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Are Beans Keto? Full Guide to Beans and Their Keto-friendly Alternatives

Are Beans Keto? Full Guide to Beans and Their Keto-friendly Alternatives

When compared to high-carb processed foods, beans are considered as a health food. However, from a low-carb perspective, they contain too much starch. In fact, the net carb content of most beans and lentils is so high that they belong on the “do not eat” list for keto.

To help you figure out exactly what beans to avoid and what to replace them with, we put together this keto guide addressing the following topics:

Can You Eat Beans on Keto?

Can You Eat Beans on Keto?

Beans should be avoided on keto.

Though they’re a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, beans are also packed with starch. As you digest them, their starches are broken down into simple sugars and absorbed as net carbs.

How Many Carbs Are In Beans?

are northern beans keto friendly

From a keto nutrition perspective, think of each bean as a miniature potato — Packed with starch but comes with other healthy components as well.

In fact, if we look at the net carb count of boiled white potato (~14.3 g in every ½ cup), it falls within the average range of net carbs in beans (between 12 and 20 g per 1/2-cup serving).

Below, we’ll take a closer look at the net carb content of the most popular varieties of beans.

Carbs in Black Beans: Are They Keto?

When it comes to net carbs, black beans are surprisingly similar to white potatoes.

Every ½-cup serving of black beans comes with ~13 grams of net carbs. In other words, they are not keto-friendly.

While restricting carbs, it is best to replace black beans with keto-friendly beans or make beanless keto recipes instead.

Carbs in Pinto Beans

Every ½ cup of cooked pinto beans comes with ~15 grams of net carbs. This means they have more net carbs than white potatoes and are not suitable for keto.

Carbs in Garbanzo Beans: Are Chickpeas Keto?

Have you ever noticed how garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are a lot rounder/fuller than black beans and pinto beans? This is because they are packed with more starch.

In every 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans, there will be roughly 16 grams of net carbs.

Carbs in Refried Beans and Baked Beans: Are They Good for Keto?

Both refried beans and baked beans are not keto-friendly. Even if you find a can with no added sugar, the starch from the beans will still be high enough to impair ketosis:

  • Refried beans — A ½-cup serving of refried beans tends to have 12 or more grams of net carbs.
  • Baked beans — Even the lowest-carb baked beans around 20 grams of net carbs in every ½-cup serving.

Carbs in Kidney Beans, Navy Beans, Lima Beans, and Great Northern Beans: Keto-friendly or Not?

Every ½-cup of these beans comes with the following net carb counts:

  • Kidney beans — 14.6 g
  • Navy beans — 14.4  g
  • Lima beans — 13.1 g
  • Great northern beans — 12.5 g

Simply put, these beans are not keto-friendly either.

How Many Carbs In Green Beans (String Beans)?

Green beans are one of the only true keto beans, with ~3 grams of net carbs in every 1/2-cup serving. They provide us with similar benefits as low-carb vegetables as well.

To add more green beans to your keto diet, try adding them to your favorite keto casserole/entree or make them as a side:

Carbs In Soybeans: Are They Healthy for Keto?

There are three main types of soybeans you are likely to come across: Mature soybeans, green soybeans (edamame), and black soybeans.

Here are the net carbs per ½ cup in each type of soybean:

  • Green soybeans — 3.5 g
  • Mature soybeans — 3.4 g
  • Black soybeans — 1 g

From a carb content perspective, all three are keto-friendly beans.

However, it is also important to consider your sensitivity to soybeans and the quality of the product you purchase for keto.

The highest quality soybean will be non-GMO and organic. In contrast to their GMO counterparts, these soy products will be free from chemical pesticide residues.

That being said, even the healthiest soy products contain natural compounds that a small subset of the population may be sensitive to and/or allergic to. For this reason, we recommend monitoring your overall health and wellbeing if you increase your consumption of soy and soy-based products (such as tofu and tempeh).

What about Lupini Beans?

Since one particular type of lupini bean isn’t being mass-produced (like most of the beans mentioned earlier), there may be a significant variation between the starch content of one lupini bean product versus another.

