What Foods Should I Cut Out?

One of the biggest questions I get asked is what foods should be eliminated on a low-carb or keto diet.

What Foods Should I Cut Out?
Photo by Christopher Williams / Unsplash

Our society has become so carb/sugar heavy in our meals, our snacks, and even our drinks that it’s out of control. I can’t even imagine how many carbs the average American consumes in a day. If you’re wanting to live a healthier life and cut down on your carbs, you should stay under 50g a day and eliminate sugar. If you want to take it even further and try to lose weight, correct any health issues you may have, and just feel great overall I recommend staying under 20-25g of carbs a day - and again no sugar. This is how I’ve chosen to live for the last 3 years and it’s fantastic.

Sadly, the types of foods most prevalent in our country and most readily available because of cost and ease of access are foods that have very little nutritional value and cause many health problems. Most people are living on a high carb and low fat diet and that is the complete opposite of what our bodies need to thrive.  If you look back at what our ancestors would have eaten, you won’t find any of these over-processed foods that are so high in carbs and have the healthy nutrients taken out - like fat.

So let’s start with the basics and talk about what you shouldn’t be eating in order to have a healthy body and then later we’ll talk about things you should be eating to make your body run at optimal levels.

cooked food on table
Photo by Tim Cooper on Unsplash

So what types of foods should you avoid? Here is a list of things that you should stay away from when eating a low-carb, no sugar diet.

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Rice (brown and white)
  • Grains (even whole grains)
  • Potatoes
  • Starchy vegetables - Corn, carrots, peas
  • Most fruit (we’ll talk about why soon)
  • Tortillas
  • Chips, crackers, pretzels
  • Beans and legumes
  • Soda
  • Fruit juices
  • Sugar and sweets - cakes, cookies, pies, candy etc.
  • Honey and syrups
  • Sauces with added sugar (read labels - many have hidden sugars)
  • Vegetable oils of all types
  • Margarine
  • Dried fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Low fat foods (always eat full fat)
  • Yogurt (unless low carb/full fat Greek yogurt)
  • Dairy milk (replace with unsweetened almond or coconut milk)

Of course this list isn’t a complete and full list but it’s a great start and should help you see what things to avoid. Also, be careful of “sugar free” items because some still create a glucose response which is defeating the purpose of eliminating sugar. Eat those and any “keto” labeled food sparingly. Many of the foods labeled “keto friendly” are not so friendly.  It’s always important to read the labels and see what ingredients are in the food and how many carbs are in the food. Whole foods, fresh foods, unprocessed foods are always the best choice.

Many people aren’t really educated on what types of foods are high in carbs and/or sugar - that’s okay. But now is the time to start reading labels and learn about the food you’re eating. When I check a label I try to make sure I don’t have more than 5-6g of carbs per meal. That means that for the most part I’m finding things that have no more than 2g of carbs per serving. You’d be surprised how quickly the carb count adds up when you’re combining multiple ingredients into a meal if you don’t really watch it. Not to mention there are TONS of things on the grocery shelves with added sugar - things you wouldn’t think would even have sugar!

So be vigilant when you’re at the store - read labels and make good choices and you’ll set yourself up for success at home!