The Keto Food Pyramid

Link to the source for this graphic

Link to the source for this graphic

I consider the amount of insulin a food or beverage causes the body to produce a key benchmark for nutrition research. For any nutrition claim, I want to know how much of the causality is working through insulin and what effect is left over when insulin production is held constant either experimentally or statistically. You can see why I take this view in "Obesity Is Always and Everywhere an Insulin Phenomenon" and "Forget Calorie Counting; It's the Insulin Index, Stupid."

Bonnie Kavoussi pointed me to the graphic above, which does a good job at showing how to avoid the types of food that are the very highest on the insulin index. However, taking the insulin index that I discuss in detail in "Forget Calorie Counting; It's the Insulin Index, Stupid" as the gold standard, let me point to a few problems with this graphic: 

  1. The Keto Food Pyramid doesn't do a good job at distinguishing between types of food that are medium on the insulin index and those that are low on the insulin index. Avoiding high is most important, but leaning toward low in the choice between low and medium also matters. In particular, any fruit (including berries), as well as most types of meat, poultry and fish need to be eaten in moderation.

  2. While skim milk is high on the insulin index, whole milk is not.

  3. While some types of beans are high on the insulin index, other types of beans are reasonably low on the insulin index.

  4. While I suspect typical American spaghetti is indeed quite bad, existing evidence on the insulin index suggests (surprisingly) that there may be some types of pasta that are not so bad. More research is needed on this.

  5. It is only raw carrots that are OK. Cooked carrots have a higher glycemic index, suggesting a high insulin index.

  6. Potatoes should be on the banned list.

  7. Most important of all, soft drinks, punch and juice need to be on the banned list!

In addition to the key posts mentioned above,

don’t miss my other posts on diet and health:

I. The Basics

II. Sugar as a Slow Poison

III. Anti-Cancer Eating

IV. Eating Tips

V. Calories In/Calories Out

VI. Other Health Issues

VII. Wonkish

VIII. Debates about Particular Foods and about Exercise

IX. Gary Taubes

X. Twitter Discussions

XI. On My Interest in Diet and Health

See the last section of "Five Books That Have Changed My Life" and the podcast "Miles Kimball Explains to Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal Why Losing Weight Is Like Defeating Inflation." If you want to know how I got interested in diet and health and fighting obesity and a little more about my own experience with weight gain and weight loss, see “Diana Kimball: Listening Creates Possibilities and my post "A Barycentric Autobiography. I defend the ability of economists like me to make a contribution to understanding diet and health in “On the Epistemology of Diet and Health: Miles Refuses to `Stay in His Lane’.”