Just like on any diet, when first starting off on the ketogenic diet, it’s important to know what you can eat and cannot eat.
While there are plenty of delicious foods you can indulge in to your heart’s content, this article will focus on the foods you really want to steer clear of if you wish to keep your body in a state of ketosis.
Let’s Break it Down
One of the primary things you’ll notice about the keto diet is that, interestingly, your cravings will start to vanish. Our body naturally pines for specific foods due to the carbs found in them, so once you start to confine your carb consumption, these cravings will be a thing of the past.
So don’t feel too dejected if some of your favorite foods are on this list. The important thing to remember is that these foods can and will prevent your body from burning fat, which is the whole point of the ketogenic diet.
While the number varies depending on factors like age, weight, and height, you generally want to keep your net carb count within 20-30 grams per day, with protein making up around ~1.5g per pound of lean mass.
This may not seem like much, but it ultimately leads the body to produce less hunger signaling hormones, which, in turn, means consuming substantially fewer calories per day while maintaining the same level of fullness.
Let’s break these foods-to-avoid down into groups: Carbs, Fats, and Proteins.
Carbs to Avoid when Going Keto
Let’s face it, bread is kind of a big deal, and it’s one of the hardest things to give up on the keto diet, but give it up we must! It’s best to avoid all foods made with grain (yes, even whole grain), as they contain far too many carbs and will ultimately prevent ketosis.
Some grains you should be avoiding at all costs include:
This means you’ll want to avoid eating foods like breads, pasta, crackers, and other common foods that contain these grains. Luckily, there are many substitutes for these foods these foods that help satisfy those cravings.
Legumes and Beans
While legumes and beans are plenty nutritious, they have no place in the keto diet due to their high starch content.
Some of the most starchy (carb) heavy beans and legumes you’ll want to avoid include:
6. Kidney Beans
7. Black Beans
8. White Beans
It’s generally best to avoid fruits on the ketogenic diet (with the exception of berries). While fruits are healthy in moderation, they don’t work too well with the keto diet due to their high carb count. In many cases, just one fruit would be the majority of your carb intake for the day.
These are some fruits that are the most carb-dense:
A good rule of thumb is to avoid any medium and large sized fruits, as they typically come with a lot of sugar. You also want to be sure to steer clear of all fruit juices, fruit smoothies, and dried fruits like raisins and dates.
While the majority of vegetables are packed with excellent nutrients and vitamins your body needs, the keto diet loves some more than others. Do your best to avoid the more starchy vegetables.
Starchy vegetables that contain the highest amount of carbs include:
18. Sweet potatoes
A good way to remember is to simply avoid vegetables that grow underground, as these contain the most carbs. Instead, stick with leafy greens or low-carb veggies. Look for low carb substitutes for your traditional starchy vegetables.
Sugar is in just about everything and nutritional labels will do everything in their power to try to prevent people from realizing this. Just to give you an idea, there are 56 different names for sugar on labels, including high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, and sucrose, just to name a few.
Sugar has been found to play a key role in a variety of illnesses, from diabetes to heart disease, and should really be avoided on any diet.
Some sugars you should be avoiding in your keto diet include:
21. Agave Nectar
22. Maple Syrup
23. High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Fats to Avoid when Going Keto
While the keto diet lies on the premise of eating plenty of filling and dietary fats, not all fats are created equally. The kinds of fats you need to stay away from are unhealthy processed trans fats and also polyunsaturated fats. They can be damaging to your health and prompt health issues.
Inflammatory (unhealthy) Oils
There are great oils and there are terrible oils. The best ones for your keto regimen are both nutritious and natural, for instance, virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and macadamia nut oil. These are ideal sources for saturated and unsaturated fat.
A few oils you want to avoid include:
24. Canola Oil
25. Soybean Oil
26. Peanut Oil
27. Sesame Oil
Protein Foods to Avoid when Going Keto
This may come as a shock, however there is such a thing as too much protein on the keto diet. By devouring protein excessively, you can get kicked out of ketosis.
Just like with fruits, veggies, and fats, there are some dairy products that work with the keto diet and others that don’t. Fatty dairy products like heavy cream, sour cream, yogurt, and butter are considered keto-friendly, but avoid all other milk, low or reduced fat dairy products, as they can be high in carb content.
28. Evaporated skim milk
29. Fat-free or low-fat yogurts
Factory Farmed Animal Products
It’s always best to opt for grass-fed and organic animal products. Not only do they taste better, but they’re better for you.
Grain-fed dairy and meats are typically lower in nutrients, and factory farmed animal products are usually high in omega-6s (which can cause inflammation in high amounts).
Sadly, the list doesn’t end here. There are lots of foods you should be avoiding on the ketogenic diet, such as artificial sweeteners, condiments, sugary beverages (including sweet alcoholic drinks), and so on.
But hopefully you can see a trend based on some of the things listed here. The ketogenic diet embraces the natural and organic and shuns anything that is processed.
It’s always a challenge when starting a new diet and learning about all the restrictions, but you’ll slowly begin to learn what you can and cannot eat by closely monitoring your carb and calorie intake. Pay attention to the foods you eat, and you’ll learn quickly.
 Paoli A., Bosco G., Campoesi E. M., Mangar D. (2015). Ketosis, ketogenic diet and food intake control: a complex relationship. Front. Psychol. 6:27.
 Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, Flander WD, Merritt R, Hu FB. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Apr;174(4).