Embarking on a keto diet is a journey of discovery, not just about what you can eat but also about what you should avoid. I recall my early days of keto, navigating through a sea of dietary advice.

Learning about keto can be a journey, and I’m here to help you understand some foods to avoid on this low-carb diet.

Understanding the Keto Diet

The keto diet focuses on high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrates, aiming to shift your body into ketosis.

When carbs are limited, your body goes into ketosis. This helps you burn fat, but you must strictly limit carbs to get there. Sometimes, careful dieters may miss the hidden carbs in seemingly healthy foods.

While it’s evident that bread, pasta, and sugary treats are off-limits on keto, other culprits might surprise you. Let’s dive into the surprising foods that could hinder this process.

1. Most Fruits

While many fruits are packed with vitamins and fibre, they can be deceptive regarding sugar content.

Bananas, often considered light snacks, are examples of fruits that could sabotage a keto regimen due to their high sugar levels. A banana can contain up to 27 grams of carbs, more than the daily allowance on some keto plans. So, it is one food to avoid on a keto diet. Apples and oranges, though rich in vitamins, follow the same high-carb pattern.

Opt for low-carb berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, which are lower in carbs and can be enjoyed in moderation.

2. Root Vegetables

Root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots are common in many diets but are surprisingly high in starches. A single medium potato contains about 37 grams of carbs, which exceeds the daily limit for most keto dieters and, thus, is one of the foods to avoid on a keto diet.

There are low-carb root vegetables like radish, onion and celery roots. However, selecting leafy greens like cauliflower and broccoli is essential to stay on track with your keto diet.

3. Sweetened Beverages

Soda is a no-go on keto, but other drinks like fruit juices, flavoured waters, and sports drinks can also be high in carbs because of added sugar. Even drinks labelled as “healthy” or “natural” might be misleading, so read the nutrition labels carefully to determine the carb content.

A single can of soda can contain up to 39 grams of sugar, equivalent to almost ten teaspoons. These drinks offer no nutritional value and can disrupt ketosis.

Instead, hydrate with water, herbal teas, or black coffee.

4. Whole Grains

Wheat, rice, oats, and bread are staples in many diets. Despite the health benefits of high fibre and vitamins, whole grains are high in carbohydrates. The carb content of these foods can disrupt the delicate balance of ketosis.

One slice of whole wheat bread contains about 17 grams of carbs. Regardless of their whole status, grains should be avoided for those strictly following a keto diet.

Explore keto-friendly bread alternatives made from almond or coconut flour for a better fit.

5. Legumes

Beans and lentils are excellent protein and fibre sources, yet their carbohydrate density can make them unsuitable for a keto diet.

For instance, a cup of cooked lentils has about 40 grams of carbs, which is high for a low-carb diet.

Instead of these legumes, source your protein from meats, fish, and eggs, which are virtually carb-free and keto-friendly.

6. Low-fat or Fat-free Dairy

While dairy is a staple in the keto diet, low-fat versions can be misleading. Manufacturers often add sugar to low-fat dairy products to enhance flavour, increasing the carb content.

Full-fat dairy, like cheese and heavy cream, is a better choice, offering healthy fats with lower carb counts.

7. Wine, Beer and spirit

Alcoholic beverages, particularly beers and sweet wines, are rich in carbohydrates.

A glass of sweet wine can contain up to 14 grams of carbs.

Choose dry wines, spirits, and low-carb beers wisely, but don’t overdo it. Alcohol can interfere with ketosis and slow down your weight loss.

8. Sauces and Dressings

Many store-bought sauces and dressings have a lot of sugar and cornstarch, which can add unwanted carbs to your meals. One tablespoon of ketchup can contain around 4 grams of carbs.

Opting for homemade dressings with olive oil and vinegar can help keep your salad keto-compliant.

9. Sweeteners

Refined sugar is a clear no-go on keto, but some artificial sweeteners can also be problematic. They can cause sugar cravings and disrupt ketosis.

Natural sweeteners like stevia and erythritol are better choices, as they have minimal effects on blood sugar and carb count.

10. Processed Foods

Processed foods, even those labelled “low-fat” or “healthy,” often contain hidden sugars and carbs.

Always read labels carefully and opt for whole, unprocessed foods to control your carb intake.

11. Nuts That Are Not Keto-Friendly

While nuts are an excellent source of fats, some, like cashews, are surprisingly high in carbohydrates. Cashews contain around 27 grams of carbs per 100-gram serving, which could quickly exceed daily carb limits.

Almonds and macadamias are lower-carb options more suitable for a keto diet.

The Bottom Line

Understanding and recognizing hidden carbs in common foods is crucial for achieving the desired outcomes of a keto diet.

Many foods, under the guise of being healthy or low in fat, can contain enough carbohydrates to stall progress.

Therefore, you need to be careful when reading food labels. It’s important to understand the information so you can make healthy choices.

Remember, knowledge and mindful eating are key to your success on this journey.

11 Surprising Foods to Avoid on a Keto Diet