What makes a diet “keto?”
If you know one thing about the keto diet, it’s that carbs are totally off the menu, even the ones in fruit. But you probably also know that carbohydrates give us energy—especially if you grew up “carbo-loading” before cross country meets or big soccer games. So how does it work? If you’re not eating carbs, where does the energy come from?
Simple: It comes from fat. On a keto diet, your body runs on fat, not carbs. This is way more normal than it sounds. Even though carbs are their first choice, your cells know exactly how to use fat for fuel because that’s what they do when you eat fewer calories than you use up. Instead of shutting down, they burn up some body fat and keep on going.
In other words, if you stop eating carbs, your metabolism will eventually switch to fat for its main fuel source. While this can lead to weight loss, you can’t run on body fat alone—that’s called starvation! Doing keto the healthy way means filling up on fats from nuts, cheese, full-fat yogurt (unsweetened, of course), eggs, meat, and fish, plus plenty of fiber from leafy greens and other veggies.
Seafood is high in healthy fats
Unlike the paleo diet and other super high-protein systems, the keto diet is all about eating enough fat. This makes it pretty easy to eat lots of delicious saturated fats and skimp on the healthy stuff—especially while you’re adjusting to life without bread, pasta, and dessert. But eating huge amounts of saturated fat still isn’t healthy, even if it is technically “keto-friendly.” You need unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein to balance it out.
This makes seafood an excellent choice for keto diets. Across the board, it contains extremely low (or zero) carbs, making it naturally keto-friendly. Some types of seafood, like shrimp and crab, are nearly fat-free. But others, especially salmon, mackerel, tuna, oysters, and sardines, contain tons of heart-healthy unsaturated fats like omega-3s—and none of the saturated fat you get from other animal proteins.
Our best keto-friendly picks
Canned seafood is a great way to make sure your keto diet is actually meeting your nutritional needs. When you’re at the store stocking up on keto friendly staples, look for products that are higher in fat with no added sugars. Oil-packed seafood is great for keto diets, and Chicken of the Sea has a ton of options. From savory smoked sardines and oysters to solid white albacore tuna, there’s something for everyone. And our Wild Catch collection is made with wild-caught fish, water, sea salt, and nothing else, so you don’t have to worry about hidden carbs.
You can also use your canned seafood stash to whip up complete meals in a hurry. Here are a few of our favorite keto recipes to get you started.
If you take the pasta out of shrimp scampi—then add a whole lot of butter and cheese—you get this outrageously indulgent dip. Serve it with cucumber slices or celery sticks for the ultimate keto appetizer.
Hors d’oeuvres are usually carb-heavy, but these stuffed mushrooms skip the breadcrumbs and go straight for the cream cheese and Parmesan. The rich, creamy seafood filling and earthy mushrooms were made for each other—it’s hard to stop at one.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good sauce. This herbaceous salsa verde is savory, rich, and super-fresh all at once. Dollop it on grilled steak or fish, toss it with salad greens, or use it like a dip for raw veggies—it makes everything taste better.