The Food Policy

Updated Jul 28th, 2022 – Written by Craig Clarke

No diet is one size fits all.

Even the most successful keto diet plan will not be the optimal approach for you. This is because long-term weight loss results heavily depend on the factors that influence your food choices (e.g., your current lifestyle, food environment, moral values, work/travel schedule, food budget, meal preferences, and social/family life).

Our goal with is to empower you with the content you need to formulate an optimal keto lifestyle for long-term success — a way of eating that is both healthy and sustainable for you.

We’ve created this food policy to help you take the next step toward personalizing your approach to keto.

What Keto-friendly Means: Keto Principles for Your Diet

Our definition of “keto-friendly” is any food or ingredient that can be used in a way that helps most people sustain nutritional ketosis, improve health, and lose fat.

All of our recipes, recommendations, and articles are centered around this all-inclusive definition of keto-friendly eating. By approaching keto in this way, we can provide you with a wide array of recipes and info that can be used to customize your keto lifestyle so that it is healthy and sustainable for you.

Whether you want to follow a strict clean keto diet or a dirty & lazy approach, stick to a strict keto carb limit or restrict specific ingredients and foods, you’ll find the information and resources you need throughout our food policy (and

To take a closer look at the keto-friendly principles mentioned above, check out the following articles:

Embracing Each Side of the Keto Spectrum, From Strict & Clean to Dirty & Lazy

Our content aims to embrace every point on the clean, strict vs. dirty, lazy keto spectrum.

On one side of this spectrum, we have a keto diet that is centered around the highest quality keto foods with strict adherence to a carb limit. This represents a clean and strict approach to keto eating.

In contrast, someone on a dirty, lazy keto diet will prioritize convenience and cheaper keto foods. In this case, it doesn’t matter how “clean” a food is, as long as it can fit within the person’s carb limit and helps them reach their goals.

As you follow a keto diet, you’ll be able to find the point along this spectrum that works best for you, your health, your lifestyle, your food budget, and the other factors that influence your food choices.

By embracing each extreme and everything in between, we hope to make the keto diet accessible to more people by removing as many potential barriers to getting results as we can.

This includes helping you discover your optimal macronutrient intake, as well as the specific ingredients and foods that work best for you.

For an in-depth look at keto-friendly foods and each side of the keto spectrum, read through the following resources:

How We Approach Macronutrients on Keto

Macronutrient is the term used to represent the fat, protein, and carbohydrate molecules that make up the majority of the food you eat. On the keto diet, fat will be your primary macronutrient, followed by a moderate intake of protein, and a very small amount of carbs.

To get an estimate of what your intake of each macronutrient should be, try using our keto calculator. With those numbers in mind, you will be able to use the nutrition info from our keto recipes to customize your meals for optimal results.

In general, our recipes are designed to be keto-friendly while leaving plenty of room for personalization based on your macro needs, goals, and food preferences. In other words, if each serving of a recipe is too high to fit within a standard keto carb limit, it won’t make the cut.

Carbs, Net Carbs, Fiber, and Your Carb Limit

More specifically, we aim to provide recipes that can be fit within a 35g total carb and 25g net carb limit. Since net carbs are significantly more anti-ketogenic than any other dietary component, we separate net carbs from fiber in our nutrition listings.

Fiber is also a crucial component of keto for its numerous health benefits, particularly for our digestive health. This is why you’ll find plenty of low-carb vegetables, nuts, and seeds in our recipes.

That being said, you may also find some ingredients in our recipes that contain a high percentage of net carbs, such as berries and honey. Though they are not keto-friendly in higher doses, these ingredients can still be used in a keto-friendly way that will not kick us out of ketosis.

To learn more about carb intake for ketosis and common keto carb sources, check out the following articles:

Protein: Getting the Right Amount for Optimal Results

Protein is a crucial component of keto diet success. We recommend getting your protein from fresh meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs and/or high-fat dairy. Opt for fresh, sustainably-raised protein sources when possible.

If you are looking to limit your consumption of meat and other animal products, many vegan “meats” and protein powders are great protein sources as well. For a comprehensive list of keto-friendly vegan protein sources, follow this link to our vegan keto guide.

For best results, we recommend following these protein intake guidelines:

  • If you are sedentary — consume 0.6 – 0.8g of protein per pound of lean body mass.
  • If you are regularly active — have 0.8 – 1.0g of protein per pound of lean body mass.
  • If you lift weights — eat 1.0 – 1.2g of protein per pound of lean body mass.

Or, for more precise calculations, use our keto calculator.

It is also important to keep your protein intake from getting too high above these ranges. This is because protein can significantly decrease ketone production when it is over consumed.

