A no-carb diet means you cut out carbohydrates completely and stick to fats and proteins. So no more pasta, rice, starchy foods and vegetables, or wine. Yes, no wine! Are you still interested? Here’s a guide on good food with no carb that’s healthy and tasty.
What Is The No-Carb Diet?
The no-carb or zero-carb diet involves cutting out carbohydrate content from your meal plan. It’s more extreme than low-carb diets such as keto, fad, or the Atkins diet, which allow whole-grain carbs to about 30 to 50 grams a day. Unfortunately, with this diet, you won’t consume even digestible carbs like refined grains or fruits.
While it eliminates these carbs, there are flexible limits, such as consuming carbs with a net carb of less than a gram. Fortunately, most of the foods with such little grams are high in fiber and fat, such as avocado.
Benefits Of The No-Carb Diet
The main benefit of the zero-carb diet is weight loss. Theoretically, by reducing your carbohydrate intake, you place your body in the state of ketosis, where the body then uses your body fat in the form of ketone bodies as its alternative food source.
Also, food with no carbs and no sugar may stabilize your blood sugar, which causes insulin levels to drop. Without insulin, your body will be unable to store fat in your body, precisely, your abdomen (1).
The no-carb diet is rich in protein and fat, which keep you feeling full for longer and can curb your appetite hormones (14). The fewer calories you consume, the more likely you are to lose weight.
Lastly, you may experience rapid weight loss with this diet because of a quick loss in water content. Studies show that every gram of carbohydrate holds about three grams of water (13). Therefore, no-carb content equals less water retention and less overall weight.
Other benefits of the diet include:
- An improvement in heart health. Research shows that limiting your carbohydrate consumption can decrease your triglyceride levels, mitigating your risk for heart diseases (36).
- You will have better control of blood sugar, especially for diabetic patients. Carbohydrates can cause spikes in your blood sugar, leading to complications if you are struggling with diabetes (34).
- You may experience lower blood pressure (15).
- You will have a lower risk of metabolic syndrome (7).
List Of Food With No Carbs
Before we jump into the list of food with no carbs, note that almost all-natural foods have trace amounts of carbohydrates, non-starchy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce since their carbs contain between 0-2 grams of net carbs. However, most contain fiber which increases its carb content to over three grams of net carbs.
Let’s now have a look at good foods with no carbs. For easier understanding, we split them into subsections.
- Organically-fed beef offers numerous benefits, including rich Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, which boost your overall heart health. Beef has 247 calories for every 100 grams (18).
- Chicken is also lean meat with 200 calories per serving of 100 grams (8).
- Organ meats. Organ pieces such as the tongue (36), kidney (21), and heart (20) are also great foods with no carbs. The tongue has the highest calories of 282 per 100g, followed by the kidney with 185, and the heart with 164 calories also per 100g.
- Lamb and mutton. Yet another meat product that’s high in vitamin B12, essential for forming red blood cells. It has 281 calories per 100g (22).
- Turkey and other poultry products such as duck and fowl. It has 200 calories per 100g, just like chicken (38).
- It’s also lean meat with 171 calories per 100g (40).
- Game meats venison.
- Processed, salted, or cured meats. Salami also has no carbs but be sure to avoid extra fats and sodium. Its calories can be as high as 378 per 100g (29).
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Fish, too, doesn’t have any carbs (16). However, some varieties can have some fat content, including oysters, shrimp, crab, mussels, lobster, and other shellfish. Seafood without carbs include:
- Salmon. Packed with loads of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, potassium, and vitamin B essential for regulating blood pressure. It has 127 calories per 100g (30).
- Tuna. It only has 109 calories per 100g but is high in protein. As you store your tuna, keep an eye out for high mercury levels (39)
- Catfish. It’s also a great source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, protein, and Vitamin B.
Fats And Oils
After meat products, poultry products, and seafood, fats and oils come next on the list of foods with no carbs. They include:
- Butter. It has high-fat content and proteins from milk. It has the least amount of calories amongst the other oils and is about 717 calories per 100g (4).
- Coconut oil. It has about 883 calories per 100g, and it’s very tasty but contains a lot of saturated fat, so you should eat it with moderation (10).
- Canola oil. It has a low nutrient profile, no carbs, and very little trans fats (5).
- Olive oil. It’s packed with antioxidants which are essential in the fight against inflammation, oxidative stress, and infections (28)
- Avocado oil.
Drinks with no carbs also mean no cream and no added sugar. Classic examples of these are:
- Water, either sparkling, fresh, or still.
