In this article, I’m going to tell you about “14 High Carb Foods and Drinks” that you should try to AVOID if you’re on a low carb diet let’s get going.
In my experience of helping people become successful low-carb dieters. I found a theme of common mistakes that people make when starting out.
Whenever someone is having a problem on a low-carb diet it’s usually one of the following foods that after digging through what they’ve been eating is usually one of the problems.
So stick around to the end of the article to find out all the carbs that you need to dodge so that you can be successful on your low-carb journey.
So the ‘first group’ to avoid is, of course, the obviously, sugary foods and drinks.
Now I’m including these here mainly for completeness. It’s not to insult anyone’s intelligence. Just bear with me I’m gonna rush through this one as fast as possible.
So I’m talking about things like candy, sweets, doughnuts, cakes, jelly, cookies & jams adding sugar into your food or drinks stuff where you’re consuming sugar. The same goes for drinks such as sugar-sweetened beverages, soda, sports drinks and energy drinks.
Remember the average can of soda has over nine teaspoons of sugar in it.
Now, these are all pretty obvious sources of refined carbohydrates but it’s the hidden places that sugar seems to get into that catch most people out. Added sugar is hiding in three-quarters of packaged foods.
Sauces and Condiments
The next few things are some places where people often get caught out. Sauces and condiments.
Now, some sauces are pretty obviously sweet, for example, ketchup, barbeque, teriyaki and hoisin sauce.
So you’re gonna pretty easily spot these and you might think a list is okay but these sources can be seriously loaded with sugar and tastes can also be deceiving because even though if they’re not sweet this doesn’t always mean that they’re sugar-free.
Thankfully many of the hot sauces are very low in sugar but beware of Sriracha where sugar is the 2nd listed ingredient.
Commercially prepared sources are often laden with sugar to boost the flavour. Think about things like tomato sauce and bolognese sauces.
Number three is salad dressings. Now salads are classic healthy food and they’re great for low carb and ketogenic diets, but be aware of what can go into.
Ready-prepared salad dressings that you buy from the supermarket be especially careful of glazes.
By the way, it’s really easy to make your own salad dressings just mix three parts of olive oil with one part vinegar and you’ve got a basic vinaigrette with no hidden sugars.
**Be especially aware of salad dressings that are marked as low fat, as they often contain lots of sugar.
In fact, let’s make low-fat products in general number four.
So fat equals flavour and when fat is removed from foods that are supposed to contain fat then they generally taste awful.
The food manufacturers often get around this by adding sugars to replace the missing flavour, which means that foods that are being marketed as diet or low fat or healthy are in fact full of sugar.
There are low-fat versions of lots of foods. I’ve already mentioned low-fat salad dressings but in particular, be aware of low-fat yoghurts. I’d always give these supposedly healthy options a swerve and go for the full-fat natural versions.
So one of the questions I get asked a lot is, “how do I know if I’m eating hidden sugars?”
I’m sure most people would recognize that glucose and fructose of sugars if they read them on a food label and sucrose is, of course, the chemical name for table sugar.
Many of you will also recognize high fructose corn syrup as being a sugar like substance and you’d also be right to be suspicious of other chemical-sounding names such as dextran, dextrose, maltodextrin, Socceroos and mannose which are all sugars but they’re even more tricky than this and they use names such as cane juice crystals, corn syrup solids, corn sweetener, carob syrup.
These are all just some of the names that can be used for sugar in foods and there are lots more.
So, how do you know if you’re eating a hidden sugar?
Well, for the most part, you don’t! So, how can you avoid hidden sugars? Well, the easiest way to avoid hidden sugars is to eat real food and buy real food, I mean food that isn’t processed.
If it hasn’t got an ingredients list then it’s not being processed and it hasn’t got any of these hidden nasties in it.
Let’s move on to number 5, natural sugars. Now, we’re talking about things like honey.
I gave nectar, raw cane sugar and coconut sugar and this is a common one that I hear when people say “I thought if it was natural then it was okay”.
Well, yes it may be a naturally occurring sugar but it’s still very high in carbohydrates and should be avoided. And this brings us onto the controversial topic that is fruits which is our next topic.
Now, fruits are often labelled as health, but fruits can have a wide variety of carbohydrate contents.
For example, the average banana has the equivalent of nearly 6 spoons of sugar whereas the same size portion of watermelon contains less than 2 spoons, but compare that to the same sized portion of strawberries which has less than half a spoon of sugar in it.
So when it comes to cutting the carbs we can’t just lump all fruits together and say they’re their low carb.
You have to learn a bit more about the different carb contents of different fruits.
