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Sourcing Matters: How to Choose Quality Keto Foods

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In our article, What is the Ketogenic Diet and is it Right for You? we introduced some of the basic need-to-knows about going keto. Maybe you signed right up to get your own keto nutrition coach or maybe you’ve done some research to learn more yourself.

Either way, you’ve probably come across words like free-range, grass-fed, wild-caught and organic in relation to keto food sources. We’re here to get to the bottom of what these phrases mean and why it’s important to opt for these foods.

Let’s break down these popular terms.


  • What it means: Organic foods are produced without the use of pesticides, artificial agents or chemical fertilizers.
  • Why it matters: When you eat, you’re also eating whatever it is your food source has consumed or been exposed to. This means that if you’re eating veggies sprayed with pesticides or beef from cows that were fed artificially modified feed, those chemicals and toxins are entering your body.[1]


  • What it means: Grass-fed animals forage for their own food (they may be given natural foods like alfalfa in the winter if necessary) and aren’t provided grains or modified feeds to increase their growth as a grain-fed animal might.
  • Why it matters: Meat from grass-fed animals has a better ratio of healthy fats (omega-3s) and also contains more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than conventionally raised beef.[2] Choosing dairy products (like yogurt, cheese, and milk) from grass-fed animals also decreases the likelihood of consuming hormones and other chemicals fed to these animals.[3]


  • What it means: Wild-caught fish can come from an ocean, sea or river and are not raised in tanks, ponds or on fish farms.
  • Why it matters: Wild-caught fish have a better fatty acid profile than conventionally raised fish and may also contain fewer contaminants.[4]


  • What it means: Free-range poultry like chicken and ducks are allowed to move freely in their environment and are raised under natural conditions, as opposed to being raised in a cage on a poultry farm.
  • Why it matters: Eating eggs from free-range poultry ensures that you’re not consuming the hormones and other chemicals typically fed to these animals. Free-range eggs have also been shown to have higher omega-3 content.[5]

Food quality is important when following any nutrition plan. And since most of the calories in a ketogenic diet come from fat and protein, it is even more important to source foods responsibly. This will ensure that you’re getting the optimal benefits from these healthy fats and proteins!

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  1. Pendick, D. (2018, Oct 9). Benefits of organic food: What research tells us. UNH University Health News. Retrieved from https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/benefits-of-organic-food/
  2. Daley, C. A., Abbot, A., Doyle, P. S., Nader, G. A., & Larson, S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 9. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-10
  3. Malekinejad, H., & Rezabakhsh, A. (2015). Hormones in dairy foods and their impact on public health - a narrative review article. Iran J Public Health, 44(6), 742-758. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4524299/
  4. Blanchet, C., Lucas, M., Julien, P., Morin, R., Gingras, S., & Dewailly, E. (2005). Fatty acid composition of wild and farmed Atlantic salmon (salmosalar) and rainbow trout (oncorhynchus mykiss). Lipids, 40(5), 529-31. DOI: 10.1007/s11745-005-1414-0
  5. Samman, S., Kung, F. P., Carter, L. M., Foster, M. J., Ahmad, Z. I., Phuyal, J. L., & Petocz, P. (2009). Fatty acid composition of certified organic, conventional and omega-3 eggs. Food Chemistry, 116(4), 911-914. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2009.03.046
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Posted by Ali Macy
Ali is a born and bred Vermonter who fell in love with nutrition and fitness in her early 20’s and never looked back. She is a coach, blog editor and Program Lead for WAG with a BA in English Literature and a Master's in Nutrition and Human Performance.

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