118 healthy low carb foods for super easy weight control
Get to know 118 healthy low carb foods for super easy weight control. Change your diet for easier, more effective, and manageable ways.
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Table of Contents
Why is “low carb” food?
Atkins, Ketogenic diet, LCHF (low-carb, high-fat), Paleo… You name it for low carb diets. There are many good reasons why you should cut (bad) carbs and know the low carb food list.
Foods high in carbs tend to contain sugar and starch that turn into fat. Eating carbs cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels releasing insulin. Insulin manages to lower blood sugar by converting excess glucose to fat. This dip in blood sugar triggers hunger.
Cutting carbs is one of the fastest and easiest ways for weight loss – by reducing hunger and removing the causes for weight gain. Simply switch your diet to whole foods, so it can’t be easier than this.
Other health benefits: reducing your blood sugar level, blood pressure, and triglycerides (a type of fat), or improving HDL cholesterol.
Avoid “Low-carb” products
Read food labels carefully and don’t be fooled by deceiving advertising. “Low-carb” products often contain lots of calories, starch, sweeteners like sugar alcohols, saturated fats, and other food additives.
If you see ingredients like dextrose, maltodextrin, starch, sugar, or syrup in a “zero-carb” product, it may contain up to 1 gram of net carbs per serving. Avoid products with the term “net carbs”, as well.
Generally, it’s safe to avoid those and buy whole foods and only eat processed meats if they have natural, carb-free ingredients.
Surprisingly, dairy products are on a low carb food list.
Watch out for regular milk, reduced-fat, and skim milk as they contain a lot of milk sugar. And avoid flavored, sugary, and low-fat products.
Cheese is nutritious and low-carb and high-protein foods. A single thick slice contains a similar amount of nutrients as a glass of milk.
- Brie (0.1 g/oz)
- Camembert (0.1 g)
- Gruyère (0.1 g)
- Monterey (0.1 g)
- Neufchatel (0.1 to 0.8 g)
- Cheddar (0.3 g)
- Muenster (0.3 g)
- Edam (0.4 g)
- Fontina (0.4 g)
- Mexican Blend Cheese (0.5 g)
- Blue (0.6 g)
- Goats (0.6 g)
- Gouda (0.6 g)
- Mozzarella (0.6 g)
- Provolone (0.6 g)
- Colby (0.7 g)
- Havarti (0.7 g)
- Ricotta (0.8 g)
- Asiago (0.9 g)
- Mascarpone Cheese (0.9 g)
- Parmesan (0.9 g)
- Cream Cheese (1.1 g)
Full-fat yogurt contains protein, fat, vitamin B12, riboflavin (vitamin B2), phosphorus, calcium for bone, and probiotics for the gut. Carbs in plain yogurt occur lactose and galactose. However, the lactose content of yogurt is lower than in milk.
Most yogurts contain significant amounts of added sweeteners and flavorings. Get a plain and unsweetened one. Carbs: 5 g/100 g
Yogurt has a much higher amount of protein than milk. Greek yogurt is also very high in calcium, probiotics, vitamin B12, potassium. Eating Greek yogurt might be associated with lower blood pressure and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Carbs: 4 g/100 g
Fresh raw milk naturally separates into cream and milk, then the cream rises to the surface thanks to its fat content. Heavy whipping cream is the high-fat portion of raw dairy milk. Many types of heavy whipping cream contain additives that help stabilize the cream and keep the fat from separating.
Heavy cream contains full nutrients, such as choline, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals. It has very few carbs and little protein, but it’s high in dairy fat and calories. Carbs: 3 g/100 g
Eggs are close to zero carbs. Eggs contain quality protein and 13 vitamins and minerals for your brain, eye, muscles, weight loss, and weight loss. Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Choose pasture-raised eggs, if possible.
Most meats have zero carbs and high in protein. Eating meats are beneficial especially for bodybuilders, recovering athletes, and post-surgery patients.
