Most people are more familiar with the food pyramid created by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), as you read this article you will find out it is very different from the keto diet food pyramid.
If you do a search for Keto diet food pyramids most of the pyramids that you will find on the Internet will show meat, fish and poultry at the base of the pyramid. It is no wonder people get the wrong idea about the keto diet, and I hope by the end of this article you will have a good idea of what you should be eating.
The first thing you need to understand is that eating lots of meat is not what the Keto diet is about, the Keto diet is about eating the right kinds of fat.
Let’s compare the USDA Food Pyramid with the Keto Diet Food Pyramid, starting from the bottom and going up.
Pyramid Level 1
USDA 6 – 11 Servings a day
Keto 70% a day
You will get your healthy fats from consuming cream, butter, coconut oil, virgin olive oil, avocado and all those listed in the Keto window below.
A good way to get the good fats needed on this diet is to cook your meals in any of the following animal fat (lard, tallow), coconut oil or full fat butter (salted or unsalted), the best butter to use is that which is wrapped in foil, as they don’t have any of the preservatives found in the butters that come in plastic tubs.
I remember the days before the obesity epidemic, if it went into a frying pan or chip pan it was cooked in lard, you would not have found a bottle of cooking oil in any house, and the food was cooked from fresh ingredients, cooking using fresh ingredients is what the Keto diet is all about.
Pyramid Level 2
USDA 5 servings a day
Keto 20% a day (protein)
Fish and shellfish
Meat, fish and poultry are part of the keto diet because they contain the healthy fats and protein, but they contain a lot more protein than they do healthy fat and as a result they should only represent a small part of your meals.
This is where a lot of people go wrong, they see meat on the list and have meals with a large amount of meat on the plate (I have mentioned this earlier but I think it is worth repeating), in some cases the portion of meat is so big there is not enough room to get other vital foods on the plate.
I am talking about the vegetables, why are they vital read below the next window to find out.
Pyramid Level 3
USDA 3 servings a day
Keto 10% a day (carbs)
None Starchy Vegetables
The biggest part of any meal (your not going to like this) should be non starchy vegetables, and by none starchy vegetables we mean anything that grows above ground.
The vegetables are where you are going to get your carbs (you see it’s not no carbs it’s “low carbs”), not only that they contain vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and not forgetting fibre, which we all know, is good for your digestion.
You might be thinking that if I eat a lot of veg then I am going to be eating a lot of carbs, most of the carbs you get from veg are in the form of fibre which is good, so to get the total amount of carbs you are consuming with the veg you take away the amount of fibre to get your total carb count.
If you were to eat 100 grams of cabbage (not saying this is the amount you need to eat) you would be eating 6 grams of carbs, and 2.5 grams of fibre this means you total carb intake will be 3.5 grams.
Pyramid Level 4
Keto the same
Dairy full fat
Nuts & seeds
Not all nuts can be consumed for instance peanuts which are classed as legumes, the same as beans and peas, the following are the types of nuts that are recommended for this diet are Brazil, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Pine, Coconut, Macadamia (these contain the highest amount of the good fats), Almonds and Walnuts.
I make my own breakfast granola using nuts and seeds, I have it with full fat Greek yogurt (not Greek style its no good).
There is a fifth level on the Keto Diet Food Pyramid and that contains berries, once again these should only be eaten in small amounts because of the sugar they contain, on the Keto diet we do not eat sugar at all.
When I say sugar I mean that which you find in soft drinks, sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and not forgetting the sugar you put in your tea or coffee, avoid these only if you want to see good results.
You make your own mind up, but looking at the intake of food on the USDA pyramid it is no wonder there is an obesity epidemic worldwide.
Eating On Keto
There are no hard and fast rules for eating on the Keto diet, you eat when you feel hungry and leave the table when you are full, and if you are following the guidelines for each of the three macros closely you should not feel hungry between meals.
Unlike the eating plan using USDA guidelines you can eat a big meal and an hour later you feel hungry again (this is why you need to snack), if you feel hungry on the Keto diet it is because you have not eaten enough healthy fat.
Because you are eating fewer carbs your body does not produce a lot of glycogen as a result there is not a lot of water stored in your body (this is why a lot of people drop a lot of weight very quickly), and this is why it is recommended that you drink more water, how much water depends on your body the best measure is urine colour the lighter the better.
You will also need to increase your salt intake, a lot of the salt we get is in the foods that are eaten on the USDA eating plan, when you change to Keto you will be eating foods that are prepared from fresh ingredients and they will not contain the salt that is found in processed foods.
Here’s what you can have apart from water, tea (green tea is better than black) and coffee with cream if you wish.
If you are serious about this diet you should stay away from alcohol, but if you fancy a tipple you should avoid drinks like beer, lager or cider. Spirits do not contain any calories, but the mixer you have will probably have a lot in the form of sugar, the best mixers are water and soda water or drink it straight.
If you don’t like the taste of soda water you can ask for a slice of lemon just to give it a bit of taste, if it’s a cocktail bar they might have other things like mint that would add a bit of taste to your drink.
Dry white wine and red wines can also be drank, as always when taking alcohol it should be done in moderation, but and there is always a but and here it is, it is better not to drink alcohol at all.
The Keto diet is more like a way of eating, by that I mean a change to your eating habits, I still have for the most part the same meals as before I just don’t have bread, pasta, potatoes or rice with the meal.
Bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes was and still is one of my favourite meals, I used to have at least 5 slices of bread with that, I still have all of the above but without the bread.
When picking sausages you have to check the label for carbs, I have found ASDA’s own brand of pork and tomato sausages have a low amount of carbs in them, when reading any label to check the amount of carbs you are looking for 5 grams or less per 100 grams.
Since starting this way of eating I have found a lot of good recipes and some bad but more good than bad I might add, some of the worst recipes we have tried are for breads they just do not taste or look the same.
When I say we my wife has not changed to this way of eating with me, she still has her biscuits, bread and all the things we both ate before I changed to the way of eating.
The hardest part for me is when we have the meal mentioned earlier and she has bread with it, I am very fortunate she not sweet toothed and does not like deserts and is not fond of chocolate, I am not keen on the biscuits she likes so there is no real temptation for me to tuck in.
I hope by now you have a better understanding of the Keto Food Pyramid, the advice we are receiving from the government isn’t always the best.
I have seen it mentioned quite often by people who have been eating this way and got to their target weight, that they are now adding some carbs back into their diet, but they are monitoring it very closely so that they don’t put the pounds they have lost back on.
I am always interested to hear what other people have to say, please use the comments at the bottom to ask questions or give your opinion, Thank You.