recipes

Keto Meats: Which Ones to Consume and Which to Avoid

Keto Meats: Which Ones to Consume and Which to Avoid

September 09, 2023 11 min read

The ketogenic diet has gained a cult following because, unlike other diet regimes, it allows you to continue enjoying meat, whether pork, beef, lamb, or fish. In this sense, it’s less restricting than, say, the vegetarian or vegan diets that completely eliminate meat from your daily macros.

This has allowed keto dieters to indulge in savory steaks and lamb cuts while staying true to the rules of the ketogenic diet. But while the basics of it involve consuming more fat and less carbs, maintaining a clean keto diet also means choosing the best food options. However, there is a less strict version of the keto diet called dirty keto.

You might know to stay away from sweets and starchy vegetables when observing keto. But did you know you also need to watch what kind of meat you eat?

Why Should You Focus on Meat When on Keto?

The ketogenic diet is focused on triggering the body to enter the metabolic state of ketosis. This happens when the body does not receive enough glucose from carbohydrates to create energy, so it turns to fat, breaking it down to ketones for fuel. It’s all about substituting the body’s fuel source from carbs to fat, which in turn results in significant weight loss.

To help the body enter and stay in ketosis, the keto diet observes a strict daily macronutrient breakdown that is high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb. 70-80% of your daily calories should come from fat, 10-30% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrates.

For example, if you’re consuming 2,000 calories per day, you’ll need to consume 165 grams of fat, 75 grams of protein, and only 40 grams of carbs.

Meat is the primary source of fat that you can consume to meet your daily keto macros. It is rich in saturated and monosaturated fats, contains high-quality protein, and is a good source of B vitamins and other important minerals. More importantly, meat is naturally carb-free.

A lot of people think that the keto diet is all about consuming meat and meat alone. But eating too much meat that is processed, like sausages, smoked meat, bacon and hot dogs is definitely not good. These kind of meat contain gluten, preservatives and sugar, that will increase carb intake and kick body out of ketosis. Keto is all about balance. So, while meat is a staple in the ketogenic diet, you need to choose the right cuts to maintain a near-perfect macronutrient ratio and, therefore, help your body stay in ketosis to maximize weight loss and other health benefits.

How to Choose Meats on Keto

Generally, any type of meat fits into the keto diet regime, whether it’s beef, pork, lamb, fish, or other animal flesh. But certain types have more nutrients than others and can help you maintain a cleaner and healthier diet.

For keto, you should opt for plain and unprocessed meat. Grass-fed and pasture-raised animal meat is most recommended because they contain  higher-quality fats and protein and can keep you full for longer. You should also  put emphasis on fatty meats like pork belly, ribeye steak, T-bone steak, chicken thighs, or baby back ribs.

What Meats Should You Avoid on Keto?

When observing a keto diet, the meat that you consume should be plain and unprocessed. As much as possible, you should avoid meat options that contain starch, fillers, or added sugar — these can increase your carbohydrate intake and mess with your daily macros.

Cured meats, deli meats, breakfast meats, and meat with sauce or glaze are not recommended to eat on keto.

The Best Keto Meats

The best keto meats are those that are rich in fat and high-quality protein and contain essential nutrients that can supplement your healthy lifestyle. Here are some that fit perfectly into your keto diet.


Read Meats

Red meat is naturally carb-free, making it a staple in the ketogenic diet regime. It also contains high-quality protein, with a 10-gram serving containing about 20-25 grams of protein, depending on how lean the cut is. Red meat is also a source of micronutrients, including vitamin B12, zinc, potassium, niacin, and selenium.

There are plenty of types of red meat you can eat on a keto diet, including all cuts of steak, beef, lamb, mutton, and veal. The table below shows nutritional information for different types of red meat with a serving size of 85 grams (3 oz).

