10 Foods That Knock You Out of Ketosis (Learn From Experts)

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: July 18, 2024
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Ketosis has helped several of my clients achieve that beach body they've always desired. But that came at a price—sacrificing their favorite meals for the time being.

As a certified personal trainer, I know that staying in ketosis can feel like hanging by a thread, especially when you don't know which meal is a cheat and which one is not.

So, we at Total Shape decided to compile our knowledge and dive into some additional research to come up with a list of foods that kick you out of ketosis.

Read on to find out.

Quick Summary

  • To maintain ketosis, it's crucial to avoid high-carb foods like bread, pasta, rice, sugary sodas, and certain fruits that can quickly elevate your carb intake.
  • Alcoholic beverages, especially beer and mixed drinks, are high in net carbs and can rapidly kick you out of ketosis, so opt for lower-carb options like dry wines or spirits.
  • According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a ketogenic diet typically limits carbohydrate intake to about 20 to 50 grams daily, where individual tolerance to carbohydrate intake can vary.
  • In my experience as a fitness trainer, understanding and avoiding these specific foods is key to successfully maintaining a ketogenic diet and achieving desired fitness goals.
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10 Foods You Should Avoid

A beer and unhealthy carbohydrates

According to a book from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, eating more than that net carb threshold kicks you out of the state of ketosis, notwithstanding whether the meal is a cheat or not [1].

However, if you want a smooth ketosis experience, you should avoid the following foods as much as possible.

High Carb Foods

If you’re familiar with the ketogenic diet, avoiding starchy foods like bread, pasta, and rice should be pretty obvious [2].

Foods that have high carb levels should be eliminated altogether. Instead, try riced cauliflower or low-carb diet bread made of eggs, nuts, and seeds, and you’re good to go.

Beer, Liquor, and Mixed Drinks

If you’re serious about your keto diet, flee from beer, liquor, and other mixed drinks. They have high net carbs and low nutrients and will kick you out of ketosis much faster than you got in [3].

If you must drink alcohol, try drinks with lower carb counts, like hard liquor and dry red and white wine. They provide a low carb count of at most 5g, sometimes less.

Processed Juices

Juice may have vitamins and minerals but is still high in fructose, a naturally occurring sugar. In addition, the lack of fiber in juices is tricky for a keto diet where fiber is desperately needed for digestion.

You see, fiber slows the time it takes for food to go past the digestive tract, which assists in controlling sugar in your blood, according to one of the studies found on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website [4].

To maintain the state of ketosis, avoid high-carb low-fiber foods like juices which spike blood glucose levels [5].

Sugary Sodas

A soda with ice

Did you know that one 372-mL can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of carbs?

That's right. Sodas are sugary waters with zero nutritional value [6].

If you must drink soda, try sugar-free. Even though it contains artificial sweeteners, which might not be great for the gut microbiome, it is less likely to kick you out of keto.

Sodas have long-term adverse health effects, but an occasional sugar-free drink won't kill you [7].

Related ArticleWill I Lose Weight if I Stop Drinking Soda? 

Low Fat Diet Foods

You have to be careful about what you buy. Not everything that is marketed as low in fat passes the test. Some tend to compensate for the lack of fat with high sugar levels [8].

Be careful, read the product ingredients, and account for the carbs. Just to give you a gist, some of the traditional fat-reduced foods that are high in added sugars include fat-free yogurt, fat-free or low-fat mayonnaise, reduced-fat or skim milk, and reduced-fat peanut butter [9].

Starchy Vegetables

Some foods, like sweet potatoes, are rich in potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber but should be avoided altogether because they have too many carbs [10].

Others in the same category of high net carbs include corn, peas, and processed vegetable oils [11].

Instead of the starchy, high-carb contents that will knock you out of ketosis, go for starchy veggies with fewer carbs, like carrots and beets [12].

Some Fresh Fruits

Fruits like bananas, grapes, and mangoes are delicious and nutrient-dense. But they are also rich in carbs and will keep you from reaching ketosis and maintaining it.

Although they can't be included in a keto diet, their high nutrient and fiber content is great for digestion and heart health. If you have to take these fruits, take them sparingly [13].

Examples of fruits low in carbs include strawberries, raspberries, star fruits, and coconut [14].

Dairy Products and Sweetened Yogurt

Top view of different dairy products

Yogurt and dairy products vary in carb content. However, sweetened and flavored dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese carry the most carbs.

Avoid them as much as possible if you want to stay in ketosis.

Opt for keto-friendly substitutes for dairy products.

For instance, a cup of whole milk has 11 grams of carbs, while unsweetened almond milk has 3 grams, making the latter a better choice [15].

Another good option to add to your ketosis is unsweetened coconut milk-based yogurt. Being a product of coconut milk, it has a low carb count, and it fits well in high-fat diets [16].

Other great additions include coconut oil and unsweetened peanuts.

Processed Meat

Processed meats such as smoked meat, sausages, hot dogs, and bacon contain sugar, gluten, and preservatives, which ultimately increase your carb intake and kick you out of ketosis.

In addition, studies have found a connection between a high intake of processed foods and cancer [17].

Eating Too Much Protein

Protein plays a crucial role in ketosis. It helps in burning fat, building muscle, and helping you feel full. But overeating protein can be counterproductive to the keto diet.

