Don’t make dinner yet.
Don’t make dinner until you’ve found a way to include foods that increase ketones and support ketosis.
If you ignore these foods, you won’t get the most out of your keto experience. Weight loss will come more slowly.
You might not be able to make the lifestyle changes that can make your improvements last, either.
Learn about these foods that increase ketones and support ketosis so that you can make the best possible keto choices.
Fats and Oils are keto superstar foods that can boost your ketones.
Eating fat is a major component of a ketogenic diet. On a keto eating plan, you shoot to get 75 percent of your daily calories from fat. (1)
Only five percent should come from carbs.
This high-fat, low-carb plan is designed to take your body from burning carbs to burning your own body fat for fuel.
That’s why you can lose weight on a keto diet.
However, not all fats and oils have the same benefits for your body.
Long-chain or medium-chain: which is best?
Some fats take a relatively long time to digest. The excess energy from them can be stored as body fat. These are called long-chain triglycerides. While they still count as eating fat, you’ve got some better options to choose from.
Medium-chain triglycerides have fewer carbon atoms in their molecules. Rather than going through the full digestive process the way long-chain triglycerides do, they’re pulled out of the GI tract and taken directly to the liver. There, they’re converted into ketones.
It’s an instant bump in keto power.
Where do you find medium-chain triglycerides?
Medium-chain triglycerides (MTCs) are found most often in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products. They’re the top foods that increase ketones on a ketogenic diet.
- Coconut oil contains more than 60 percent MTCs.
- Palm Kernel oil contains more than 50 percent MCTs.
- Dairy products contain 10-12 percent MCTs.
Because these foods are naturally so high in ketone-boosting MCTs, they’re used to create MCT oil supplements. These MCT oils aren’t mixed with longer-chain triglycerides, so you get a pure dose of easy-to-convert oils like the ones found in:
- Left Coast,
- NOW Sports,
- MiCkey T Eight,
- Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder,
- Nomadic, Nature’s Way,
- Olimp, or
- Alpha Supreme.
This can kick your ketone levels even higher.
What about olive oil?
Olive oil is unsaturated fat, while coconut oil and palm kernel oil are saturated fats. It can help with cholesterol levels, insulin levels, and blood sugar control. (2)
However, all the triglycerides in olive oil are fatty acids with long carbon chains.
Without MCTs, Olive oil isn’t one of those foods that increase ketones. If you use olive oil in place of coconut oil or palm kernel oil, you might not experience as much weight loss. (3)
Prepare low-carb fruits and veggies to support the creation of ketones.
Low-carb plant foods increase ketones by forcing your body to rely on fat (including body fat) for fuel. Here are some of the best low-carb plant options—and why they work to boost ketones.
- Spinach is a top keto food because it contains minerals, including potassium, and high in magnesium. (4) When you’re on a keto diet, sometimes potassium and other electrolytes are depleted as you lose water weight. Eating spinach can help balance your electrolytes. Like many vegetables, it’s also an alkali-producing food, which might help counteract the acidifying effect that high ketone levels can have. (5)
- Tomatoes have just 6 grams of carbs in one cup. Because they help fill you up without providing many carbs, they can help you avoid eating higher-carb choices.
- Celery and Rhubarb are packed with fiber. They help keep you full so that you don’t choose higher-carb options.
- Avocados, like spinach, are rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium. (6) They’re also high in fats and low in carbs, which can support ketones' creation, and they contain the same kinds of fatty acids that olive oil does.
- Berries are an ideal food for keto for several reasons. They provide a slight sweet fix while keeping carbs under your daily limit. Like other low-carb fruits and veggies, the fiber in them keeps you full. They contain vitamins and minerals to support healthy body functions.
- Some citrus fruits, including limes, lemons, and grapefruit, can provide some of the same benefits as other low-carb fruits. These are packed with vitamin C and fiber. They’re also low in carbs, helping push the body toward using body fat for fuel rather than sugars.
Choose the right kinds of proteins.
On a ketogenic diet, only 20 percent of your daily calories should come from proteins. Some protein choices are better than others.
- Nuts and seeds, like avocados, are generally high in fats and low in carbs.
- High-fat fish such as halibut, salmon, sardines, and mackerel can provide your fat and protein needs without adding any carbs at all. This makes them one of the great foods that increase ketones.
- Eggs are also a great balance of fat and protein with no carbs. Compared to meat, poultry, and shellfish, they’re also relatively easy on your budget.
- Shellfish such as clams, oysters, and mussels can be good keto snacks to help promote ketones. They’re high in protein with decent levels of fat and carbs.
Depend on dairy—particularly cheese—for keto snacks
Dairy foods can help replace the lost calcium and other electrolytes when you lose water weight on a keto diet. They provide protein while keeping carbs low, too. Here are a couple of options to consider:
- Plain Greek yogurt—1 cup has 17 grams of protein, 6.1 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of fat (consider adding an MCT oil supplement to this to encourage ketone production)(7)
- Whole-fat milk—1 cup has 12 grams of carbohydrates, 7.9 grams of fat, and 7.7 grams of protein(8)
- Cheese—such as cheddar cheese—makes a great keto snack. One ounce of cheddar cheese has less than a gram of carbs but 9.4 grams of fat. It also has 6.5 grams of protein. (9)
Don’t forget the chocolate!
Dark chocolate can be a perfect keto treat if it’s high enough in cacao. Besides compounds like resveratrol, dark chocolate can have a nice amount of fat with low carbs.
Choose high-quality chocolate. The higher the cacao content, the better it will fit with your ketogenic diet.
Read the labels to check on carb levels and determine how much you can have with your eating plan. For example, one ounce of 70 percent cacao dark chocolate contains 8.9 grams of fat, 1.4 grams of protein, and a net carb level of 15.3 grams. (10)You might be able to fit it in your keto plan, but it will be tight.
The cocoa powder itself can be a good choice if you really need a chocolate fix. Mix a little in a smoothie with your MCT oil supplement and some berries for a slightly sweet, ketone-boosting treat.
If you plan your meals, you can incorporate more of these foods that increase ketones into your diet.
This will encourage the creation of ketones, help you manage electrolyte loss, and lead to weight loss.