Red Meat

Calories

Carbs

Fat

Protein

Vitamins & Minerals

Sirloin Steak

205

0g

Total Fat: 12g

Saturated Fat: 4.8g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g

Monounsaturated Fat: 5g

23g

Vitamin D: 0.2mcg

Calcium: 12mg

Iron: 1.5mg

Potassium: 285.6mg

Flank Steak

163

0g

Total Fat: 7g

Saturated Fat: 2.9g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 2.8g

24g

Calcium: 17mg

Iron: 1.5mg

Potassium: 288.2mg

Filet Mignon

227

0g

Total Fat: 15g

Saturated Fat: 5.7g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g

Monounsaturated Fat: 6.1g

22g

Vitamin D: 0.3mcg

Calcium: 16mg

Iron: 1.4mg

Potassium: 279.7mg

New York Strip

264

0g

Total Fat: 19g

Saturated Fat: 7.6g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7g

Monounsaturated Fat: 8g

22g

Calcium: 7.7mg

Iron: 1.9mg

Potassium: 300.9mg

Beef Brisket

246

0g

Total Fat: 16g

Saturated Fat: 6.2g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g

Monounsaturated Fat: 6.7g

24g

Calcium: 14mg

Iron: 2.1mg

Potassium: 197.2mg

Beef Chuck

162

0g

Total Fat: 5.8g

Saturated Fat: 2.4g

Trans Fat: 0.3g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g

Monounsaturated Fat: 3g

28g

Vitamin D: 0.1mcg

Calcium: 14mg

Iron: 2.5mg

Potassium: 271.2mg

Ground Beef

231

0g

Total Fat: 15g

Saturated Fat: 5.6g

Trans Fat: 0.6g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g

Monounsaturated Fat: 6.5g

23.3g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 24mg

Iron: 2.4mg

Potassium: 323.2mg

Short Ribs

259

0g

Total Fat: 19g

Saturated Fat: 8.5g

Trans Fat: 1.2g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.8g

Monounsaturated Fat: 9.7g

22g

Vitamin D: 0.1mcg

Calcium: 12mg

Iron: 2.3mg

Potassium: 203.2mg

Beef Shank

171

0g

Total Fat: 5.4g

Saturated Fat: 1.9g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g

Monounsaturated Fat: 2.4g

29g

Calcium: 27mg

Iron: 3.3mg

Potassium: 379.9mg

Lamb

250

0g

Total Fat: 18g

Saturated Fat: 7.5g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 7.5g

21g

Vitamin D: 0.1mcg

Calcium: 14mg

Iron: 1.6mg

Potassium: 263.5mg

Mutton

250

0g

Total Fat: 18g

Saturated Fat: 7.5g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 7.5g

21g

Vitamin D: 0.1mcg

Calcium: 14mg

Iron: 1.6mg

Potassium: 263.5mg

Veal

196

0g

Total Fat: 9.7g

Saturated Fat: 3.6g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7g

Monounsaturated Fat: 3.7g

26g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 19mg

Iron: 1mg

Potassium: 276.3mg


Poultry

Similar to red meat, poultry contains low carbs but is rich in high-quality protein, B vitamins, and other important minerals. Among the best poultry options for a keto diet include chicken, duck, game hen, goose, and turkey.

Poultry

Calories

Carbs

Fat

Protein

Vitamins & Minerals

Skinless & Boneless Chicken Wings

(1 wing = 21g)

43

0g

Total Fat: 1.7g

Saturated Fat: 0.5g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.6g

6.4g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 3.4mg

Iron: 0.2mg

Potassium: 44.1mg

Chicken Thighs

(1 thigh = 130g)

278

0.1g

Total Fat: 18g

Saturated Fat: 5.4g

Trans Fat: 0.1g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 8.3g

31g

Vitamin D: 0.4mcg

Calcium: 14mg

Iron: 1.3mg

Potassium: 330.2mg

Chicken Drumsticks

(1 drumstick = 91g)

167

0g

Total Fat: 8.2g

Saturated Fat: 2.2g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.7g

Monounsaturated Fat: 3.2g

22g

Vitamin D: 0.1mcg

Calcium: 11mg

Iron: 1mg

Potassium: 240.2mg

Chicken Breasts

(1 breast = 120g)

198

0g

Total Fat: 4.3g

Saturated Fat: 1.2g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9g

Monounsaturated Fat: 1.5g

37g

Vitamin D: 0.1mcg

Calcium: 18mg

Iron: 1.2mg

Potassium: 307.2mg

Duck

(1 cup, diced = 140g)

472

0g

Total Fat: 40g

Saturated Fat: 14g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.1g

Monounsaturated Fat: 18g

27g

Vitamin D: 0.1mcg

Calcium: 15mg

Iron: 3.8mg

Potassium: 285.6mg

Game Hen

(1 whole bird = 257g)

666

0g

Total Fat: 47g

Saturated Fat: 13g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 9.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 21g

