High Carb Foods & Drinks to Avoid
Low cab diets require that you limit the number of carbs you consume daily. This means avoiding certain foods and beverages that are high in carb while enjoying others that can contribute to you reaching your desired weight and your optimal health.
If you haven’t already read our post on how to calculate carbs, give it a read, as it’s a good guide to counting carbs the easy way.
There are some obvious foods on the list like bread but most people who are new to low carb living might be unsure of what fruits and vegetables they shouldn’t eat and what dairy is considered “safe”. In addition, many people believe that traditionally healthy foods are low carb just because they are high in nutrients like oranges, beans, bananas or brown rice.
To help you either get started or to make sure you are doing it right, here are 15 high carb items that you should avoid. You can use this online carb counter to double check the number of carbs that are present in a lot of common foods.
It’s best to be diligent about every ingredient you eat as it can be easy to forget what foods are high in carbs, especially when you’re first getting started with your low carb diet.
High Carb Vegetables
With most diets, vegetables seem to have the perennial green light. While each has their own nutritional properties, it’s important to separate those that are low carb from those that are not. With respect to vegetables, a good rule is that if it grows beneath the ground then it’s probably best to avoid while meal planning and grocery shopping.
Vegetables to steer clear of include:
Per 100 grams (g), raw potatoes have roughly 17g of carbs, which is more than the recommended daily intake for vegetables. You can substitute potatoes for puréed cauliflower or a leafy green like kale or spinach.
Of course, this also means not eating snacks containing potatoes.
Some people think that sweet potato is a strong low carb substitute for other kinds of potatoes. Unfortunately, 100g of raw sweet potatoes has 22.89g of carbs making it not only a bad substitute but something to avoid altogether.
Per 100g, raw artichoke has 10.51g of carbs with one large artichoke potentially containing slightly over 17g of carbs. Additionally, 100g of frozen artichokes can contain 9.18g.
Corn comes in several different forms: on the cob, canned or even as pudding. 100g of sweet corn with or without salt has over 18g of carbs. 100g of standard canned white corn cream-style has over 16g of carbs.
Peas are another vegetable that can be purchased in a variety of forms or can be prepared several different ways. Unfortunately for fans of peas, none of these are good for a low carb diet. To give you an idea of the carbs found in peas, 100g of cooked frozen peas with or without salt consists of over 9g.
Consider replacing peas with mushrooms or broccoli to keep the carbs low.
High Carb Grains
100g of cooked long-grain brown rice can contain 22.96g of carbs, making it a less than ideal pairing for low carb protein. Even if it is whole grain, the carb count makes it less than an ideal choice.
Quinoa, the popular Peruvian grain that many substitute for brown rice, surprisingly has 68.9g of carbs per 100g. It’s recommended to replace quinoa or brown rice with a low carb side dish.
Here are some recipes you might enjoy trying.
High Carb Beans
Most legumes, including beans, are pretty much a no-go for low carb diets despite being high protein.
At 18.56g of carbs per ½ cup serving, kidney beans are high in carbs. If you intend to eat them as part of chili, most recipes require about 10-20 oz. of beans. It’s recommended to use a low carb chili recipe instead so that it doesn’t have to count as a cheat day.
Fans of lima beans might want to reconsider including them as part of any lunch or dinner. 100g of boiled lima beans with salt contains over 23g of carbs, which is extremely high.
Pinto beans are another one to be careful about eating so think twice as you shop for ingredients for your next burrito night. In fact, pinto beans are a huge carb culprit. 100g of frozen, boiled, drained and salted pinto beans are close to 31g of carbs.
Other bean or legumes to avoid include:
- Black-eyed peas
- Cannellini beans
- Navy beans
- Black beans
Certain Types of Milk
Dairy in general isn’t a great match for a low carb diet. The only applicable versions are usually the low-fat, plain types.
1% and Condensed Milk
1 cup of low-fat 1% milk with added non-fat milk solids has 12.18g of carbs. Believe it or not, canned and sweetened condensed milk has 53.31g of carbs per 100g and 163.14g for every 1 cup.
If you are looking for low carb substitutes, you can consider almond milk, oat milk or hemp milk.
Since most breadcrumbs are off-limits so are breaded meats (unless it’s a low carb breadcrumb mix like this). It’s recommended to only eat low carb meat that is not breaded like chicken breast or certain cuts of pork. Same goes for proteins wrapped in pastries, so you should remove any pot pies or wellingtons from your meal plan.
Sodas as typically filled with sugar and additives providing very little nutritional value. While diet sodas don’t contain carbs, they are high in sodium. Furthermore, they can be a sneaky source of carbs and can undermine your efforts to eat a low carb and balanced meal.
Replace traditional soda with Zevia cola soda, and of course try to replace soda with water, drinking 6 to 8 glasses a day.
Going out with friends for drinks can be a lot of fun but certain cocktails should be added to the naughty list. These means passing on margaritas, screwdrivers and even a delicious and aromatic piña colada.
Some alcohol can work with a low carb diet either for drinking or cooking. Pure alcohols like tequila, rum and vodka are popular choices for people adhering to a keto diet.
Cooking oils are used to prepare food but can also add flavour to many low carb recipes. You must be careful, though, as several popular cooking oils are high in carbs, including:
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Peanut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
Instead try a low carb oil option like coconut oil or walnut oil. You also have the option with some dishes to ditch cooking oil altogether.
One tip is that cooking oils and condiments can be a hidden source of carbs, often overlooked by people who are focused on the main and side components of their meal.
Get Started Today!
Now that you know some common foods and beverages to avoid to experience the benefits of a low carb diet, it’s time to start giving thought to what ingredients you want to use in your upcoming meals.
Check out the low carb and keto friendly products we carry at The Low Carb Grocery. You’re sure to find the best ingredients to make delicious meals every time!