Is There A 'Best' Type Of Meat To Eat For The Keto Diet?

In a world where vegan and vegetarian diets are booming, a diet quite the opposite of them — the ketogenic diet – is also on the rise. Called "keto" for short, this diet focuses on consuming foods low in carbohydrates and high in natural fats. According to Healthline, not only does keto aid in weight loss, but it also may be beneficial to those with diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. With a similar make-up to the Atkins diet, keto takes it a step further by only allowing 25 grams of net carbohydrates per day. By doing this consistently, your body will enter into a state of ketosis, where fat is converted into ketones in your liver (which helps fuel your brain), and your body begins burning fat as a fuel source instead of glucose.

While getting your body into this state causes lots of benefits, it can be a tough few days before you get there. Cutting carbohydrates so drastically can cause a crash, leaving you with very low energy at first, Healthline notes. Luckily, the list of allowed foods isn't so bad. With dairy, meat, fish, vegetables, and certain fruits being your ultimate food sources, there's several ways to change it up in the kitchen so you can jumpstart your diet without sacrificing flavor or causing cravings (via EatingWell). And while healthy fats are encouraged, you may wonder which types of meat are the best for keto.

Unprocessed meats are best

Healthy fats in the keto diet include olive oil, coconut oil, butter, nuts, avocados, and seeds. However, processed meats should be avoided when possible. According to Ketogenic, processed meats can oftentimes have sugar additives like corn syrup, honey, and cane sugar. Consuming enough sugar causes your blood glucose levels to rise, which can knock you out of ketosis. Certain processed meats to steer clear of are cuts that have been smoked, cured, salted, or dehydrated, such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage, pastrami, ham, jerky, pepperoni, and deli meat.

Fatty cuts of meat such as ribeye or T-bone steaks, chicken thighs, baby back ribs, and pork belly are encouraged due to their higher fat content. Ketogenic states that any type of unprocessed meat fits into the ketogenic diet, but consuming leaner cuts such as top sirloin, trimmed pork chops, bottom round roast, or skinless chicken breasts can allow you to increase your protein intake while keeping your calorie count low. 

Overall, a general rule of thumb is to keep your meat choices as natural and unprocessed as possible, consuming both fattier cuts and leaner cuts while rotating them regularly — and don't forget to eat lots of other keto-friendly foods as well, which include fish, low-carb fruits and vegetables, and cheese, per Healthline