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Foods To Avoid On Keto Diet: What Can’t You Eat On Keto


Our body needs the energy to work, which we obtain from carbohydrates. On the other hand, a keto or ketogenic diet is a very low carb, moderate proteins, and high-fat diet. The primary focus is to reduce the intake of carbohydrates.

In normal circumstances, our body converts carbs into sugars and uses them as a source of energy. However, in a keto diet, due to the absence of carbohydrates, the body might try to use ketones to obtain power from food, and your body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis.

In this state, the stored fats are used and converted into ketones, resulting in weight loss. In addition, Keto diets try to make your body incredibly efficient in burning fat.

One may believe that a keto diet might help you lose weight. It may be as effective as a low-fat diet. At the same time, others may think that the keto diet was even more beneficial for weight loss than a low-fat diet.

Another study shows that people suffering from type two diabetes might also significantly drop their blood sugar levels upon following a ketogenic diet.

The study shows that people following a keto diet witnessed better sugar management and a drop in sugar levels.

You may eat animal proteins, dairy and dairy alternatives, vegetables for weight loss, and other plant-based foods on a ketogenic diet. However, knowing what you cannot eat on a keto diet is equally significant.

avoid in keto

List Of Things That You Cannot Eat On Keto Diet

  1. Sugar

    Sugar should be avoided when you are on a keto diet. Sugar breaks down into glucose which is the energy source for your body.

    When the body lacks glucose, it enters the ketosis state where the stored fats are converted into ketones to obtain energy. If your body has a lot of glucose already available, it will not break down the fats to produce energy.

    Consuming sugar may restrict[1] your body from entering into the ketosis state. This is the reason why it is advisable not to consume sugar while you are observing a ketogenic diet.

  2. White Bread

    Any white bread available in the store is not keto-friendly. White bread is high in carbohydrates. Studies[2] show that just one slice or 27.3 grams of white bread contains 12 grams of carbohydrates.

    The availability of carbohydrates would prevent you from entering into a ketogenic state. This is because carbohydrates, which break down into glucose and fructose, are the major source of fuel for the body.

    The body would use up the energy obtained from carbohydrates and would not make ketones which is another kind of fuel from which the body acquires energy.

    Other starchy food items like pasta, rice, and other refined carbohydrate products are not advisable to be taken on a ketogenic diet.

  3. Juice

    Fruit juices are highly nutritious and packed with vitamins and minerals but they are not keto-friendly. Juices contain natural sugars which are not advisable to consume on a ketone diet.

    Juices take away all the fibers from the fruit. Fibers are necessary to slow down the release of glucose into the blood and they also help in digestion.

    Fibers control blood sugar levels. Since juices are low in their fiber contents, they might increase blood sugar levels.

    Studies[3] suggest that to obtain maximum benefits and maintain ketosis, it is crucial to avoid foods that are low in carbohydrates and fiber contents as they are associated with blood sugar level spikes.

  4. Honey

    Honey naturally contains sugar and is high in carbohydrate contents. Researchers have found out that just one tablespoon or 21 grams of honey contains 17 grams of carbs.

    Although honey with warm water is suggested for weight loss, however, the high amount of carbohydrates present in it prevents it from being included in keto-friendly food items.

    According to this study[4], honey contains a lot of antioxidants and other nutrients but it can cause a spike in blood sugar levels and flip you out of the state of ketosis.

  5. Bananas

    Bananas are known for their potassium contents and other nutrients present in them. However, they are not a great choice to be included in a ketogenic diet as they are dense in their carbohydrate contents.

    Studies[5] have shown that a single medium-sized banana contains 27 grams of carbohydrates. Bananas are low in fiber which gives another reason for not being included in keto diets.

    Instead of consuming bananas, you may alternatively have banana extracts which will give you the flavor of bananas and are low in carbs to fit into your keto diet plan.

  6. Beans And Legumes

    Black beans, lentils, and chickpeas are packed with vitamins and minerals but they also contain carbohydrates. Studies[6] have shown that 100 grams of black beans, lentils, and chickpeas contain 24 grams, 20 grams, and 27 grams of carbohydrates.

    The high carbohydrate content present in beans and legumes may provide glucose as an energy source to your body which might bring your body out of the state of ketosis.

    However, green beans and black soybeans are low in carbs. 100 grams of green beans have just 7 grams of carbs and 100 grams of black soybeans have 9 grams of carbs.

    Hence, they may be incorporated in small amounts into your diet as suggested by this study.

  7. Mangoes And Grapes

    Fruits like mango and grapes are delicious and the favorite of all! But they are high in carbohydrates which prevents them from being keto-friendly fruits.

    Studies[7] have shown that half a cup of 82.5 grams of mangoes contains 12 grams of carbs and 46 grams of grapes contains 8 grams of carbs.

