Foods You Can’t Eat on the Keto Diet

Also, know that keto isn’t just about avoiding refined grains, junk food, and sugar — a popular misconception. Everything except for pure fats (like oil) and meat (chicken, fish, beef) is a source of carbs. And while everyone’s carb allotment is different, research indicates that restricting carb intake to fewer than 50 grams (g) of net carbs per day is necessary to stay in ketosis, or the state in which you’re burning fat instead of glucose (sugar) for fuel. The idea of net carbs, which refers to the total amount of carbs minus any fiber or sugar alcohols, is often used by proponents of low-carb diets, but is not officially recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the American Diabetes Association.As a result of the keto diet’s strict rules about carbohydrates, some foods that are conventionally thought of as healthy won’t fit into a keto eating plan. Here are 10 foods most people on keto will avoid:


Whole-grain quinoa may contain more protein than other grains (though it’s technically a seed but is treated like a grain, so it’s sometimes called a pseudo-grain), but that doesn’t mean it fits with keto. A half-cup serving of cooked quinoa contains 17 g of net carbs, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which means it can easily eat up your carb budget.


An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it really has no place in a keto diet. One medium apple has more than 22 g of net carbs, according to USDA data — enough to blow someone’s entire carb allotment for the day. Especially if you’re someone who likes sweets, it’s unfortunate to have to eliminate most fruit, but you can get those nutrients from a veggie-rich diet, says Glassman.

3/Black Beans

Legumes — like beans and lentils — are pretty much off limits on keto. “Legumes are loaded with fiber and antioxidants,” says Glassman. While they do offer an impressive source of digestion-friendly fiber, prepared black beans pack about 13 g of net carbs into just half a cup, according to USDA data. “You’ll want to make sure to get fiber elsewhere in your diet,” Glassman says.

4/Dark Chocolate

One of the most dietitian-recommended desserts, dark chocolate, is a keto no-no. A 1-ounce square has 10 g of net carbs, according to USDA data. For people who are sticking to 20 g of net carbs a day, a few small squares would use up half of the allotment.

5/Sweet Potatoes

It may be obvious that white potatoes are too starchy to fit in a keto diet, but the same goes for sweet taters, no matter how you prep them. One medium sweet potato has nearly 20 g of net carbs, according to USDA data. Say goodbye to sweet potato toast.


Even whole-milk yogurt can be the tipping point into consuming too many carbs — especially sweetened versions. If you need a yogurt fix, stick to a small amount of plain full-fat Greek yogurt. A 3.5-ounce serving, for instance, has less than 5 g of carbs, per USDA data.


Avoiding orange juice because it’s too high in sugar? Good call. But that means oranges have to go, too. Just one navel orange alone has nearly 14 g of net carbs, according to USDA data.