64 Common Foods to Avoid on a Ketogenic Diet

You’ve researched keto recipes to find out great options to eat, but do you know what you shouldn’t be eating? Check out this list and avoid these common foods on your ketogenic diet!

Bread, Grain, & Cereals

Bread is one of the foods to avoid on a ketogenic diet.

This is probably the worst because it’s full of carbs! A plain bagel can have as many as 48 grams of carbs (with only 4 grams of fiber).

Some common foods to avoid:

  • White bread
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Flour tortillas
  • Bagels
  • Granola
  • Cereal
  • Steel cut oats
  • Crackers
  • Beer

Hip Tip: New to Keto? Check out this 5-day meal plan with grocery shopping list to help get you started!


Some Gluten-Free Foods

what not to eat on keto - gluten-free processed foods

Don’t think that just because it’s gluten-free means it’s carb-free. Oddly enough, these processed foods can often have more carbs than the non-GF versions! Even Trader Joe’s often-touted cauliflower pizza crust is loaded with carbs.

Common processed gluten-free foods to avoid:

  • Gluten-free bread
  • Gluten-free muffins
  • Gluten-free bagels
  • Gluten-free waffles

Give almond or coconut flour a try in your low-carb recipes. Lina’s Fat head pizza crust recipe uses Bob’s Red Mill almond flour.


Fruit

what not to eat on keto - fruit

For some diets, fruit is essential. Keto is not that diet – mainly because many fruits contain a lot of sugar that can totally throw you out of ketosis. A medium-sized apple can have as many as 14 grams of sugar!

Some fruits to avoid:

  • Bananas
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Mangos
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pineapples
  • Grapes

On the plus side, some berries (like blueberries) are lower in sugar and higher in fiber than other fruits. As a result, these are fair game to eat in moderation.

Hip Tip: Make your strawberries last longer with this helpful kitchen tip!


Juice

what not to eat on keto - juice

Juices go hand in hand with fruits as a keto no-no, especially since fruit juices contain so much sugar and so little fiber. Even unsweetened or 100% juice varieties can have over 20 grams of sugar in one cup! Yikes!

Some juices to avoid:

  • Orange juice
  • Apple juice
  • Grape juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Tomato juice

Taking in liquid carbs can also lead to increased hunger since they aren’t processed the same way as solid carbs in your brain’s appetite center.


Refined Fats & Oils

what not to eat on keto - refined oils

While it might be a little confusing since fats are great for keto, avoid refined and processed trans fats, since these can lead to some major health risks, like heart disease, cancer, reduced HDL cholesterol, or increased LDL cholesterol. They can be bad for your gut health, as well.

Some common trans fats to avoid:

  • Spreadable butter alternatives
  • Sunflower oil
  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • Margarine — More so ones that are made with canola oil or other trans fats. Some brands make their margarine with extra virgin olive oil or even avocado oil, making those options a little more keto-friendly! That said, butter is BEST!

So what fats and oils should you be using? We LOVE Kerrygold butter, and it even comes in a spreadable tub if that’s more convenient for your lifestyle (pick it up at Costco, Sam’s Club, or ALDI for the lowest price!). Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and nut oils are all great oil varieties to use in your cooking.

Hip Tip: Check out these great low-carb foods you can find at Costco and Sam’s Club!


Sugars, Natural Sweeteners, & Anything Containing Them

what not to eat on keto - sugar

You probably already know by now that sugar is off the table, but don’t be fooled by the “natural” alternatives as they contain just as many carbs, if not more!

Common sugars and sweeteners to avoid:

  • White sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey
  • Cake
  • Cookies
  • Chocolate bars
  • Sports drinks
  • Soda

Opt for sugar-free options for some of the sweet treats above, but keep an eye on (and do your own research regarding) sweeteners like Aspartame, Acesulfame, Sucralose, and Saccharin, which have been linked to potential health issues. If you prefer baking at home, check out our favorite sweetener for all of your favorite sugar-free sweets!


Certain Root Vegetables & Tubers

what not to eat on keto - starchy vegetables

These starchy veggies can pack on the carbs and can cause inflammation. One potato can have as many as 26 grams of carbs and only 2 grams of fiber.