Beef is loaded with protein, fat, iron, and vitamin B12. It has zero carbs, improves workout performance and maintains muscles. Carbs: zero
Lamb (meat of young sheep in the first year) is often grass-fed and rich in protein, fats, iron, vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, niacin, and phosphorous. Carbs: zero
Chicken is a good source of lean protein, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, and niacin. It reduces appetite and strengthens bones. If you’re on a low-carb diet, it may be a better choice to go for fattier cuts like wings and thighs. Carbs: zero
Pork provides protein, zinc, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, potassium, vitamin B6, thiamin, phosphorus, niacin, and selenium. Though bacon is processed meat and not health food, it’s generally acceptable to eat moderately on a low-carb diet. Try to buy your bacon locally, without artificial ingredients, and make sure not to burn it during cooking.
Carbs: zero, but read the label and avoid bacon that is cured with sugar.
Jerky is lean trimmed meat that has been cut into strips and dried to prevent spoilage. Normally, salt is added to prevent bacteria growth. As long as it doesn’t contain added sugar or artificial ingredients, jerky can be a perfect low-carb snack food and high in protein food.
However, remember that a lot of commercial jerkies are highly processed and unhealthy. Make your own jerky!
Carbs: Depends on the type. If it’s purely meat and seasoning then it should be close to zero.
Other Low-Carb Meats
- Fowl (Turkey, duck, goose, hen, quail)
- Game (Bison, venison, ostrich, caribou, elk)
- Organ meats
- Veal (zero)
Like meat, almost all types of fish and seafood contain next to no carbs, so I might not need to make a low carb food list. They are nutritious, particularly high in protein and B12, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids – all nutrients of which many people don’t get enough.
Buy wild-caught salmon and sardines, canned or fresh without any other ingredients. As with processed meats, make sure there are no added ingredients that contain carbs. These two fish tend to have the lowest mercury content with omega 3.
Salmon contains ample amounts of protein, omega-3 fatty acids (“Healthy fat”), vitamin A, B and D3, potassium, selenium, iodine, and astaxanthin. It is one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D (wild salmon is a particularly good source). Canned salmon contains lots of calcium (the edible bones).
They are great for weight loss, reducing the risk of heart diseases, brain, and inflammation. Carbs: zero
Trout are closely related to salmon and char, and the common name for various species, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. Rainbow trout are commonly found in markets.
Like salmon, trout is loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, selenium, vitamin B6, and B12. Carbs: zero
Concerns about mercury? A trout is a great option for low levels of mercury.
Sardines are oily fish that are generally eaten almost whole, including the bones. Though you can eat fresh, they are highly perishable. This is the reason why they’re commonly found canned.
Sardines don’t contain any carbohydrates, fiber, nor sugar. Sardines contain almost every single nutrient that your body needs – omega-3 fatty acids, protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, D, and E, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Carbs: zero
Sardines feed on plankton only, so don’t contain the high levels of mercury as other fish.
Shellfish, such as clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels, are nutritious foods ranking close to organ meats in their nutrient density – lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals. They are low in carbs and calories. Carbs: 4–5 g/100 g
Eating shellfish may boost your immunity, help weight loss, and promote brain and heart health. However, shellfish is one of the most common food allergens, and some types may contain contaminants and heavy metals.
Zero carb fish
- Bass (zero/100g)
- Shrimp (0.2g/100g)
- Spanish mackerel
Fats and oils
Many healthy fats and oils are acceptable on a low-carb diet. However, avoid refined vegetable oils like soybean or corn oil. This is a low carb food list for fats and oils:
Animal fats have bad reputations – cancer, diabetes, dementia, kidney, you name it. However, animal fat isn’t harmful – they are actually healthier fats than you think.
Lard is actually a healthier fat than its bad reputation. The rendered pig fat is not so typical saturated animal fat – pure lard contains no trans fats and no carbs. Actually, it’s better than butter: Lard is 60 % monounsaturated fat, while butter is 45 %.
Most of the lard’s monounsaturated fat is oleic acid (the same fatty acid that is in olive oil), which has double the amount than its butter. Lard has about 20% less saturated fat than butter, but about double the saturated fat found in olive oil.