In particular, I just urge you to be aware of the more tropical fruit such as bananas, mangoes, pineapples that kind of thing. Be especially aware also of dried fruit such as sultanas, raisins, apricots and dates. These can be a really effective sugar delivery system.
The lack of water content in these means it’s easier to consume a lot of carbohydrates really fast and fruit juices should also be avoided on a low-carb diet. In a similar way to dried fruit, fruit juices in fruit smoothies also
allow you to consume large amounts of fruit very rapidly. This 200 ml of apple juice which is less than a cup contains the same amount of sugar as a can of soda.
Grains & Cereals
This is, of course, a well-known area to avoid if you are on low carb diets. But there are still a few mistakes that I commonly see in this area.
By grains and cereals, I’m talking about things like wheat, maize, rice, oats, barley etc. The things that are used to produce things like bread, pasta and breakfast cereals.
These all contain a lot of starch and starch is just long branched chains of glucose molecules all doing together and these chains break down into glucose eventually, so the starch is just another form of carbohydrate.
The most common mistake I see in this area is that people cut out the white bread and pasta and the obviously high carb breakfast cereals but will instead choose the apparently healthier whole-grain alternatives thinking their lower carb.
Let’s take bread, for example, a slice of white bread has the equivalent of 3.7 spoons of sugar whereas the slice of whole-grain bread has the equivalent of 3 spoons of sugar. It’s less definitely but two small slices of this whole-grain bread are still the equivalent of 6 spoons of sugar and the same goes for apparently healthier breakfast options such as muesli, porridge or oatmeal.
So even if they appear to be or are marketed to be healthier options all grains and cereals should be avoided on a low-carb diet.
Before I move on to the next section, I just want to mention something that is a grain but many of us think about as part of vegetables and that’s sweet corn the clue is in the name really…’Sweet’ corn.
Their typical 80-gram portion will give you the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar which is 20 times the amount you’d get from eating the same amount of broccoli.
Number eight is gluten-free products. This is kind of related to the last one but by avoiding grains most people who are living a low-carb lifestyle are naturally gluten-free.
I’ve seen plenty of people get confused about gluten-free products naturally assuming that they are low-carb. So just be aware that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily equal low carb. In fact, many of these products are actually quite high in carbs.
Number nine it’s a big one starchy vegetables. So people often know to avoid potatoes on a low carbohydrate diet. The average hundred and fifty gram serving of potatoes has the equivalent of nine teaspoons of sugar.
Other starchy vegetables to avoid would include sweet potatoes and parsnips which have similar carbohydrate contents to potatoes but also cassava or yucca which has about double the carb content of potatoes.
Number ten is legumes. Legumes are a family of plants that are made up of beans, lentils and peas and whilst these are a great source of protein and the carbohydrates from. These are absorbed quite slowly by the body If you’re really cutting back the carbs then most of the legumes need to be off the shopping list.
There are loads within this group so I’m not going to go through all of them but the ones that commonly catch people out are chickpeas. Chickpeas are very high in carbohydrates compared to garden peas which are much lower in carbohydrates and can be eaten in moderation, and all but the most restrictive of low carb diets.
Well, pseudo-grains include things like quinoa, buckwheat and wild rice which technically isn’t actually a rice at all. Now I think of these in the same way that I do legumes they’re a lot better and more nutritious than grains and cereals but there’s still pretty high in carbs and should be avoided.
Cashews nuts are an exception within the nut family which are really pretty low in carbohydrates. Cashew nuts have three to five times the carbohydrate content than most other nuts.
This can be especially problematic as they’re really easy to consume in large amounts especially if they’re salted.
Milk contains lactose which is, of course, sugar and lactose are rapidly converted into glucose in the body and therefore should be considered high carb.
Remember the lattes, cappuccinos and other drinks that are prepared mainly with milk should be avoided. If you’re drinking a small splash of milk in two or three coffees a day then you should be fine but if you’re using like loads of milk in seven or eight cups a day then you’re probably consuming a fair amount of carbs just from the milk itself.
I definitely recommend getting full-fat milk rather than any of the reduced-fat stuff you need far less of it to do the same job and I just think it tastes way better.
Last but not least and quite obsessingly in at number fourteen, its beer!!
Now, any alcohol is always going to slow down or stall weight loss on a diet but there are definitely some alcohols that are higher in carbohydrates than others.
A particular note is a beer which quite rightly has the nickname of liquid toast and of course there are hundreds of different brands of beer that all have a varying amount of carbs within them. You can, by all means, find low carb beers but they all taste pretty awful.
So that’s it that is my top 14 list of food and drinks to avoid when you’re on a low carb diet. Now it’s gonna sound like you pretty much can’t eat anything but I assure you that really isn’t the case.