How to pick the right packaged Keto foods
With the increasing awareness of the Ketogenic lifestyle (finally), more and more Keto-friendly and Keto functional food products are popping up on the shelves and online. A year ago when we started Keto Cacao, there were already Keto products in the USA. Now we lost the count.
But… not every product is as Keto-friendly as it says. That's why we decided to give you 5 easy tips choosing the right Keto-friendly products in the market.
Small disclaimer: We are not the Keto police (woo-woo) and believe that anyone can and should make their own decisions about what they eat and when they eat it, but if you are new to Keto or not sure what to avoid to make the best out of this lifestyle, then keep on reading.
Beware of hidden sugars and sweeteners
We all know that sugar is a no-no. But don’t ever assume that sugar-free products automatically mean green-light. Many ingredients or sweeteners used in sugar-free products can easily knock you out of Ketosis and raise blood sugar. We’ve seen brands claiming they are stevia sweetened in the front of the package but on the back, you find many ingredients that are not Keto friendly.
Besides sugar and sugar-with-another-name (coconut sugar, syrups, honey, etc.), there are some sweeteners that you should avoid such as sugar alcohols like maltitol, lactitol, sorbitol, artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin, and many others. Other hidden sugar that goes sometimes without being detected is Maltodextrin. It’s a very high GI (110) sugar substitute but it is commonly used and listed as a filler. Maltodextrin is present in hundreds of food products and is worse than sugar, so remember this name too.
The sweeteners that are most recommended are stevia, Monk fruit, and Erythritol. The rest should be skipped or taken carefully (you can read more about Keto sweeteners here).
Low-carb or zero carb is not always Keto-friendly
If a product claims to be low carb and has very low net carbs, that should also not mean you should go for it.
We see a lot of people making the mistake of thinking ‘but hey, it has 6g net carbs, then it's Keto!’
Net carbs are important but so are the ingredients. Keto is a low carb diet, but that is also about eating whole foods. The less processed and more ‘real’ a product is, the best it is for your health, metabolism, and for maintaining this lifestyle on the long-term.
There is also a big chance that there are many hidden carbs in these food products, like Maltodextrin and Dextrose. These are not always listed as carbs but fillers, and so you might be getting carbs without noticing and… fall out of Ketosis often.
Low fat or reduced fat…
It shouldn't be necessary to say that low-fat products are not Keto, right? Okay. We put it just in case, but you know it: the fatter, the better! But as the subject is fat, let’s just add that you should beware of trans-fat in packaged products, if it’s high in that kind of fat, then no, thanks! (We published a whole article about the good and bad fats, check it out)
Run from additives
As we mentioned in tip 2, eating Keto is about eating whole foods (and not about only eating bacon and butter like many people think, k?).
Real Keto products are made with natural ingredients and without artificial flavors, additives, and preservatives. If you see soy lecithin, artificial this and that, crazy long names that you’ve never heard of before, then we advise you to run… run FROM it.
As we don’t know what many of these are, and what they’re made of, we also can’t tell what are the health effects of it. So why eat it? The shorter the ingredient list is (focused on the main, natural ingredients), the bigger the chance that the product is natural and high quality.
Always check the nutritional and ingredient list… and research!
The bottom line to all this is that as a Keto follower, you need to get used to be the crazy label guy/lady and check everything. Not only you can easily get on the trap of the sugar-free and low-carb, but there are also Keto traps out there. Loads of them.
“It says Keto it must be Keto, right?” Nope.
Don’t let the scammers fool you. Calculate the net carbs, double-check the sugar content (as in how many grams) on the nutritional list, the serving size and read carefully the ingredients list. If you spot a non-friendly sweetener and additives, don’t recognize or not sure about an ingredient, then don’t buy it. Take your time, do your research and if you’re convinced, then go on!
That’s why we 100% transparent with our ingredients list and we do receive a lot of questions about it and we love that you ask it. That’s how it should be.
If you’ve been through an experience of spotting a spam brand or have any other tips to share to our community, tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear!