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Foods to Avoid on a Ketogenic Diet

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

Imagine this:

You started keto two weeks ago and aren’t seeing any results. You went to your sister’s baby shower and didn’t eat any cake. You had even gone to your company’s holiday party and didn’t eat any of the mac-and-cheese. All the online forums say you should have reached ketosis by now, but nothing seems to be working?

Well there is a chance that you’ve been accidentally consuming the wrong things. Sadly, there are some healthy-looking foods that are truly just carbohydrate bombs. Not every vegetable is built the same and fruits have sadly left your daily intake.  

In this article, we will be going over which foods to avoid while on keto, and some substitutes that you can eat instead. Let’s begin!

Things to Avoid While on Keto

Keto is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein dietary regimen. However, it can be challenging at times to decipher what are carbs on food labels or even know which foods are considered carbs when going keto.

Anything That Grows Underground 

Yes, all those vegetables are included. The things that grow underground tend to be more starchy and full of carbohydrates. They include: 
  • Carrots 
  • Potatoes (all colors and all types)
  • Beets
  • Yams 

Watch out for pre-made foods. When you aren’t the one cooking, you don’t know what’s in there. Many dishes use starchy vegetables as a base!

Try aiming towards green, leafy and vegetables. Those tend to be high in fiber and low in carbs -- the perfect mix for keto! Aim to pack as many of your daily carbs with high-fiber vegetables for healthy digestion and elimination

Here are some great leafy green and cruciferous vegetables you should be eating: 

  • Spinach 
  • Kale 
  • Collard Greens
  • Brussel Sprouts 
  • Sprouting Broccoli 
  • Cabbage 
  • Cauliflower 

    Fruits

    Most sweet things should be avoided on a Ketogenic meal plan. While some fruits aren’t super sweet, you should likely avoid or greatly reduce consumption of those too. Some examples include: 

    • Apples 
    • Grapes
    • Peaches 
    • Mangos
    • Tomatoes 
    • Bananas 
    • Pineapples 
    • Dried Fruits: dates, prunes, raisins
    Berries are an exception. They are low in carbs and high in fiber. Regardless, beware that they still do have net carbs so eat in moderation. 
    • Blackberries (10 grams of total carbs, 5 grams of net carbs) 
    • Raspberries (6 grams of net carbs, 12 grams of total carbs) 
    • Strawberries (6 grams of net carbs, 8 grams of total carbs)
    • Blueberries (12 grams of net carbs, 14 grams of total carbs)

    Grains 

    Grains are everywhere! From commercials to just walking around town, we are constantly being pushed towards foods that have grains in them. As a result, grains are in a lot of the things we eat normally. This section may be the hardest to avoid, especially when you are eating out, but we believe in you! Here are the most pervasive of the bunch
    • Oats
    • Rye
    • Corn Meal
    • Wheat
    • Rice
    • Barley 
    • Quinoa (which is actually a seed)
    • Buckwheat 

    We do not tend to eat these grains by themselves. These alternative grains can come in processed forms such as:

    • Bread 
    • Noodles 
    • Pastas 
    • Tortillas (flour and corn)
    • Bagels 
    • Donuts

    Pro Tip: You can always ask for a dish sans bread. One of our favorite things to do in a pinch is to order a burger but hold the bun and ketchup. Ask for mayo (eggs & oil) or guacamole instead

    You can find keto-friendly bread and pastry recipes online. Some flour substitutes you can use in moderation are: 

    • Almond Flour
    • Coconut Flour 
    • Flax Meal
    • Psyllium Meal

    Processed Meats

    Avoid meats that have been processed as they are often lathered with various fillers and binding agents, sugars and/or flours. These can include: 

    • Processed meats and other cold cuts
    • Breaded meats 
    • Meats with added sugars (Be sure to check ingredients and nutrition labels)

    However, other high-quality, 100% grass-fed/finished meats and pasture raised eggs and poultry are recommended. Your body requires protein for building, repairing and healing all bodily tissues as well as for hormone and enzyme productionThese include:

    • Beef 
    • Pork
    • Fish (especially fatty fish like Wild Alaskan salmon and sardines
    • Chicken 
    • Eggs 
    • Organic Tempeh & Tofu

      Legumes and Nuts 

      This one is a surprise to many. While they are high in protein, they are often also high in carbs. Not the best for keto. In fact, beans also have lectins which are not great for nutrient absorption and can irritate the gut. Some culprits include:

      • Black Beans 
      • Lima Beans 
      • Pinto Beans 
      • Lentils 
      • Green Peas 
      • Kidney Beans 
      • Chickpeas 
      • Cashews (high-carb nut)
      • Pistachios 

      Some nuts are ok, but must be eaten in moderation. Be aware because it is very easy to eat nuts past satiety. They can be addicting! Some nuts that are lower in carbs are:

      • Macadamia Nuts 
      • Pecans 
      • Hazelnut 
      • Walnut
      • Pili
      • Almonds

      Dairy 

      Dairy is not something to avoid, but we recommend eating it in moderation. It is naturally low in carbs, but the flavored versions, not so much. Plus dairy in large quantities can trigger inflammation in the body, so enjoy, but pace yourself. Try to limit your intake of:

      • Milks (and condensed milks) 
      • Full fat cheeses 
      • Full fat or 4% yogurts 

      When consuming dairy, aim for full-fat options. Full-fat cheeses, milk, and yogurt are great for getting your daily fat intake. We highly recommend trying some coconut yogurts and milk to keep your dairy intake in check. One of our favorite brands of yogurt is CoYo.

      Sweetened Drinks 

      Juices tend to be packed in sugar. Drinks to avoid would include:

      • Fruit Juices 
      • Sodas 
      • Sweetened Coffees 
      • Sweet Tea
      • Sweetened Cocktails (margaritas, pina coladas) 
      • Other sweetened drinks Like Red Bull and most sports drinks

      Some Sugar-free drinks are ok for keto but avoid ones sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose. These chemical sweeteners interfere with your healthy gut bacteria. As keto becomes more popular, there are many more options. 

      Some other drinks that maintain ketosis are: 

      • Coffee (with no sugar; feel free to add butter and coconut oil for “bulletproof coffee”)
      • Teas (without sugar, or with sugar-free sweeteners) 
      • Water (the absolute healthiest alternative)
      • Seltzer and Sparkling waters
      • Broths (bone broth is very satisfying and full of nutrients)

      Desserts

      Last but not least, we have dessert. This list will likely be the longest because if it’s sweet, it’s likely full of sugar. However, we do have some delicious keto-friendly options for you, so hang tight!

      Some examples of desserts to avoid:

      • Cakes 
      • Chocolate 
      • Pastries 
      • Tarts 
      • Pies 
      • Ice cream 
      • Frozen Yogurt 
      • Cookies 
      • Puddings 
      • Custards 
      • Candies 
      • Fudge
      • Jams and Jellies 

      Some yummy snacks you CAN consumer during keto include: 

      • Keto Snaps (comes in three deliciously satisfying flavors!) 
      • Extreme dark chocolate or stevia sweetened chocolates
      • Have fun with the plethora of keto-friendly dessert recipes online.

      Overview

      So there we go! We’ve listed things to avoid, but be aware that everyone’s body is different. There are many different approaches to keto. Some might be going into it more intensely than others, a more therapeutic deep-healing fast, while others are just concerned with weight loss. Just be aware of your macronutrients and what your own personal goals are!

      For some, eating a chocolate chip will have little to no effect, while for others, it may be the tipping point out of ketosis. We advocate to eat healthily, and exercise, for an optimal keto experience!

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