Have you ever wondered if a food fits into the “Keto Food” criteria, whether it’s labeled as a “keto food” or not? How can you know? What makes a food a “keto food?” And, can you trust the food claims?
It’s best to understand the big picture of Keto Zone eating, and the criteria for a keto food, yourself. Many foods that make wonderful Keto Zone ingredients are not labeled at all (an egg). Other foods, which claim to be low-carb, are not Keto Foods because they are too low in fats and/or made up of unhealthy ingredients.
If you want to be able to determine Keto Foods for yourself, we’ve got a great, easy-to-follow guide for you.
The Keto Zone Diet (Big Picture)
To understand if a food is a “keto food,” it’s important to first understand the Keto Zone diet. You can start with:
- Keto Zone Starter Kit: Includes Dr. Colbert’s Keto Zoe Diet Book (Comprehensive Guide), Instant Ketones, MCT Oil Powder, Ketosis Test Strips & More!
- Keto Zone Quick Guide Post
- Our Free Keto Zone 21-Day-Challenge
In a nutshell, the Keto Zone diet is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat, moderate-protein diet that utilizes healthy high-fat foods to promote ketone production in your body. Rather than burning carbohydrates and glucose for energy, your body will begin to burn ketones. This can lead to efficient weight and fat loss, normalization of blood sugars, improved mental clarity, and more.
The Keto Food Criteria
When choosing a Keto Food, there are 4 goals. You want a food that:
- Promotes ketone production in the body (high in healthy fats)
- Does not “kick you out” of ketosis (low in net carbohydrates)
- Promotes full-body health and does not contain harmful ingredients
- Works within an overall Keto diet to provide <=25 net grams of carbs per day and 75% or more calories from fat
Keto Food Product Examples
If you have a food label and are only eating that product for the meal, it’s easy to figure out if a food is Keto or not. Typically, you’ll want to look for one that is low in net carbohydrates and high in fat.
A good rule of thumb is 75% or more calories from fat. To figure out what percentage of calories are from fat in your food:
- Multiply the grams of fat by 9
- Divide this number by the total calories
- Multiply by 100 for the percentage
Next, what are your grams of total net carbs? To figure this out:
- Look for total carbohydrates, fiber, and sugar alcohol.
- Subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrates.
- This is your net carbs.
- You must determine if the amount of net carbs allows you to stay under 25 grams of net carbs for day. If eating a meal, 7-8 grams of net carbs total should work. If a snack, just 3-4 grams of net carbs is best.
Foods Without a Nutrition Label
If determining whether a food is a Keto food that doesn’t have a label, you have to do a bit more investigation. For example, raspberries or a piece of broccoli may not have a nutrition label. The easiest way to figure out their nutrition facts is to look it up online.
A few good reputable options are:
Then, use the same calculations above to determine the percentage of fat and net grams of carbohydrates.
IF you are using a specific product within a recipe or meal, it’s important to take the entire recipe or meal into consideration as other foods may make the entire recipe a “keto food”. For example, 2 tablespoons of raspberries is a relatively low-carbohydrate food, but also low in fat, making it NOT keto. But, if you add heavy cream to the raspberries, which is very high fat and very low carbohydrate, together, it makes a Keto Food.
Whole Body Health
The last area to screen is the actual ingredients. Sure, the nutrition label may fit into the Keto food criteria. However, it may be processed food loaded with chemicals. Take a look at the nutrition label. Do you recognize the ingredients? Do they seem to be made of real foods, or chemicals? If you don’t recognize one, it’s worth looking it up to see what it is.
The fewer ingredients, typically, the fewer chemicals added.
Food Product Examples
1. Costco Organic Almond Milk
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 40 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 1 grams total carbohydrates, 1 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar alcohols, 1 grams fiber.
Ingredients: Organic almond base (filtered water, organic almonds), organic vanilla flavor, sea salt, sunflower lecithin, organic locust bean gum, gellan gum, vitamin a palmitate, ergocalciferol (vitamin d2), dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate (vitamin e), riboflavin (vitamin b2), zinc gluconate, cyanocobalamin (vitamin b12).
Is it a Keto Food? This drink has 0 net carbs and is 79% fat from calories ((3.5*9/40)*100). This is a Keto Food!
