8 Foods to Avoid on Keto and What to Eat Instead

The intention of following a very low carb diet is to get your body into and maintain a state of ketosis where your body uses fat instead of glucose for energy.

To get your body into the correct metabolic state to support ketosis, carbohydrate intake must make up less than 10% of your total daily calories.

For a 2,000 calorie diet, this means a limit of 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day.

This might be challenging because many foods that are considered healthy are high-carb foods.

Many of these foods should only be eaten in small amounts while others should be avoided completely.

That will help you avoid the guesswork, build the best and healthiest keto diet, here is a list of 15 foods to avoid and suggestions for what you should be eating instead.

1. Starchy Vegetables

You heard that vegetables are a significant part of a healthy eating pattern. While this is true, not all vegetables are created equal.

Some vegetables, typically called starchy vegetables, have a superior carb content and keto dieters would be advisable to avoid these.

Most vegetables, even those with many different carbs also contain fiber. Fiber is not digestible as well as provide energy for our bodies. 

For that reason, some people subtract the level of fiber from a food’s total carbohydrate content and only include the net carb count when tracking their daily limit of 20 to 50 grams per day. 

This works for a few people and not for others. Alter the be sure is to monitor your ketone body levels to see what utilizes you.

Vegetables to Avoid on Keto

The starchy vegetables you wish to avoid on keto include corn, tubers such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and parsnips.

Starchy VegetablesServingCarbsProteinFat
Sweet Potatoes 1/2 cup14g1g0g
Yams1/2 cup19g1g0g
Potatoes1 medium baked28g3g0.3g
Parsnips1/2 cup15g1g0.3g
Peas1/2 cup14g4g0g
Yucca1/2 cup39g1.5g0g

Usually there are some non-starchy vegetables including some root vegetables that are higher in carbohydrates and should be limited. This list includes onions, peas, and the root veggies carrots, turnips, and beets. 

Vegetables to Limit on Keto

Their high fiber content means these foods have fewer grams of net carb and do not need to be eliminated from a keto meal plan but carried out consumed in moderation.

Vegetables to Eat on Keto

Non-starchy vegetables are a better option for your meal plan. The following vegetables are keto-friendly options because they are low in calories, high in fiber, and full of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Aim to include few one-cup servings of the following foods in what you eat each day.

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, collards)
  • Asparagus
  • Green Beans
  • Eggplant
  • Cucumber
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomato
  • Celery
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts

Here’s a full list of  keto vegetables!

2. Grains 

Pasta and rice are staples of many diet patterns around the world. This can high carb content all grains even whole grains are one of the top foods to avoid on a keto diet.

Foods in the grain category to avoid include whole grains, pasta, rice, granola, and corn.

Even healthier grains such as millet, rye, buckwheat, amaranth, and oats are too high in starch to fit into a keto diet. 

Wheat(1 slice)14g3g1g
Barley1 cup44g4g1g
Oats1/2 cup27g5g2g
Rice1 cup45g5g3.5g
Rye (1 slice)15g2.7g1.1g
Corn1 cup32g4g1g
Quinoa1 cup39g8g4g
Millet1 cup41g6g2g
Sorghum1 cup39g5g1g
Bulgur1 cup33g5.60.4
Amaranth1 cup46g4g4g
Sprouted Grains1 slice15g4g0.5g
Buckwheat1 cup33g6g1g

Grain Substitutes on Keto
Some people mistakenly believe that gluten-free crops like quinoa are ok. However, even gluten-free grains are off-limits because they are too high in carbohydrates.

Cauliflower rice is an excellent substitute for white or brown rice because it has significantly fewer carbs and far fewer grams of net carb per one-cup serving.

It is produced by shredding or grating fresh cauliflower.

For baking try using almond flour or coconut flour instead of wheat flour.

This will not only reduce your carb intake, but grain-based flours also tend to rapidly raise blood sugar and insulin levels after you eat them (1) while grain-free flours do not. 

3. Bread

Most breads and bread products are too high in total and net carbs to be considered  keto foods.Bread products contain generally 15 grams of carbohydrates per slice.

While bread is a source of folate and many b vitamins, these nutrients are found in many other healthy keto foods.

Avoid all traditional breads and bread products including whole wheat bread, rye bread, sourdough, English muffins, pita bread, and multigrain bread. 

Keto Bread Options

Some people like to replace bread with lettuce wraps for their burgers or sandwiches. In addition there are keto breads available at the grocery store that are made with nut flours or other low carb flours.

A number of people like to bake their own keto diet foods. Making your own homemade keto bread is an excellent place to start. 

4. Sugar

Sugar and other sweeteners are a significant source of calories for many people.

Will possibly not realize that other natural sweeteners have equally as much and perhaps more sugar than traditional white sugar.

All calorie-containing sweeteners has to be avoided on keto. 

Studies have found that when people reduce their carb intake they generally see reduced cravings for sugary foods (2).

You might find that after weeks on a keto diet you never even miss sweeteners in your diet. 

Here are the products to remove from your pantry and to watch for on ingredient labels at the store.

