If you’re thinking about embarking on a ketogenic diet, you probably already know you’ll be avoiding processed grains and sugar like pizza and muffins. But many other foods you’ll nix on this extremely low-carb, high-fat diet aren’t necessarily unhealthy. Indeed, many “no” foods are packed with health-promoting vitamins, minerals, and fiber but also have too many carbs for the restrictive keto diet.
Many people following keto aim for 20 to 50 grams (g) of net carbohydrates per day. (Net carbs, though not an official nutrition term, can be calculated by taking the total carbohydrates minus fiber and sugar alcohols, per Atkins.) The idea is to switch your body into ketosis, a state where it burns fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates (its preferred and easy-to-access source of energy). Following the plan may drastically limit many fruits, whole grains, and some vegetables.
That said, keto isn’t right for everyone. “For some people, the keto diet can be potentially harmful,” says Alyssa Burnison, RD, the director of program and nutrition for Profile Plan, a weight loss company in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. That includes people with type 2 diabetes who are on insulin and those who have type 1 diabetes and must take insulin, she says. If you have any chronic health condition that you’re hoping to treat with a keto diet, talk to your doctor first or work with a registered dietitian, who can best advise if this is a safe diet for you.
If you do decide to try the diet, here are 15 foods that you should try to avoid on keto, and what to choose instead.