57g

Vitamin D: 0.3mcg

Calcium: 33mg

Iron: 2.3mg

Potassium: 629.76mg

Goose

(85g/ 3oz)

259

0g

Total Fat: 19g

Saturated Fat: 5.8g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.1g

Monounsaturated Fat: 8.7g

21g

Vitamin D: 0.1mcg

Calcium: 11mg

Iron: 2.4mg

Potassium: 279.7mg

Turkey

(84.8g/ 3oz)

160.5

0.1g

Total Fat: 6.3g

Saturated Fat: 1.8g

Trans Fat: 0.1g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.8g

Monounsaturated Fat: 2.3g

24g

Vitamin D: 0.3mcg

Calcium: 12mg

Iron: 0.9mg

Potassium: 203.3mg


Pork

Pork is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates, fitting perfectly into a ketogenic diet. Pork has a macronutrient ratio of 50% fat, 40% protein, and 5% carbs.

Keto dieters can feel free to indulge in pork options like baby back ribs, sugar-free bacon, plain ham, pork belly, pork rinds, sugar-free sausages, pork shoulder, and pork tenderloin.

Pork

Calories

Carbs

Fat

Protein

Vitamins & Minerals

Plain Baby Back Ribs

(1 medium rib = 35g)

102

0g

Total Fat: 7.5g

Saturated Fat: 2.7g

Trans Fat: 0.1g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2g

Monounsaturated Fat: 3.3g

8.1g

Vitamin D: 0.4mcg

Calcium: 16mg

Iron: 0.3mg

Potassium: 84mg

Bacon

(1 slice = 11.7g)

53.7

0.2g

Total Fat: 4g

Saturated Fat: 1.4g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7g

Monounsaturated Fat: 1.8g

4g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 1.3mg

Iron: 0.1mg

Potassium: 57.4mg

Ham

(1 cup, diced = 134g)

186

1.4g

Total Fat: 6.8g

Saturated Fat: 1.3g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.8g

Monounsaturated Fat: 2.6g

30g

Vitamin D: 1.1mcg

Calcium: 5.4mg

Iron: 1.1mg

Potassium: 462.3mg

Pork Belly

(84g/ 3oz)

249

0g

Total Fat: 18.3g

Saturated Fat: 6.6g

Trans Fat: 0.2g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 7.8g

19.5g

Vitamin D: 1mcg

Calcium: 39mg

Iron: 0.8mg

Potassium: 204mg

Pork Rinds

(14g / 0.5oz)

77

0g

Total Fat: 4.5g

Saturated Fat: 1.6g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g

Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1g

8.5g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 4.3mg

Iron: 0.1mg

Potassium: 18mg

Sausages

(1 link, 4” long x 1 ⅛ diameter = 68g)

210

0.6g

Total Fat: 19g

Saturated Fat: 6.3g

Trans Fat: 0.2g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.5g

Monounsaturated Fat: 7.6g

8.1g

Vitamin D: 0.8mcg

Calcium: 7.5mg

Iron: 0.4mg

Potassium: 328.4mg

Pork Shoulder

(1 cup, diced = 135g)

394

0g

Total Fat: 29g

Saturated Fat: 11g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.8g

Monounsaturated Fat: 13g

31g

Vitamin D: 2mcg

Calcium: 32mg

Iron: 1.8mg

Potassium: 444.2mg

Pork Tenderloin

(85g/ 3oz)

125

0g

Total Fat: 3.4g

Saturated Fat: 1.2g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g

Monounsaturated Fat: 1.3g

22g

Vitamin D: 0.3mcg

Calcium: 5.1mg

Iron: 1mg

Potassium: 356.1mg


Seafood

Seafood meat is also a popular choice among keto dieters. Most contain extremely low or zero carbohydrates but are rich in healthy fats. Many fish varieties are also high in omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health.

Among the best seafood options for the keto diet include cod, halibut, herring, mackerel, mahi-mahi, salmon, sardines, shellfish, snapper, tilapia, and tuna.

