For keto to work, there are things you absolutely need to avoid, e.g. bread and pasta. By avoiding these foods, you will stay within your recommended carb limit, achieve ketosis, and curb cravings.

Besides high-carb food, there are also beverages and even exercises you may want to steer clear of. Knowing what exactly should be on your “forbidden” list will make reaching your dieting objectives so much easier.

Types of Foods and Drinks to Avoid

Below is a quick list of foods and drinks you will forgo on a standard ketogenic diet. These are high in carbohydrate content.


Grains are commonly referred to as cereals and include hard, dry seeds like wheat, rice, barley, and millet. Avoid these and products made from grains like flour, bread, cookies, and pasta.


Legumes are pea plants such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and soy. While they are higher in protein than cereal grains, they still contain too many carbs to be considered practical on keto.

Nutritive sweeteners

Unlike non-nutritive sweeteners, nutritive sweeteners provide energy in the form of carbohydrates. These include table sugar, honey, corn syrup, and molasses.

High-carb fruits and vegetables

Corn, potatoes, carrots, yams, bananas, and apples are fairly high in carbs per standard serving. Avoid these and products made from them (e.g. potato chips) and stick to low-carb vegetables.


Even natural fruit juice is bad on keto. In fact, fruit juice is a more concentrated source of fruit sugar than whole fruits.

Some alcohol

Certain alcoholic drinks are high in carbs, while others are not. Find out here what booze is not allowed on keto.

Exercises to Avoid

A recent study found that short-term keto diets reduce performance during anaerobic activities 1. That’s because anaerobic workouts usually rely on glucose and glycogen, the levels of which are low early in the keto diet.

Examples of anaerobic workouts not to do if you’re just starting keto include:

  • Burpees
  • Weightlifting
  • Sprints
  • Sit-ups
  • Push-ups

However, you can do aerobic workouts once you become keto-adapted. That’s when your body starts to utilize fat even during anaerobic activity 2. For even better workouts, you may want to consider targeted and cyclical ketogenic diets.


While keto doesn’t really come with a “forbidden” list, some foods, drinks, and even activities may be best to avoid to reap the maximum benefits of this diet. Usually, the most common recommendation is to avoid high-carb foods like grains, legumes, and most fruit. These can make it easier for you to go over your daily carb limit compared to low-carb items like meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds, avocados, and so on.

Similarly, anaerobic workouts place a greater demand for glucose and glycogen than aerobic ones. That doesn’t mean you should avoid anaerobic activities while on a keto diet. But you will be better off postponing such workouts until your body gets used to using ketones instead of glucose (muscles included). At the end of the day, with trial and error, you’ll learn what keto approach works best for you.


  1. Wroble KA et al. Low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet impairs anaerobic exercise performance in exercise-trained women and men: a randomized-sequence crossover trial. 2018 April 4 -

  2. McSwiney FT et al. Keto-adaptation enhances exercise performance and body composition responses to training in endurance athletes. 2017 November 03 -

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