For example, if you buy imported lupini beans made by Delallo, you’ll get 13.5 g of net carbs in every ½-cup serving (which is not keto-friendly). In contrast, the lupini bean products made by Brami contain such a low amount of starch that they can list their beans as having zero grams of net carbs.

Put more simply:  If you are looking to buy lupin beans, lupin flour, or lupin-based hummus for keto, make sure to double-check how many carbs and net carbs are in that particular product.

Overview of Carbs in Common Bean Varieties

For your convenience, we’ve included the following table with the carb info for the beans we looked at so far:

Bean variety Total carbs (in grams per ½ cup) Net carbs (in grams per ½ cup)
Black beans 20.4 12.9
Navy beans 23.9 14.4
Kidney beans 20.2 14.6
Pinto beans 22.4 14.7
Green beans 4.9 2.9
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 22.5 16.3
Lima beans 19.7 13.1
Great Northern beans 18.7 12.5
Green soybeans (edamame) 7.5 3.5
Mature soybeans 8.6 3.4
Black soybeans 8.0 1.0

Note: All information in this table is for a ½ cup of boiled, drained beans, without salt.

In general, there are hundreds of varieties of edible beans, and most of them are not keto-friendly. When in doubt, make sure to double-check the label and calculate the net carbs yourself.

The same principles apply to the many varieties of lentils as well.

Carbs in Lentils: Are They Keto?

beans on keto

Lentils and beans are very similar in terms of macronutrients. Each lentil is like a miniature version of a bean, with high-protein skin and starchy insides.

Though different types of lentils can vary slightly in their nutrient contents, they tend to contain around 20 g of total carbs and 12.2 g of net carbs in every 1/2 cup.

In other words, as with most bean varieties, lentils are packed with too many carbs for keto.

Keto-friendly Bean and Lentil Substitutes: Black Soybeans and Green beans

can you eat beans on keto

On the keto diet, it is best to go beanless or use the lowest carb beans — black soybeans and green beans — as substitutes for their starch-filled cousins.

While green beans are typically prepared more like a vegetable, black soybeans are the best keto-friendly replacement for other beans in soups, bean dips, refried beans, baked beans, and other bean-based recipes.

That being said, if you are looking to avoid or limit soy for any reason, we’ve included several other bean alternatives and beanless keto recipes below.

Soy-free Bean Alternatives and Beanless Keto Recipes

Beanless Keto Recipes

If you’re looking for soy-free bean substitutes that will mimic their texture, here are some tasty alternatives:

  • Diced eggplant is a healthy, low-carb alternative that you can use to add more bulk to your dishes.
  • If you’d like to have some keto Mexican food, opt-out of high-carb refried beans or bean dip with your meal and choose guacamole, smashed avocado, or chopped avocado salad instead.
  • Cooked mushrooms are very low in carbs and can be used in place of beans in soups, stews, and chili. They will add an extra layer of umami to your meal as well.
  • Ground meat. The perfect bean replacement for soup and chili recipes. You can also use leaner or fattier meat depending on how much fat and protein you want in your soup or chili.
  • Boiled peanuts. Boiled peanuts have a similar texture to that of cooked beans with only ~6 g of net carbs in every ½-cup serving.

To go 100% bean-free without missing out on your favorite bean-based dishes, try making these keto recipes as well:

  • Beanless Low-carb Chili — A thick, meaty keto-friendly chili with all the flavors and textures you get from the standard, bean-based version of the dish.
  • Beanless Keto Hummus Recipe — Simply by replacing the chickpeas with roasted cauliflower, you can make a creamy and delicious hummus dip (without all of the excess starch).
  • Creamy Keto Taco Soup — Though beans are often added to make soups hearty and satiating, this is no longer necessary when you use ground beef with an avocado garnish on top.
  • Keto Pork Carnitas — Pork carnitas are often accompanied by tortillas, rice, and refried beans or baked beans, turning this keto meat dish into a carb-heavy ketosis killer. As long as you skip the high-carb foods in favor of keto tortillas and guacamole, you can have a satisfying carnitas meal without missing out on your favorite flavors and textures.

