The Ultimate Food Comparison Chart for Low Carb Diets

Whether you’re at the grocery store or at a restaurant, when you’re serious about dieting, it’s important to check your macros and make sure if the food you’re eating is OK to eat with your diet.

We’ve compiled a list of five different low carb diets: the Ketogenic, Paleo, Whole30, Atkins and Mediterranean diets, and whether food is acceptable on the diet or not. This can be very useful if you’re just starting a diet, or are trying to eat healthier as a whole.

Whether you’re at the grocery store or at a restaurant, when you’re serious about dieting, it’s important to check your macros and make sure if the food your eating is OK to eat with your diet.

We’ve compiled a list of five different low carb diets: the Ketogenic, Paleo, Whole30, Atkins and Mediterranean diets, and whether food is acceptable on the diet or not. This can be very useful if you’re just starting a diet, or are trying to eat healthier as a whole.

Food listed as “Yes”

Means you can freely eat the food on the diet.

Food listed as “In Moderation”

Means you can eat these foods in limited quantities. Make sure to read nutrition information to see how much you can eat.

Food listed as “Limited”

Means that while it’s not strictly prohibited from the diet, it should only be eaten in very limited quantities, sparingly. Avoid these if possible.

Food listed as “No”

Means you shouldn’t eat this food if you want to adhere to the diet.

Jump To:

Meats      Vegetables      Fruits      Dairy     Nuts     Grains     Miscellaneous

Meats

All meats, on all diets should be grass fed if meat or poultry, and wild caught if fish. In the same way that all of these diets don’t like processed foods and additives, all diets call for grass fed/wild caught meats.

Throughout all five diets, fish and seafood is universally the most recommended. It should be noted that regardless of diet, it’s best not to eat fish with every meal, due to their nitrates that can make you sick from overeating.

The Mediterranean Diet is the only diet that doesn’t recommend poultry and red meat in generous portions. The Paleo and Whole30 diets have limitations for deli meats, recommending that they be not processed. Atkins and Ketogenic diets are the same in that all meats are allowed.
If you want the most meat in your diet, choose Ketogenic or Atkins. If you don’t eat a lot of red meat, the Mediterranean is a viable option.

Food Ketogenic Paleo Mediterranean Atkins Whole30
Bacon Yes Yes Limited Yes In Moderation
Pork Yes Yes Limited Yes Yes
Chicken Yes Yes In Moderation Yes Yes
Ground Beef Yes Yes Limited Yes Yes
Steak Yes Yes Limited Yes Yes
Lamb Yes Yes Limited Yes Yes
Turkey Yes Yes In Moderation Yes Yes
Pepperoni Yes In Moderation Limited Yes In Moderation
Salami Yes In Moderation Limited Yes In Moderation
Roast Beef Yes In Moderation Limited Yes In Moderation
Boloney Yes No No Yes In Moderation
Sausage Yes In Moderation Limited Yes In Moderation
Breakfast Sausage Yes In Moderation No Yes In Moderation
Turkey Bacon Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Beef Jerky Yes In Moderation Limited Yes In Moderation
Ham Yes Yes Limited Yes Yes
Bison Yes Yes Limited Yes Yes
Salmon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tilapia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cod Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shrimp Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lobster Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Crab Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Squid Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Eel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tuna Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Clams Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mussels Yes Yes Yes In Moderation Yes
Oysters Yes Yes Yes In Moderation Yes
Halibut Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mackerel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Eggs Yes Yes In Moderation Yes Yes

Vegetables

Mediterranean and Whole30 both allow consumption of basically all vegetables. After the induction period, basically all vegetables can be eaten, albeit some in moderation with Atkins.

Ketogenic is the most strict regarding vegetables, avoiding starchy root based plants, and legumes. Paleo is similar, but slightly less strict regarding vegetable consumption.

Regarding vegetables, the ketogenic diet restricts the consumption of certain foods due to their higher carb counts. The Paleo diet restricts these foods for similar reasons, and because they are not neolithic.

