keto's whole grain truth


Whole grain, any grain, on the keto diet is basically a no-no. Plain and simple, grains are high in carbs and metabolize into the glucose ketoers try to avoid. That being said, keto allows for some daily carb consumption; are whole grains all right to eat if they fit into your carb allotment? Short answer: yes, but…

Grains will rack up the carb points against you very quickly, one piece of wheat toast and you’re done for the day, teetering on the edge of getting knocked out of keto altogether. This is why most ketoers X grains off the list with no apologies.

“But I’ve heard for years that whole grains are good for you, my doctor even said so,” you say. Whole grains and wheat do get a bad rap because the truth is, real whole grains are heart healthy and can help with type 2 diabetes. Because keto is such an amazing option for those keeping their type 2 diabetes under control, sometimes a calculated whole grain snack is ok. The truth all comes back to one basic principle that we are constantly preaching, keep track of what you eat so you can follow the keto rules.


Whole grains are okay… just not for regular use on keto… and if you don’t suffer from a gluten allergy or celiac disease… and when they truly are whole grain. A whole grain is a grain containing all 3 parts: endosperm, germ, and bran. Together these pieces add up to help us receive the daily fiber we should be eating to control our cholesterol and lower our risk of heart disease. One of the nice, yet counter-intuitive, benefits of keto is that since we are burning ketones, revving through our fat, and avoiding transfats, we don’t accumulate cholesterol the way carb-heavy eaters do. The major benefits of whole grain are already built into keto.

Where does whole grain’s bad rep come from? It comes from clever marketing finally being figured out. Labels that read “made with whole grain” seem pretty straight forward, right? The tricky language there is, “made with.” They can make their food out of 95% processed grain that removes the fiber completely, but as long as they toss in a handful of whole grains, their product was technically “made with” whole grains, only using a very insignificant percentage. This kind of loophole is similar to that insufferable kid on the playground you’d make a bet with, and when you win and try to collect says, “we never shook on it.” It’s a lie of omission.

Foods claiming to be whole grain were studied at Harvard University and those foods stating they contained whole grains were found to have more sugar and calories per serving than foods without the whole grain label. The study also found that the beneficial part of whole grain, the fiber, was in such low amounts in those products that they were insignificant in helping a consumer reach their daily fiber goals.

Marketing is also responsible for the great gluten scare. Within a matter of months, people all across the U.S. were convinced they had gluten allergies and that gluten was bad. It’s bad for ketoers, we don’t want those glucose-making carbs. But, for people who hork down tons of starches and carbs every day to suddenly be afraid of gluten is silly and just goes to show how powerful fads and bright labels can be.


Now you know the real truth: whole grains aren’t leaning against their motorcycle, combing their hair back, chewing on a toothpick, eye-balling you as you walk by. They are being misused in our foods or being processed into a zero-value powder. This is why, as ketoers, we need to pay attention to the grains being slipped into foods that have no business containing them. Ketoers tend to get plenty of daily fiber through their dark green veggies and limited fruits, so no need to concern yourself with the whole grain movement. Go by the rules of keto, politely decline whole grain’s invitations, and go on about your day.