What foods throw you out ketosis?

The ketogenic diet has become incredibly popular in recent years for its effectiveness at burning fat and losing weight quickly. The basis of keto is to restrict carb intake to under 50 grams per day in order to induce a metabolic state called ketosis, where your body switches from burning glucose to burning fat and ketones for fuel. This causes fast weight loss and has many other health benefits as well. However, there are certain foods that can easily kick you out of ketosis if you overindulge in them. This article will outline what foods to watch out for on keto that can throw you out of ketosis.

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis occurs when your body begins burning mostly fat for fuel instead of carbs. It’s induced on the keto diet by restricting carb intake to around 20-50 grams per day or less. This extremely low level of carbs causes your body to eventually deplete its glycogen stores, which is the stored form of carbs in the muscles and liver.

Once glycogen is depleted, your body has no choice but to find another energy source. So it begins breaking down fat and releasing ketones into the bloodstream. Ketones become the new primary fuel source for the body and brain. This metabolic state of ketosis causes quick fat loss, increased energy, and other health benefits. However, ketosis is a delicate state that can easily be thrown off balance by certain high-carb foods.

Foods That Can Kick You Out of Ketosis

Here are some of the main food culprits that can quickly kick you out of ketosis:

Sugary Foods and Drinks

Foods high in sugar like candy, baked goods, ice cream, and sugary drinks like soda can rapidly raise blood sugar and insulin levels. Even a small amount of sugar can quickly stop ketone production and halt fat burning until the sugar is used up. Some specific sugary foods to avoid include:

– Candy – All types of candy are packed with sugar and should be avoided on keto. Even small amounts of chocolate can contain enough sugar to disrupt ketosis.

– Baked goods – Items like cakes, cookies, muffins, and donuts are very high in carbs and sugar. It’s best to avoid all baked goods on keto.

– Ice cream and milkshakes – These frozen dairy treats are loaded with sugar and will spike insulin rapidly. Stick to low-carb options like frozen yogurt instead.

– Soda and sweet tea – One can of soda contains around 40 grams of sugar, while sweet tea can have over 60 grams in just one glass. Both will quickly halt ketosis.

Starchy Foods

Starchy foods like grains, bread, pasta, rice, beans, and potatoes are very high in carbohydrates and raise blood sugar levels rapidly. Even small amounts of these foods can contain enough carbs to get you kicked out of ketosis. Some starchy foods to avoid include:

– Bread – Just one slice of bread can contain 15-20 grams of carbs. All types of bread should be avoided, including white, whole wheat, sourdough, and rye.

– Pasta – One cup of cooked pasta contains around 40 grams of carbs, more than double most people’s daily limit on keto. Avoid all types like spaghetti, penne, rotini, lasagna, etc.

– Rice – A half cup of white or brown rice contains over 30 grams of carbs. Fried rice or rice mixed in other dishes can add up fast.

– Potatoes – All potato products like baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, fries and chips are too high in carbs for keto.

– Beans and lentils – These legumes are loaded with carbs and should not be eaten on keto.

Processed low-fat foods

Low-fat diet foods like low-fat yogurt, salad dressing, and fat-free cookies are highly processed and contain added sugars to improve flavor after the fat is removed. So they can spike blood sugar and insulin just as much as any other sugary food.


Most types of fruit contain enough natural sugar and carbs to disrupt ketosis. Dried fruit and fruit juice are especially concentrated sources of sugar and should always be avoided. The lower sugar fruits like berries can be enjoyed in moderation, but it’s best to minimize fruit intake to 1-2 servings per day on keto.

Some fruits that can affect ketosis include:

– Bananas – One medium banana has 27 grams of carbs.

– Apples – One medium apple contains 25 grams of carbs.

– Grapes – Just one cup of grapes has 27 grams of carbs.

– Pineapple – Contains 21 grams of carbs in each cup.

– Mango – There are 45 grams of carbs in a cup of mango pieces.

– Fruit juice – Apple, orange, and other fruit juices contain around 20-30 grams of sugar per small glass.

Root Vegetables and Squash

Starchy vegetables like carrots, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, and winter squash are higher in carbs than other types of vegetables. One small baked sweet potato for example packs over 30 grams of carbs. Consume these in moderation and carefully count carbs.


Most alcoholic beverages contain enough carbs to temporarily stop ketosis. Beer, cocktails, wine, and mixed drinks with soda, juice or sweeteners can all be problematic. Limit alcohol or choose lower carb options like dry wines or spirits with zero carb mixers.

Low-carb junk foods

There are lots of “low-carb” snack foods and treats marketed to keto dieters. However, many of these are highly processed and contain unhealthy ingredients that can still spike blood sugar. Some examples include:

– Low-carb candy bars
– Low-carb protein bars
– Flavored pork rinds
– Processed low-carb snacks

Pay attention to ingredients and nutrition facts. Make sure any low-carb packaged foods fit your macros.

Keto-friendly foods that can affect ketosis

There are even some foods considered keto-friendly that may still need to be limited for some people to maintain ketosis. Food sensitivities and tolerance levels can vary. Some examples include:

– Dairy – Milk, yogurt, cheese and heavy cream.

– Nuts – Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews.

– Dark chocolate – Look for at least 85% cacao.

– Berries – Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries.

– Onions and tomatoes – Can be higher in carbs than other veggies.

– Artificial sweeteners – Some people react strongly and get kicked out of ketosis.

Pay attention to your carb tolerance level and count net carbs from these foods.