For more ideas on how to replace the beans in your favorite cuisines, check out the following keto guides:

What About Bean Sprouts?

What About Bean Sprouts?

During the sprouting process, the beans will use their stored starch to provide the energy necessary to grow into a plant. As a result, the sprouts will have a significantly lower net carb content, resembling a low-carb vegetable rather than a high-starch potato.

This means you can reap the benefits of beans while staying in ketosis. Unfortunately, this also means that they will taste more like vegetables and lose their starchy texture.

As with other foods you eat on keto, double-check the nutrition info of your bean sprouts to make sure they’ll fit into your carb limit.

Key Takeaways: Beans, Lentils, and Their Keto Alternatives

Most beans and lentils are too high in carbs to fit into the keto diet. This includes the following bean varieties and products:

  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Baked beans
  • Refried beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Lima beans
  • Great northern beans
  • Some varieties of lupini beans

As with anything you have on keto, always make sure to check the nutrition labels.

The best keto bean option is black soybeans, which you can use as a direct replacement for high-carb beans. However, if you want to go soy-free, there are several other delicious alternatives, including mushrooms, diced eggplant, avocado, ground meat, and boiled peanuts.

With these low carb bean alternatives, there’s no need to shy away from bean recipes while on keto. In fact, you can even make your favorite bean-based dishes without the beans:

If you’re looking to achieve some great results and are in need of some more keto meal ideas or a complete meal plan, we’ve included more resources below:


Published at Sun, 28 Feb 2021 16:49:21 +0000

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What Cereal Can I Eat on Keto? 10 Best Keto-Friendly Cereals

What Cereal Can I Eat on Keto? 10 Best Keto-Friendly Cereals

Breakfast can be especially challenging after transitioning to a ketogenic diet. Most breakfasts, particularly sweet ones, are high in carbs — especially that time-honored staple: breakfast cereal.

One option is to cut cereal from your diet altogether, but if you aren’t ready to make the sacrifice, there’s no need to worry.

The progression of the keto food industry has allowed innovative brands to come up with cereals that are not only low-carb but actually offer a healthier nutrition profile than traditional brands.

Keep reading to learn the qualities of a good keto cereal, which brands we recommend on the keto diet, and which ones to avoid.

What Makes a Good Keto-Friendly Cereal?

Low in Net Carbs

Net carbs are the single biggest consideration on a keto diet. Because they’re the digestible form of carbs and are therefore absorbed into the bloodstream, they affect your blood sugar levels and can also kick you out of ketosis.

To find out how many net carbs are in a food, subtract the number of indigestible carbohydrates and sugar alcohols from the number of total carbs. Indigestible carbohydrates include dietary fiber and sweeteners like allulose.

Fortunately, most keto brands do the math for you and indicate the number of net carbs per serving in their product. Most people can eat around 20-50 grams of net carbs total per day on keto, so the fewer per cereal serving, the better.

High in Protein and Healthy Fats

Whenever possible, choose cereals that offer some protein or fat, or both. High protein and fat content improve satiety after a meal by slowing down digestion helping you avoid cravings between meals[*][*].

Protein also plays a role in other essential body processes like muscle growth and maintenance, hormone production, immunity, and energy production[*][*][*][*]. The functions of dietary fat include providing energy, hormone production, protecting organs, and transporting fat-soluble vitamins[*].

Keto-friendly ingredients that add protein to cereal include nuts, seeds, collagen, and milk proteins (including whey), while those that add fat include nuts, seeds, coconut oil, MCT oil, and cocoa butter.

Compare the nutrition labels of any keto cereals to find out the exact amount of protein and fat present per serving so you can make the best choice.

Healthy Keto-friendly Sweeteners Instead of Added Sugars

To enhance flavor, most keto breakfast cereal brands add sugar-free sweeteners to their product. However, while they’re technically keto-friendly, not all sugar-free sweeteners are healthy.

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Natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit extract are best because they’re calorie-free, barely impact blood sugar levels, and might even offer some benefits like antioxidant activity and supporting insulin sensitivity[*].