For more information regarding protein intake, ketone production, and ketosis, follow this link >

Fat: Find the Right Quality and Quantity for Keto Success

Regardless of how much body fat you want to lose, eating plenty of the right fats is essential for ensuring optimal health and fat loss results. To get a better idea of how much fat you should eat on keto, use our keto calculator and read through the links at the bottom of this section.

Most of your fat intake should come from high-fat whole foods, such as fatty cuts of meat and seafood, eggs, cheese, avocados, and low-carb nuts. To help promote satiety, you can supplement the fat content of your meals with healthy fats/oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, and butter.

Vegetable and seed oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats should be avoided, especially on a low-carb or keto diet. This includes soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, and regular sunflower oil. Oils like these are filled with delicate fats that oxidize quickly into toxic inflammatory compounds.

To learn more about fat intake on the keto diet, read through the following resources:

A Closer Look at Controversial Ingredients, Foods, and Food Groups

Even if you eat the right macros, your results can still be affected by specific foods and ingredients. Given the highly individual nature of what works best for each person, this topic leaves plenty of room for debate as to what is and what isn’t keto-friendly.

At, we aim to offer a wide variety of recipes so everyone can find keto meals that fit their preferences. We also have published dozens of guides to help you personalize your diet and replace any ingredients you may not agree with.

To complete our food policy, explore some of the most controversial ingredients, foods, and food groups that you may find in our recipes:

  • Gluten, grains, low carb tortillas, and bread
  • Fruit and fructose
  • Keto-friendly sweeteners: From stevia to sucralose and their substitutions
  • Oils: Good vs. bad
  • Animal fats
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Low-carb Flours: almond, coconut, and their alternatives
  • Psyllium husk: A key keto ingredient and fiber supplement
  • Other Keto thickeners: Xanthan gum and guar gum
  • Mayo, salad dressing, and other condiments
  • High-lactose dairy: Milk, buttermilk, and milk alternatives
  • Soy and soy-based ingredients
  • Nightshade vegetables
  • Low carb pasta and noodles
  • Keto drinks and beverages
  • Drinking alcohol on keto
  • Keto supplements

In each section, you’ll find tips and/or links to resources that’ll help you customize your keto diet, meal plan, and recipes in the way you want.

Grains, Gluten, Low-carb Tortillas, and Keto Bread

Grains are typically filled with starch (a type of net carb), which is why you’ll find them on our “Do Not Eat” list. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone must avoid all grain-based ingredients on a keto diet.

The most common example of this is low-carb tortilla products that contain a high amount of gluten and other grain-derived ingredients. As long as they fit with your keto carb limit and your body tolerates the ingredients, they can be included in a healthy keto lifestyle.

That being said, if you are looking to avoid grains, gluten, and other grain-derived ingredients, we have several alternatives you can try. Here are some of our favorite grain-free, gluten-free options for keto-friendly bread and tortillas:

Low-carb Fruit: Is Fructose Bad?

As a general rule, we limit how much fruit we use in our keto recipes. This is because most fruits contain a high proportion of sugar.

Though fruit sugar, particularly fructose, has been demonized in the keto community, there is no evidence that consuming small amounts of fructose from fruit will impair health and weight loss. In fact, consuming low-carb fruits will do just the opposite — providing you with micronutrients and antioxidants that can bolster your health and fat loss efforts.

If you do find fruit in our recipes, it will typically be a low-carb fruit, such as berries, lemon, lime, avocado, or tomato. As with every other ingredient in our recipes, we will only add fruit in a way that keeps each serving keto-friendly.

To learn more about fruit consumption on keto, check out our guide to the Best and Worst Keto Fruits.

Keto-friendly Sweeteners: Stevia, Sucralose, and Their Substitutions

In general, we recommend limiting your intake of any sweetener, regardless of how healthy or keto-friendly it is. This will allow your palate to adjust to keto eating and curb sugar cravings.

If you are looking to include sweeteners and/or keto-friendly sweets into your diet, your best options will be stevia extract, erythritol, monk fruit extract, or a blend of these sweeteners. The current research literature indicates that these are safe for keto and may even have some health benefits.

You may also find liquid sucralose or allulose in our recipes as well. If you prefer to avoid sucralose or don’t have access to either option, use our Comprehensive Guide to Keto Sweetener Substitutions to find the right replacement ratio for your preferred sweetener.

For an in-depth look at the research behind each sweetener and how to use them (including options we haven’t mentioned yet), check out our Keto Sweetener Guide.

Keto Oils: The Best and Worst for Cooking, Baking, and Drizzling

The quality of the oils you use can make or break your health on keto. Not every source of fat is good fat.