Food Ketogenic Paleo Mediterranean Atkins Whole30
Broccoli Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cauliflower Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Carrots No Yes Yes During Stage 3 Yes
Beets No In Moderation Yes During Stage 3 Yes
Sweet Potatoes No No Yes During Stage 3 Yes
Russet Potatoes No No Yes During Stage 3 Yes
Golden Potatoes No No Yes During Stage 3 Yes
Tomatoes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Asparagus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
White Onions In Moderation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yellow Onions In Moderation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Red Onions In Moderation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Green Onions In Moderation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shallots No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sprouts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mushrooms Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Spinach Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Peas No No Yes Yes Yes
Green Beans Yes In Moderation Yes Yes Yes
Kale Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Romaine Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Avocado Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Green Peppers In Moderation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Red Peppers In Moderation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jalapenos In Moderation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Peppercinis In Moderation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Corn No No Yes During Stage 3 Yes
Celery Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cabbage Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lettuce Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cucumber Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Eggplant Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Brussels Sprout In Moderation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Artichoke Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Zucchini Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Squash Yes In Moderation Yes Yes Yes
Legumes No No Yes During Stage 3 No
Black Beans No No Yes During Stage 3 No
Kidney beans No No Yes During Stage 3 No
Soybean No No No During Stage 2 No
Pinto beans No No Yes During Stage 3 No

Fruits

Do you like fruit a lot? If so, the Ketogenic diet might not be for you, as it basically treats fruits like sugar.

Whole30 and Atkins are similar in that fruit can only be eaten in moderation. It is to be noted that no fruit should be eaten during the induction period of the Atkins diet, only in phases 2-3 of the diet, when your body is maintaining more than losing weight.

Paleo and Mediterranean allow you to eat fruits. The Ketogenic diet on the other hand treats fruits like candy, which means basically don’t eat them.
Whole30 allows fruit in moderation. Atkins allows fruit in relatively strict moderation.

Food Ketogenic Paleo Mediterranean Atkins Whole30
Apples No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Bananas No In Moderation Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Kiwi No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Strawberry In Moderation Yes Yes During Stage 2 In Moderation
Orange No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Grapes No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Peaches No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Cherry No Yes Yes During Stage 2 In Moderation
Pear No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Pineapple No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Grapefruit No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Watermelon No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Mango No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Apricot No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Lemon No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Cantalope No Yes Yes During Stage 2 In Moderation
Blackberry In Moderation Yes Yes During Stage 2 In Moderation
Blueberry In Moderation Yes Yes During Stage 2 In Moderation
Pomegranate No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation
Coconut No Yes Yes During Stage 3 In Moderation

Dairy

Dairy seems to be where most of the diets differ the most. Keto and Atkins both allow a pretty wide array of cheeses for you to eat, but Keto is a little more strict regarding sugars contained in milk.

You should basically involve dairy altogether with the Paleo and Whole30 diets, and consume dairy only in moderation on the Mediterranean diet.

It’s important to note that while you can eat dairy on some of the diets, if you’re lactose intolerant, or don’t eat dairy already, none of these diets requires you to consume dairy as part of your essential diet. The fat you eat from dairy can be eaten elsewhere

Food Ketogenic Paleo Mediterranean Atkins Whole30
Whole Milk No No In Moderation During Stage 2 No
Skim Milk No No Yes No No
Almond Milk Yes Yes# Yes Yes No
Soy Milk No No Yes Yes No
Rice Milk No No Yes No No
Coconut Milk Yes No Yes Yes No
Yogurt No No In Moderation During Stage 2 No
Greek Yogurt In Moderation# No In Moderation During Stage 2 No
Cottage Cheese Yes No In Moderation During Stage 2 No
Cream Cheese Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Sour Cream Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Mozzarella Yes No In Moderation During Stage 2 No
Provolone Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Parmesan Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Cheddar Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Feta Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Monterey Jack Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Gouda Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Brie Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Mascarpone Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Ricotta Yes No In Moderation During Stage 2 No
Gorgonzola Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Colby Cheese Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Muenster Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Swiss Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Pepper Jack Yes No In Moderation Yes No
American Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Brick Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Blue Yes No In Moderation Yes No
Ice Cream No No No No No
Butter Yes No Limited Yes No
Ghee Butter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Whey Protein In Moderation In Moderation In Moderation Yes No

Nuts

Nuts are largely acceptable to eat on all diets, and contain good fats and proteins for every diet.