What’s more, the ingredients are good overall. It’s mostly water, almonds, and organic vanilla flavor plus natural thickeners. Then, lie
2. Birch Bender Keto Waffle Mix
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 160 calories, 11 grams fat, 10 grams total carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar alcohols, 9 grams fiber.
Ingredients: Almond Flour, Eggs, Tigernut Flour, Organic Coconut Flour, Cassava Starch, Buttermilk, Leavening (Monocalcium Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Salt, Spice.
Is it A Keto Food? Potentially. This food is 62% calories from fat ((11*9/160)*100). It has 5 grams net carbs. For a meal, the net carbs are fine, but the fat is a bit low. Try adding 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil to increase the fat without adding carbohydrates (this will add 14 grams fat with 120 calories bringing it to ~80% calories from fat).
Overall, the ingredients look good, using baking soda for leaving (sodium bicarbonate).
3. ChocoXO Keto Snaps
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 90 calories, 8 grams fat, 3 grams total carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar alcohols, 1 grams fiber.
Ingredients: *85% Chocolate (Organic Fairtrade Cocoa Paste From Peru’/Dominican Republic, Organic *Fairtrade Cocoa Butter, *Organic Fairtrade Powder, *Organic Fairtrade Cane Sugar, *Organic Fairtrade Vanilla Extract), Organic Coconut, Organic Almonds, Sea Salt. (Made on equipment that also processes: Soy, Tree Nuts, Milk, Peanuts.
Is it a Keto Food? Yes! It has 80% calories from fat and only has 1 grams net carbohydrates. The ingredients are very high quality, real-food ingredients.
4. Lankato Monkfruit Sweetener (1:1 Sugar Substitute)
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 0 calories, 0 grams fat, 4 grams total carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar alcohols, 0 grams fiber.
Ingredients: Non-GMO erythritol and Monk Fruit extract
Is it a Keto Food? Within a recipe (as the Keto Sweetener), it works as a Keto Food. On its own, it is 0% calories from fat (0 grams fat and 0 calories) and has 0 grams net carbs.
5. Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Chips (Stevia Sweetened, 55% Cacao)
Nutrition Facts (per serving, 60 chips): 50 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 9 grams total carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar alcohols, 1 grams fiber.
Ingredients: Unsweetened chocolate, erythritol, inulin, cocoa butter, organic soy lecithin, natural vanilla, and stevia extract
Is it a Keto Food? Potentially. IYes. It contains 81% calories from fats, which is within Keto standards, and only 2 grams net carbs. Since it’s only part of a dessert in most cases (when making Keto Cookies for example, it’s important to note the amount of net carbs in the rest of the recipe to make sure you don’t go too high for the day).
6. Palmini Hearts of Palm Linguini
Nutrition Facts (per serving, 60 chips): 20 calories, 0 grams fat, 4 grams total carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar alcohols, 2 grams fiber.
Ingredients: Water, Natural Sea Salt, Sliced Hearts of Palm, Citric Acid.
Is it a Keto Food? Potentially. It is low-carbs at only 2 grams of net carbs. However, it is also low fat. To become a true Keto Food, add 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. This will bring the calories from fat above 75% and no add carbohydrates. The ingredients are great – just 3 natural ingredients.
Certifications and Nutrition Claims
Keto Certification or Guaranteed Ketogenic
Some food manufacturing companies are developing and using a Guaranteed Ketogenic Certification, and a Keto-Friendly Certification.
The Guaranteed Keto means the food:
- Contains ketone boosting ingredients
- Is very low in net carbohydrates
- Fits within a Keto diet
- Uses non-GMO ingredients
Keto-Friendly, on the other hand, includes ingredients that should promote ketosis but may raise blood sugars in some people.
You have the power and knowledge to determine if a food is a “Keto Food” or not. As more and more Keto foods are manufactured and put on the shelves, you may be able to depend on certifications. But, it’s always best to understand for yourself what determines a Keto Food. Use our guide above for each food, recipe, and meal, and you’ll do great staying in the Keto Zone!
Is there a food you need help deciphering as a Keto Food? Send in your questions and let us know! Then, be on the look-out for another post with new Keto Foods and our determination.