What Foods Should You Avoid on a Low Carb Diet?

Doctors may recommend a low-carb diet for many reasons, such as weight loss or managing health problems like diabetes and high cholesterol. Depending on the individual's health goals, they may limit their daily intake to as little as 20 grams of carbohydrates. Knowing which high-carb foods to avoid is essential for those on a low-carb diet. Eliminating bread, grains, and pasta from your diet can be difficult, but there are plenty of recipe and cookbook websites that can help you meet your carbohydrate goals.

Your doctor or nutritionist can also provide helpful suggestions on how to structure low-carb meals. Vegetables are generally a good choice for those on a low-carb diet, but corn and root vegetables such as potatoes, yams, and beets are high in starch and should be avoided. Non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, pumpkin, bell peppers, and asparagus are better options for filling up on fiber and other nutrients while moderating carbohydrate intake. Salad is usually an excellent choice on a low-carb diet, but low-fat or fat-free salad dressings are surprisingly higher in carbohydrates than full-fat varieties.

Creamy, full-fat dressings are a better option for minimizing carbohydrate intake. Alternatively, you can mix olive oil and vinegar for a healthy and tasty alternative. Beer is not recommended for those on a low-carb diet since it contains 13 grams of carbohydrates per can - comparable to a slice of white bread. Additionally, consuming carbohydrates in liquid form makes it more likely to gain weight since eating solid foods causes the person to compensate for food intake by eating less at the end of the day.

Dry wines are very low in carbohydrates and liquor contains no carbohydrates at all. Mixers with a low sugar content can be used to prepare low-carb cocktails. Milk is another healthy food that is high in carbohydrates, so it should be avoided or limited if you're on a strict diet. Cream or half and half are better alternatives for those who need to add milk to their coffee.

Dairy-free milk substitutes such as almond milk or coconut milk can also be used instead of regular milk. It's important to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet. With the help of Meritage Medical Network's network of more than 700 specialist and primary care physicians, you can get individual nutritional counseling services that can help you achieve your health goals. Very low-carb diets such as the ketogenic diet have been shown to increase weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity, but they may not be suitable for everyone unless under medical supervision. The following list contains six types of high-carb foods to avoid on a low-carb diet:

  • Bread, grains, and pasta
  • Corn and root vegetables such as potatoes, yams, and beets
  • Low-fat or fat-free salad dressings
  • Beer
  • Milk
  • Fruit
In addition to avoiding these foods, it's important to remember that if you're so focused on your diet that fitness gets in the way or if you don't have enough energy due to excessive reduction in carbohydrate intake, it may be time to evaluate if the diet works for you.