- Coffee (12).
- Tea. It’s a great option as long as the flavoring isn’t too much. You can try green, hibiscus, or chamomile tea.
Food Additions With No Carbs
We shall go over three things, spices, condiments, and snacks.
Herbs, Spices, And Seasonings
Most spices will have at least five grams of carbs per serving. However, besides the plant-based spices such as basil (3), thyme, and parsley, you can go for other spices such as paprika or cayenne pepper. One seasoning you can use is salt (33).
Sweeteners, Dips, And Condiments
Sweeteners are tricky because carbs are sugar, and sugar is 100% carbs, just see with monk fruit (25). However, you can try stevia, which contains zero carbs (32). The best sweetener will have to be pure, which then minimizes the net carb content.
As for dressings, you can go for either vinegar or Mayonnaise. Both options are zero carbs.
It’s no lie that you can have cravings. In such a case, a snack would be best, especially one made from proteins. Here are some snacks you can eat:
- Pork skin rinds. As long as there are no additives to the skin, they have no carbs but have high calories.
- Salmon and chicken skins (9).
- Dried meat. You could eat salami and other processed meats, but avoid extra fat and extra spices. An example of good food to avoid is beef jerky; it has many spices hence is high in net carbs.
- Bacon is also great but doesn’t add fats or spicing (2).
Zero Carb Alcohol
Some alcohol contains no carbohydrates; however, experts don’t recommend drinking alcohol as it may affect your fat-burning rate. If you’d like to enjoy some alcohol; here are a few examples:
Avoid beers and those flavored drinks as the added fruit will add to the carbohydrate content in the drink.
What Fast Food Can I Eat With No Carbs?
Ideally, fast food doesn’t fit into the no-carb diet because it features baked buns, starchy tortillas, fried foods, and French fries. But, you can opt for alternatives to the carbohydrate content in the meal. For example, instead of French fries, you make zucchini fries.
The downside is that restaurants have their way of making food, including the use of multiple condiments, spices, and oils, which you don’t know. Without knowing these ingredients, you can’t say for sure that you’re taking a no-carb meal.
The best way to combat your cravings for fast food would be to make alternatives at home where you’re aware of all the ingredients you’ve used to prepare the food. Examples of alternatives include:
- Grill your meats, chicken, and seafood rather than deep frying in oil.
- Try romaine lettuce-wrapped burgers with no toppings or condiments. Romaine lettuce has 1.2 grams of carbs, hence safe. Besides, lettuce is a classic example of a food with no calories and no carbs.
- Mushroom caps instead of buns, portobello mushrooms.
- Butternut or zucchini fries.
- Zucchini ribbons instead of pasta.
- Eggplant lasagna.
Delicious No-Carb Recipes To Try At Home
For our last section, we look at delicious food with protein and fat; No carbs recipes.
Buffalo Chicken Wings With A Spicy Sauce
Everybody loves wings. The recipe contains a total of 1 gram, no dietary fiber, 16 grams of protein, and 400 calories.
- Chicken breasts
- Butter – salted or unsalted
- Red hot sauce
- Start by adding salt and spices to your chicken: the fewer spices, the better.
- Steam the breasts for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- As it steams, get a pan and switch on the heat.
- Add in the butter or replace it with the other alternatives above, such as ghee, olive, or coconut oil.
- Add in your red hot sauce. You can use the store-bought kind or make your own with one small tomato, red chilies, vinegar, and a pinch of salt.
- Mix it with the butter until it’s a smooth consistency.
- Add in your chicken breasts and allow the chicken to saute in the sauce. Let it coat completely.
- Leave for five minutes and serve.
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Grilled Paprika Duck Breast
You can use any type of poultry, but dark duck always tastes better.
- A pound of duck breasts
- A tablespoon of paprika
- Salt to taste
- A tablespoon of olive oil
- Take your duck breasts at room temperature and season with salt and paprika.
- Coat the chicken with olive oil and leave it to marinate in the fridge for; overnight is best.
- Take them out of the fridge and start heating your grill. Leave it to heat for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Once it starts to smoke, add in your duck breasts. You want to make sure you hear a sizzling sound; that’s how you get the charring on the food.
- Leave it on for five minutes and turn to the other side.
- Move the chicken to a less hot side and leave it to cook for another 10 minutes.
- Once it’s done, leave it to rest, then serve.
Grilled Cod Over A Bed Of Arugula
Cod cooks very fast, so you should be done in about 14 minutes.
- Spices – paprika, salt, and black pepper.