The best options for cooking, baking, and condiments/dressings will be oils that are very low in polyunsaturated fats and high in monounsaturated fats and/or saturated fats.

For all-purpose use, your best oil options will be extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. Use these instead of common cooking oils like canola oil, soybean oil, and vegetable oil, which are high in delicate polyunsaturated fats.

For a comprehensive look at the best and worst oils for keto, follow this link.

To learn more about the difference between good and bad fats for a healthy keto diet, follow this link.

Animal Fats: Butter, Ghee, Bacon Grease, Tallow, etc.

Though animal fat is often portrayed as being the “unhealthy” or “bad” fat, this is far from the truth. Each animal fat comes with a unique balance of different types of fats, all of which play a crucial role in a healthy keto diet.

When it comes to finding animal fats to cook with, follow the same rules as you would with keto oils — that is, use animal fats that are very low in polyunsaturated fats and high in monounsaturated fats and/or saturated fats. Some good examples of this are ghee, tallow, lard, and duck fat.

That being said, these concentrated sources of animal fat should only be used to cook with or supplement your fat intake on a keto diet. If these become your primary source of calories, then you won’t get enough of the essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting compounds found in whole keto foods.

For more information on the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats for an optimal keto diet, follow this link.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, many of them are high enough in carbs and calories to slow fat loss when we aren’t mindful of our intake.

This is especially true for keto baked goods that rely on flours made from nuts or seeds. Though these low-carb flours are healthier than traditional all-purpose flour, the carbs and calories in these keto-friendly replacements will still add up quickly.

In both cases, whether you consume low-carb flours or the whole nut/seed, we recommend consuming them in moderation for best results.

To learn more about the best nuts and seeds for keto, follow this link

Low-carb Flours: Almond, Coconut, and Allergen-free Options

All-purpose flours and other grain-based flours contain such a high amount of net carbs that we recommend replacing them with low-carb alternatives. The most common flour replacements you’ll find in our recipes are almond flour, coconut flour, or some mixture of the two.

Other common keto baking ingredients you may find are eggs, flaxseed meal, psyllium husk, and a gum powder, which help emulate certain qualities of normal flour that keto flours lack.

Despite how low in carbs your keto baked goods will be, you can still impair your result by eating too many. As with every other food, it is important to consume flour-based recipes within the context of your long-term goals.

For those of you who are allergic to nuts and/or coconut, there are several options you can use, particularly sunflower seed flour and pumpkin seed flour. For more information on these and other keto flours, check out our guide to keto flour substitutions.

To learn more about the most common low carb flours and how to use them, follow this link to our article on almond flour and coconut flour for keto.

Psyllium Husk: A Versatile Keto Ingredient and Fiber Supplement

Psyllium husk powder is a versatile, safe, and keto-friendly fiber source and culinary staple. It provides us with a multitude of health benefits, while also adding many of the qualities missing from low-carb flour to keto-friendly baked goods.

Many keto recipes will call for psyllium husk powder, so opting for a product with 100% powdered psyllium husk is usually the best choice. Brand name fiber supplements and any other psyllium supplements with added ingredients are best avoided.

If you’re looking for a psyllium substitute, you’ll find chia seeds, flaxseeds, xanthan gum, and guar gum to be great options. For more information regarding psyllium husk and its alternatives, follow this link.

Common Starch-free Thickeners: Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum

These two natural gum powders can be used to emulate many of the properties of starch and gluten. However, due to their differing properties, they cannot be used interchangeably.

In general, guar gum will work best if used in cold foods such as ice cream, popsicles, or pastry fillings, while xanthan gum is better for baked goods, casseroles, and gravies.

For information on these two common keto ingredients and their substitutes, refer to the following articles:

Mayo, Dressings, Sauces, and Other Condiments

Finding the right condiments can be tricky on keto. Often you’ll find options that are low in net carbs per serving, yet contain sugar, honey, or other high-carb ingredients.

The product or recipe you choose will ultimately depend on what is keto-friendly and healthy for you. Though you may find added sugars on the ingredients lists, this doesn’t necessarily exclude it from your diet.

As an example, our honey vinaigrette recipe calls for one tablespoon of honey, which adds 17 grams of net carbs to the overall recipe. However, since these carbs are spread among 24 tablespoons, you’ll only get 0.77 grams of net carbs per serving.

Whether or not this is keto-friendly for you will depend on how much you use and what ingredients you want to avoid.

To help you find the right condiments for your keto lifestyle, check out the following resources:

Dairy: Milk, Buttermilk, and Other Ingredients High in Lactose

Many dairy products can add a significant amount of net carbs because of their lactose content. This is why we recommend against consuming regular milk, low-fat milk, sweetened dairy products, buttermilk, and sweetened dairy-free alternatives.