Lard makes food taste better (French fries with lard – mmm… so good!), but is fattening. So only eat with moderation. Carbs: zero
Tallow is rendered beef fat. Tallow is dairy-free, cheap to make at home, high in vitamins (A, D, E, and K), fatty acids, and CLA for the immune system.
It was often used by chefs because it has a very high smoke point and makes food taste better. It might increase fat burning. Carbs: zero
Butter is made from churning milk or cream separating the butterfat from the buttermilk. Even if it is made from milk, a single serving of butter provides almost no protein, no carbohydrates, and some vitamin A.
The calories come from fat. Some butter alternatives may increase your daily calorie and fat intake more than butter.
Choose grass-fed butter if you can because it’s higher in vitamin K2 and omega-3 fatty acids. Carbs: zero
Avocado oil (zero)
Avocado oil is a healthy fat – monounsaturated fat (10g/tbs), polyunsaturated fat (Omega-6 fatty acids, 2g/tbs), and saturated fat (2g/tbs). Avocado contains vitamin B, C, E, and K, folate, potassium, and fiber great for blood sugar level, inflammation, cholesterol, and skin. Carbs: zero
Coconut oil is mostly saturated fat and high in MCTs and vitamin E. These are harder for the body to convert into stored fat and easier to burn off than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs).
Coconut oil is packed with beneficial fatty acids for your metabolism reducing appetite and boosting fat burn. It’s also good for hair, skin, cholesterol, blood sugar, and liver disease. Carbs: zero
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are fats that are naturally found in coconut (more than 50% of the fat is MCTs) and palm kernel oils.
They’re more easily and rapidly digested than other types of fats. MCTs are readily absorbed from the GI tract and are metabolized very quickly by the liver, where they are given a signal to use fat for energy rather than for storage.
MCT oil offers great health benefits including weight loss promoting fullness and burning calories. Good oil for Keto diet. MCT oil may cause GI upset, so take with food. Carbs: zero
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Extra virgin olive oil is pressed from ripe olives without using high heat or chemicals. EVOO is the healthiest pure fat loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It also helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, from the meal. Carbs: zero
Unlike many other fruits that are high in carbs, coconuts provide mostly fat in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Coconuts are especially high in manganese, copper, iron, and antioxidants useful for heart disease and blood sugar.
Eat with moderation since coconuts are so high in fat and calories. Carbs: 15g/100g
Most fruits tend to be high in carbs (except avocados, olives, and berries) compared to vegetables. So, limit your fruit intake to 1 to 2 pieces per day. These are low carb fruit list:
- Berries (Strawberry, mulberries, raspberries)
Most vegetables are low in carbs and contain protein and fiber, so you should take advantage of them especially on a low carb food list. Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables have particularly low levels, and the majority of their carbs consist of fiber.
If you are on a keto diet (less than 20 g of carbs/day), limit your portions for certain vegetables like bell peppers and Brussels sprouts.
Avoid starchy root vegetables like beet, carrot, onion, parsnip, and potatoes since they are high in carbs.
- Celery (1g/100g)
- Swiss chard
- White mushroom
- Asparagus (2g/100g)
- Bean Sprouts
- Bok Choy
- Chinese Cabbage
- Lettuce (green leaf)
- Bell peppers (Green: 3g/100g, red: 4g, yellow: 5g)
- Cabbage (3g/100g)
- Mustard Greens
- Summer Squash
- Artichoke (4g/100g)
- Green beans
- Brussels Sprouts (5g/100g)
- Fennel (6g/100g)
- Onions (9g/100g)
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are some of the major foods on the low carb food list. Good sources of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Nuts and seeds regulate body weight as their fats are not fully absorbed and help burn energy. Also good for heart diseases.
Eat with moderation because they are high in fat and calories. Avoid roasted nuts because they use oils.
In addition, nut and seed flours, such as almond flour, coconut flour, and flaxseed meal, are often used for low-carb baked goods.