It should be noted though, that the main exception is with peanuts, which are generally not recommended, as they are a legume and not a nut.

Nuts should be eaten with portion control in mind. Read the nutrition information to find more information about portion sizes, as nuts can be very easy to overeat and not realize.

Food Ketogenic Paleo Mediterranean Atkins Whole30
Almond Yes Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Brazil Yes Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Walnut Yes Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Hazelnut Yes Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Pistachio Yes Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Pine nut Yes Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Peanut No No Yes During Stage 2 No
Pecan Yes Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Chestnut Yes Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Cashew No Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Macadamia Yes Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Chia Yes Yes Yes During Stage 2 Yes

Grains

The Mediterranean diet and the final (maintenance) stages of the Atkins diet are the only diets that allow for grain consumption.

With most low carb diets, it’s important to attempt to cut as many carbs as possible from processed grains, and instead eat carbs from healthy nuts and vegetables.

If you want to use flour in any sort of low carb baking, our recommendation is to use almond flour, which is healthy to eat on all diets. Use it as a replacement when baking. It tastes delicious!

Food Ketogenic Paleo Mediterranean Atkins Whole30
Flour No No No No No
Wheat No No Yes During Stage 4 No
Almond Flour Yes In Moderation Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Coconut Flour In Moderation In Moderation Yes During Stage 2 Yes
Semolina Flour No No Yes During Stage 3 No
Corn Flour No No Yes No No
Soy No No Yes During Stage 2 No
Tofu No No Yes Yes No
Miso No No Yes Yes No
Oats No No Yes During Stage 4 No
Legumes No No Yes During Stage 3 No
Black Beans No No Yes During Stage 3 No
Kidney beans No No Yes During Stage 3 No
Soybean No No No During Stage 2 No
Pinto beans No No Yes During Stage 3 No
White Rice No No Yes No No
Brown Rice No No Yes During Stage 4 No
Buckwheat No No Yes No No
Cacao In Moderation Yes Yes During Stage 2 In Moderation
Quinoa No No Yes During Stage 3 No

Miscellaneous

Condiments and cooking ingredients vary wildly from one to another.

When you’re considering adding condiments or ingredients to a dish, keep in mind the amount of sugar in each. All diets recommend finding natural, additive free condiments when possible.

One staple of every diet that’s good to eat universally is olive oil. High in good fats and amazingly tasty, olive oil is good to have with anything.

Additionally, every diet says no to traditional flour and sugar. This can be difficult if you’re a baker at home, but luckily, there are plenty of good alternatives for all diets.

Food Ketogenic Paleo Mediterranean Atkins Whole30
Peanut Butter In Moderation# No Yes During Stage 3# No
Honey No Yes Yes No No
Sugar No No No No No
Stevia In Moderation No Yes Yes No
Ketchup In Moderation# No In Moderation No In Moderation#
Mayonnaise In Moderation# In Moderation# In Moderation# In Moderation# In Moderation#
Mustard Yes Yes In Moderation Yes In Moderation#
Tabasco sauce Yes Yes In Moderation Yes Yes
Sriracha No Yes In Moderation No No
Vinegar In Moderation# Yes Yes Yes Yes
Olive Oil Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ranch Yes No In Moderation Yes In Moderation#
Vinaigrette No Yes In Moderation Yes In Moderation#
Soy sauce In Moderation No In Moderation Yes No
Teriyaki Sauce No No In Moderation No In Moderation#
Miracle Whip No No In Moderation No No
Canola oil No No No Yes In Moderation
Coffee Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dark Chocolate In Moderation In Moderation In Moderation In Moderation No

* Only consume when not processed
# Only consume when made with no sweeteners or additives
+ Only consume if all natural

Foods Healthy on All Diets

The following foods are good to eat on all diets:

  • Fish
  • Green Vegetables
  • Olive oil
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Ghee dairy
  • Tabasco
  • Mustard

The following foods should be avoided on all diets:

  • Sugar
  • Flour (white)
  • Pastries
  • Candy
  • Soft Drinks/Soda/Pop

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