Seafood

Calories

Carbs

Fat

Protein

Vitamins & Minerals

Cod

(1 fillet = 180g)

189

0g

Total Fat: 1.5g

Saturated Fat: 0.3g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g

41g

Vitamin D: 2.2mcg

Calcium: 25mg

Iron: 0.9mg

Potassium: 439.2mg

Halibut

(85g/ 3oz)

94

0g

Total Fat: 1.4g

Saturated Fat: 0.3g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g

19g

Vitamin D: 4.9mcg

Calcium: 7.7mg

Iron: 0.2mg

Potassium: 448.8mg

Herring

(1 fillet = 143g)

290

0g

Total Fat: 17g

Saturated Fat: 3.7g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.9g

Monounsaturated Fat: 6.8g

33g

Vitamin D: 7.7mcg

Calcium: 106mg

Iron: 2mg

Potassium: 599.2mg

Mackerel

(1 fillet = 88g)

231

0g

Total Fat: 16g

Saturated Fat: 3.7g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.8g

Monounsaturated Fat: 6.2g

21g

Calcium: 13mg

Iron: 1.4mg

Potassium: 352.9mg

Mahi-mahi

(1 fillet = 159g)

173

0g

Total Fat: 1.4g

Saturated Fat: 0.4g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g

38g

Calcium: 30mg

Iron: 2.3mg

Potassium: 847.5mg

Salmon

(1 fillet = 227g)

468

0g

Total Fat: 28g

Saturated Fat: 5.4g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g

Monounsaturated Fat: 9.5g

50g

Vitamin D: 30mcg

Calcium: 34mg

Iron: 0.8mg

Potassium: 871.7mg

Sardines

(1 small, 2 ⅔” x ½” x ¼” = 12g)

25

0g

Total Fat: 1.4g

Saturated Fat: 0.2g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g

3g

Vitamin D: 0.6mcg

Calcium: 46mg

Iron: 0.4mg

Potassium: 47.6mg

Crab

(1 cup, flaked = 118g)

98

0g

Total Fat: 0.9g

Saturated Fat: 0.2g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g

21g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 107mg

Iron: 0.6mg

Potassium: 305.6mg

Lobster

(85g/ 3oz)

122

2.7g

Total Fat: 1.6g

Saturated Fat: 0.3g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g

22g

Calcium: 54mg

Iron: 1.2mg

Potassium: 176.8mg

Snapper

(1 fillet = 170g)

218

0g

Total Fat: 2.9g

Saturated Fat: 0.6g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.6g

45g

Calcium: 68mg

Iron: 0.4mg

Potassium: 887.4mg

Tilapia

(1 medium fillet = 170g)

218

0g

Total Fat: 4.5g

Saturated Fat: 1.6g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g

Monounsaturated Fat: 1.6g

44g

Vitamin D: 6.3mcg

Calcium: 24mg

Iron: 1.2mg

Potassium: 646mg

Tuna

(85g/ 3oz)

111

0g

Total Fat: 0.5g

Saturated Fat: 0.2g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g

25g

Vitamin D: 1.7mcg

Calcium: 3.4mg

Iron: 0.8mg

Potassium: 447.9mg


Game & Specialty Meats

Game meats and specialty meats can also be eaten on a keto diet. These include bison, elk, organ meats, rabbits, pheasants, and venison, among others.

Game/ Specialty Meat

Calories

Carbs

Fat

Protein

Vitamins & Minerals

Bison

(1 patty = 87g)

207

0g

Total Fat: 13g

Saturated Fat: 5.6g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g

Monounsaturated Fat: 5.1g

21g

Calcium: 11mg

Iron: 2.7mg

Potassium: 296.79mg

Elk

(85g/ 3oz)

124

0g

Total Fat: 1.6g

Saturated Fat: 0.6g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g

26g

Calcium: 4.3mg

Iron: 3.1mg

Potassium: 278.8mg

Liver
(1 liver, 44g)

73

0.4g

Total Fat: 2.9g

Saturated Fat: 0.9g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.6g

11g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 4.8mg

Iron: 5.1mg

Potassium: 115.7mg

Rabbit

(85g/ 3oz)

175

0g

Total Fat: 7.1g

Saturated Fat: 2.1g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4g

Monounsaturated Fat: 1.9g

26g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 17mg

Iron: 2mg

Potassium: 255mg

Pheasant

(1 breast = 254g)

608

0g

Total Fat: 30g

Saturated Fat: 10g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 14.2g

82g

Vitamin D: 0.5mcg

Calcium: 40mg

Iron: 3.6mg

Potassium: 688.3mg

Venison

(85g/ 3oz)

128

0g

Total Fat: 2g

Saturated Fat: 1.1g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g

Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g

26g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 5.1mg

Iron: 3.5mg

Potassium: 338.3mg


Meat Snacks

Finding snacks to eat in between meals can be a challenge in the keto diet. If you ever need a quick fix to satiate your hunger to satisfy your cravings, try beef sticks, sugar-free jerky, or biltong.

