Going keto means saying goodbye to carbs and hello to fats. But not all fats are created equal. There are some high-fat foods that can actually kick you out of ketosis.
In this complete guide, you’ll learn which keto foods to avoid and find a printable keto grocery list. Ready to level up your low-carb lifestyle? Let’s dive in.
What is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
When you severely restrict carbs to under 50 grams per day, your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs. Ketosis causes fast weight loss and provides other health benefits like lower blood sugar.
To get into ketosis and stay there, it’s crucial to avoid foods that are high in carbs or spike blood sugar. Even “healthy” foods could stall your keto progress.
That’s why it’s important to know which foods to restrict or avoid on keto. Let’s look at why that matters.
Why Avoid Certain Foods on Keto?
On keto, carbs are limited to under 50 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per day. This carb restriction kickstarts ketosis.
Consuming too many carbs or foods that rapidly spike blood sugar can quickly take your body out of fat-burning mode.
Here’s why it matters:
- Prevents getting kicked out of ketosis – Excess carbs or sugary foods rapidly raise blood sugar and insulin, pausing ketone production.
- Avoids cravings and hunger – Highly processed carbs and sweets cause blood sugar crashes and hunger. Healthy fats and protein provide satiety.
- Accelerates weight loss – Lowering carbs and insulin levels boosts fat burning. Spiking blood sugar stalls weight loss.
Now let’s look at the top 9 keto foods you should restrict or avoid altogether.
9 Foods to Avoid on Keto
To stay in ketosis, pay close attention to nutrition labels and ingredients. Avoid these high-carb foods on keto:
1. Bread, Pasta, Rice, and Grains
Bread, cereal, pasta, rice and grains are very high in carbs. Just a small serving of these foods could max out your daily carb limit on keto.
Avoid foods made with wheat, rice, oats, corn, barley, millet, buckwheat or rye. Here are carb counts for common grain foods:
- 1 slice of bread: 15 grams of net carbs
- 1 cup cooked rice: 45 grams of net carbs
- 1 cup cooked pasta: 40 grams of net carbs
- 1⁄2 cup cooked oatmeal: 27 grams of net carbs
Look for low-carb swap ideas like cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, and lettuce wraps. Limit grain foods to occasional small servings of sprouted or sourdough bread.
2. Starchy Vegetables
Many veggies contain high amounts of carbs in the form of starch.
Go easy on starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, corn, and peas. Try these lower-carb veggie options instead:
- Broccoli, spinach, kale, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, etc.
3. Beans and Legumes
All types of beans including black beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), kidney beans, pinto beans, and navy beans are very high carb.
- 1 cup cooked beans or lentils: around 40 grams of net carbs
Stick to low-carb veggies and limit legumes to occasional 1⁄4 cup servings.
4. Low-Fat or Diet Products
Low-fat and diet products like yogurt, salad dressing, condiments, and protein bars often contain added sugars or corn syrup.
Always check labels for sneaky sugar alcohols like malitol that may affect ketosis. Limit low-fat products and buy full-fat dairy instead.
5. Some Fruits
Some fruits are lower in sugar and can be eaten in moderation on keto. Berries, avocados, tomatoes and citrus fruits fit better into keto meal plans.
Avoid sweeter fruits like bananas, grapes, apples, mangos, pears, pineapple, and pomegranate. Dried fruit is extra concentrated in sugar.
6. Sugary Foods
Avoid carb-heavy desserts and sweets like:
- Cakes, cookies, pie, ice cream, and frozen yogurt
- Candy, chocolate, and sweetened beverages
- Sugary sauces, salad dressings, ketchup, and sweet tea
Skip the sugar and opt for naturally sweet keto desserts using stevia, erythritol or monk fruit instead.
Most forms of alcohol contain carbs and should be minimized. Dry wines and pure forms of alcohol like whiskey contain the least carbs:
- 5oz dry red or white wine: 3-4 grams of carbs
- 1.5oz liquor shot: 0 grams carbs
- 12oz regular beer: 10-15 grams carbs
Limit alcohol intake to occasional small servings. Avoid mixed drinks, beer, and sweet wine.
