• Post last modified:September 26, 2020
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Identifying the best foods to eat on a low carb diet can help you manage your weight and health. 

Carbohydrates are everywhere. The most common food in your home and in the supermarkets are high-sugar, high-starch and high-carb drinks and foods.

These foods are not only addictive but also increase visceral fat, which can lead to weight gain and possible health problems.

A low-carb diet may not be the “magic bullet” for everyone to lose weight. However, in the long run, for many people, reducing their intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates is very helpful.

Eating more natural foods can effectively control blood sugar and reduce the release of insulin, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Best Foods To Eat On A Low Carb Diet

What Is A Low Carbohydrate Diet

Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.

While on a low-carb diet, it is necessary to limit the intake of foods containing high amounts of carbohydrates.

Low carb foods include all kinds of meat, eggs, fish and seafood, most cheeses, butter, fats, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds.

These foods are rich in protein, healthy fat, dietary fiber, essential vitamins and minerals.

How many carbs you should eat each day depends on what your goals are.

For example, if you want to lose weight quickly, a ketogenic diet that strictly restricts carbohydrates can help you reach your goal faster. However, if you just want to control your weight or improve your health, you don’t need to be on such a strict diet.

Here is a quick glance:

  • Non-strict low-carb diet:  <100 g/day
  • Moderate low-carb diet:  <50 g/day
  • Strict low-carb diet (ketogenic diet):  <20 g/day

The benefits of sticking to a low-carb diet include:

  • weight loss
  • reduce hunger
  • to ensure balanced nutrition.
  • maintain healthy blood sugar and insulin levels
  • balance hormones
  • protecting the nervous system
  • improve cognitive ability
  • improve memory
  • reduce the risk of bone loss or osteoporosis

How To Calculate The Carbs Intake

Foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds all contain carbohydrates. They are also rich in fiber, which is not easy to digest and does not raise blood sugar like glucose.

Thus, many people are using Net Carbs to calculate their carbohydrate intake.

What is Net Carbs?

Net carbs is the amount of carbohydrates remaining after fiber is subtracted from total carbohydrates.

Net carbs = Total carbs – Dietary fiber

If your goal is to consume about 100 grams of net carbs per day over three meals, then each meal will be about 30-35 grams of net carbs.

So what would these meals look like?

Here is an example:

  • A serving of protein (such as lean meat, eggs, fish) and two cups of mixed vegetable salad with 1-2 tablespoons of oil (coconut oil or olive oil) or seasonings. This meal contains about 35 grams of net carbohydrates.
Best Foods For A Low Carb Diet

50 Best Foods For A Low Carb Diet 

Below are 50 of the best foods to eat while on a low-carb diet. Low carb diets can be helpful in controlling blood sugar and reducing weight.

Low Carb Vegetables


1  Broccoli

Net carbs: 3.5 g

Broccoli is rich in antioxidants, beneficial phytonutrients, anti-cancer glucosinolates, as well as vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium.

2. Cauliflower

Net carbohyds: 3.5 g

Cauliflower is known as lean starch. When making pasta, it can replace flour. Cauliflower can also replace rice or other staple foods.

Cauliflower is rich in vitamin C and plant antioxidants, including polyphenols, carotenoids, flavonoids and ascorbic acid, which can help prevent inflammation and oxidative stress.

3. Mushrooms

Net carbs: 2 g

There are many types of edible mushrooms and they are all good choices for a low-carb diet. Mushrooms contain many important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, protein and fiber, as well as a large number of compounds that promote immunity.

4. Bell peppers

Net carbs: 3.5 g

Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C and antioxidant polyphenols, which can scavenge free radicals and fight inflammation.

5. Beets

Net carbs: 4 g

Beets are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. They contain a variety of antioxidants, which may help to prevent cancer, heart disease, vision loss and nervous system diseases.

6. Asparagus

Net carbs: 2.5 g

Asparagus is a natural diuretic, which helps reduce swelling. In addition, it also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-hepatotoxicity and antibacterial properties, which helps strengthen the immune system.

7. Kale

Net carbs: 3.5 g

Kale is a cruciferous vegetable and is considered a “super food”. It is very popular in low-carb diets, especially ketogenic diets.

