No carb foods are those food items, whether natural or processed, that have zero carbohydrate content.
First, let’s back up and talk about carbohydrates. There are 3 main types of carbohydrates: sugar, starch, and fiber.
Yes, sugar and fiber are actually carbohydrates! It gets a bit confusing because when people talk about carbs, they are usually referring to starch only, such as those found in bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and beans. They are usually not thinking of sugar or fiber.
We all know that fiber is excellent for us, and we should eat as much fiber as possible. Unlike sugar and starch, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules and leaves the body undigested. Foods with a lot of fiber in them make them less digestible, and as a result, less sugar is delivered to the body. Fiber promotes removal of waste from your body and helps lower cholesterol.
Since fiber is so good for us, when we say “no/low carb foods”, let’s assume we are NOT referring to fiber, and that we mean “no/low sugar and no/low starch foods”.
Imagine a zero carb world where nervous counting doesn’t exist. If you’re starting low carb, speeding up ketosis or in Atkins Induction, no carb foods will set you free.
The list of low carb foods is HUGE. Zero carb foods are more limited, especially in the fruit and veggie area. But there are still over 100 choices for rich satisfying meals.
Using the No Carb Foods List
Technically speaking, fats are the only foods that are completely zero carb. Even meats and seafood have trace amounts.
What You Must Know:
The foods on this list have very minor amounts of net carbs – fractions of a gram. These foods are so close to zero, most low carbers consider them ‘no carb foods.’
The “almost” zero carb foods are a bit higher, but a single serving from the list is still under 1 net carb.
Track your servings. Trace amounts of carbs still add up.
Tips for Going Zero Carb
You’ve decided to go low – really low. These three easy tips simplify starting your zero carb diet.
Give yourself a few days to prepare.
Check your fridge and cabinets, move any higher carb foods to the side, and fill the space with your favorite no carb foods.
Plan a zero carb grocery trip and stock up!
Focus on what you ARE allowed to eat.
Zero carb foods are savory and delicious. You won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself.
Have fun. Try new things.
If you are eating foods with no carbs, you are cooking more often. Having some fun with your food is a good way to build positive associations.
There are zero carb foods in almost every food group, so it’s easy to enjoy a variety of foods when going no carb.
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Which Foods Have No Carbs?
While there are quite a number of foods that have low carbs, foods with zero carbohydrates are much more limited.
Below are foods that have absolutely no carbs based on the National Nutrient Database published by the US Department of Agriculture.
No Carb Beverages
- Ok, this may be an obvious one, but in case anyone was wondering. Water remains the healthiest carb-free drink. Make sure to drink enough water during the day to stay hydrated and for optimal bowel movements.Sparkling water and club soda are also carb-free.
- Coffee & Tea. Any black coffee or tea you make are carb-free. However, once you put in milk or sugar, it is no longer carb-free!
No Carb Fresh Unprocessed Meat
The following fresh unprocessed meats have no carbs. Note that any meat that is processed typically has carbs, including beef in fast food burgers and beef jerky:
No Carb Fresh Unprocessed Fish
The following fresh unprocessed fish have no carbs:
No Carb Oils
The following oils have no carbs. Keep in mind that oil has a lot of calories, so you should not over-consume oil:
- Olive oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
- Peanut oil
- Sesame oil
- Coconut Oil
No Carb Alcoholic Beverages
The following alcoholic beverages have no carbs.
Other Foods With Extremely Low Carbs
Following are foods with virtually no carbs or extremely low carbs, again based on the National Nutrient Database published by the US Department of Agriculture.
- Butter and Margarine
- Dill weed
- Cheese (Parmesan, Camembert, Cheddar, Swiss, Provolone, Mozzarella, Blue cheese)
- Sour cream
- Tea (all kinds)
- Whip cream
- Green pepper
- Cream cheese
In reality, since your body needs the fiber and nutrients from vegetables, most of which contain starch, a zero-carb diet is probably not possible. In terms of going on a low-carb-diet, opinions differ on whether severely limiting carbs is good for your health or even for your long-term weight loss.
If you are or thinking of going on a low-carb diet, be sure to watch your energy levels. If you have low energy levels for a prolonged period of time, you may need to increase your carb intake.
Low Carb Vegetables and Fruits
In addition to the zero or virtually zero carb foods above, below are common vegetables and fruits you can enjoy, with the lowest carb count based on United States Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database.
Low Carb Vegetables
Make sure to eat sufficient vegetables while on a low-carb diet, in order to feed your body with the vital nutrients it needs.
- Pumpkin leaves
- Chicory greens
- Chinese cabbage
- Turnip greens
- Mustard spinach
- Bamboo shoots
- Yellow snap beans
- Jalapeno pepper
- Swiss chard
- Portabella mushrooms
- Taro shoots
- Green pepper
- Savoy cabbage
Low Carb Fruits
Fruits tend to be high in carbs, especially sugar, so the ones you can eat generously are limited.