Overeating processed meat increases the levels of bad cholesterol. Also, if you ingest too much protein, it might get converted into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis, which basically raises blood sugar levels [18].

How to Get Back and Stay In Ketosis

A woman exercising outdoors

Below are a few ways to get yourself back into the keto lifestyle.

By Exercising

When your body is out of keto, it switches to using blood glucose for energy. But you can still switch back.

The shortest way to get back to ketosis is to get rid of the glucose. And the best way to do it is by exercising. Employ high-intensity training and endurance cardio to ensure those glycogen stores burn fat as quickly as possible.

You’re probably wondering what glycogen is. Well, it is a form of complex sugar made of long chains of glucose (primary body fuel) that the body stores in the liver and muscles for energy [19].

Now, back to exercising: make sure not to stress your body, as it may counteract the positive effects of a healthy workout [20].

Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Another way to burn the glycogen stores is through intermittent fasting. IF is not about what you eat, but when you eat it. Most people do intermittent fasting by eating dinner early and breakfast late.

IF can be a killer combination when combined with the keto diet. It quickly shifts fuel sources from carbs to fat [21].

Eat More Healthy Fats

If kicked out of ketosis, make sure to provide your body with foods that include healthy fats such as avocados, coconut oil, whole-fat dairy, and macadamia nuts [22].

Look For Other Ketosis-Friendly Alternatives

Although sugar cravings are part of the keto process, they gradually taper away with time. That said, you don't have to give in to these cravings, but if you must, there are keto-friendly alternatives like artificial sweeteners that come in handy when the cravings come knocking.

They include erythritol, stevia, sucralose, xylitol, monk fruit sweetener, and yacon syrup. While research is still ongoing about the potential harmfulness of these, they can fulfill your craving without getting you out of ketosis [23].

Additionally, consider multivitamins for keto because they can go a long way in ensuring you won't miss any nutrients. They also help with muscle repair and recovery.

Related articles:

“When you go back to a ketogenic diet after being off it for a day or a period of time, you can easily get back to the diet the next day—but it will take a couple of days to get the body back into the state of ketosis.”

- Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO, Seattle-based Dietitian & Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

FAQs

How Many Carbs Will Kick You Out of Ketosis?

Eating more than 50 grams of carbs will take you out of ketosis. Most keto diet guidelines recommend about 15-30 grams of carbs which translates to 15-10% of total calorie intake a day. But experts have proven that carb restrictions vary from person to person [24].

Why Do I Go Out of Ketosis Overnight?

You might go out of ketosis overnight because of a high intake of carbs in the evening before going to sleep. When sleeping, your body’s metabolism slows down, and the carbs are not burned quickly hence kicking you out of ketosis.

Does Alcohol Stop Ketosis?

No, alcohol doesn’t necessarily stop ketosis. It depends on which alcoholic drink you’re taking. Among the side effects of alcohol is slowing down the rate of ketosis [25].

How Fast Does Ketosis Burn Fat?

Ketosis burns fat after the initial 2–4 days have passed. How much weight you lose will depend on various factors such as your metabolism, fitness levels, fat-protein-carb intake, total caloric intake, and how disciplined you are with the diet.

Do You Have to Be in Ketosis to Lose Weight?

No, you do not have to be in ketosis to lose weight. Ketosis is one method of weight loss, often associated with low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet. However, weight loss fundamentally occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body uses, regardless of whether you're in ketosis.

How Can Hidden Carbs in 'Keto-Friendly' Products Affect Ketosis?

Products labeled as 'keto-friendly' may contain hidden carbs that can unexpectedly knock you out of ketosis. It's crucial to read labels carefully and be aware of ingredients like maltodextrin or dextrose, which can disrupt your ketogenic state.

Do Artificial Sweeteners Impact Ketosis?

Some artificial sweeteners can cause an insulin response or contain hidden carbs, potentially disrupting ketosis. It's important to choose sweeteners wisely, with options like stevia and erythritol generally being safer choices for maintaining ketosis.

What Is the Role of Alcohol in Maintaining Ketosis?

Alcohol, especially those high in sugars and carbs, can significantly impact ketosis. Opting for lower-carb alcoholic beverages like certain wines or spirits with zero-carb mixers can minimize this effect, but moderation is key.

Can Caffeine Affect Ketosis, and How?

Caffeine itself does not directly knock you out of ketosis, but the type of caffeinated beverage and its additives can. Beverages like sugary coffee drinks can disrupt ketosis, whereas black coffee or tea may actually support your ketogenic diet.

What Are Keto-Friendly Alternatives to High-Carb Foods?

To stay in ketosis, replace high-carb foods with keto-friendly alternatives like cauliflower rice instead of regular rice, zucchini noodles instead of pasta, and almond flour instead of wheat flour. These substitutions help maintain a low-carb intake while still enjoying similar textures and flavors.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
  2. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/325871/nutrients
  3. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168746/nutrients
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315720/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4313585/
  6. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1104310/nutrients
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30187722/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4742721/
  9. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1609645/nutrients
  10. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1102882/nutrients
  11. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170418/nutrients
  12. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169146/nutrients
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315720/
  14. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170169/nutrients
  15. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174832/nutrients
  16. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1889653/nutrients
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507971/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544346/
  19. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/glycogen
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6019055/
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23939267/
  22. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4899993/
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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