Foods to avoid on the keto diet

There are plenty of foods which you can enjoy that work well with your keto lifestyle but to make life a little easier for you I’m going to list the main foods to avoid on the keto diet.

The keto diet is amazing, effective and healthy but it does require that you avoid certain foods if you want to get into ketosis and enjoy all the health benefits it has to offer.

One or two of them might surprise you, but if you make an effort to remember these, you will avoid many of the mistakes that newbies make while they’re still getting into the swing of everything.

If you do slip up, just count it as a lesson learned and move on. There really isn’t any need to do anything else.

Definitely don’t cut back on your food to “make up” for the error.

The keto diet works so well that a mistake will at the most it will put you back just a day or so.

Chances are, it will only affect you for the rest of the day in which you ate the wrong food.

Remember hidden ingredients. You’re unlikely to accidentally eat a slice of bread, but flour can be hidden in the most unexpected places such as :

  • Canned soups – flour and/or starch is often added as a thickener in the sauce.
  • Many instant hot drinks such as coffee or chocolate, but check  the ingredients list as it varies between makes.  (coffee black or with cream is keto friendly)
  • Ketchup and some mayonnaise
  • Some ice cream
  • Lunch meat and hot dogs, sausages and meat patties often contain wheat flour
  • Sweets. Even chewing gum and chocolate can contain wheat

Always check the labels. Look at the carb count too.

If it’s suspiciously high on a normally low carb food such as meat, that’s a sign that there is added wheat or sugar lurking in there somewhere.

So, let’s take a closer look at what you can’t eat:


Sugar

You already know not to touch sugar, but I’ve included it to remind you to look for hidden sugars, which are in just about every ready meal and drink.

That includes the sugars in fruit juices and other “healthy” vegetable juices too.

Other hidden sugars can be found in:

  • Energy bars – the energy in these bars usually comes from added sugar.
  • Protein bars
  • Bottled sauces
  • Sports drinks

Grains

All grains are off limits, and this includes:

  • Wheat
  • Oats
  • Corn
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Bulgar
  • Sprouted grains

These will be found in many foods such as:

  • Cakes
  • Puddings
  • Buscuits
  • Pasta
  • Rice dishes
  • Porrage
  • Muesli
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Waffles
  • Spice mixes
  • Popcorn
  • Bread
  • Pizza

Legumes

  • Beans – all types: Adzuki, black, soybeans, pinto, fava, garbanzo, lime and kidney.
  • Peanuts (yes they are officially Legumes)
  • Peas – green, snow, snap, mung, black-eyed and split peas
  • Lentils – of all colors: yellow, green, brown, black or orange.

Starchy Vegetables

Avoid below the ground vegetables:

  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Corn

Fruit

Most fruits contain a lot of sugar and carbs and cannot be eaten on a keto diet.

If you do crave some fruit stick to the berries.

Apart from berries, assume that all fruit is off the keto friendly list.


Alcohol

Any alcohol over 40% is normally keto friendly, if not exactly healthy!

Brandy will vary depending on the make, so always check. Alcohol to avoid includes:

  • Beer, unless made as low carb, but still check the label.
  • Liqueurs
  • Cider
  • Dessert wine
  • Fortified wine

To read more about keto and alcohol visit can you drink alcohol with the keto diet


Soft drinks

Unless they are sugar free, all soft drinks should be avoided.

Remember that all sweeteners are not considered healthy, so if you do want the sugar free version of your favourite, do your homework and know which sweetener is used.

Artificial sweeteners are best avoided, and include:

  • Sucralose
  • Aspartame
  • Saccharin

Fruit juice

All the sugars and carbs that are in fruit don’t just go away once you’ve juiced them.

On top of that, you now are losing out on the benefits of eating the whole fruit.

All fruit juice needs to be avoided on the keto diet.

Low carb foods to avoid

So now you know which foods contain too many carbs and/or sugar to be able to fit in with your keto diet.

However, there is another category of foods which you should avoid even though they are low carb.

In this group are foods that are not good for your health.

Low carb or not, if you include them in your diet you’re going to be missing out on a lot of the health benefits of keto.

These foods are either not healthy, or outright bad for you.

Just don’t go there.


Margarine

Seriously, just don’t.

