Keto FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About The Ketogenic Diet

It’s impossible to cover every topic and bit of helpful information that exists, but there are many questions we commonly get asked about that aren’t specifically covered throughout the Keto Korner website. And, as particular questions show up repeatedly, we’ve added them below to reference people toward.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is popcorn keto friendly?

Q: Is Popcorn Keto Friendly?

Answer: If you compare it to other common snacks, such as potato chips or cookies, popcorn is quite healthy and nutritious – and for the average American, it would be a great choice for an evening snack, compared to what they’re accustomed to eating.

But is it the snack you want to reach for if you’re trying to stay in ketosis?

While it’s high in fiber (which is subtracted from total carbs to give you net carbs – the number you truly pay attention to for ketosis), 3 cups of air-popped popcorn has 15 grams of net carbohydrates.

Every person’s daily limit of carb intake to still be in ketosis is different, but with the average threshold being around 30 to 50 grams of daily carbohydrate intake, you probably don’t want to waste about half of your daily carbs on 3 cups of popcorn.

So, while it’s not the worst snack to choose, and does have its benefits, just a small bit of popcorn can put you over your daily limit along with the carbs that are in almost everything else you have throughout the day.

It’s not totally off-limits if you want to remain ketogenic, and the high amount of fiber can help make you feel full, perhaps keeping you from eating more or worse things for you, so if you really want some, be sure to only eat one serving size (3 cups of popped popcorn), and don’t add flavoring with sugar or carbs hidden in it.

If you are virtually a popcorn addict, but want to make it easier on yourself to stay in ketosis, consider some popcorn alternatives like cheese pops (slices of cheese baked in the oven for a few minutes), pork rinds, or nuts (like pistachios, almonds, or pecans).

Is Hummus Keto Friendly? - a bowl full of hummus with vegetables for dipping

Q: Is Hummus Keto Friendly?

Short Answer: Hummus should be avoided on a ketogenic diet, or at least strictly limited. (For more details on why that is, read the long answer below!)

Long Answer: A traditional Middle Eastern food, hummus is well-accepted today as a health food, especially among vegetarians and vegans. It’s a spread or dip that’s usually comprised of cooked & mashed chickpeas, tahini (ground up sesame seeds), olive oil, spices, and lemon juice.

It’s full of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and plenty of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients.

So, what’s not to love about hummus?

The key to that answer is in knowing the ingredients. The bulk of hummus is ground up chickpeas (which hummus is actually the Arabic word for chickpeas). Chickpeas are a legume – like many other beans, soybeans, peanuts, etc. – which means that, while high in healthy fiber, they’re also high in carbohydrates.

…And, as mentioned before, on a high-fat, low-carb diet, the number one goal is to restrict daily carbohydrate intake below your body’s personal threshold to stay in ketosis. This varies from person to person, but in general it’s recommended to stay below 30 to 50 grams per day of carbohydrate intake to stay in ketosis (the process of your body generating ketones from fat for fuel, instead of glucose).

One cup of homemade hummus can have about 40 grams of carbs in it. Subtract out about 15 grams of fiber, and you still have around 25 grams net carbs…and let’s be honest, it’s quite easy to eat one cup of hummus in one sitting! Even if you have discipline and only eat half of one cup, you’re still using up most of your daily carbohydrate allowance at one time.

Therefore, it’s wise to just stay away from traditional hummus while on the ketogenic diet, to stay in a state of ketosis.

But there is good news for you on the keto diet: there IS an alternative!

Just like you can replace mashed potatoes with cauliflower, you can also replace chickpeas in a hummus recipe with cauliflower, artichokes, or avocado! You’ll still end up with a similar texture and taste of hummus without the carbs!

Here’s a few other pages on the Internet about this topic:

Is milk keto friendly? - a glass and bottle of fresh milk

Q: Is Milk Keto Friendly?

Short Answer: Nope! …but why? Read on to learn more…

Long Answer: There’s a good chance you grew up drinking milk along with every meal. And you were constantly reminded of how drinking milk helps build strong bones. Needless to say, it’s quite engrained in our society that milk does a body good.

While there is truth to the fact that milk & dairy contain valuable nutrients – including Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Calcium, Phosphorous, Potassium, and Vitamin A – it doesn’t mean you can have all the milk you want…especially on the ketogenic diet.

Dairy in general is allowed on the keto diet and used widely in keto recipes…but that’s usually in the form of cheeses, butter, and heavy cream, NOT milk.

Why’s that, you ask?

Because milk is high in carbohydrates. Once serving size of milk contains about 12 grams of net carbs. Remember, the total carbohydrate intake per day on the keto diet is around 30 to 50 grams, depending on your body’s personal threshold for staying in ketosis (different for everybody). So, one serving of milk won’t kick you out of ketosis, but it can easily take up 1/3 to 1/2 of your daily carb allowance!

Cheese, butter, and heavy cream all come from milk, of course, but in their respective forms of processing, the lactose (which is a form of sugar, or carbohydrate) is removed.

If you’re really craving an ice cold glass of milk, reach for some unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew milk instead…it really does taste about the same, without all the carbs.