Common root veggies and tubers to avoid:

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes/yams
  • Beets
  • Potato chips
  • Root vegetable chips
  • Onions — You don’t need to entirely avoid onions but they should only be eaten in moderation.

Yup, this means you can’t have their snack counterparts, either. Get your savory craving fix by trying out Collin’s favorite snack, Dang Coconut Chips! SO good.


Low-Fat Dressings

what not to eat on keto - fat free dressings

It’s common to see “fat-free” labels and assume the product will be healthier. That’s not the case on keto! You want to take in full-fat products since studies have shown they’re better at helping absorb nutrients from vegetables. Two tablespoons of fat-free ranch dressing can have up to 11 grams of carbs, whereas the full-fat counterpart has only 2 grams.

Common dressings to avoid

  • Fat-free French dressing
  • Fat-free Ranch dressing
  • Fat-free Thousand Island dressing
  • Fat-free Caesar dressing

An even healthier alternative is a splash of vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, which is a heart-healthy combination and can promote weight loss.

Hip Tip: Prepping a big salad? Check out this simple way to keep vegetables fresher for longer!


Pasta & Quinoa

what not to eat on keto - pasta and quinoa

Similar to the bread category, pasta is made from refined flour that packs a punch of carbs. Even whole wheat pasta can have up to 41 grams of carbs in only a cup-sized serving!

Common foods to avoid:

  • White pasta
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Quinoa
  • White rice
  • Brown rice

Looking for substitute options? Check out Lina’s Keto lasagna using Fat Head noodles, or use cauliflower rice in place of regular rice for stir fry!


Seed Vegetables & Legumes

what not to eat on keto - seed vegetables and legumes

While these vegetables and beans can have high amounts of fiber, they’re also loaded with carbs. Legumes can also be hard for your gut to digest due to lectins and phytates.

Common vegetables and legumes to avoid:

  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans
  • Corn

Hip Tip: Just because you’re on the go doesn’t mean you can’t eat Keto! Check out our list of fast-food Keto meals!


Milk

Milk can be a great source of nutrients, but it’s better to avoid it due to its higher sugar content (lactose). Stick to whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream in small amounts in applications like coffee.

For more typical ‘milk’ applications, consider nut milk. Unsweetened almond milk has 0 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of fiber. Just be sure to watch out for additives like carrageenan.


12 Comments

  • Akbbar

    I’m a bit confused… margarine and onions are on this list but they are both also on the downloadable Keto Diet Foods list. What am I missing? Excited for this site!

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Hi Akbbar, our apologies for the confusion! Onions are slightly higher in carbs so they should be eaten in moderation, though you don’t necessarily have to avoid them completely. And margarine tends to be made with canola oil (which should be avoided) but many brands have been introducing new products that use extra virgin olive oil or other healthy oils, which are totally fine for keto! We’ve updated the post to reflect this information and appreciate you bringing this to our attention so that we could clarify — for you AND for future readers 😁 Happy Keto-ing!

    • kt

      Please let us know what sweetener we can use in our coffee. Also what kind of creamer. I can’t drink my coffee black.

      • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

        Hi there! We would recommend just a splash of heavy cream for your creamer. As for a sweetener, try Xylitol — it’s a favorite among the Hip2Keto community!

    • Laura Boswell

      Splenda is made with Sucralose and anything ending in -ose is a no-no on Keto. Monk Fruit is a great substitute and you only use a fraction of the amount of other sweeteners.

  • Kayla

    I love this site. I have been doing Keto for a month or so and it can be confusing. This is so helpful. Thank you!!!

  • Susanne

    Thank you for launching this new keto site! I’ve been low-carb for about 4 years now after the birth of my third daughter when my gestational diabetes was not going away. Since then my blood sugars have been normal, my A1C is normal and I’ve lost 32 pounds! I”ve been an avid Hip2Saver for 6 years now, so this just gives me another reason to keep following you!! Favorite breakfasts around here are egg/spinach omelets with avocado and olive oil. Happy Keto everyone!

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