Signs You Have Been Thrown Out of Ketosis

Here are some possible signs you may no longer be in ketosis after eating too many carbs or sugar:

– Increased appetite and cravings, especially for carbs and sugar

– Low energy levels and feeling tired

– Digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea or bloating

– Difficulty concentrating or brain fog

– Weight loss plateaus or weight gain

– Exercise performance decreases

– Reduced ketones in urine or breath tests

The more high-carb foods you eat, and the further you stray over your carb limit, the faster you will be knocked out of ketosis. Symptoms usually begin within 24-48 hours. Getting back into ketosis requires restricting carbs again.

How Long Does it Take to Get Back into Ketosis?

The amount of time it takes to return to a ketogenic state after eating excess carbs depends on several factors:

How many extra carbs you ate – The more carbs you indulged in, the longer it will take to recover. Consuming over 100 grams of carbs can take 1-3 days.

Your metabolic health – Someone with good insulin sensitivity may bounce back into ketosis faster than someone with insulin resistance or diabetes.

Activity levels – Exercising can help burn through glycogen stores and accelerate the transition back to ketosis.

Protein intake – Eating extra protein while restricting carbs can help speed up the process.

Fasting – Going 12-16 hours without eating gives your body a chance to deplete glycogen faster.

Here is a general timeline:

– Consumed under 30 extra carbs: Likely remain in ketosis or rapidly return within several hours.

– Consumed 50-99 extra carbs: May take 12-24 hours to reenter ketosis.

– Consumed 100-150 extra carbs: Can take 24-48 hours to return to ketosis.

– Consumed over 150 extra carbs: May take 48-72 hours to get back into ketosis.

The fastest way to get back into ketosis after cheating is to exercise, fast intermittently, restrict carbs to under 20 grams, and drink water. Testing urine ketones can confirm you are back in ketosis.

Tips to Get Back Into Ketosis Quickly After Cheating

Here are some effective tips to reenter ketosis faster if you’ve fallen off track:

– Fast for 16-20 hours after higher carb intake

– Restrict net carbs to 20 grams or less

– Increase protein intake and reduce fat intake slightly

– Drink plenty of water to flush out glycogen

– Take exogenous ketones like ketone salts or MCT oil

– Exercise for at least 30-60 minutes to help burn glycogen

– Consider intermittent fasting (only eating in a set window each day)

– Check urine ketones every few hours to gauge progress

– Avoid snacking and eat 2-3 keto meals at set times

– Get plenty of rest and manage stress levels

With some discipline, you can be back in ketosis within 24 hours in most cases. Don’t get discouraged!

Foods to Eat to Get Back Into Ketosis

Choose the following low-carb foods to help reestablish ketosis faster:

Protein foods:

– Eggs
– Chicken
– Turkey
– Beef
– Pork
– Fish like salmon and tuna
– Non-breaded meats

Non-starchy vegetables:

– Leafy greens – spinach, kale, lettuce
– Broccoli and cauliflower
– Asparagus
– Cucumbers
– Peppers
– Onions
– Brussels sprouts
– Green beans

High fat foods:

– Natural peanut or almond butter
– Coconut oil
– Olive oil
– Avocados
– Nuts like almonds and walnuts
– Seeds like flax, chia and pumpkin
– Full-fat cheese


– Plain Greek yogurt
– Cottage cheese
– Hard cheeses


– Bone broth
– Vegetables broth
– Unsweetened tea or coffee
– Plain unsweetened almond milk
– Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries

Avoid all starchy vegetables, grains, sugar, fruit, alcohol and sugary sauces or condiments until ketosis has been reestablished.

Should You Do a Fat Fast?

A “fat fast” is a short term strategy sometimes used to get back into ketosis quicker after carb loading. It involves consuming about 1,000 calories per day, with 80-90% of calories from fat. This provides just enough protein for maintenance and minimal carbs.

A fat fast can help:

– Lower insulin levels and carb cravings.

– Quickly burn through glycogen stores.

– Increase ketones.

However, it’s only recommended for short term use, like 2-5 days max. An extended fat fast may become dangerous by promoting lean muscle loss, metabolic slowdown, fatigue, and disordered eating habits.

Some potential fat fast foods include:

– Fatty cuts of meat like bacon or sausage.

– Full-fat cheese.

– Avocados.

– Heavy whipping cream.

– Butter or ghee.

– Nuts and nut butters.

– Oils like olive or coconut.

– Fatty fish like salmon.

Only use a fat fast if you’ve significantly fallen off track and have struggled to reinstate ketosis quickly with standard low carb dieting. It should not become a regularly used crutch.

Prevent Falling Out of Ketosis

It’s best just to stick closely to proper keto macros in the first place. Here are some tips to stay in ketosis consistently:

– Weigh and track foods with an app to ensure accurate macros.

– Choose natural, whole foods over processed options.

– Meal prep keto foods to prevent cheating temptations.

– Avoid sweeteners and keto-labeled packaged snacks.

– Check urine ketones often.

– Follow intermittent fasting and eat in a contracted eating window.

– Manage stress and get enough sleep.

– Supplement electrolytes from foods to reduce keto flu.

– Stay hydrated and drink keto-approved beverages.

– Keep plenty of delicious keto foods on hand.

– Plan for social events and eating out.

With some consistency, your body will become fat adapted and remain in ketosis with minimal effort.


Maintaining a state of nutritional ketosis is vital for seeing continued benefits on the keto diet. Consuming too many carbs or sugars, even from sources perceived as healthy, can easily kick you out of ketosis and halt fat burning. Avoid carb-heavy foods like grains, starches, sugars, fruits and alcohol. Focus on protein, healthy fats, and low-carb veggies instead. Check for signs of low ketones and take action immediately to get back into ketosis if needed. With consistency, keto can be followed long-term.

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