VIDEO: Dairy on the Keto Diet

Here are some other pages on the Internet about this same topic of milk being a keto-no-no!

Are there carbs in cream cheese? - a block of cream cheese

Q: Are There Carbs In Cream Cheese?

Answer: Most cream cheeses will contain at least some carbohydrates. Just how many, depends on the brand, how they make it, and what ingredients they add. But the most common ones will have less than 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving, and some even less than 1 gram per serving.

Kraft Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Nutrition Label

As you can see in this nutrition label above, for Kraft Philedelphia Original Cream Cheese, there is less than 1 gram of total carbohydrates per serving. And it’s for this reason that cream cheese is so commonly used in ketogenic diet recipes!

Just be aware of what you’re purchasing, and pay attention to nutrition labels. Some types of cream cheeseĀ will contain more carbs because they have flavoring, sugars, fruits, skim milk, or other ingredients added. In general, to get a cream cheese as low in carbs as possible, stick to the original, basic, brick of cream cheese with as few ingredients as possible!

can I have mashed potatoes on the keto diet? - bowl full of homemade mashed potatoes

Q: Can I Have Mashed Potatoes?

Answer: Many diets will rule out mashed potatoes because they’re high in calories. And just how many calories are in mashed potatoes depends entirely on how you make it. Of course, the best tasting mashed potatoes are loaded with butter, milk or cream, and perhaps even cheese, all of which contribute large numbers of calories since they’re full of fats.

If you’re new to the ketogenic diet, or unfamiliar with what it entails, you may be worried about the number of calories in mashed potatoes, but the real problem comes from combining carbs/starches with fats at the same time. Your body will utilize the carbohydrates for fuel first, and put the fats (from dairy, butter, etc.) to storage in your body.

On a ketogenic diet, you strictly limit carbohydrate intake, reducing the availability of it for the body to consume, which directs it to burn fats instead (aka being in a state of ketosis).

Fats are the most calorie-dense of all food groups, but on a ketogenic diet, calories are less important (they do still matter) than carbohydrate intake, and because you actually want to consume the majority of your calories from fats on a keto diet, you will naturally have a higher calorie diet…but it’s the ultra-low carbohydrate intake numbers that are important.

So, to clarify what I mean, something like mashed potatoes, while high in calories, being high in carbohydrates/starches from the potatoes is why you don’t want them included in a ketogenic diet.

But, if you’re a mashed potato lover (like me), don’t despair!

A great replacement for mashed potatoes that many Keto Dieters rave about is cauliflower mashed potatoes. They’re delicious, and high in calories, but because you’re consuming them on a ketogenic diet, while hopefully in ketosis, the calories won’t matter as much (still eat within reason, of course. You don’t want to over-eat even in ketosis), because the cauliflower (the replacement ingredient for potatoes) is very low in carbohydrates. The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory says there are about 5 grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup of cauliflower.

Homemade Organic Mashed Cauliflower - keto friendly mashed cauliflower replaces mashed potatoes

To make them, simply boil a head of cauliflower, cut into florets, until soft. Then add to your blender with butter, a bit of heavy cream, some parmesan cheese, and some cream cheese. Also add minced garlic if you like, as well as salt, pepper, and/or chives. Blend and serve! Super simple, and delicious!

Can you eat peanut butter on keto?

Q: Can you eat peanut butter on keto?

Short Answer: A small amount isn’t bad – it IS “keto friendly” – but peanut butter should generally be very limited on the keto diet because of its carb content.

Long Answer: On the ketogenic diet, you’re always looking for nutritious high-fat foods to incorporate into your diet. So you’d think with 16 grams of fat per serving, that peanut butter would be a great choice.

But, because it’s made from peanuts, which are a legume (like beans, peas, chickpeas, soybeans, etc.), it has a moderate amount of carbohydrates. Many peanut butters will have around 6-8 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

Of course, you want to avoid the more processed products that contain a lot of ingredients. Many of those have sugars added, or lower quality, less healthy fats. Ideally, you should go for the ones with only peanuts and salt as ingredients.

A nutrition label from a well-known brand’s natural creamy peanut butter, with only peanuts and salt as ingredients, shows 6 grams of total carbs, minus 2 grams of fiber, for a net carb content of 4 grams per serving. And one serving is only 2 tablespoons. With how delicious peanut butter is, you know it can be easy to eat more than 2 tablespoons!

If you’re following a ketogenic diet, you’ll want to keep your daily carb intake under 30 to 50 grams per day…and that number varies from person to person, so you need to find out through tracking your foods & eating, and watching for the signs of being in ketosis, to determine your own personal threshold of grams of carbs per day you need to stay under to keep in a state of ketosis.

So, a serving of peanut butter at 4 grams of carbs won’t kick you out of ketosis, but it can quickly eat away at your daily total.

A replacement that is a great nut butter, still having some carbs, but less than peanut butter, is almond butter.

If you’re going to eat peanut butter – in limited moderation to stay in ketosis – buy one like Smucker’s Natural that only has peanuts and salt as ingredients.

Further reading on peanut butter & the keto diet:


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