Foods to Avoid on a Detox Diet

woman looking up at stack of donuts
Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Looking for a list of foods to avoid as part of the detox diet plan? You've come to the right place. Replace these foods with these detox-friendly foods (see the list).

To get more information on some key ingredients, like how to use them, check out our top 20 detox foods and get meal-by-meal suggestions. Here are various foods that you're better off without if you're looking to detox.

Dairy Products and Eggs

Instead of the dairy products on the list below, opt for organic, probiotic-rich kefir and yogurt.

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Ice cream 
  • Mayonnaise
  • Milk
  • Sour cream

Wheat and Gluten Foods

Give your system a break for a week and experiment with some alternate grains. Avoid wheat and products containing wheat, such as:

  • Bagels
  • Bread
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Crackers
  • Pasta

Besides wheat, avoid other gluten-containing foods such as barley, bulgur, rye, triticale, wheat bran, wheat germ, couscous, einkorn, farina, emmer, faro, graham flour, kamut, matzo, spelt, and semolina.

Although oats don't contain gluten, they are often processed in plants that produce gluten-containing grains. People with a gluten allergy or sensitivity should avoid them or opt for gluten-free oats.

Sugar and Sweeteners

Opt for fresh fruit and spices that have a sweet taste like cinnamon. Use natural sweeteners sparingly, such as honey, maple syrup, fruit jams, and fruit compotes. Sweeteners to remove during your detox are: 

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Brown sugar
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Refined sugar
  • White sugar


Cut back on caffeine from coffee, energy drinks, and soft drinks. Instead, try green, matcha, oolong, or white tea, which generally have less caffeine. Or enjoy caffeine-free herbal tea.

Rooibos tea and spice tea are good non-caffeinated options. If you are used to drinking coffee and are finding it difficult to cut back, try black tea instead. Avoid the following beverages during your detox.

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Energy drinks
  • Soft drinks


  • Beef
  • Canned meats
  • Deli meats and cold cuts
  • Pork
  • Sausages and hot dogs
  • Veal

Fish and Seafood

  • Foods that tend to have moderate-to-high mercury levels, such as king mackerel, orange roughy, swordfish, tuna (bigeye, ahi, albacore, yellowfin), tilefish, bluefish, grouper, and mackerel (Spanish, gulf).
  • Shellfish


Avoid any condiment not made with the allowed ingredients. 

  • Barbeque or steak sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Non-dairy creamers
  • Regular chocolate (with sugar and dairy)
  • Salad dressings not made with allowed ingredients
  • Spreads not made with the allowed ingredients

Other Foods to Avoid

  • Food additives, color, and preservatives
  • Margarine
  • Shortening
Was this page helpful?