes
Asparagus
Avocados
Beet leaves
Bok choy
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots*
Cauliflower
Celery
Chard
Chicory greens
Chives
Cucumber
Dandelion greens

Eggplant
Endive
Fennel
Garlic
Green beans
Green peppers (all kinds)
Green onions*
Kale
Kimchi
Kohlrabi*
Leafy Greens
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Mustard Greens
Okra
Onions*
Parsley

Pickles (dill or sour, not sweet)
Radicchio
Radishes
Rhubarb
Sauerkraut
Scallions
Seaweed
Spaghetti squash*
Spinach
Sprouts
Swiss chard
Tomatoes*
Turnip greens
Watercress
Zucchini


Nuts and Seeds

Almonds
Brazil nuts
Chia seeds
Flax seed
Hazelnuts
Macadamia nuts

Pecans
Pine nuts
Psyllium seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Walnuts


Fruit

*Starred fruits should only be eaten in small amounts and, depending on your level of insulin sensitivity, may take you out of ketosis.

Blackberries*
Blueberries*
Cranberries*
Lemon

Lime
Olives
Raspberries*
Strawberries*


Other Acceptable Foods

*Starred foods should be eaten sparingly as they are calorie- or carb-dense. Be sure to measure!

Almond meal*
Artificial sweeteners (including stevia products)
Coconut meal*
Flaxseed meal*

Gelatin
Hot sauce (with no added sugar)
Mayonnaise
Mustard
Pork rinds
 

Soy sauce
Vanilla extract
Wine and cider vinegars (not balsamic, which has a high sugar content)
Worcestershire sauce


Non-alcoholic Beverages

Almond milk (unsweetened)
Broth or bouillon
Club soda

Coconut milk (unsweetened)
Coffee
Herbal teas
 

Lemon and lime juice (small amounts)
Seltzer water
Sparkling mineral water


Alcoholic Beverages

Hard Liquor

Bourbon
Brandy
Gin
Rum (be careful to avoid flavored rum)
Rye
Scotch
Tequila
Vodka
Whiskey

Low-er Carb Beers

Amstel Light
Beck’s Premier Light
Bud Light
Bud Select 55
Budweiser Select
Busch Light
Coors Light
Heineken Light
Keystone Light
Michelob Ultra
Miller64
Miller Chill
Miller Light
Rolling Rock 4%
Yuengling Light Beer
Yuengling Light Lager

Dry White Wines

Brut cava
Brut champagne
Chardonnay
Muscato
Pinot blanc
Pinot grigio
Riesling
Sparkling white

Earthy Red Wines

Cabernet
Merlot
Pinot noir
Syrah
Zinfandel

Alcoholic Drinks and Mixers to Avoid

Added fruit juices
Margaritas
Liqueurs      
Port
Sangria

Sherry
Sweet wines
Syrups
Wine coolers


Some Foods that are NOT Keto

This list of foods is not complete or exhaustive, but it includes many common foods that may be mistaken for keto-friendly.

Dairy

Low fat dairy
Cottage Cheese
Non-dairy creamer
Milk – all kinds
Half and Half
Processed cheese, such as American and Velveeta
Ricotta Cheese
Yogurt, flavored
Yogurt, Greek
Yogurt, low fat

Legumes

Alfalfa
Clover
Beans (black, fava, kidney, lima, navy, soy)
Chickpeas
Lentils
Peanuts
Peas (black-eyed, snow, snap)

Anything made with flour from grains

Grains include barley, buckwheat, corn/maize, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, sorghum, and wheat

Bread
Cookies
Crackers
Cereal
Muffins
Pasta

Vegetables

Beets
Jicama
Leeks
Parsnip
Potatoes
Rutabaga
Snow Peas
Sun-dried tomatoes
Sweet Potatoes/Yams
Turnips
Water Chestnuts
Yucca

Miscellany

Imitation crab meat
Cured meat with sugar added (some hams, some bacon, anything labeled "apple smoked")
Ketchup       
Balsamic vinegar
Rice vinegar
Oils (including corn, soy, heat-extruded canola, and peanut oil)
Cashews, pistachios
Honey, powdered splenda, molasses