What Can't You Eat on Keto - Prohibited Foods Explained (2024)

The ketogenic diet is on hearing for its ability to facilitate weight loss and enhance overall well-being. The main objective of this diet is to transition the body's metabolism into a state that is called ketosis, where fat becomes the primary source of energy instead of carbohydrates.

In case you’re a newcomer in keto, you should be mindful of the foods that are strictly forbidden on this meal plan in order to successfully achieve and sustain ketosis. This article reveals ten foods that are not recommended on the keto diet and discusses the reasons why they should be avoided.

Understanding the Keto Diet

Before we explore restricted foods, let's briefly grasp the principles of the keto diet. The main objective of this diet, distinguished by high fat, modest protein as well as low carbohydrate intake, is to significantly reduce carb consumption. By limiting carb intake to approximately 20-50 grams per day, the body depletes its glycogen stores and shifts to breaking down fats into ketones, an alternative source of fuel. Consequently, the body enters a state of ketosis, which forms the basis of the ketogenic diet's effectiveness. This can be done by achieving a proper meal plan containing the right goods. At Ideal Nutrition, you can find flavorful keto meals boasting a diverse menu and ensuring a satisfying culinary experience while staying true to your ketogenic goals.

And here are the common foods that should be avoided.

10 Foods You Can’t Eat on the Keto Diet & Their Substitutes

1. Grains and Starches

What Can't You Eat on Keto - Prohibited Foods Explained (1)

One of the initial food categories to steer clear of on the keto diet is grains and starchy foods. Examples include wheat, rice, corn, and oats, which are rich in carbohydrates. These goods can have a notable impact on blood sugar levels and impede the body's ability to enter ketosis. By eliminating these high-carb staples from your diet, you enable your body to efficiently burn fat for energy instead of relying on glucose derived from carbohydrates.

Substitutes for Grains and Starches

  • Cauliflower rice. Substitute traditional rice with cauliflower rice, a nutritious alternative that is low in carbs. It serves as a versatile base for stir-fries, curries, and even keto-friendly sushi rolls.
  • Zucchini noodles (Zoodles). Replace traditional pasta with zucchini noodles to savor your beloved pasta dishes while avoiding excessive carbs. Zoodles can be lightly cooked or enjoyed raw in salads.

2. Sugary Foods and Sweets

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Sweet treats and sugary foods are a definite "no" when following a keto diet. Consuming candies, pastries, and sugary drinks leads to a quick rise in insulin levels. Elevated insulin levels hinder fat burning and encourage fat storage, making it hard to achieve and maintain ketosis. Avoiding these sugary temptations helps stabilize blood sugar levels and enhances your body's ability to burn fat.

Substitutes for Sugary Foods and Sweets

  • Stevia or erythritol. Incorporate natural sweeteners such as stevia or erythritol into your keto baking and cooking. These sweeteners have minimal effect on blood sugar levels and can satisfy your cravings for sweetness without disrupting your ketosis.
  • Dark chocolate. Pick dark chocolate with at least of 70% cocoa content and low sugar. It can be a delightful indulgence in moderation and provides numerous health advantages.

3. High-Carb Fruits

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While fruits provide essential vitamins and antioxidants, some fruits have higher carbohydrate content. Bananas, grapes, and mangoes, for example, contain significant amounts of sugar and are not recommended for those following a keto diet.

Substitutes for High-Carb Fruits

  • Berries. Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and have a low carb content. Indulge in them moderately for a delightful and nutrient-packed treat.
  • Avocado. Avocado is a fruit that is compatible with the keto diet, as it contains beneficial fats and is low in carbs. It can be a flexible ingredient in salads, smoothies, and desserts.

4. Starchy Vegetables

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Vegetables are typically regarded as nutritious, although certain types contain higher levels of starch and carbohydrates. On the keto diet, you should restrict the consumption of starchy vegetables such as potatoes, yams, and corn.

Substitutes for Starchy Vegetables

  • Leafy greens. Spinach, kale, arugula, and other leafy greens serve as top-notch substitutes for starchy vegetables. These nutrient-rich options are low in carbohydrates and offer a myriad of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower. These vegetables are rich in nutrients and can be incorporated into a range of keto-friendly recipes like casseroles and soups, making them a great addition to your low-carb diet.