Meat Snacks

Calories

Carbs

Fat

Protein

Vitamins & Minerals

Beef Sticks

(1 stick = 23g)

116

0.3g

Total Fat: 11g

Saturated Fat: 4.1g

Trans Fat: 0.4g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g

Monounsaturated Fat: 4.8g

4.4g

Vitamin D: 0.3mcg

Calcium: 4.4mg

Iron: 0.3mg

Potassium: 63mg

Pork Jerky

(81g/ 3oz)

270

14.7g

Total Fat: 8.1g

Saturated Fat: 0.8g

Trans Fat: 0.1g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4g

Monounsaturated Fat: 5.4g

36g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 213mg

Iron: 0.5mg

Potassium: 225.5mg

Deer Jerky

(84g/ 3oz)

210

5.7g

Total Fat: 13.2g

Saturated Fat: 5.4g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g

Monounsaturated Fat: 5.7g

16.8g

Vitamin D: 0.2mcg

Calcium: 11.1mg

Iron: 2.8mg

Potassium: 304.6mg

Beef Jerky

(84g/ 3oz)

348

9.3g

Total Fat: 21.9g

Saturated Fat: 9.3g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9g

Monounsaturated Fat: 9.6g

28.2g

Vitamin D: 0.3mcg

Calcium: 17.1mg

Iron: 4.5mg

Potassium: 507.7mg

Bacon Jerky

(87g/ 3oz)

393

1.4g

Total Fat: 29.4g

Saturated Fat: 9.9g

Trans Fat: 0.1g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.1g

Monounsaturated Fat: 12.9g

28.5g

Vitamin D: 0.3mcg

Calcium: 9.6mg

Iron: 0.8mg

Potassium: 419.3mg

Salmon Jerky

(84g/ 3oz)

255

16.2g

Total Fat: 3.6g

Saturated Fat: 0.8g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g

Monounsaturated Fat: 1g

39g

Vitamin D: 4.2mcg

Calcium: 135mg

Iron: 1mg

Potassium: 612.9mg

Turkey Jerky

(84g/ 3oz)

240

15.3g

Total Fat: 2.3g

Saturated Fat: 0.5g

Trans Fat: 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g

Monounsaturated Fat: 1.2g

39g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 240mg

Iron: 0.6mg

Potassium: 255.5mg

Biltong

(1 large piece = 20g)

82

2.2g

Total Fat: 5.1g

Saturated Fat: 2.2g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g

Monounsaturated Fat: 2.3g

6.6g

Vitamin D: 0.1mcg

Calcium: 4mg

Iron: 1.1mg

Potassium: 119.4mg

Keto Meats: Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know the best meats to consume on a keto diet, you’re well on your way to a healthier and more effective eating regime. Here are a couple more things you might want to know.


How Much Meat Can You Eat on a Keto Diet?

How much meat you can eat on a keto diet depends on your personal macronutrient breakdown. The keto diet requires that 70-80% of your daily calories come from fat and 10-30% from protein.

How many grams you should consume exactly will depend on your daily caloric intake. We recommend using a keto macro calculator to help you determine the ideal meat consumption for you.


Can You Eat Too Much Meat On Keto?

It is possible to eat too much meat on a keto, but that won’t affect your diet. The standard macro breakdown limits your protein consumption to 10-30%. If you consume too much, you risk triggering gluconeogenesis, where the amino acids in protein convert into glucose. This, though, doesn’t defeat the purpose of your keto diet since not enough glucose is created to kick you out of ketosis.


Are Any Meats Not Keto Friendly?

There are meats that are not keto-friendly, such as processed meats, cured meats, and meats that contain sugar and fillers. These can increase your carbohydrate intake beyond the required 5-10% of your daily calories.

Summary

When following the ketogenic diet, your choice of meat is crucial to maintaining the right macronutrient balance and staying in ketosis. Opt for unprocessed, high-quality meats like grass-fed beef, fatty cuts of pork, poultry, seafood, and game meats. Avoid processed and sugary options, and remember that balance is key to maximizing the benefits of the keto diet. Happy and healthy keto eating!