Most nut types are high in monounsaturated fats (healthy fats). Almonds are rich in calcium, fiber, vitamin E, iron, manganese, and magnesium, a mineral that most people don’t get enough of.
They are filling and promote weight loss.
While healthy, they are rich in calories. Eat with moderation. Carbs: 22 g/100g
Cashews are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and a good source of protein, vitamins C and B like DFE folate. Carbs: 30g/100g
Peanuts are technically legumes but tend to be consumed as nuts. They’re very high in fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, and other important vitamins and minerals. Carbs: 16 g/100g
The walnut provides healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids), protein, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin B6. Carbs: 14 g/ 100g
- Brazil nuts (12g/100g)
- Macadamia nuts (14g/100g)
- Pecans (14g/100g)
- Hazelnuts (17g/100g)
- Pistachios (28g/100g)
Chia seeds are one of the healthiest food on the low carb food list. Chia seeds offer significant amounts of nutrients (protein, fiber, fats like omega-3s, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus), with very few calories.
These are versatile – no flavor, so you can add for salad, soup, pudding, baked goods, etc.
About 86% of the carbs in chia seeds are fiber; they contain very few digestible net carbs. Carbs: 44 g/100g
They absorb water and expand becoming like a gel – great for dehydration, enhancing fullness, and reducing hunger (great for weight loss). Chia seeds might improve digestive health, blood levels, and risks for heart disease and diabetes.
The sunflower seeds you eat are encased in hulls (inedible shells used for oil). Sunflower seeds are technically the fruits of the sunflower plant. They have 2 main types of sunflower crops: for the oil and seeds to eat.
Sunflower seeds are powerful antioxidant – rich in vitamin E, selenium, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. Beneficial for heart diseases, diabetes, inflammation. Carbs: 20g/100g
Though rich in nutrients like protein, sunflower seeds are relatively high in calories and sodium. Eat with moderation.
Flaxseeds have 2 types: brown and golden. Both are equally nutritious. Flaxseeds offer a good amount of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals with 1 tablespoon (a typical serving). Carbs: 29 g/100g
Flaxseeds are versatile like chia seeds, so you can add any drinks and food.
They are beneficial for blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, weight loss.
Pepitas in Spanish, are often used for Mexican foods. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, potassium, magnesium, and calcium that are beneficial for the heart, liver, bones, diabetes, immune system, weight loss, and more. Carbs: 54g/100g
Spices: zero carb list
Low carb food list finally comes to spices, herbs, and seasonings, which enhance the flavors. Many common flavor enhancers have hidden carbs and unhealthy ingredients in them.
- Black Pepper
- Chili Powder*
- Curry Powder*
- Most sugar-free Hot Sauces
* Limit these spices to a teaspoon. They have a bit more trace net carbs than the other spices listed.
Most sugar-free beverages are perfectly acceptable on a low-carb diet. Keep in mind that fruit juices are very high in sugar and carbs and should be avoided.
This is a zero carb drink list:
- Water (Zero)
- Coffee (Zero)
- Tea (Zero)
- Club Soda
- Carbonated Water (Zero)
Sweeteners: zero carb list
When picking sweeteners, take a look at the carb content on the food labels. The healthiest zero-carb sweeteners:
- Monk fruit extract (liquid or solid without other additives)
- Pure erythritol (~0.2 grams of net carbs/teaspoon)
- Stevia extract (liquid or solid without other additives)
- Swerve sweetener (1 to 1 sugar replacement that doesn’t increase blood sugar levels)
- Any sweetener blend that only consists of stevia extract, monk fruit extract, and/or erythritol (without fillers or additives)
Diet Doctor: Vegetarian low-carb inspiration
Conclusion: Low carb food list is beneficial for all. Reducing carbs bring nothing but great health benefits. If you want to stay healthy and keep off excess weights, use the list and try the low carb diet. It doesn't need to be "diet", just incorporate with your diet by cutting carbs a bit more than now. You'll see the great results right away!
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