5. Legumes and Beans

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Beans and legumes receive accolades for their protein and fiber content, yet they also contain a considerable amount of carbohydrates. Lentils, chickpeas, and black beans, among others, can potentially interrupt ketosis and cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels. For a strict keto diet, completely abstain from consuming legumes and beans.

Substitutes for Legumes and Beans

  • Nuts and seeds. Almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds are excellent sources of healthy fats and protein. They can be enjoyed as snacks or used as toppings in ketogenic recipes.
  • Coconut flour. To reduce the carbohydrate content of your beloved recipes, consider using coconut flour as a substitute for conventional flours when baking. This change can help keep your creations healthier and more suitable for your dietary needs.

6. Processed Foods with Hidden Carbs

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Processed foods are well-known for their concealed sugars and carbs, which can impede your keto progress. Foods like chips, pre-packaged snacks, and some convenience meals may appear low in carbs, but they frequently harbor covert sugar and starch sources. Be vigilant in reading food labels and opt for whole, unprocessed foods to stay on course with your keto adventure.

Substitutes for Processed Foods

  • Homemade snacks. Create your own low-carb snacks, such as kale chips, cheese crisps, or nut blends. By doing so, you can have full control over the ingredients and ensure they align with your daily carb limit.

7. Alcohol and co*cktails

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Alcohol consumption presents a distinct challenge when following the keto diet. While certain alcoholic beverages contain minimal carbohydrates, the body prioritizes metabolizing alcohol over fats, which can delay or halt ketosis. co*cktails that are mixed with sugary syrups or sodas can result in a significant intake of carbs. Exercise moderation if you decide to consume alcohol while on a keto diet, and pick low-carb options.

Substitutes for Alcohol and co*cktails

  • Spirits with low-carb mixers. Select spirits such as vodka, gin, or tequila and combine them with sugar-free alternatives like soda water, sparkling water, or diet tonic.

8. High-Carb Sauces and Condiments

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Many seasonings contain sugars and starches that can quickly add up and disrupt ketosis. Examples of condiments to avoid include ketchup, BBQ sauce, and sweet dressings.

Substitutes for High-Carb Sauces and Condiments

  • Olive oil. Use olive oil as a foundation for dressings and sauces. It serves as a fantastic provider of nutritious fats while imparting a delightful taste to your keto dishes.
  • Mustard. Mustard is a condiment with low carbohydrate content, which adds a tangy flavor to sandwiches and salads in a delightful way.

9. Trans Fats and Hydrogenated Oils

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Partially hydrogenated oils, which commonly contain trans fats, bring negative effects on heart health and can contribute to inflammation. While there is no direct link between trans fats and ketosis, it is better to avoid them in order to promote overall health while following a keto diet. To support your body's optimal functioning, steer clear of margarine and processed foods that contain hydrogenated oils.

Substitutes for Trans Fats and Oils

  • Healthy fats. Choose natural sources of healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts. These fats promote ketosis and enhance overall wellness.

10. Low-Fat and Diet Products

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While low-fat and diet items are advertised as nutritious choices, they frequently include extra sugars and artificial sweeteners to alter the absence of fat. The consumption of these products might impede your progress on the keto diet by raising your carbohydrate intake.

Substitutes for Low-Fat and Diet Products

  • Full-fat dairy. Opt for full-fat versions of dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and heavy cream. These choices are lower in carbohydrates and provide greater satisfaction compared to their low-fat alternatives.
  • Grass-fed meat. Savor the goodness of grass-fed meats, rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and free from any added hormones or antibiotics.


Maintaining a successful keto diet requires a solid understanding of the foods to avoid. By staying away from grains, sugary foods, high-carb fruits, and starchy vegetables, you set yourself up for a smoother transition into ketosis. Additionally, steer clear of processed foods, alcohol, and condiments that may contain hidden carbs. This wise approach helps you stay on track with your keto goals while promoting overall health. Embrace a balanced approach to the keto diet, and soon you'll experience the benefits of increased energy, weight loss, and overall health state.

What Can't You Eat on Keto - Prohibited Foods Explained (2024)


What Can't You Eat on Keto - Prohibited Foods Explained? ›

By staying away from grains, sugary foods, high-carb fruits, and starchy vegetables, you set yourself up for a smoother transition into ketosis. Additionally, steer clear of processed foods, alcohol, and condiments that may contain hidden carbs.

