The list of acceptable food groups on the keto diet is very narrow. It can be tricky to strike the right balance. If you miss the mark, you won’t hit your desired weight loss goal.
The saving grace is since the restrictive food choices are higher in fat, your taste buds will be happy compared to most diet foods. The keto diet starves your body of carbohydrates, instead of the more traditional diet’s reduction of calories. When you’re starved, your body automatically enters a state of ketosis.
Removing carbs from your diet forces your body into this state, and you begin burning fat your body stored to generate energy instead of sugars (carbs).
Sometimes you can get confused about what foods are considered carb, especially if you’re used to thinking a diet cuts out the obvious sources of sugar. Some people also practice the keto diet differently from others. Some bodies can enter ketosis with more carb intake than others. It all depends on your body’s unique makeup. Certain people can achieve ketosis when limiting their carbs to 50 grams; others need to cut out carbs (0 grams) altogether.
Regardless of where you fall on the carb consumption scale, these are the foods you will want to avoid.
Traditional flour pasta have no protein or fat, and a single serving is full of carbohydrates. Try substituting spaghetti squash and carrot or zucchini noodles instead of this carb-laden staple.
Like pasta, rice (including brown rice) may be one of the favorite choices among male cooks, but it’s filled with carbs and nothing else. A better option for your favorite rice entrees and sides is cauliflower rice.
Any forms of bread made with regular flour are to be avoided on keto. Unfortunately for bread lovers, toast, bagels, pita bread, tortillas, and even the croutons in your salad are all no-nos. You can find recipes online to make bread from cauliflower.
Most breakfast cereals contain lots of sugar anyway. Most people drown cereal in dairy milk containing lots of natural sugars, which makes them high in carbs. On keto, the best breakfasts higher in protein and fats like eggs or avocado with some berries.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll need to stay away from not just cake but all types of sweets (cookies, brownies, pastries, ice cream, doughnuts, you get the idea). There are plenty of keto-friendly dessert recipes here and elsewhere online.
Although potatoes don’t have alot of calories, the problem with them is the starch. Sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate source; nevertheless they can easily kick you out of the state of ketosis.
The best beverage choices on the keto diet are water, tea, and black coffee. Soda is sugar-filled. Even the artificial sweeteners in diet soda have the potential to raise your insulin levels and trigger more sugar cravings. If you prefer something fiizzy, sparkling water is a great choice.
You’ll need to avoid most chocolate on keto. But don’t despair choco-holics. it’s easy to make a high fat/low carb chocolate at home, which makes it an acceptable guilty pleasure on the keto diet.
Due to the sugar content, you’ll need to stay away from candy. It’s a good idea to adapt to satisfying your sugar cravings with naturally sweet foods like fruit, but more about that later.
Although honey, a great natural sweetener, has many health benefits, on a keto diet, it can make it hard to maintain the ketosis state. By the same token, maple syrup and agave are off limits.
Bananas are very high in fructose and while on keto, they should be avoided. Choose berries with lower sugar concentrations like blueberries and raspberries,
Margarine and other oils like canola oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil are big no-nos and that’s for any diet. Canola in particular is highly refined before it makes it to your grocery store. When it does, it’s chemical-laden, has no nutrients, and can contain some trans- fat, which is technically a fat with no carbs. Not all fats are equal, you’ll want to eat clean foods. Stick to real, natural fat sources such as coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, avocados, blackberries, and strawberries.
Most tropical fruits (mangos, pineapples, bananas, and papaya) have the highest sugar content, followed by citrus fruits like oranges. Berries are always your best option.
Similarly, a cup of natural fruit juice even if it’s not concentrate may give you far more sugar than a serving of fruit. Drink water coffee or tea instead or a low-carb green juice instead.
Despite the buzz around quinoa, it doesn’t work with the keto diet. Although it gives you protein and fiber, it has nearly the same density of carbs as rice.
While beans are a source of plant-based protein, they are starchy. If you need more fiber, eat lots of chia seeds, avocado, broccoli, and almonds.
This includes hummus too. Some people get around it by adding lots of oil to cut down the carbs per serving. Use your judgment and your knowledge about how your body is responding on the diet to decide.
Most people are surprised to find out corn is a grain not a vegetable. Since corn is a heavily processed staple, it has a low nutrient level. Moreover, your body has a hard time digesting it, and your stomach is better off without it.
Dates have several healthy benefits because they promote fullness, are high in fiber, and contain many vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately, they have a high sugar per serving ratio. The reason they give you so much energy is they are high in sugar for a small serving. You might want to skip the dates as a snack.
As you can see, many of these foods are staples in the American diet. That is where the tricky part comes in, but once you weed out the no-nos you’ll lose weight more painlessly than ever before.