8. Processed Meats
Deli meats, sausages, hot dogs, and bacon can contain added sugars and unhealthy oils. Read labels and opt for no sugar added and uncured when possible.
9. Seed and Vegetable Oils
Processed seed oils like canola, soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils can provoke inflammation. Stick to heart-healthy cooking oils like olive oil and avocado oil on keto.
Now you know which common foods to limit or avoid on the ketogenic diet. Next, let’s look at the biggest keto diet mistakes.
3 Biggest Keto Mistakes to Avoid
Aside from restricting carbs, there are a couple of other important guidelines to follow for keto success:
1. Eating Too Many Carbs
Stay under 50 grams of net carbs daily to maintain ketosis. Track your macros and carbs diligently, especially when starting out. Consider an app to make it easy.
2. Not Enough Healthy Fats
Don’t skimp on beneficial fats which help fuel ketosis. Aim for 70-80% of calories from fat. Sources include olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut, fatty fish, eggs, and full-fat dairy.
3. Overdoing Protein
Too much protein can hinder ketosis. Aim for 20-25% of calories from protein. Use fat to feel satisfied, not excessive protein.
Now let’s look at some healthy foods to focus on while grocery shopping for keto.
Printable Keto Grocery Shopping List
Print this keto grocery list to take the guesswork out of shopping:
Proteins and Fats:
- Eggs and egg whites
- Grass-fed beef, bison, and liver
- Wild-caught fish (salmon, trout, tuna)
- Chicken and turkey
- Bacon, beef, and turkey sausage (no sugar added)
- Natural nut butter
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, macadamia and sunflower seeds
- Olives and avocados
- Coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil
- Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and lettuce
- Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts
- Asparagus, green beans, cucumbers, celery
- Tomatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers
- Zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant
Dairy and Cheese:
- Full-fat milk, cream, butter, and cream cheese
- Full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- All kinds of cheese especially cheddar, mozzarella, and feta
Herbs, Spices, and Condiments:
- Sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
- Mustard, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar
- No sugar added ketchup and mayo
- Stevia, erythritol, monk fruit
- Plain water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea
- Coffee, almond milk, unsweetened nut milk
- Diet soda (in moderation)
What are some low-carb breakfast ideas for keto?
Here are some delicious keto-friendly breakfast ideas:
- Eggs cooked in olive oil or butter with veggies
- Omelet with cheese, spinach, mushrooms, avocado
- Baked egg in avocado
- Chia pudding made with coconut or almond milk
- Leftover cauliflower rice stir-fried with eggs
- Turkey bacon or breakfast sausage with sliced tomatoes
- Smoked salmon and sliced cucumbers
- Cereal made with unsweetened nut milk and chia seeds
- Blender smoothie with avocado, coconut milk, and protein powder
What are good snacks to eat on the keto diet?
Try these tasty keto snack ideas:
- Celery sticks with nut butter
- Olives, pickles, and cheeses
- Cherry tomatoes with cream cheese and everything bagel seasoning
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Deli turkey roll-ups with mustard
- A few berries with whipped cream
- Nut butter-stuffed celery sticks
- Tuna salad in cucumber slices
- Small portions of nuts and seeds
- Pork rinds and guacamole
- Keto yogurt with coconut and walnuts
What are some keto lunch and dinner ideas?
Keto-friendly proteins and vegetables make delicious lunches and dinners. Try these ideas:
- Tuna or egg salad over greens
- Leftover chicken and veggies
- Wraps made with lettuce leaves
- Italian sub salad with deli meat, cheese, and veggies
- Taco salad with ground beef
- Chicken Caesar salad
- Zucchini noodle bowl with chicken and veggies
- Grass-fed burgers (no bun) with veggies
- Grilled salmon and steamed broccoli
- Chicken thighs with roasted cauliflower
- Zucchini lasagna with meat sauce
- Steak with creamed spinach
- Fajita bowl with chicken, veggies, guac, and salsa
- Turkey meatloaf with mashed cauliflower
What are some keto vegetable recipe ideas?