What foods can't you eat on a keto diet? ›

When following the diet, avoid high carb foods like dried fruits, refined carbs, sweet sauces, and reduced fat diet foods. These can provide too many carbs or not enough fat and inhibit ketosis. Also, limit your portions of healthy, higher carb fruits, vegetables, and grains.

What restrictions are given about when to eat on a keto diet? ›

Incorporate intermittent fasting aka limiting your food consumption to an 8 hour window. This will allow you to get to ketosis faster. According to Healthline it typically takes around 2-4 days to reach ketosis. However, for some people it can take more than a week.

What is restricted in keto? ›

The keto diet excludes carb-rich foods like grains, beans, fruits and starchy vegetables. 20 percent of calories from protein, such as meat, eggs and cheese. 75 percent of calories from fat, such as oils, unprocessed nuts, butter and avocado.

What foods will not kick you out of ketosis? ›

  • What is the keto diet?
  • Foods you can eat on the keto diet.
  • Fish and seafood.
  • Meat and poultry.
  • Non-starchy vegetables.
  • Avocados.
  • Berries.
  • Nuts and seeds.
Mar 24, 2024

What foods can you eat unlimited amounts of on keto? ›

What you can eat on a keto diet: Get ready for a whole lot of fat, some protein and just about zero carbs throughout your day. Keto-approved fridges and pantries include meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, nuts, fats and oils and some veggies that grow above ground.

What veggies are not keto? ›

Vegetables to avoid in a keto diet
VegetableCarbs per 100 g
sweetcorn5.31 g
potatoes20.45 g
sweet potatoes16.82 g
beets9.56 g
3 more rows
Apr 28, 2021

What are the strict rules of a keto diet? ›

Following a ketogenic diet is the most effective way to enter ketosis. Generally, this involves limiting carb consumption to around 20 to 50 grams per day and filling up on fats, such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and healthy oils ( 6 ). It's also important to moderate your protein consumption.

Can you eat cheese on keto? ›

You can eat high fat foods like cheese on the Keto diet. Cheddar, Gouda, goat cheese, and blue cheese are the best to consider. Cheese to avoid on Keto are cottage cheese and low fat and processed varieties.

What foods have no carbs? ›

Food and drinks allowed on a no-carb diet include meat, fish, eggs, cheese, butter, oils, water, and plain coffee or tea. If you're less stringent, you can also eat nuts, seeds, non-starchy vegetables, and high fat fruits like avocado and coconut since these foods are low in net carbs.

What vegetables have no carbs? ›

A. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, celery, iceberg lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes contain very few or almost no carbohydrates. The carbohydrate count ranges from 2.97 to 3.89 grams. One cup of raw kale contains 0.9 g of carbohydrates (0% DV), making it a low-carb option.

What foods are banned keto? ›

By staying away from grains, sugary foods, high-carb fruits, and starchy vegetables, you set yourself up for a smoother transition into ketosis. Additionally, steer clear of processed foods, alcohol, and condiments that may contain hidden carbs.

What are big mistakes on keto? ›

Eating too much protein and not enough fats

Proteins as well can cause insulin spikes when over-consumed. The only macronutrient that doesn't spike insulin is pure fat. For this reason, you need to be adhering to very specific fat/carb/protein ratios when following a Keto Diet.

What are 5 bad things about keto diet? ›

The keto diet could cause low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies and an increased risk of heart disease. Strict diets like keto could also cause social isolation or disordered eating. Keto is not safe for those with any conditions involving their pancreas, liver, thyroid or gallbladder.

What junk food is keto-friendly? ›

Here are 9 fast-food options that you can enjoy on a ketogenic diet.
  • Bunless Burgers. Share on Pinterest. ...
  • Low-Carb Burrito Bowls. ...
  • Egg-Based Breakfasts. ...
  • Bunless Chicken Sandwich. ...
  • Low-Carb Salads. ...
  • Keto-Friendly Beverages. ...
  • Lettuce-Wrapped Burgers. ...
  • “Unwiches”
May 29, 2018

What is the number one worst carb? ›

1. Sugary Foods. Most people already think of many of the foods in this category as unhealthy treats. Candy, soft drinks, and sweet desserts such as cake, chocolate, and ice cream are all expected entries on a list of carbs to avoid to lose weight.

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