- A handful of arugula
- Take your cod and coat it with spices. You’re doing the dry rub method, so you don’t need any fats or oils.
- Leave it to marinate for 20 to 45 minutes and set it up close to the grill.
- Heat the grill and once it smokes, add your cod.
- Fish cooks faster than poultry, so only leave it on for 5 minutes on each side, then remove and serve.
- To plate, place your arugula in a bowl, then place your cod on top.
Zero Carb Salmon Patties
The recipe has just 170 calories with 0.3 grams of carbs and 22 grams of protein.
- A pound of salmon
- One large Egg, fresh, whole, raw
- Two tablespoons of coconut oil
- Two tablespoons of mustard
- Spices – salt and black pepper.
- Begin by chopping the salmon into small rough pieces.
- Add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse to get a paste.
- Once the seasoning has blended, you can let it drain to remove any excess water.
- Take the dry mixture and form as many patties as you would like, and put them in the freezer for two hours.
- Take some coconut oil and spray onto each patty and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Once golden brown, remove and serve.
Carrot And Tuna Fish Salad
For this last recipe, we shall look at a classic salad with seafood and some non-starchy vegetables.
- A pound of tuna
- Three large carrots
- Half a cup of romaine lettuce
- Two tablespoons of vinegar
- A teaspoon of mustard
- Spices – salt and black pepper
- Start with the tuna, rub in some salt and black pepper and let it steam to cook. You can opt to cook it with canola oil, depending on the taste you want.
- In a small container, mix the vinegar, spices, and mustard into a mixture. Make sure it’s smooth.
- Cut the romaine lettuce and peel and cube the carrots. The carrots will give the salad some crunch.
- After about 10 minutes, remove the tuna and cut it into bite-size pieces.
- In a big bowl, place the romaine lettuce, carrots, and tuna. Mix it up gently as you add the dressing. Don’t add too much dressing as it may increase the total net carbs.
- Serve once you’re done combining. You could add in avocado for a high-fat, high protein meal.
No carb diet diets can be fun. With the guideline above, you can see a variety of foods you can enjoy while trying this diet. For variety, you can use the list of food with no carbs above to create delicious meals high or low in fat, protein, or both. Just keep it as healthy and balanced as you can.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A moderate-protein diet produces sustained weight loss and long-term changes in body composition and blood lipids in obese adults (2009, pubmed.nih.gov)
- Bacon (2020,usda.gov)
- Basil (2020, usda.gov)
- Butter (2020, usda.gov)
- Canola oil (2020. usda.gov)
- Carbohydrate restriction alters lipoprotein metabolism by modifying VLDL, LDL, and HDL subfraction distribution and size in overweight men (2006, pubmed.nih.gov)
- Carbohydrate restriction has a more favorable impact on the metabolic syndrome than a low-fat diet (2009, pubmed.nih.gov)
- Chicken (2020, usda.gov)
- Chicken skins (2020, usda.gov)
- Coconut oil (2020, usda.gov)
- Cod (2020, usda.gov)
- Coffee (2020. usda.gov)
- Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women (2007, pubmed.nih.gov)
- Effect of fat saturation on satiety, hormone release, and food intake (2009, pubmed.nih.gov)
- Effects of Low-Carbohydrate Diets Versus Low-Fat Diets on Metabolic Risk Factors (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fish (2020, usda.gov)
- Ghee (2020, usda.gov)
- Ground beef (2020, usda.gov)
- Ground meat (2020, usda.gov)
- Heart (2020, usda.gov)
- Kidney (2020, usda.gov)
- Lamb (2020, usda.gov)
- Lard (2020, usda.gov)
- Mayonnaise (2020, usda.gov)
- Monk fruit (2020. usda.gov)
- Mustard (2020, usda.gov)
- Non-starchy vegetables (diabetes.org)
- Olive oil (2020, usda.gov)
- Salami (2020, usda.gov)
- Salmon (2020, usda.gov)
- Sardines (2020, usda.gov)
- Stevia (2020, usda.gov)
- Table salt (2020, usda.gov)
- The diabetes control and complications trial/epidemiology of diabetes interventions and complications study at 30 years: overview (2014, pubmed.nih.gov)
- Tilapia (2020, usda.gov)
- Tongue (2020, usda.gov)
- Triglycerides and Triglyceride-Rich Lipoproteins in the Causal Pathway of Cardiovascular Disease (2016, pubmed.nih.gov)
- Turkey (2020, usda.gov)
- Tuna (2020, usda.gov)
- Veal (2020, usda.gov)
- Vinegar (2020, usda.gov)