Its completely artificial and full of additives. Butter is healthy and tastes nicer.


Vegetable oils

  • Sunflower Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Cotttonseed Oil

These oils have too much omega 6, which can cause inflammation that has been linked to numerous diseases.

Avoid buying foods that have been fried in these oils or have them on the ingredients list.

Stick with the healthy oils such as Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil or butter.


Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners can play havoc with our reward centers in the brain and gut.

This can trigger a craving for more sugary foods and carbohydrates in general.

There is a lot of evidence that says these sweeteners are bad for your health too, and they can affect your metabolism.

There are some healthy sugar alternatives such as Erythritol which is a sugar alcohol. This can be used in place of sugar.

Due to the fact that it has no effect on blood sugar or blood/glucose levels, this is a sweetener that is both healthy and keto friendly.


Energy bars

There are dozens of these low-carb bars on the market, but not all of them are the Keto-friendly, healthy option you might believe them to be.

Read the list of ingredients and its possible that they include vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, and additives.

These can completely derail your health and weight loss goals.

There is every chance that these energy bars obtain most of the energy producing properties from pure sugar which would destroy your ketone levels in no time.

They also tend to be on the small side, and its far too easy to eat three or four of them which could also affect your health goals as well as pushing you out of ketosis.

As they can be so easy to over eat, it’s probably best to not even buy one of these bars.

The most keto friendly way to enjoy this type of snack would be to make them at home.

You could then be sure that all the ingredients are whole foods and fit in with your keto goals.

Most energy bars are simply junk candy bars pretending to be good for your health.


Low Carb Desserts

Here’s a quick test for you: Look at the picture above.

If just looking at it is making your mouth water, you are the sort of person who is triggered by sugar or sweet tasting alternatives.

You need to be honest with yourself. Some can make a few keto friendly desserts, and they find that these will help settle their sweet tooth.

However, if you’re not one of these people, its best to keep away from these for all the same reasons you should keep away from artificial sweeteners and energy bars.

This is another item that is all too easy to over eat.

If you can manage just a few bites of something sweet, make keto friendly desserts at home that you know contain only healthy ingredients.


Protein foods to avoid

Many processed meats are full of preservatives and/or sugar.

You need to take care when choosing a processed meat, and read the label.

Many of these meats will also contain wheat.

The biggest offenders here are:

  • Salami
  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Spam
  • Corned beef
  • Canned meat
  • Hot dogs

When it comes to protein, you need to stay within your protein macros.

Many meat products can easily take you too high if you’re not checking the labels and weighing.


The take home message

This list might look long, but take comfort from the fact that all the foods here are not healthy.

There is a lot of evidence that carb rich foods are inflammatory and contribute to many if not all diseases.

These foods are not just bad for your weight loss goals. They could seriously damage your long term health goals too.

Many of these foods have so many artificial ingredients in them that can hardly be described as food at all.

They will use up or exceed your carb allowances in no time, and leave you with fewer carbs to use when it comes to eating foods that are nutritionally dense and fit in with your keto diet.

Always remember that the list for foods you can eat is just as long, and full of the sorts of food that will provide you with all the nutrients your body needs, as well as helping you to reach your goals.

Good quality, nutrient rich food also tends to keep you full for longer, the exact opposite of the effect that many of the foods on this list will have.

As a rule of thumb, always choose home made food over store bought foods, especially when it comes to the dessert/ cake type of food.

Anything bought in a store needs to have its ingredients list carefully read.

Check if the carbs stated are net or total. This is often used by manufacturers to hide the true carb count of their product.

For more information of what you can eat visit keto diet food list and top 100 keto foods with nutritional values .

Also, this will give you plenty of healthy snack ideas quick keto snacks

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Wow, I am currently on a keto diet and I am just learning some things I never knew about from your post. I knew chocolate is not good but I never knew I am supposed to keep away from coffee as well.
    So, now I have to keep away from coffee and I love coffee so much, oh my God. That will be hard for me.
    Thank you for listing all that out so we can learn more. I will consider all the points.

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your comment.

      I have some good news for you:

      Coffee, either black or with cream, is keto friendly and you can enjoy as much as you want.

      The only type of coffee that you need to be careful with are some of the instant coffees that may be mixed with carb heavy fillers.

      So don’t deprive yourself, just check the labels before hand!

