By Dr. Josh Axe
It's true that the keto diet food list contains high amounts of performance fats. Eighty percent of your total daily calories should be coming from the best keto fats, like olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, nuts and seeds.
But what kind of role does fiber play in the ketogenic diet?
The answer is that we need fiber on keto. While it’s important to track your keto macros, fiber is essential to normalize our digestive health and support the beneficial bacteria in our gut.
You may have noticed after beginning the keto diet that your digestion has slowed down. That's why it's especially important to consume plenty of fiber on keto in order to “keep things moving along” digestive-wise. But don't worry — there are plenty of keto fiber foods that will keep you in ketosis and help to keep you regulated.
Why You Need Fiber on Keto
Many people underestimate the importance of eating enough high-fiber foods. In fact, most Americans are only consuming about half the amount of fiber they should be having on a daily basis. Everyone needs to eat enough high-fiber foods in order to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and to maintain normal digestion.
One of the most common complaints after transitioning from a high-carb diet to a low-carb, high fat diet is temporary or occasional constipation. Eating a diet that's made up mostly of fats can directly affect your digestion. To support regular digestion and elimination, eating enough fiber on keto is vital.
Here's one thing people get confused about when they are counting their net cards for the day: Your "net carbs" is the amount of carbohydrates that remain once dietary fiber is taken into account. Fiber is indigestible when it's eaten, so most people don't count grams of fiber towards their daily carb allotment.
Think of it this way:
total carbs - grams of fiber = net carbs
That being said, this doesn't mean that you can eat high-carb foods that are high in fiber and pretend it didn't happen. The point is to choose high-fiber keto foods that will keep you in ketosis and keep you regulated at the same time.
This means adding plenty of low-carb, high fiber foods into your diet and supplementing with keto fiber powders or capsules if you need the extra support.
Best High-Fiber Keto Foods
1. Non-Starchy Vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables are an important part of the keto diet because they provide essential vitamins and minerals, are packed with antioxidants and provide plenty of fiber. Plus, when you load up on veggies, you are adding volume to your meals so that you feel more satisfied.
Some of the best high-fiber keto-friendly veggies include:
- leafy greens
- Brussels sprouts
Avocado is a fat-based fruit that also serves as a great source of fiber, potassium, folate and vitamin C. It contains about 10 grams of fiber per cup. Avocado is a staple keto fiber food because of its healthy fat content.
Add it to any keto recipe to make it more fulfilling, and tasty, use it in smoothies for its creamy texture or blend it to make your own keto-friendly salad dressing.
Coconut is an excellent high-fat source of fiber. Did you know that coconut actually has 4-to-6 times the amount of fiber as oat bran? A cup of coconut contains about 7 grams of fiber, along with omega-6 fatty acids, manganese, folate and selenium.
When it comes to keto fiber foods, you can eat coconut flakes, coconut chips, coconut flour and coconut oil, too.
It's okay to eat nuts on keto in small-to-moderate amounts. They are good sources of fiber and trace minerals, so when eaten in moderation, they can aid digestion while keeping you in ketosis.
High-fiber nuts contain between 5 and 13 grams of fiber per cup. You can eat whole nuts as a keto snack, chopped nuts added to salads or veggie dishes, nut butters or ground nuts in place of flour for baking. Some of the best nuts to eat on keto include:
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
- Macadamia nuts
Seeds are another high-fiber food that you can eat on keto, but only occasionally to stay in ketosis. Full seeds, ground seeds and seed butters will help to increase your fiber intake and help minimize occasional constipation. Plus, they supply important nutrients, including essential fatty acids and protein.
The best high-fiber seeds to consume as part of a ketogenic diet include:
- Sesame seeds
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Low-Carb and Keto Fiber Supplements
There are keto fiber supplements that include a combination of low-carb, high-fiber foods. Ancient Nutrition’s Keto Digest capsules, for instance, support digestive health, gut function and a normal microflora in the gut. These capsules are made of a digestive enzyme formula featuring plant-based probiotics and soil-based organisms, along with fermented organic apple cider vinegar.
Our Keto Fiber powder is another great way to boost your fiber intake and support healthy digestion while you’re following a keto diet. This keto-friendly powder is powered by bone broth protein and two high-fiber superstars, flax seed and chia seed. These functional foods help to support digestion and promote nutrient absorption.
Another keto supplement powered by fiber-rich seeds is Keto Plant Protein, such as Keto Plant Protein Vanilla and Keto Plant Protein Chocolate. With only 3 net carbs per serving, this vegan friendly protein supplement features three organic "superseeds" along with keto-friendly MCTs.
Keto-friendly fiber supplements may also include ingredients such as:
- Psyllium husk: Psyllium husk is a bulking fiber that promotes easy, healthy elimination by moving waste out of the colon more quickly and efficiently. It's typically used in powder form to boost digestion and is often added to fiber formulas.
- Gum arabic: Gum arabic, or acacia gum, is rich in fiber and is used as a plant-based binder. It supports probiotic bacteria in the gut, slows down gastric emptying and promotes satiety. Acacia gum is sometimes used in dried, powdered forms, and it's recommended to start with lower doses.
- Inulin fiber: Inulin fiber is a plant-based fiber that's found in chicory and other plants. It's commonly used to support healthy digestion and relieve occasional constipation. You'll find inulin available as a powder that can be added to liquid or recipes, or in capsule form. It's also commonly added to fiber formulas.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet and Collagen Diet.