In small amounts, however, high-lactose ingredients like milk and buttermilk can be used to add some much-needed flavor and texture to certain keto recipes. Though they should be avoided if you are trying to be dairy-free, these dairy products can still be a part of a dairy-inclusive keto diet as long as they fit within your keto carb limit.

That being said, if you’d like to find a lower carb option and/or dairy-free substitute, check out the following resources:

Soy: Is It Healthy for Keto?

Current research indicates that soy can be a healthy part of our diet. Products made from soy, such as tofu and tempeh, can provide a good source of protein for vegetarians and vegans who follow a keto diet.

The highest quality soy-based products will be derived from non-GMO, organic soybeans. In contrast to their GMO counterparts, these soy products will be free from chemical pesticide residues.

That being said, even the healthiest soy products contain natural compounds that a small subset of the population may be sensitive to. For this reason, we recommend monitoring your overall health and wellbeing, along with your thyroid function, If you increase your consumption of soy-based products substantially.

To learn more about keto-friendly soy-based products and other vegan protein sources, read through our comprehensive vegan ketogenic diet guide.

Nightshade Vegetables

In general, the current research literature indicates that nightshade vegetables promote overall health and will not trigger negative reactions for most people. This is why you’ll find nightshades, especially tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, in many of our recipes.

That being said, people with autoimmune diseases, chronic digestion issues, and sensitivities to the compounds in nightsides may benefit from eliminating this group of vegetables from their diet. After 3-5 weeks cutting them out, reassess your overall health and wellbeing to determine if they were triggering negative symptoms.

For more information on these veggies, check out our guide to nightshades >

Low-carb Pasta and Noodles

Though dozens of pasta and noodle products claim they are low in carbs, it will be difficult to fit most of them into your keto diet. This is why we recommend using one of these three noodle options: low-carb vegetables, homemade pasta made from keto ingredients, or shirataki noodles.

If you are looking to stay in ketosis without missing out on your favorite pasta dishes, we recommend starting with our top 15 keto pasta and noodle recipes.

Keto Drinks and Beverages

The healthiest drink on any diet is water, and it is particularly important to up your intake as you are adapting to keto. For specific hydration guidelines, check out our guide to the keto flu.

If you choose to drink anything other than plain or sparkling water, make sure you read the ingredients and the nutrition facts label carefully. Most store-bought drinks are high in sugar and will impair your ability to get the most out of the ketogenic diet.

For a comprehensive list of keto-friendly drinks and beverages, follow this link.

Alcohol, Alcoholic Drinks, and Keto Results

For optimal health and weight loss results, it is best to keep alcohol intake to a minimum. Each alcoholic drink — even if it has zero net carbs — will come with calories and toxins that work against your progress.

That being said, If you want to enjoy a drink on keto, stick with simple unsweetened options, such as hard liquor, dry wine, and low-carb beer. As with everything else you consume, make sure your alcoholic drink of choice fits within your daily carb limit and calorie goals for best results.

For a complete list of keto-friendly alcoholic drinks, follow this link.

If you’d rather stick with beer, click here for a complete list of low-carb beers.

What About Keto Supplements for Better Health and Fat Loss?

The best that a supplement can do is provide a slight boost toward your goals. Your diet and lifestyle are what will get you the results you want, at a fraction of the cost.

Some examples of common supplements that aren’t worth the money include keto diet pills, fat burners, exogenous ketones, and carb blockers. You’ll get much better results from investing that money into high-quality keto food.

If you’d like to learn more about supplements you can use support your keto lifestyle, check out the following resources:

We also have in-depth articles on common keto supplements that aren’t worth the money in most cases:

The Bigger Picture: Using to Create Your Optimal Keto Lifestyle

Our mission at is to give you the articles, guides, recipes, and meal plans you need to formulate a keto lifestyle that is ideal for you. We aim to achieve this mission by providing content that addresses every aspect of low-carb and keto eating, so each individual can find the information they need to achieve the results they want.

Whether you’d prefer to go 100% strict & clean, dirty & lazy, totally vegan, complete carnivore, or any variation in between, we have the content you need to formulate the diet that works best for you.

To help you take the next step, we’ve included several resources below that’ll help you address common barriers to success and implement the right approach for you:

If you find eating keto to be too expensive, use our budget guide and shopping list to make your diet healthier and cheaper:

For those of you who are often on-the-go and traveling:

If you are struggling with a weight loss plateau and the scale just won’t move, use the strategies in this guide:

Need help finding which low carb or keto variation may be better for you? Check out the following diet guides:

And, of course, the plain and simple approach to the ketogenic diet: