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.

FoodKetogenicPaleoMediterraneanAtkinsWhole30
BaconYesYesLimitedYesIn Moderation
PorkYesYesLimitedYesYes
ChickenYesYesIn ModerationYesYes
Ground BeefYesYesLimitedYesYes
SteakYesYesLimitedYesYes
LambYesYesLimitedYesYes
TurkeyYesYesIn ModerationYesYes
PepperoniYesIn ModerationLimitedYesIn Moderation
SalamiYesIn ModerationLimitedYesIn Moderation
Roast BeefYesIn ModerationLimitedYesIn Moderation
BoloneyYesNoNoYesIn Moderation
SausageYesIn ModerationLimitedYesIn Moderation
Breakfast SausageYesIn ModerationNoYesIn Moderation
Turkey BaconYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
Beef JerkyYesIn ModerationLimitedYesIn Moderation
HamYesYesLimitedYesYes
BisonYesYesLimitedYesYes
SalmonYesYesYesYesYes
TilapiaYesYesYesYesYes
CodYesYesYesYesYes
ShrimpYesYesYesYesYes
LobsterYesYesYesYesYes
CrabYesYesYesYesYes
SquidYesYesYesYesYes
EelYesYesYesYesYes
TunaYesYesYesYesYes
ClamsYesYesYesYesYes
MusselsYesYesYesIn ModerationYes
OystersYesYesYesIn ModerationYes
HalibutYesYesYesYesYes
MackerelYesYesYesYesYes
EggsYesYesIn ModerationYesYes

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.

FoodKetogenicPaleoMediterraneanAtkinsWhole30
BroccoliYesYesYesYesYes
CauliflowerYesYesYesYesYes
CarrotsNoYesYesDuring Stage 3Yes
BeetsNoIn ModerationYesDuring Stage 3Yes
Sweet PotatoesNoNoYesDuring Stage 3Yes
Russet PotatoesNoNoYesDuring Stage 3Yes
Golden PotatoesNoNoYesDuring Stage 3Yes
TomatoesYesYesYesYesYes
AsparagusYesYesYesYesYes
White OnionsIn ModerationYesYesYesYes
Yellow OnionsIn ModerationYesYesYesYes
Red OnionsIn ModerationYesYesYesYes
Green OnionsIn ModerationYesYesYesYes
ShallotsNoYesYesYesYes
SproutsYesYesYesYesYes
MushroomsYesYesYesYesYes
SpinachYesYesYesYesYes
PeasNoNoYesYesYes
Green BeansYesIn ModerationYesYesYes
KaleYesYesYesYesYes
RomaineYesYesYesYesYes
AvocadoYesYesYesYesYes
Green PeppersIn ModerationYesYesYesYes
Red PeppersIn ModerationYesYesYesYes
JalapenosIn ModerationYesYesYesYes
PeppercinisIn ModerationYesYesYesYes
CornNoNoYesDuring Stage 3Yes
CeleryYesYesYesYesYes
CabbageYesYesYesYesYes
LettuceYesYesYesYesYes
CucumberYesYesYesYesYes
EggplantYesYesYesYesYes
Brussels SproutIn ModerationYesYesYesYes
ArtichokeYesYesYesYesYes
ZucchiniYesYesYesYesYes
SquashYesIn ModerationYesYesYes
LegumesNoNoYesDuring Stage 3No
Black BeansNoNoYesDuring Stage 3No
Kidney beansNoNoYesDuring Stage 3No
SoybeanNoNoNoDuring Stage 2No
Pinto beansNoNoYesDuring Stage 3No

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.

FoodKetogenicPaleoMediterraneanAtkinsWhole30
ApplesNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
BananasNoIn ModerationYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
KiwiNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
StrawberryIn ModerationYesYesDuring Stage 2In Moderation
OrangeNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
GrapesNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
PeachesNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
CherryNoYesYesDuring Stage 2In Moderation
PearNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
PineappleNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
GrapefruitNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
WatermelonNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
MangoNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
ApricotNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
LemonNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
CantalopeNoYesYesDuring Stage 2In Moderation
BlackberryIn ModerationYesYesDuring Stage 2In Moderation
BlueberryIn ModerationYesYesDuring Stage 2In Moderation
PomegranateNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In Moderation
CoconutNoYesYesDuring Stage 3In 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

FoodKetogenicPaleoMediterraneanAtkinsWhole30
Whole MilkNoNoIn ModerationDuring Stage 2No
Skim MilkNoNoYesNoNo
Almond MilkYesYes#YesYesNo
Soy MilkNoNoYesYesNo
Rice MilkNoNoYesNoNo
Coconut MilkYesNoYesYesNo
YogurtNoNoIn ModerationDuring Stage 2No
Greek YogurtIn Moderation#NoIn ModerationDuring Stage 2No
Cottage CheeseYesNoIn ModerationDuring Stage 2No
Cream CheeseYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
Sour CreamYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
MozzarellaYesNoIn ModerationDuring Stage 2No
ProvoloneYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
ParmesanYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
CheddarYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
FetaYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
Monterey JackYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
GoudaYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
BrieYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
MascarponeYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
RicottaYesNoIn ModerationDuring Stage 2No
GorgonzolaYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
Colby CheeseYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
MuensterYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
SwissYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
Pepper JackYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
AmericanYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
BrickYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
BlueYesNoIn ModerationYesNo
Ice CreamNoNoNoNoNo
ButterYesNoLimitedYesNo
Ghee ButterYesYesYesYesYes
Whey ProteinIn ModerationIn ModerationIn ModerationYesNo

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.

FoodKetogenicPaleoMediterraneanAtkinsWhole30
AlmondYesYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes
BrazilYesYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes
WalnutYesYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes
HazelnutYesYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes
PistachioYesYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes
Pine nutYesYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes
PeanutNoNoYesDuring Stage 2No
PecanYesYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes
ChestnutYesYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes
CashewNoYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes
MacadamiaYesYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes
ChiaYesYesYesDuring Stage 2Yes

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!

FoodKetogenicPaleoMediterraneanAtkinsWhole30
FlourNoNoNoNoNo
WheatNoNoYesDuring Stage 4No
Almond FlourYesIn ModerationYesDuring Stage 2Yes
Coconut FlourIn ModerationIn ModerationYesDuring Stage 2Yes
Semolina FlourNoNoYesDuring Stage 3No
Corn FlourNoNoYesNoNo
SoyNoNoYesDuring Stage 2No
TofuNoNoYesYesNo
MisoNoNoYesYesNo
OatsNoNoYesDuring Stage 4No
LegumesNoNoYesDuring Stage 3No
Black BeansNoNoYesDuring Stage 3No
Kidney beansNoNoYesDuring Stage 3No
SoybeanNoNoNoDuring Stage 2No
Pinto beansNoNoYesDuring Stage 3No
White RiceNoNoYesNoNo
Brown RiceNoNoYesDuring Stage 4No
BuckwheatNoNoYesNoNo
CacaoIn ModerationYesYesDuring Stage 2In Moderation
QuinoaNoNoYesDuring Stage 3No

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.

FoodKetogenicPaleoMediterraneanAtkinsWhole30
Peanut ButterIn Moderation#NoYesDuring Stage 3#No
HoneyNoYesYesNoNo
SugarNoNoNoNoNo
SteviaIn ModerationNoYesYesNo
KetchupIn Moderation#NoIn ModerationNoIn Moderation#
MayonnaiseIn Moderation#In Moderation#In Moderation#In Moderation#In Moderation#
MustardYesYesIn ModerationYesIn Moderation#
Tabasco sauceYesYesIn ModerationYesYes
SrirachaNoYesIn ModerationNoNo
VinegarIn Moderation#YesYesYesYes
Olive OilYesYesYesYesYes
RanchYesNoIn ModerationYesIn Moderation#
VinaigretteNoYesIn ModerationYesIn Moderation#
Soy sauceIn ModerationNoIn ModerationYesNo
Teriyaki SauceNoNoIn ModerationNoIn Moderation#
Miracle WhipNoNoIn ModerationNoNo
Canola oilNoNoNoYesIn Moderation
CoffeeYesYesYesYesYes
Dark ChocolateIn ModerationIn ModerationIn ModerationIn ModerationNo

* 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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