We recommend that people use natural sweeteners whenever possible. For natural sweeteners, stevia, erythritol, monk fruit (luo han guo), and a new one called allulose are the preferred choices. Inulin is also common, but many people don’t tolerate it well from a GI perspective. In terms of artificial sweeteners, the best choices are raw sucralose and aspartame. These are commonly found in commercial artificial sweeteners, but they include ingredients such as maltodextrin and dextrose—sugars—so the raw versions are best. However, some data indicates that artificial sweeteners may have an impact on the gut microbiome, so it is best to opt for natural sweeteners when possible.
Dairy that’s low in lactose (the sugar found in milk), such as heavy cream, butter, and cheese, can be consumed in moderation on a ketogenic diet. Dairy products high in lactose, such as milk and yogurt, should be limited or, for some people, cut out completely. We often find that individuals who are struggling with the diet are consuming too much dairy, and pulling back even slightly can help significantly .
Zajac, A., Poprzecki, S., Maszczyk, A., Czuba, M., Michalczyk, M., & Zydek, G. (2014). The effects of a ketogenic diet on exercise metabolism and physical performance in off-road cyclists. Nutrients, 6(7), 2493-2508. DOI: 10.3390/nu6072493
Most fruit is filled with natural sugar, so it’s important to carefully consider fruit intake on the ketogenic diet. There are lower-glycemic fruits, like berries, that may be tolerated in moderate amounts. While fruit does have vitamins and nutrients, it’s easy to get these from other sources on a well-formulated ketogenic diet.
Coffee intake is certainly allowed on a ketogenic diet; just hold the sugar. It is worth pointing out that some studies have found that caffeine is ketogenic—it could actually increase ketone production. Therefore, some people enjoy a cup of coffee with heavy cream and MCT oil to start the day.
Certain alcohols, such as wine, whiskey, and vodka, may be safe to consume in moderation on a ketogenic diet. Some studies have found that consuming red wine does not seem to impair the state of ketosis. In fact, some wines are going as far as to completely remove sugar in order to become even more keto-friendly (i.e Dry Wines). Be careful of dark beers (such as lagers, stouts, porters, and ales) and mixed-liquor drinks that are known to be higher in carbohydrate content.
Check out our full article on “Alcohol on Keto” for more information
While we love fat, it is important to note that not all fat is created equal. Omega-6 fatty acids are known for contributing to inflammation, which is associated with many chronic diseases. Make sure to balance your omega-3 fatty acids with your omega-6 fatty acids to ensure the best overall outcome. Trans fats are harmful to health and should be limited. If you hit a plateau or obstacle throughout your time on a ketogenic diet, we have found that lowering dairy fat and saturated fat as a whole slightly while increasing your unsaturated fats can help.