I hate to tell you, but if you are struggling to get into ketosis it might be because of sneaky carbs.
They are in things you might never suspect.
I have made it my mission to find sneaky carbs that you may never suspected to save you the heartache of realising your new favourite food is actually working against you.
If you have just started a low carb or keto way of eating, you will no doubt have realised that keeping your carbs as low as possible is the key to success.
This can be easy enough if you stick to high fat foods like meat, butter and oils, but there are lots of food with sneaky carbs that might fly under your radar!
When I first started on keto, I approached each day as an opportunity to learn.
I tracked every meal in the Myfitnesspal app just so I could learn what was working and what wasn’t.
There were some days where I’d eat a meal or *gasp* a packaged product that I was sure was Keto friendly, only to log it later in the day and find out it had blown out my carbs for the day.
Don’t be too hard on yourself when you do make these mistakes because they WILL happen naturally.
The important part is not to associate mistakes with guilt.
You did not do something bad, you learnt something new.
Anyway that’s my two cents on how to approach slip ups, here’s those sneaky foods you need to keep an eye on!
Here’s my list of the top 8 foods that contain sneaky carbs:
While mayonnaise and mustard are generally a pretty safe bet, there are a whole host of other condiments that pack some serious sneaky carbs and can quickly tip you over.
Ones to avoid in particular, or at the very least check the label, are tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, oyster sauce and most Asian sauces and salad dressings.
Think about it before you pour it all over your meal – if it tastes sweet, there is usually a catch!
Try making your own tomato and barbeque sauce so you know exactly what is inside.
Here’s my recipes for Homemade Sugar Free Tomato Sauce and BBQ Sauce!
Depending on how strict keto you are (ie. if you follow clean keto), the large majority of store bought condiments are not going to be suitable as they will have colours, flavours and preservatives in them.
If you have time, make your own.
If you don’t, tread carefully and use sparingly.
Pasta sauces in particular often contain a lot of sugar, especially those made to target the family audience as it’s always easier to get kids to eat sweet things.
Curry bases tend to be on the safer side as they are generally more based on spices than sugar.
Always be sure to check that label for total carbs before pouring it all over your dinner.
Curries that are more tomato based seem to be safer, like vindaloo and rogan josh (keep the sour cream handy because these ones can get SPICY!).
Creamy curries on the other hand are often balanced with sugar, and even worse, palm sugar (think of those orangutans… if you care about that sort of thing).
Alcohol Sugars and “Low Carb” bars
There are more and more low carb snack bars being made every day.
I am definitely not immune to these.
If I’m the road for work, starving hungry and feeling light headed and my choices are a Big Mac, or a Quest bar, I choose the Quest bar.
In saying that, these bars are definitely not an every day food.
They contain sugar alcohols, some of which can spike your insulin and others that can cause digestion issues.
I know for me, malitol in particular gives me the WORST stomach cramps, and then some other pretty unpleasant things that I won’t disgust you with.
We all respond differently to sugar alcohols and the only way to be sure is to test your blood sugar after consuming them.
But if you want to play it safe, just steer clear altogether.
I know from trial and error that xylitol works for me, but you should do your own research and trials.
If you want to read why I use xylitol when baking, I wrote about it here.
Always be aware that xylitol is very poisonous to dogs, so please be careful.
These sneaky little buggers flew under my radar for many months when I first started keto.
It’s an onion after all, how many carbs can it have? It’s a vegetable, come on!
Brown onions are generally 9 grams of carbs per 100 grams which obviously isn’t huge.
It still needs to be accounted for considering how often they are used in cooking.
I still use onion, but sometimes buy the frozen pre-diced onions so I can use a tablespoon here or there for flavour in a keto recipe, without wasting a whole onion.
Otherwise, I batch cook and use a whole onion or use it in the slow cooker.
Nothing beats onion for flavour in some meals, but just remember it is in there and to account for it when you are first starting out.
Carrots, corn and peas
The staple mixed frozen veggies in most households, this vegetable mix was the first thing to leave my freezer.
I realised how these three are all higher carb vegetables with up to 20% carbohydrates.
No wonder it is easy to get the kids (and fussy husbands) to eat it, it is packed full of sugar!
Easy to replace with small chopped up broccoli or cauliflower, cooked in bacon and olive oil or some sauteed spinach.
Try my Broccoli Bacon Salad as a tasty side dish to replace this and you won’t go back.
After coming off a paleo diet, honey was my go to sweetener as we’ve always been told that it is healthy.
At the end of the day, sugar is sugar and if you really want to go low carb or keto, the honey has to go sadly.
I will still very occasionally use a little bit in sauce or dressings now that I am in maintenance phase, but am always careful.
Dates are another one that falls into this category.
I feel like they are everywhere on the Paleo diet.
I once made a salted caramel slice that was Paleo friendly and used an entire 500 grams of dates.
That equates to 300 grams of carbs!
So even if you got 10 slices out of it, it is still 30 grams of carbs PER SLICE.
No thank you, Paleo. No wonder I put on weight on Paleo. You can read a bit about Paleo VS Keto here.
I still have a splash of full cream milk in my coffee occasionally (ie. When I’ve run out of cream!) but milk has a surprising amount of carbs.
Most milk has 4 – 5 grams per 100ml.
If you put 100ml in your coffee or tea, that’s easily a quarter of your daily carbs.
Switch to cream if you can. Too creamy? Water your cream down!
The best bet though, is to phase out milk in your coffee or tea. Once you get to black coffee, I promise you’ll never go back.
Now when I get a milky coffee, it tastes weird, sweet and has a bad mouth feel compared to black coffee!
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