These tasty keto-friendly veggie sides go great with any protein:
- Garlic butter green beans
- Creamed spinach gratin
- Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon
- Loaded cauliflower mash
- Zucchini noodles with pesto
- Asparagus with hollandaise sauce
- Cheesy broccoli casserole
- Spaghetti squash boats with meatballs
- Roasted radishes with herb butter
- Sautéed cabbage steaks
What are some easy keto dessert recipes?
You can make delicious low-carb desserts using keto ingredients:
- Chocolate mug cake
- Cheesecake mousse
- Chia pudding
- No-bake peanut butter balls
- Mixed berry salad with whipped cream
- Low-carb pumpkin pie
- Dark chocolate avocado mousse
- Fat bombs made with chocolate and coconut
- Walnut brownies
- Peanut butter protein shake
What are the best keto substitutes for high-carb foods?
Use these clever low-carb subs to recreate high-carb favorites:
- Cauliflower rice instead of rice
- Zucchini noodles instead of pasta
- Lettuce leaves instead of taco shells or wraps
- Portobello mushroom pizza crust
- Whipped cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes
- Ground turkey instead of ground beef
- Shirataki noodles instead of ramen
- Stevia and erythritol instead of sugar
Read also: 10 Simple Low Carb Lunches To Go
What are the best nuts to eat on keto?
Macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and almonds are all keto-friendly. Measure portions and track carbs.
What fruits can you eat on the keto diet?
Berries are the best fruits for keto. Examples include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Be mindful of portions.
Can you eat peanut butter on keto?
Yes, natural peanut butter can fit into a keto diet in small portions, just watch the carb count. Stick to natural peanut butter without added sugar.
What sweeteners are best for keto baking?
Good keto-friendly sweetener options include stevia, monk fruit, erythritol, and sucralose (Splenda). Avoid maltitol and high-fructose sweeteners.
Can you eat cheese on the keto diet?
Yes! High-fat cheeses are perfectly keto-friendly. Opt for full-fat, low-carb cheeses like cheddar, feta, mozzarella, Swiss, Parmesan, and cream cheese.
How long does it take to get into ketosis?
It typically takes 2-5 days of strictly limiting carbs under 20-50g per day to enter ketosis. Ketone blood meter strips can confirm. Stay patient, hydrate, and reduce carb intake.
What are signs you’re in ketosis?
Signs of ketosis include bad breath, increased thirst and urination, reduced appetite, nausea, and rapid weight loss from water loss. Using ketosis or a breath meter provides the most accurate results.
Is keto safe long-term?
Yes, keto appears safe for most healthy adults long term. But it’s best to discuss keto with your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition or take medications. Make sure to eat a nutrient-dense keto diet.
How often can you cheat on keto?
It’s best to avoid cheat meals, especially at first. But occasionally having a higher carb day may boost metabolism once adapted to keto. Keep cheat meals small with carbs under 100g and get right back into ketosis after.
Can you build muscle on keto?
Yes, it’s definitely possible to build muscle mass and strength training on the ketogenic diet. Make sure to eat enough protein (0.7-1g per pound of lean mass) and calories.
Is keto safe for type 2 diabetes?
Yes, research shows keto can reverse and potentially cure type 2 diabetes due to very low carb intake and lower insulin needs. But it’s essential to work with your doctor and monitor blood sugar closely.
The Takeaway: Avoid These Keto Foods for Success
Avoiding common pitfalls will help you stick to keto and reach your health goals faster. Steer clear of carb-heavy foods that can kick you out of ketosis.
Stick to low-carb proteins, healthy fats, and non-starchy veggies along with keto-friendly dairy foods. Drink plenty of water and watch your portions.
Refer to this keto grocery guide and meal plan suggestions to set yourself up for fat-burning success! Ketosis provides impressive benefits when you avoid the top keto diet mistakes.