Kale contains a lot of nutrients and phytochemicals necessary for the human body. Kale is especially rich in antioxidants, like vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, carotenoids and glucosinolates.

8. Spinach

Net carbs: 0.5 g 

Spinach is a high-fiber, low-carb vegetable. It has many nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, iron, potassium and calcium.

9. Green beans

Net carbs: 4.5 g

Green beans are an important source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, chlorophyll, carotenoids and other antioxidants.

10. Arugula

Net carbs: 0.5 g

Arugula has very low calories. It contains thiocyanate compounds, which may help prevent cancer and support the immune system.

11. Leeks or onions

Net carbs: 8 g

Leeks and onions contain antioxidant sulfur compounds and high fiber. They have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and cancer prevention effects.[*]

12. Tomatoes

Net carbs: 3 g

Tomatoes are one of the best sources of antioxidants called lycopene, which can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C, carotenoids and potassium.

13. Brussel sprouts

Net carbs: 4.5 g

Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and phytonutrients. Brussel sprouts can improve the body’s antioxidant capacity and protect DNA from damage.

14. Avocados

Net carbs: 2 g

Avocados are rich in fiber, magnesium, potassium and vitamin A. They are an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fat, which is good for heart health and may help lose weight.

15. Turnips

Net carbs: 6 g

Turnips contain glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. They can help to provide an anti-tumor, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory [*] properties in the body.

16. Cabbage

Net carbs: 3 g

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid and manganese.

17. Carrots

Net carbs: 7 g

Carrots are an important source of vitamin A, fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B6. They also contain antioxidant carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help to protect skin and eye health .

Eggs and Dairy Products


18. Cage-free eggs

Net carbs: 0 

You don’t need to worry about the issue of feed additives for cageless eggs, because they are more nutritious. 

They are high in healthy fat, protein and a variety of nutrients, such as B vitamins, choline and antioxidant carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin).

19. Full-fat unsweetened yogurt or kefir

Net carbs: 11 grams per cup

Yogurt is rich in probiotics, which is good for intestinal health. Yogurt also contains B vitamins and minerals, like potassium and magnesium.

20. Cheese, sour cream or heavy cream

Net carbs: 1-3 g per ounce

These dairy products are an important source of healthy saturated fat and B vitamins. However, choose grass-fed or organic dairy products whenever possible.

The best low-carb cheeses include blue cheese, cheddar cheese, goat cheese, Swiss cheese and parmesan cheese.

Meat and Seafood


All meat and fish are high-protein, zero-carbohydrate foods.

If possible, it is best to choose grass-fed, pastured animal products and wild-caught fish. Avoid or limit most shellfish, which often contain high levels of heavy metals (such as mercury).

Many fatty fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. They are essential for preventing heart disease and cognitive decline, as well as promoting children’s brain development.

Poultry meat is an important source of protein, fat and B vitamins and minerals, such as iron and zinc. 

In addition, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fat found in ruminant meat, which helps strengthen immunity and prevent fat accumulation.

21. Salmon

22. Haddock

23. Trout

24. Flounder

25. Sardine

26. Mackerel

27. Turkey

28. Chicken

29. Grass-fed beef, lamb

Nuts and Seeds


30. Chia seeds

Net carbs : 2 g per 2 tablespoons 

Chia seeds are an important source of fiber and ALA omega-3 fats. They may also help prevent constipation. Additionally, they contain antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol.

31. Flaxseeds

Net carbs: 0.5 g per 2 tablespoons

Flaxseeds are rich in fiber and flax lignans, which can help reduce cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, bone porosity, autoimmune and neurological diseases.[*]

In addition, they also contain Omega-3, polysaccharides, lignans, phenolic compounds, vitamins A, C, F and E and minerals.

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32. Pumpkin seeds

Net carbs: 5 g

Pumpkin seeds are rich in protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, and antioxidants vitamins (such as carotenoids and tocopherols). They are also an important source of trace minerals (such as selenium and zinc).

33. Pecans

Net carbs: 4 g

Pecans are not only low in carbohydrates but are also high in fiber. In addition, they are rich in important nutrients, such as thiamine (vitamin B1), magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, which can help regulate blood sugar and reduce certain risk factors for heart disease.