Other sweeteners like allulose and erythritol are also just as appropriate for a healthy keto diet.

Allulose is a low-carb sweetener that is about 70% as sweet as sugar but doesn’t provide any absorbable calories and causes no changes to blood glucose. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is made by the fermentation of glucose by microbes.

Some sugar-free cereals might contain sweeteners like maltitol, dextrose, polydextrose that are indeed low-carb but can still affect your blood sugar levels, so you’ll want to steer clear[*].

Lastly, sucralose (Splenda) and other synthetic artificial sweeteners like aspartame aren’t on our recommended list because of possible long-term health effects[*].

The Best Low-carb Cereals for Keto

Now that you know what to look for in keto cereals and what to avoid, here’s our carefully chosen list of the very best brands on the market today.

Perfect Keto Mallow Munch

Mallow Munch is a delicious keto cereal bar that tastes just like a classic rice crispy bar (you know the ones we’re talking about), but without the grains you’re not allowed to have on keto.

These healthy bars contain only high-quality ingredients including milk protein, almond butter, sea salt, and vitamin E. Allulose, stevia, and monk fruit extract are the sweeteners of choice in these bars, so you know they’re keto-friendly.

In each filling 90-calorie serving of Mallow Munch, you get only 2 grams of net carbs with a powerful 9 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, and 6 grams of dietary fiber.

You can enjoy Mallow Munch bars in the morning for breakfast, in the afternoon for a little pick-me-up, on-the-go, before a workout, or as a dessert.

The bars come in three flavors: Marshmallow, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter.

Perfect Keto Nola Bars

For a truly filling snack that won’t spike your sugar levels, try a Perfect Keto Nola Bar. The bar is chewy like a regular granola bar but doesn’t contain any grains or added sugar making it very keto-friendly.

Nola bars are made with healthy, high-quality, keto-friendly ingredients like MCT oil, nuts, and dark chocolate. They don’t contain any added sugars, colors, fillers, or artificial preservatives. They’re sweetened with stevia, monk fruit extract, and allulose.

Each energy-packed, 140-calorie bar contains a mere 2 grams of net carbs with 12 grams of nourishing healthy fats, 3 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fiber.

You can have a Nola Bar for breakfast, as a convenient snack, or even a dessert. They come in Coconut Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter flavors.

Magic Spoon Cereal

Magic Spoon is an exclusively low-carb cereal brand. Their selling points are that their products are high in protein, low in sugar and carbs, keto-friendly, and gluten-free.

Available flavors include Cocoa, Frosted, Fruity, Blueberry, Peanut Butter, Maple Waffle, Cookies N’ Cream, and Cinnamon.

Each serving of Magic Spoon contains 4 grams of net carbs, 14 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, and 140 calories. Magic Spoon is also free of any artificial preservatives, added sugar, and sugar alcohols.

Since Magic Spoon is low in dietary fiber (1 gram per serving), for a healthy breakfast, you can try pairing it with fiber-rich keto foods like nuts, seeds, and low-carb fruit.

Catalina Crunch Cereal

For anyone who prefers their cereal on the extra crunchy side, Catalina Crunch’s low-carb breakfast cereal is made for you. Instead of grains, the cereal is made with Catalina flour, a pea protein blend that is very low in carbs.

While pea protein isn’t exactly a high-quality protein source (and therefore shouldn’t be a staple for that purpose), it’s still keto-friendly.

All the ingredients are natural and don’t include any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. Catalina sweetens their cereal using stevia and monk fruit extract.

Each serving of Catalina Crunch contains 5 grams of net carbs, 5 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, and 110 calories.

The net carb content of Catalina Crunch is on the higher side therefore you should try to eat it with very low-carb milk like almond milk or coconut milk.

The cereal comes in eight flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Fruity, Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon Toast, Maple Waffle, Honey Graham, Chocolate Banana, and Mint Chocolate Chip.

Lakanto Keto Granola

You may know Lakanto as a popular manufacturer of monk fruit-based sweetener and related products, and they’ve recently branched out into offering keto granola and other ready-to-eat products.

