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

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: August 9, 2022

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.

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

  • Carb intake of 40 grams a meal is enough to get you out of ketosis, which includes some surprising culprits.
  • You're out of ketosis when you start experiencing intense sugar cravings, fatigue, irritability, and bloating.
  • You can always get back into ketosis by following a strict diet, intermittent fasting, and exercising.

Will a Cheat Get Me Out of Ketosis?

Eating a sugary food

Yes, a cheat meal will get you out of ketosis. You see, for your body to stay in ketosis, you must consume a ketogenic diet of fewer than 50 grams of carbs daily.

Eating more than that net carbs threshold kicks you out of the state of ketosis, notwithstanding whether the meal is a cheat or not [1].

The idea behind a cheat meal is noble, and it may be helpful with some eating patterns.

But it's simply not fit for ketosis. In addition, it's usually very easy to overeat when indulging in a cheat meal which certainly derails your weight loss goals.

But what if you’ve already indulged in a cheat meal? How do you know you’ve been kicked out?

How You Can Tell If You’ve Been Kicked Out?

Getting dizzy and having a bloated stomach

You can tell that you’ve been kicked out of ketosis by testing your urine or observing some common signs and symptoms that show up when you’ve been kicked out. According to Cleveland Clinic, these signs include;

  • Weight gain
  • Bloating
  • Intense sugar cravings
  • Blood sugar spikes cause irritability and fatigue
  • Feeling lightheadedness or feeling dizzy

Most people who try a high-fat diet experience at least some keto flu symptoms. However, once you go through them the first time, after getting knocked out after that, you most likely won’t experience keto flu when you get back into ketosis again.

But the longer you stay in ketosis, the more your body adapts and becomes sensitive to high net carbs in general.

So, any abrupt changes to your diet like consuming excess carbs, and your body stops the weight loss and starts showing the above-mentioned signs of being kicked off ketosis every time.

But the good news is that if you’ve strayed out of ketosis, you can still jump back on the keto lifestyle bandwagon.

In a short while, we’ll be examining how to get back. But before that, let's make sure we don't mess it up again.

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10 Foods You Should Avoid

A beer and unhealthy carbohydrates

So 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 taken for food to go past the digestive tract, which assists in controlling sugar in your blood [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].

To be careful, read 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 are 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 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 meat such as smoked meat, sausages, hot dogs, and bacon contain sugar, gluten, and preservatives, which ultimately increases your carb intake and kicks 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 helps 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 the 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 craving is part of the keto process, it gradually tapers 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].

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 and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and 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].

Ketosis After a Cheat Meal

Now you know what foods will kick you out of ketosis. Try avoiding them as much as possible.

And if you have to have a cheat meal, do so sparingly and then get back to exercising, intermittent fasting, and healthy eating to get yourself back to ketosis as soon as possible.

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


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://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/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/
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6251269/
  25. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168749/nutrients

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