    Although they cannot be included in a keto diet as they contain carbohydrates which may prevent you from entering the state of ketosis, mangoes and grapes contain a lot of vitamin C and other nutrients such as fibers.

    On a keto diet, you may consume fruits like strawberries, raspberries, starfruit, and coconut which are low in carbohydrates.

  8. Beer And Liquor

    Drinks like beer and liquors have meager nutritional value and are high in carbohydrates. Therefore, one should avoid them when you are on a keto diet.

    Hence, you could say that regular alcohol consumption might not help weight loss

    Studies[8] show that 356 milliliters of beer contain 13 grams of carbs. Similarly, one drink of 225 milliliters of vodka tonic, rum, cola, or margarita contains 15 grams, 18 grams, and 36 grams of carbs.

    Since alcohol-based drinks do not provide[9] any kind of nutrition, it is better to avoid them. Instead, you may use the daily carbohydrates allowance by consuming nutrient-dense foods.

    Keto diets in the long term may lead to nutritional deficiencies. To prevent this, you must include nutrient-rich foods in your diet.

  9. Starchy Vegetables

    Starchy foods like potatoes and peas should be avoided on a keto diet. Potatoes are a great source of potassium but they are richly packed with carbs as well.

    Starchy foods might prevent[10] your body to enter into the ketosis state. Cauliflower can be a good alternative to potatoes. Brocolli is another good alternative instead of starchy foods.

    Similarly, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cucumber are good options that can be included in your keto diet plan.

  10. Sweetened Dairy Products

    Fat becomes an essential part of your ketogenic diet. However, these fats should not be accompanied by carbohydrates. Sweetened yogurt is a common dairy product that is widely consumed.

    It contains artificial sugars which would flip you out of the ketosis state. Studies[11] have shown that one cup or 244 milliliters of whole milk contains 11 grams of carbohydrates.

    Alternatively, the same amount of almond oil has just 3 grams of carbs. Therefore, it is better[12] to use almond oil instead of whole milk.

    Full-fat yogurt and cottage cheese can easily fit into your keto diet chart. 85 grams of unsweetened coconut milk has 16.5 grams of fats and 7.5 grams of carbohydrates as shown by research[13]. This makes it a keto-friendly food item.

The Essence

Keto diets are low carb, high fat, and moderate protein diets. It has several benefits[14] such as it can promote weight loss, may promote heart health, may protect brain functions, and might help in managing blood sugar levels.

However, one must take care of meeting the nutritional elements essential for the body to avoid deficiencies. Cheese, avocados, poultry, eggs, fish, and other seafood are some of the foods which you can consume on a keto diet.

To cut carbs from your diet, you must avoid food items like chocolates, sugary sodas, ketchup, honey baked ham including all the above-mentioned foods.

+14 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Andrea Mario Bolla, Amelia Caretto, Andrea Laurenzi, et al. Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Nutrients. 2019 May; 11(5): 962.Published online 2019 Apr 26. doi: 10.3390/nu11050962
  2. Luis Serra-Majem, Inmaculada Bautista-Castaño Relationship between bread and obesity Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113 Suppl 2:S29-35. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514003249. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26148919/
  3. Antonio Paoli, Gerardo Bosco, Enrico M. Camporesi, et al. Ketosis, ketogenic diet and food intake control: a complex relationship
    Front Psychol. 2015; 6: 27. Published online 2015 Feb 2. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00027
  4. Honey FDC Published:4/1/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169640/nutrients
  5. Bananas, raw FDC Published:4/1/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173944/nutrients
  6. Green beans, fresh, cooked with oil FDC Published:10/30/2020 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103443/nutrients
  7. Grapes, american type (slip skin), raw FDC Published:4/1/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174682/nutrients
  8. Alcoholic beverage, beer, regular, all FDC Published:4/1/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168746/nutrients
  9. Gregory Traversy and Jean-Philippe Chaput Alcohol Consumption and Obesity: An Update Curr Obes Rep. 2015; 4(1): 122–130. Published online 2015 Jan 8. doi: 10.1007/s13679-014-0129-4
  10. Weight loss and carbohydrates Reviewed on: 15-12-2020 Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/weight-loss-and-carbohydrates
  11. Milk, whole FDC Published:10/30/2020 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1097512/nutrients
  12. Beverages, almond milk, unsweetened, shelf stable FDC Published:4/1/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174832/nutrients
  13. PLAIN COCONUT MILK YOGURT ALTERNATIVE, PLAIN Modified Date:5/15/2019 Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1889653/nutrients
  14. Wajeed Masood; Pavan Annamaraju; Kalyan R. Uppaluri. Ketogenic Diet Last Update: November 26, 2021. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/

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