Foods to avoid on a ketogenic diet

Every diet out there has some kind of restriction. From the crazy ones like the onion or moon diets, all the way to those elaborated by a professional nutritionist, have one thing in common: they suggest to restrict the ingest of processed foods. That’s why you already know that there will be some foods to avoid on a ketogenic diet. Actually, I think ANY DIET should not contain processed or poor micronutrient value foods.

However, “Avoiding” is not always the case nor the only way to handle food restrictions. Sometimes you’ll be told to “consume fewer” or to “keep it to a minimum”. And that is why here I’m going to tell you which foods you should avoid completely, and which you should handle with care.

What food groups do we avoid on keto?

Sugar, and whatever foods your body turns into it, well most of them. The “handle with care” group on a ketogenic diet is carbohydrates. There are three types of macronutrients, carbohydrates, fats and protein. So, from this point of view you will only be watching out for 1/3 of your food intake.

Although this may appear as an easy task I bet you remember seeing a food pyramid which contains 5 or 6 food groups before. I have bad news, almost every single group (if not all) of those groups have foods with carbohydrate content. Let’s review those groups and what foods each one has:

  • Vegetables and legumes: Broccoli, spinach, carrots, onion, peppers, peas, beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, etc.
  • Cereal and grains: Wheat, bread, rice (white and brown) bread, pasta
  • Dairy: Milk and cheese.
  • Meat, eggs and nuts: Fish, beef, chicken, peanuts, eggs, etc.
  • Fruit: Apple, pear, banana, watermelon, berries, peach, etc.
  • Fat, Added fat/sugar: Butter, oil, sugar, cake, donuts, chips

Let us remove what we don’t need

Remember we are avoiding sugars, therefore we don’t need fructose nor lactose. In the Fruit group, we can cut all the fruits but some berries (since they have the lowest fructose content), and in the Dairy group we can leave out the milk and keep the cheese (it has the lowest lactose content and LOWERS even more with age).

We are also avoiding starch and low micronutrient foods, thus leaving out the whole cereal and grains group and the foods like peas, potatoes, beans, carrots, and corn from the vegetable and legumes group, but we can keep tomatoes and onion if handled with care.

On the Meat, eggs and nuts, you can have them all but be careful with nuts and organ foods like liver, brain and tongue (to name a few) and be EVEN more careful with processed meats like sausages.

Finally on the Fat, added fat/sugar group we can have the good fats like avocado or olive oil, and we can have butter, but we will cut all the sugary combinations.

TIP: If you are having trouble choosing what fats you can eat, think: “How much processing does this oil needs to be made?” for instance, avocado and olives are oily/fatty in nature, while seeds are not, therefore try and avoid those oils.

As a consequence of the discussed above we can build our 3 categories: 1) Allowed, 2) Eat carefully 3) Avoid.

Foods to Avoid on a ketogenic diet:

  • Vegetables and legumes: Carrots, peas, beans, corn, potatoes, etc.
  • Cereal and grains: Wheat, bread, rice (white and brown) bread, pasta
  • Dairy:
  • Fruit: Apple, pear, banana, watermelon, peach, etc.
  • Fat, Added fat/sugar: Chips, candies, cakes, etc.

Foods to eat carefully on a ketogenic diet:

  • Vegetables and legumes: Onion, peppers (especially spicy ones), tomatoes, etc.
  • Dairy:
  • Meat, eggs and nuts: Nuts, liver, kidney, brain, etc.
  • Fruit:

Allowed on a ketogenic diet:

  • Vegetables and legumes: Broccoli, spinach, peppers (bell peppers), cabbage, etc.
  • Meat, eggs and nuts: Fish, beef, chicken, eggs, etc.

I hope this post helped you, feel free to read the “carbohydrate foods allowed on a ketogenic diet” post by clicking the link or directly on our post’s page.