Honey1 tbsp17g0g0g
Agave Nectar1 tbsp14g0g0g
Maple Syrup1 tbsp14g0g0g
Raw Sugar1 tbsp12g0g0g
Turbinado Sugar1 tbsp12g0g0g
High-Fructose Corn Syrup1 tbsp14g0g0g
Cane Sugar1 tbsp12g0g0g

Be careful about including artificial sweeteners like Splenda, Sweet’n’low, and Equal in your keto food list. Many of these products have added fillers that could be a source of hidden carbohydrates in your diet.Keto and Artificial Sweeteners

Research is mixed on the overall health effects of artificial sweeteners like aspartame on a keto diet. 

One small study placed individuals on a ketogenic diet and specifically allowed using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar.

After 12 weeks researchers found that participants lost a significant amount of weight even when including artificial sweeteners in their diet and did not report any unwanted side effects. 

On the other hand, there is limited evidence suggesting that the intake of artificial sweeteners can negatively affect our gut microbiome.

Sugar-Free Sweeteners Allowed on Keto

At a shop look for natural zero-calorie sweeteners including Stevia and monk fruit. Stevia may help glucose levels after a meal and is an excellent supplement to add sweetness to meals. Do use caution as many low carb foods use sugar alcohols as a low-calorie alternative.

These include erythritol, xylitol, and maltitol. Pigging out of them can cause stomach aches and digestive problems. 

5. Some Fruits

Fruits are considered an essential part of a healthy meal pattern. However many fruits are high in total and net carbs and has to be limited or avoided altogether.  

The great news is there are keto-friendly alternatives that are nutritious and help reduce inflammation in our bodies.

Avoid bananas, apples, mango, oranges, and grapes. All these fruits have a net carb count that is too high as a regular part of a keto diet. 

Bananas1 small18.5g0.9g0.2g
Pineapples1/2 cup18g1g0g
Papaya 1 small15g0.9g0.2g
Apples1 medium22g0g0g
Oranges1 medium17g1g0.3g
Grapes1 cup27g1g0g
Mangos1 medium50g3g1g
Tangerines1 medium12g1g0g
All Fruit Juices1 cup orange juice26g2g0g
Dried Fruits1 cup57g3g0g

Berries are lower in sugar than other fruits. One-half cup of berries has a low enough carb content it can easily join in on very low carb diets.
Keto-Friendly Fruits

Some good choices include fresh cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. 

Fresh olives are technically considered fruits.

One cup of olives contains 5 grams of total carbs with 4 grams of fiber.

With just one gram of net carbs per serving, olives are a good snack to incorporate in a high-fat diet. 

6. Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are very nutritious foods that are excellent sources of nutrients including fiber and protein.

Unfortunately despite being high in fiber a one-cup serving of most beans and legumes contains plenty of net carbs. 

You must avoid foods including kidney beans, black beans, lentils, and peas.

You might possibly include small quantities of these types of foods in your keto diet if you possibly can tolerate them.

Try small servings of chickpeas, hummus, peanuts, whole soybeans, or fermented soy products like tofu or tempeh.

Beans and LegumesServingCarbsProteinFat
Kidney Beans1/2 cup18.5g7g0.75g
Chickpeas1/2 cup20g6g2g
Black Beans1/2 cup23g7g0.5g
Lentils1/2 cup19g8g0g
Green Peas1/2 cup14g4g0g
Lima Beans1/2 cup19g6g0g
Pinto Beans1/2 cup20g7g0g
White Beans1/2 cup18g6g0.5g
Fava Beans1/2 cup17g6g0g
Black Eyed Peas1/2 cup14g2g0g

For dishes like chili, try replacing beans with extra ground beef or non-starchy veggies like zucchini and cauliflower.What to Eat Instead

Chilis and soups are great places to mix a tiny bit of onion into your meals as well.

Instead of eating crackers with hummus, eat a tiny bit of peanut butter with chopped bell peppers.

Another idea is to combine low-carb foods like cucumbers and full-fat cottage cheese or sour cream. 

7. Sugar-Filled Condiments

Condiments may add plenty of flavor to your food but many contain lots of sugar. When eaten large quantities they will kick you out of ketosis. 

Condiments to limit or avoid include ketchup, honey mustard dipping sauce, barbecue sauce, and jelly or jams.

Many commercial low-fat and fat-free salad dressings contain far more carbs than you might expect and should be limited too. 

Check nutrition labels and avoid any dressings that contain 10 or more grams of carbs per serving.

Low-Carb Condiments

Try using condiments such as mayonnaise, mustard, guacamole, or salsa to add flavor to your food. You may want to try using virgin olive oil and butter to add flavor. 

The easiest way to add taste to keto foods without adding extra calories is to use sodium-free spices like black pepper, basil, oregano, and ginger. 

8. Conventional Desserts

Everyone loves a sweet treat once in a while. However, most conventional desserts are so loaded with sugar that even a small serving will ruin your keto diet.

Foods to avoid include ice cream, cake, cupcakes, candy bars, donuts, and smoothies.

Low Carbohydrate Sweets

Dark chocolate is packed full of antioxidants. A small square is a terrific way to treat yourself after a meal. 

Make sure you limit yourself to just one small piece of dark chocolate and choose a brand for a minimum of 75% cocoa content.

Check the ingredient label to make sure it is not packed full of added sugar.

Berries may also be helpful satisfy a craving for sweets after a meal.

One-half cup of naturally sweet blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries integrate any keto diet food list. 

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