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. 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.
The only warning: Track your servings. Trace amounts of carbs add up.
TIPS FOR GOING ZERO CARB
You’ve decided to go low – really low. These three easy tips simplify starting a zero carb diet.
1. 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!
2. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU ARE ALLOWED TO EAT.
Zero carb foods are savory and delicious. You won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself.
3. 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.
No Carb Food Labels
Many food labels list foods as having zero carbs. Labeling laws allow food companies to print “zero grams” on the label if the food has less than one gram of carbs.
Sugar substitutes, cheeses, eggs and spices are common examples of this situation. If you’re being extra cautious, count them as .5 net carbs per serving.
LIST OF NO CARB FOODS
Below are foods that have zero carbs based on the National Nutrient Database published by the US Department of Agriculture.
ZERO CARB MEAT
High in protein and vitamins, most natural meats have zero carbs. Packaged, cured and processed meats (sausage, hot dogs, deli meat, bacon, etc.) have some carbs due to added flavoring, preservatives or starchy binders. Be sure to check the labels.
These natural meats have no carbs:
- Fowl (turkey, chicken, duck, goose, hen, quail)
- Organ Meats (brains, tongue, liver, heart, kidneys)
- Game Meats (venison, bison, ostrich, caribou, elk)
- Exotic Meats (such as ostrich and emu)
ZERO CARB SEAFOOD
Fresh (unprocessed) seafood is zero carb:
ZERO CARB DAIRY
- Whipped Cream (check each label)
- Heavy Cream (check each label)
It’s possible to find zero carb cheese, particularly hard cheese. Most cheese is low carb, ranging from 0 to .5 net carbs per ounce (complete list below).
ZERO CARB SEASONING
Flavoring zero carb foods makes them much more palatable. There are over 60 low carb spices to choose from – and eight of them speed up fat loss.
- Salt and Pepper
- Ground Cinnamon
- Most Hot Sauces
- Pre-mixed Seasonings (check the label)
- Yellow Mustard
- Dill weed
ZERO CARB OILS AND FATS
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- MCT oil
- Avocado oil
- Fish oil
- Animal Fats (including lard)
- Butter (particularly grass-fed)
Less healthy, yet zero carb oils:
- Mayonnaise (check each label)
- Vegetable Shortening
- Canola oil
- Peanut oil
- Sesame oil
ZERO CARB BEVERAGES
- Sparkling Water
- Club Soda
- Diet Soda (watch the artificial sweetener)
ZERO CARB SWEETENERS
Companies advertise aspartame, sucralose, saccharine and stevia as no carb sugar substitutes. However – the powder and granular ones usually contain trace amounts of carbohydrate fillers.
It only takes a little to go a long way. Use a sprinkle.
Note: Artificial sweeteners can affect insulin the same way sugar does, so watch your progress, use sparingly and with caution.
ZERO CARB ALCOHOL
Use alcohol with caution. Your body burns alcohol before it burns fat for fuel. When you have metabolized all the alcohol, your body will return to burning fat. Alcohol knocks some low carbers out of ketosis for several days after drinking alcohol. Everyone is different, so watch your progress and adjust if necessary.
- Rum (unflavored)
- Vodka (unflavored)
(ALMOST) ZERO CARB FOODS
This list of almost zero carb foods really expands your options without compromising your plan. A single serving of these foods contains less than 1 net carb. Measure carefully and spread your extra carbs throughout the day.
ALMOST ZERO CARB FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Many of the leafy green vegetables (spinach, lettuce, celery, kale, turnip greens) are great choices for going zero carb. Although commonly thought of as vegetables, avocados are fruit, almost zero carb and a source of healthy fat. Raspberries are high in fiber and are great to sprinkle over a salad or top with whipped cream.
Serving size: 1/2 cup
- Spinach .2
- Parsley .4
- Avocado .5
- Radish .5
- Lettuce .25
- Bok Choy .7
- Celery .8
Serving size: 1/4 cup
- Mushrooms .5
- Garlic (1/2 clove) .5
- Pokeberry Shoots .5
- Cabbage .5
- Asparagus (3 pieces) .6
- Coconut .5
- Yellow Squash .7
- Raspberries .7
- Cauliflower .7
- Broccoli .8
- Cucumber .9
ALMOST ZERO CARB DAIRY
Eggs are so versatile: fried, scrambled, omelets, quiche, boiled, deviled and of course – egg salad.
- Eggs .2 to .7 (check the carton)
Eggs are almost zero carb, ranging from .2 to 1 net carb per egg. Organic, free-range, cage-free, etc. eggs have larger yolks, making them lower in carbs. Be sure to check each carton.
ALMOST ZERO CARB CHEESE
Most natural, unprocessed cheeses (no added flavors or ingredients) are 0 to 1 net carb per serving. Hard cheeses will be the lowest; softer, creamy cheeses will be the highest.
The following cheeses and net carb amounts are from FatSecret, Popular Cheeses. When in doubt, check each label.
Serving size: 1 oz = 1″ cube = 1/4 cup grated (approx.)
- Asiago .9
- Blue .6
- Brie .1
- Camembert .1
- Cheddar .3
- Colby .7
- Edam .4
- Fontina .4
- Goats .6
- Gouda .6
- Gruyère .1
- Havarti .7
- Mexican Blend Cheese .5
- Monterey .1
- Mozzarella .6
- Muenster .3
- Neufchatel .1 to .8
- Parmesan .9
- Provolone .6
- Ricotta .8