34. Macadamias

Net carbs: 5 g

Macadamias are low-carb, high-fat nuts, which are very suitable for low-carbohydrate diets. 

They are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, copper and manganese, which can improve heart health and reduce inflammation.

35. Brazil nuts

Net carbs: 4 g

Brazil nuts are well known for being rich in selenium. Selenium is a mineral involved in many key functions of the human body, such as metabolism, DNA production and immune response.

Selenium is also an essential substance for thyroid health and is an effective antioxidant that helps to protect cells from free radical damage.

36. Hazelnuts

Net carbs: 7 g

Hazelnuts are rich in healthy fat, fiber, vitamin E, vitamin K and manganese. They also contain a variety of antioxidants that can help fight inflammation in the body.

In addition, hazelnuts are rich in L-arginine, which is a precursor amino acid of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a neurotransmitter that helps blood vessels relax and is very important for heart health.

37. Walnuts

Net carbs: 7 g

Walnuts are rich in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, polyphenol antioxidants and fiber. They are also rich in healthy fats, including plant-derived α-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 fats.

It has been seen that regular consumption of walnuts can help to improve heart health, lower blood pressure, promote brain function and even reduce weight.[*].

38. Almonds

Net carbs: 9 g

Almonds contain monounsaturated fats, fiber, minerals (such as magnesium, calcium and copper). They also contain vitamin E and phytonutrients, which can help to control weight, regulate glucose, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation and improve heart health.

Low Carb Fruits


Like vegetables, fruits are also a good source of vitamins and minerals. However, because fruits contain more natural sugars, they tend to have higher carbohydrate content than most vegetables.

The three sugars found in fruits are glucose, fructose and sucrose.

  • Glucose: It is preferred and a default energy source for the human brain, muscles and other cells in the human body.
  • Fructose: It is only metabolized by the liver, which is different from the way the human body metabolizes glucose.
  • Sucrose: It may be more like “added sugar”, but it is also naturally present in certain fruits.

Some fruits have lower carbohydrate content, because they contain more water, or because they have a higher fiber content. Therefore, the amount of carbohydrates that can be absorbed by these fruits is relatively small.

39. Berries

Most berries, like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are good for your low-carb diet. In addition, they are rich in vitamins, minerals and also contain antioxidants, which can prevent certain chronic diseases.

40. Cantaloupes

Net carbs: 7.26 g

Cantaloupes have low fructose content. They are very popular, healthy fruit in the hot summer.

Healthy Fat


Fats do not contain carbohydrates. However, you still need to carefully choose the healthy fats that are best for you.

41. Coconut oil

42. Olive oil

43. Hemp seed oil

44. Linseed oil

45. Avocado oil

46. Palm oil

Although the calorie content of these fats is not low, they can help you control hunger. The healthy fatty acids contained in them can also help promote the health of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system and cardiovascular system.

Condiments and Spices


47. Turmeric, Ginger, Oregano, Rosemary, Basil, Sea salt, Chili, Pepper, Garlic, etc.

These condiments, which are commonly used in ordinary households contain very few carbohydrates. They help to add to the flavor of food. Most of them contain antioxidants, which can fight inflammation, tumors and cancer, while helping to lower blood sugar and cholesterol. They also have a positive effect on atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity and other diseases.

Beverages


Water is always the best drink. It is the gold standard. However, there are some other healthy beverages that contain almost no carbohydrates and are great for low-carb diets.

48. Apple cider vinegar water

49. Green tea

50. Black coffee

These beverages contain antioxidants. In addition to helping you to regulate and control your appetite, they help to reduce the risk of diabetes, liver disease, nervous system disease, heart disease and depression.

Summary:

There are many foods you can eat on a low-carb diet. Foods like low carb vegetables, low carb fruits, healthy fat, meat and seafood, ect.

Simply put, stick to whole foods, while avoiding foods that contain added sugar or are highly processed. Check out What Foods To Avoid On A Low Carb Diet.

By following the food list in this article, a low-carbohydrate diet can help you lose weight faster and may improve certain health conditions, such as brain fog, fatigue, metabolic syndrome or diabetes.


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