For me, what not to eat on a low carb diet, doesn’t mean no carbs at all… I still eat carbs everyday. I usually save my carb intake for some bread, tortilla wrap or a delicious low carb bagel. You can still have grains, you just have to find the right brands. Click here to read more about where to buy low carb breads.
Generally those living a low carb lifestyle ingest between 20-100 grams of carbs per day. To have your body in a state of ketosis, it’s usually more around 20-50 grams. So it’s up to you to choose where you get those carbs from. I choose to save my carbs for a small amount of grains rather than wasting a ton of my daily carbs on a banana or carrots.
That being said, there are some foods you should definitely stay away from on a regular basis. (I believe everything can be enjoyed in moderation and we should never tell ourselves we can’t ever eat a certain food again).
What Not to Eat on a Low Carb Diet
SUGAR/ Processed Foods
For me, the whole point of living a lower carb lifestyle is to balance my insulin levels so that I have steady energy and minimal food cravings throughout my day. You’re probably aware that most junk food contains sugar, but so does a lot of other boxed and canned foods. Just be sure to check food labels, especially when buying things like salad dressings.
Not eating cookies and ice cream may be pretty straight forward for staying away from sugar, but many natural forms of sugar are high in carbs too.
- 1 TBSP White sugar: 12.6 grams of carbs
- 1 TBSP Maple syrup: 13 grams of carbs
- 1 TBSP Agave nectar: 16 grams of carbs
- 1 TBSP Honey: 17 grams of carbs
I use Stevia in my coffee or over strawberries when I need a bit of a sugar fix.
Certain Fruits and Starchy Vegetables
Again, it’s up to you where you spend your carb allowance, but I prefer not to spend mine on certain fruits and starchy veggies. I eat a variety of fruits and veggies everyday, but some are really high in carbohydrates. Most fruits are okay, but one extra-small banana, less than 6 inches long, has 18 grams of carbs, whoa! For vegetables, carrots, potatoes, peas, corn and winter squash such as pumpkin, acorn and butternut are high in carbs.
Pasta, Cereals and Crackers
Even healthy cereals with no sugar tend to have a high carb count. Crackers are similar and I tend to stay away from filling up my carb allowance on things like crackers which provide very little satiety.
Pasta is another one that has a ton of carbs (and is also hard to only eat a tiny bit of). Thankfully, I found a life saver on my low carb adventures, Miracle Noodle ORGANIC Spaghetti. The texture is slightly different, but I add Miracle Noodles to everything! I make spaghetti with it and asian stir fry. It has no carbs and no calories, which has made it a lifesaver when I need something a bit more filling.
Although this article is about what not to EAT on a low carb diet, what you drink effects your efforts too. Unfortunately, I LOVE a cold beer on a hot summer day. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have the odd beer, but I try to steer away from it on the regular. On the Bernstein diet there is no alcohol allowed, so during my weight loss I’ve had minimal alcoholic beverages. But if you’re just looking to sustain your insulin levels and have more energy, drinks like spirits and wines are a better choice than beer.
Another liquid that contains quite a bit of carbs and sugar. There is about 12 to 15 grams of carbs in every 1 cup of cow’s milk or 2/3 cup of plain yogurt. Having a tbsp of milk in your coffee each day shouldn’t harm your low carb efforts too much, but it’s worth considering alternatives like sugar-free almond milk.
Baked goods not only contain a lot of grains, they also contain a lot of sugar which doubles your carb intake. Although you can eat some whole wheat, low carb grains like certain breads and tortillas, most grocery store baked goods are on the what not to eat on a low carb diet food list! (Again, it’s important to have the odd treat in moderation, just not on a daily basis!). You can also check out The Low Carb Grocery for low carb/low sugar treats. I’m not a big sweets person, so I can’t recommend any brands.