Ketogenicinfo » Keto for Beginners » 7 Reasons Not to Eat Processed Foods on Keto

7 Reasons Not to Eat Processed Foods on Keto

What are processed foods?

Processed foods are refined, man-made food products usually high in sugar with very little nutritional value. They typically contain preservatives, poor quality fats and hidden sugar that can lead to poor human health by raising inflammation in the body.

Is processed food bad for Keto?

Yes, eating excessive processed foods are an example of a dirty keto diet. This diet can lead to inflammation in the body and unhealthy LDL to HDL cholesterol ratios.

Processed foods can also disrupt the beneficial bacteria (microbiota) in our intestinal tract and contribute to a keto weight loss plateau.

Processed foods are not appropriate on the keto diet because of hidden sugars and toxic hydrogenated fats.

Almost all my articles end up leading back to discussing insulin. The level of insulin in your body has a direct correlation to your long term health.

“Cells become insulin resistant because they are trying to protect themselves from the toxic effects of high insulin.”

Dr. Ron Rosedale, MD

Elevated insulin levels over an extended period of time are primarily responsible for diabetes and prediabetes. 65% of adults over 45 have either diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Processed foods, sugar and keto
Processed Foods Are Killing You

So what is causing these massive insulin spikes in the American population?

High carbohydrate processed food with refined sugars are the leading culprit. The increase in metabolic diseases like diabetes directly correlates to a rise in starch and sugar consumption in our diet.

Today, Americans consume on average 29% more grains and bread than they did in 1970, that’s about 122 more pounds a year.

Here’s a shocker, in the year 1700 average Britain and American ate only between 2 and 4 pounds of sugar a year!

According to this study titled, “Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: controlling an emerging epidemic.” By the year 2020, it is estimated to become the leading cause for liver transplants, even causing more transplants than hepatitis C.

It’s also known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). With NAFLD, Alcohol doesn’t destroy your liver, fat does and it’s not because of fat, it’s because of high sugar and triglycerides.

We now eat about 57 pounds of extra sugar a year! In 1970 we only ate on average 23 pounds of sugar a year.

Even more dangerous than table sugar (sucrose) is high fructose corn syrup. The fructose from high fructose corn syrup needs to be converted to fat or glycogen by the liver before it can be used as fuel.

If there is too much, the fat gets stored in the liver and contributes to fatty liver disease. Avoiding refined foods on keto is important for a healthy liver.

It is estimated that between 80 to 100 million Americans have fatty liver disease. By the year 2020, it is estimated to become the leading cause for liver transplants, even causing more transplants than hepatitis C.

How to heal a fatty liver with keto

And it’s not just the sugar you add or drink. Researchers from the University of North Carolina conducted a detailed survey of processed foods and drinks in American grocery stores and found that 60 percent of them contained added sugar of some sort.

Eating processed foods on the keto diet is called lazy keto.

A lot of the foods that we consider healthy are actually very unhealthy because of the high sugar content. For example, skim milk, yogurt, granola, and banana.

Yes, one single banana has 27 grams of fructose carbohydrates. Remember Sugar is bad and Sugar is Sugar. The digestive tract digests all sources of carbohydrates into simple sugars called monosaccharides.

“Your body has no idea if it came from table sugar, honey, or agave nectar. It simply sees monosaccharide sugar molecules”

Amy Goodson, MS, RD.

Most fruit is not as healthy as we think. Here is an informative article on the ketogenic diet and fruit.

Here is a timeline of how the American diet has changed over just a few years.

  • 1992 cancer rates climbed to 510 new cases for every 100,000 people in the U.S.
  • 1997 an estimated 19.4% of U.S. adults were categorized as medically obese and in 2004 the percentage climbed to 24.5 %.
  • 2005 Americans ate about 100 pounds of added sugars each year, up from about 40 pounds in 1900.
  • 2008 the obesity rate for adult Americans was 32.2% of men and 35.5% of women.

According to, there was a 1,000 % increase in the consumption of high fructose corn syrup between 1970 and 1990.

As we age, inflammation contributes to a whole host of negative health issues.

Sugar and processed foods contributes to inflammation and for people trying to lose weight after 40 and beyond, inflammation will halt your weight loss goals.

The Alzheimer’s epidemic and processed foods.

By the year 2050, it’s estimated there will be as many as 16 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, costs associated with dementia could be as much as $1.1 trillion and 1 out of 10 Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s.

There was an 89% increase in deaths due to Alzheimer’s between the year 2000 and 2014. Insulin resistance has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and some are calling Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes. You can read the study here.

By the way, the Superfood Natto has been shown to potentially reduce the odds of getting dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Good health doesn’t have to come from a doctor’s prescription.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the years between 2008 and 2016, the obesity rates rose sharply from 34% to 39% in adults. Even more troubling is with our children.

Youth obesity rates went up significantly. Between the years 2000 and 2016 the childhood obesity rates went from 13.9% to 18.5%.

Eating healthy superfoods can prevent poor health as we get older.

Any parents out there reading this?

Children are not exempt from insulin resistance and diabetes and feeding children excess sugar early in life can absolutely contribute to them developing diabetes or metabolic syndrome later in life. Manufactures are adding sugar into refined foods.

Processed foods are to high in sugar for the keto diet
Sugar in processed foods

Stay away from processed and refined foods and eat more fresh, antioxidant-rich vegetables meat and fermented foods.

If there is one gift parents can give to their children is to teach them the importance of healthy eating.

The knowledge that healthy food can heal and prevent illness is a gift that can last a lifetime. Avoiding processed foods can increase your healthspan and help you live longer.

Processed foods should also be avoided for a healthy pregnancy diet. Optimum nutrition is essential for fetus development. You can read more about keto and pregnancy here.

So let’s recap about the dangers of processed foods and keto:

Carbohydrates are broken down into Sugar/glucose and cause insulin to rise in the body. Excess sugar and insulin over time contribute to fat storage and insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance contributes and has been linked to a whole host of metabolic diseases like Diabetes, fatty liver (NAFLD), Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease.

A food product labeled “low fat” does not necessarily mean it is a healthy food choice. Typically the food manufacturers replace the fat with simple sugars.

This is an absolutely shocking study: 1 in 5 adolescents and 1 in 4 young adults now living with prediabetes.

There are a lot of keto diet myths out there. The #1 myth is keto is not healthy. If you avoid refined and processed foods while you’re on a keto diet, it will remain healthy.

Here is a great keto frequently asked questions and keto diet beginners guide if your thinking about getting started on keto. Even if you don’t want to start the Ketogenic Diet, reducing consumption of processed foods can improve your long term health.

Robert Bryant
Robert Bryant

What we eat contributes greatly to how we feel. If we can get back to eating real, fresh, organic foods and not processed foods with massive amounts of sugar, chemicals and preservatives it will transform our health more than any drug or other lifestyle modification.

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