      All the best,

      Judy

    • Hi Leana,

      Thanks for you comment.

      I’m always so pleased when I’ve been able to tell someone about this diet. There are so many health benefits!

      All the best,
      Judy

  2. I’ve run a keto diet several times in the past but have eventually reverted back to a medium/high carb diet because my body definitely functions better with it while doing strength training.

    That said I know ketosis can be a good tool for weight loss and maintenance as well as treating some ailments, like metabolic disease, type 2 diabetes and some conditions that affect the central nervous system and the brain (like Alzheimers and epilepsy).

    The hardest part for myself during keto was to accept that I have to eat a ton of fat and limit the amount of protein I consume. I was constantly overshooting my protein and not consuming enough fat, which actually limits your ketosis because the excess protein will be converted to glucose.

    I’m accustomed to tracking my macros so I already pretty much knew everything that had carbs in them but I definitely had a hard time getting enough fat unless I actually drank cream. Which I definitely didn’t enjoy :D. I bet there are others doing keto with the same problem, maybe you could write about it?

    • Hi Jukka,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      It is possible to bulk up muscle while on the keto diet and I wrote about it here keto diet and bodybuilding I’ve included a few links to studies that I think you might find interesting.

      I know what you mean about not meeting your fat macros, I’ve had this issue too. In my case I use a pure C8 MCT oil which is tasteless, and can be poured over just about anything you’re eating. It’s also amazingly beneficial for your health as well as helping to keep you in ketosis.

      You can read about it here: mct oil for keto

      I think you’re right, the difficulties that some people have with keeping within their macros deserves to be addressed. I will write more about it soon!

      best wishes,
      Judy

  3. Great post! So many people are confused by eating low carb and Keto in particular. I find low carb eating to be simple and freeing and I combine it with Intermittent Fasting for added benefits.

    I agree about the sugar in fruit, and I know that I am losing weight slower because I am eating it. However, I think that the value of the nutrients in fresh picked fruit outweighs the sugar contained within. This is a new approach for me and I find that it is helping me break my addiction with chocolate and other sweets. I avoid keto baking because it triggers my cravings.

    My plan is to only eat fruit that I like that is in season. When summer is over, most fruit will be over for me as well. This winter will be stews or carnita-style cooked meats with a low carb veg like spaghetti squash. Time will tell if this will work for me, but so far I am down 12 pounds.

    • Hi Irma,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It sounds as if you’re eating low carb rather than keto, as your fruit consumption is probably taking your daily carb intake above the level needed for ketosis.

      However, I have to say that your low carb plus intermittent fasting plan is going to be bringing you a lot of health benefits.

      I love that you’re only eating fruit in season. This is exactly how we would have eaten in the past, and if you’re eating fruit this is the healthiest way to do it.

      You can definitely lose weight on the diet you have made for yourself, and not everyone wants to go keto.

      Congratulations on your weight loss so far!

      All the best,

      Judy

  4. Oh man there ias so much food on this list that I can’t eat. I didnt know grains was such a bad food. I eat rice almost everyday! and the same with fruit. I use to eat a lot worse than this like snacky cakes chips and hot dogs and food of that nature.

    I hate hot dogs for like a week when I ran out of food that was all I had. and then I noticed that I started having really bad head aches. I did some research and found that hot dogs have as much carcinogens as cigarettes. when I stopped eatng them I felt way better. and turned to frood and veggies as an alturnative but mostly I eat rice and beans or something like that. I feel way better that I cut out all the junk. mostly. Sometimes I slip up. which I hate. Il;l start to feel pain in my joints.

    so I’m trying to eat even healthier but this list seems to cut out everything I thought was healthy. Am I just suppose to eat air lol??? do you have ffos that you reccomend that are ok to eat?

    • Hi Daniel,

      I have some good news for you!

      Although the keto diet does exclude certains foods, there are still plenty of foods left for you to enjoy!

      Check out top 100 keto foods which will get you off to a great start.

      You may also be interested in quick keto snacks which lists lots of quick to cook, or no cook, snacks that you can eat too.

      It sounds like you’re already making progress towards healthy eating. Although I recommend the keto diet, I think it’s important that you keep reading and find the diet that suits you and your health needs.

      All the best,

      Judy

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