Because the ketogenic diet is all about sticking to a certain macronutrient ratio, you don’t have to severely restrict your intake or count calories. You can still enjoy things like grains, fruits, and vegetables in moderation, as long as it fits your macros.
This being said, there are some foods you should definitely avoid while following the keto diet, simply because they are too high in carbs or they will affect your blood sugar enough that it might kick you out of ketosis. Keep reading to learn what these foods are and how to replace them.
Foods to Completely Avoid on the Keto Diet
If you want to experience the benefits of the ketogenic diet, you need to be careful what you eat. Remember, 70% to 75% of your daily calories should come from fat with 20% to 25% from protein – only 5% of your daily intake should come from carbs and sugars (around 20g net carbs).
So, you’ve already learned which foods are allowed on the keto diet, but you may not be wondering which foods to avoid. Foods that might disrupt your keto diet include things like high-sugar fruits, starchy vegetables, grains, beans and legumes, and sweeteners.
Here is a list of high-sugar fruits and starchy vegetables to avoid on the ketogenic diet:
• Dried fruit
• Fruit cocktail
• Fruit juice
• Fruit syrups
• Sweet potato
In addition to avoiding fruits, you should also avoid most grains, beans, and legumes – here’s a list of these foods that you should avoid:
• Black beans
• Black eyed peas
• Fava beans
• Green peas
• Kidney beans
• Lime beans
• Pinto beans
• Red beans
• White beans
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you want to avoid any sugars or sweeteners that might impact your blood sugar and kick you out of ketosis. Even natural sweeteners like honey, agave, and maple syrup are not approved for the ketogenic diet! In the next section, you’ll learn more about which sweeteners are okay for use in moderation.
Enjoy These Foods in Moderation
We’ve already provided you with a detailed list of foods you can enjoy freely on the ketogenic diet, but there are a number of other foods you can eat as long as it fits your macros and you do so in moderation. These foods include things like certain dairy products, nuts, seeds, and nut and seed butters.
Here is a more detailed list of these foods:
• Almond butter
• Brazil nuts
• Cashew butter
• Chia seeds
• Coconut cream
• Cottage cheese (whole milk)
• Hemp seeds
• Ice cream (low-sugar)
• Macadamia nuts
• Peanut butter
• Pine nuts
• Poppy seeds
• Pumpkin seeds
• Ricotta cheese (whole milk)
• Sesame seed butter
• Sesame seeds
• Sunflower seeds
• Yogurt (low-sugar, full-fat)
Now that you have a better idea of which foods to avoid or moderate while following the ketogenic diet, you may be wondering how to make these changes without completely disrupting your life. Keep reading to learn some tips for making keto-friendly replacements.
Tips for Making Keto-Friendly Replacements
The key to success with any diet is to find foods you enjoy that fit into the diet. Unfortunately, many of the foods that make up your current diet are not approved for the keto diet, so you’ll need to learn to make some substitutions. This is especially true for things like grains and sweeteners.
So, what can you do to replace grains that are not approved for the keto diet? Here are some ideas:
• Swap out regular flour for almond flour or coconut flour in recipes for baked goods
• Use crushed pork rinds instead of bread crumbs for breaded foods
• Wrap your sandwiches and burgers in lettuce leaves instead of carb-loaded tortillas
• Pulse cauliflower in a food processor into small grains then substitute for rice
• Use stevia or erythritol in place of sugar in beverages and baking
• Swap out almond milk or coconut milk in place of dairy milk to reduce carbs
• Substitute mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes as a side dish
• Blend riced cauliflower and mozzarella cheese to make a fat-heavy pizza crust
• Use spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti or eggplant instead of lasagna noodles
• Thinly slice and bake vegetables to use as a snack instead of potato chips
If there’s a specific food product you use on a regular basis, find a way to make it keto! You may be able to find a keto-friendly version at your grocery store or online. If not, you can definitely find a recipe on the Internet to help you make your own.
Next, let’s chat for a moment about keto-friendly sweeteners.
On the ketogenic diet, it is important to avoid anything that will spike your blood sugar and give your body the option to choose glucose over fat. This means that you need to avoid traditional sweeteners like sugar as well as natural sweeteners like agave, honey, and maple syrup. What does that leave you with? Keto-friendly sweeteners include the following:
• Monk fruit
• Yacon syrup
The first sweetener on this list, erythritol, is technically a type of sugar alcohol and it comes in both powdered and granulated form. Erythritol is 80% as sweet as sugar and contains just 0.2 calories per gram. Monk fruit sweetener is between 100 and 250 times as sweet as sugar and it contains no calories or carbs. Stevia comes in both liquid and powder form and it contains little to no calories or carbs.
Though erythritol, monk fruit, and stevia are the most common keto-friendly sweeteners, there are still several other options. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that isn’t metabolized by the body so it doesn’t provide any calories or carbs. Xylitol is another sugar alcohol that is just as sweet as sugar but contains only 3 calories and 4 grams of carbs per teaspoon. Yacon syrup is a fiber-rich sweetener which means that your body can’t digest it and it contains one-third the calories of sugar.