True granola isn’t keto-friendly because it contains oats, which is why the primary ingredients here are coconut, sunflower seeds, almonds, and chocolate chips.

Each serving of Lakanto Keto Granola contains 2 grams of net carbs, 13 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 150 calories. The Berry Crunch flavor contains 3 grams of net carbs.

You can eat Lakanto Granola in milk just like breakfast cereal, add it to a yogurt bowl, blend it in a smoothie, or eat it as it is.

The granola comes in three flavors: Cinnamon Almond Crunch, Berry Crunch, and Chocolate Crunch.

Schoolyard Snacks Low-carb Keto Cereal

As their name suggests, Schoolyard Snacks offers a line of keto-friendly snacks, including cereal as well as cheese puffs. In their words, they’ve “reinvented our favorite carb-loaded cereals and snacks from childhood by replacing the carbs and sugar with high-quality protein and monk fruit.”

This puffed cereal product makes our top ten list for two good reasons — high-quality keto ingredients and a remarkable 1 gram of net carbs.

The cereal is made with all-natural ingredients like milk protein and cocoa and contains no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or fillers.

Each bag of Schoolyard Snacks Cereal contains an impressive 90 calories, 1 gram of net carbs, 16 grams of protein, and 3.5 grams of fat.

Schoolyard Snacks Cereal isn’t a very good source of fiber. But no big deal — to bump up the fiber content of your meal, you can easily pair the cereal with some nuts or seeds (or eat more veggies or other fiber-rich foods later in the day).

The cereal comes in five flavors: Fruity, Peanut Butter, Cookies N’ Cream, Cocoa, and Cinnamon Bun.

NuTrail Keto Nut Granola

NuTrail offers a keto-friendly, nut-based line of snacks and other foods including nut granolas, glazed pecans, and baking mixes.

Nutrail Granola is a crunchy blend made using pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, almonds, hazelnuts, butter, monk fruit, and natural flavor.

The list of ingredients doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. The granola is sweetened with only monk fruit extract and no other sweeteners.

Each serving of Nutrail Granola contains 2 grams of net carbs, 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, and 160 calories.

The granola can be eaten on its own as a snack or added to milk to make a cereal bowl. The protein content of Nutrail isn’t optimal, but pairing it with a hard-boiled egg or two at breakfast-time can quickly balance your meal.

A word to the wise: it’s best to portion this granola before eating as each bag contains ten servings. Eating right out of the bag may result in accidental overeating.

Nutrail Keto Nut Granola comes in six flavors: Cinnamon, Cinnamon Pecan, Cacao, Vanilla Strawberry, Vanilla Raspberry, and Vanilla Blueberry.

Julian Bakery proGranola

Julian Bakery proGranola is especially unique because it contains Bacillus Coagulans, a probiotic strain of bacteria with potential health benefits for the gut[*].

The granola is a blend of four nutritious seeds: pumpkin, chia, flax, and sesame. It contains no artificial additives like colors, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives and is sweetened with natural monk fruit extract.

Each serving of proGranola contains 2 net carbs, 12 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber, 4.5 grams of fat, and only 97 calories.

The granola is well-balanced, but if you’d like more calories or healthy fats, you can bump up the fat with some full-fat yogurt or by pairing it with cheese when snacking.

Julian Bakery proGranola comes in five flavors: Vanilla Cinnamon Cluster, Peanut Butter Cluster, Espresso Cluster, Primal Peanut Butter Cluster, and Vegan Vanilla.

Diabetic Kitchen Granola Cereal

For a cereal that tastes good hot or cold, Diabetic Kitchen’s Granola is our recommended option. While the brand clearly caters to people living with diabetes, it’s also 100% keto-friendly.

Their granola is a mix of many nutritious nuts and seeds including almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

It’s also gluten-free and doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or flavors. The granola, however, contains a small amount of puffed brown rice — but fortunately, it isn’t in quantities large enough to hike the net carb content, so don’t worry.

Each serving of Diabetic Kitchen Granola Cereal contains 3 net carbs, 14 grams of fat, 4 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber, and 160 calories.

The cereal comes in two flavors: Cinnamon Pecan and Almond Butter.

Nature’s Path Organic Keto Cereal

Unlike most keto cereals, Nature’s path doesn’t contain any milk protein. This makes the cereal a prime choice for anyone following a plant-based diet or who’s lactose intolerant.

Instead of milk protein isolates, Nature’s Path uses pea protein, navy bean flour, and mung bean to boost protein content.

It’s important to note that Nature’s Path contains small amounts of potato fiber and tapioca starch. While these would normally make a food non-keto, Nature’s Path’s carbohydrate content is still very keto-friendly.

Each cup of Nature’s Path contains 3 grams of net carbs, 7 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, 10 grams of dietary fiber, and 110 calories.

Nature’s Path comes in two flavors: Dark Chocolate and Cinnamon Toast.

“Keto-friendly” Cereals to Avoid on Keto

NUCO Coconut Crunch

We’ll call this one a near miss for anyone on the keto diet. NUCO’s three-ingredient cereal would be acceptable for keto-dieters that enjoy coconut-flavored foods if only it wasn’t for the 10 grams of net carbs per serving.

Otherwise, the cereal is high quality with only three natural and organic ingredients: coconut water, coconut meat, and unfortunately, palm starch. The cereal also contains no artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, or colors.

Other than the high net carbs, the cereal has a rich nutrition profile with each serving providing 9 grams of fat, 8 grams of dietary fiber, and 160 calories.

Keep in mind that the majority of people risk exiting ketosis if they consume more than 20 grams of net carbs per day, and it’s generally not a good idea to consume 50% of your daily carb allowance in one serving at breakfast.

That said, if you’re low-carb and not strict keto, NUCO is definitely worth considering.

Wildway Keto Hot Cereal

Even though Wildway Cereal is a grain-free cereal, it doesn’t fit so well on keto for most people because of the number of net carbs per serving (7 to 10 grams depending on the flavor).

The cereal also contains 5 grams of added sugars in each serving, which isn’t a deal-breaker in and of itself but is still more than we’d like to see on the label.

Wildway is made with all-natural ingredients like flaxseed, walnuts, coconut, and cashews and contains no artificial additives.

It even has a rich nutrition profile with one serving providing 20 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, and 270 calories.

The cereal is available in four flavors: Blueberry, Original, Coconut, and Toasted Coconut.

Three Wishes Unsweetened Cereal

Three Wishes’ grain-free cereal doesn’t make the cut in terms of being keto-friendly because of the high net carb count and low fat content.

The cereal is vegan and is great for those with soy, gluten, and nut allergies but simply not a great option for keto dieters.

Each serving of Three Wishes Unsweetened Cereal contains 12 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 110 calories.

Purely Elizabeth Grain-Free Cauli Hot Cereal

This innovative and otherwise nutritious cereal isn’t keto-friendly even though it’s grain-free. This is because of the high net carb count and two non-keto ingredients — banana and coconut sugar.

Purely Elizabeth cereal is made using freeze-dried cauliflower which gives a cereal-like texture without adding grains. (Skeptical of the cauliflower? According to one reviewer, “It becomes the same consistency as normal oatmeal.” We’ll take their word for it.)

It contains other nutritious ingredients like coconut and flax seeds. However, it still can’t fit on a ketogenic diet.

Each serving of the cereal contains 12 grams of net carbs, 11 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of added sugar, and 190 calories.

The Takeaway: Best Keto Cereals

You don’t have to give up cereal on a low-carb diet as long as you remember to choose the right one. Good keto cereal must be low in net carbs, contain keto-friendly sweeteners, and preferably provide some protein or fat.

For a nutritionally balanced meal, you can always pair your cereal with other nutritious foods like yogurt, low-carb fruit, and cheese.

Always read the nutrition information on the packaging when trying a new keto cereal brand to ensure that it supports your nutrition goals.

Published at Fri, 21 Jan 2022 14:14:15 +0000