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Healthy Low-Carb Foods That Taste Incred­ible

Cut­ting carbs can have impress­ive bene­fits.

It has been shown to cause a sig­ni­fic­ant reduc­tion in hun­ger levels (1).

This tends to lead to “auto­mat­ic” weight loss, without the need for cal­or­ie count­ing (2).

At least 23 stud­ies have shown that low-carb dietsgen­er­ally cause more weight loss than low-fat diets, some­times up to 2–3 times more (3, 4).

Cut­ting carbs can also have numer­ous oth­er bene­fits for meta­bol­ic health (5).

This includes a reduc­tion in blood sug­ar, blood pres­sure and trigly­cerides, high­er HDL (the “good”) cho­les­ter­ol, and oth­ers (6, 7, 8, 9, 10).

For­tu­nately, eat­ing low-carb does NOT have to be com­plic­ated.

Just base your diet around real foods that are low in carbs and you will lose weight and improve your health.

This is a list of 44 low-carb foods. Most of them are healthy, nutri­tious and incred­ibly deli­cious.

Total Carbs vs Net Carbs

Under each food, I have lis­ted the carb con­tent for a stand­ard serving, as well as the num­ber of carbs in a 100 gram por­tion.

How­ever, keep in mind that some of these foods are high in fiber, so some­times the digest­ible (“net”) carb con­tent is even lower.

1. Eggs (Almost Zero)

Eggs are among the health­i­est and most nutri­tious foods on the plan­et.

They are loaded with all sorts of nutri­ents, includ­ing import­ant brain nutri­ents and com­pounds that can improve eye health (11, 12).

Carbs: almost zero.

Meats

All types of meat are close to zero carb. One excep­tion is organ meats like liv­er, which is about 5% carbs (13).

Brunette With a Plate of Meat and Veggies

2. Beef (Zero)

Beef is highly sati­at­ing and loaded with import­ant nutri­ents like iron and B12. There are dozens of dif­fer­ent types of beef, from ribeye steak to ground beef to ham­burger.

Carbs: zero.

3. Lamb (Zero)

Like beef, lamb meat con­tains numer­ous bene­fi­cial nutri­ents, includ­ing iron and B12. Lamb is often grass-fed, and tends to be high in a bene­fi­cial fatty acid called con­jug­ated linoleic acid, or CLA (14).

Carbs: zero.

4. Chick­en (Zero)

Chick­en is among the world’s most pop­u­lar meats. It is high in many bene­fi­cial nutri­ents, and an excel­lent source of pro­tein.

If you’re on a low-carb diet, then it may be a bet­ter choice to go for the fat­ti­er cuts, like the wings and thighs.

Carbs: zero.

5. Pork, Includ­ing Bacon (Usu­ally Zero)

Pork is anoth­er deli­cious type of meat, and bacon is a favor­ite of many low-carb dieters.

Bacon is a pro­cessed meat, so it def­in­itely isn’t a “health food.” How­ever, it is gen­er­ally accept­able to eat mod­er­ate amounts of bacon on a low-carb diet.

Just try to buy your bacon loc­ally, without arti­fi­cial ingredi­ents, and make sure not to burn your bacon when cook­ing it.

Carbs: zero. But read the label and avoid bacon that is cured with sug­ar.

6. Jerky (Usu­ally Zero)

Jerky is meat that has been cut into strips and dried. As long as it doesn’t con­tain added sug­ar or arti­fi­cial ingredi­ents, then jerky can be a per­fect low-carb snack food.

How­ever, keep in mind that a lot of the jerky avail­able at the store is highly pro­cessed and unhealthy. Your best bet is to make your own.

Carbs: Depends on the type. If it’s just meat and season­ing then it should be close to zero.

Oth­er Low-Carb Meats

  • Tur­key
  • Veal
  • Ven­ison
  • Bison

Fish and Sea­food

Fish and oth­er sea­foods tend to be incred­ibly nutri­tious and healthy.

Young Girl With Salmon

They are par­tic­u­larly high in B12, iod­ine and omega‑3 fatty acids, nutri­ents which many people don’t get enough of.

Like meat, pretty much all fish and sea­food con­tains next to no car­bo­hydrate.

7. Sal­mon (Zero)

Sal­mon is among the most pop­u­lar types of fish among health con­scious indi­vidu­als, for a good reas­on.

It is a type of fatty fish, mean­ing that it con­tains sig­ni­fic­ant amounts of heart-healthy fats, in this case omega‑3 fatty acids.

Sal­mon is also loaded with B12, iod­ine, and con­tains a decent amount of vit­am­in D3.

Carbs: zero.

8. Trout (Zero)

Like sal­mon, trout is a type of fatty fish that is loaded with omega‑3 fatty acids and oth­er import­ant nutri­ents.

Carbs: zero.

9. Sardines (Zero)

Sardines are oily fish that are gen­er­ally eaten almost whole, with bones and everything.

Sardines are among the most nutri­ent-dense foods on the plan­et, and con­tain almost every single nutri­ent that the human body needs.

Carbs: zero.

10. Shell­fish (4–5% Carbs)

It is a shame that shell­fish rarely makes it to people’s daily menus. How­ever, they are among the world’s most nutri­tious foods, rank­ing close to organ meats when it comes to nutri­ent dens­ity.

Shell­fish tends to con­tain small amounts of car­bo­hydrates.

Carbs: 4–5 grams of carbs per 100 grams of shell­fish.

Oth­er Low-Carb Fish and Sea­food

  • Shrimp
  • Had­dock
  • Lob­ster
  • Her­ring
  • Tuna
  • Cod
  • Cat­fish
  • Halibut

Veget­ables

Most veget­ables are low in carbs. Leafy greens and cru­ci­fer­ous veget­ables are par­tic­u­larly low, with the major­ity of the carbs in them con­sist­ing of fiber.

Unhappy Woman With a Bowl of Vegetables

On the oth­er hand, starchy root veget­ables like pota­toes and sweet pota­toes are high in carbs.

11. Broc­coli (7%)

Broc­coli is a tasty cru­ci­fer­ous veget­able that can be eaten both raw and cooked. It is high in vit­am­in C, vit­am­in K and fiber, and also con­tains potent can­cer-fight­ing plant com­pounds.

Carbs: 6 grams per cup, or 7 grams per 100 grams.

12. Toma­toes (4%)

Toma­toes are tech­nic­ally fruits/​berries, but are usu­ally eaten as veget­ables. They are high in vit­am­in C and potassi­um.

Carbs: 7 grams in a large tomato, or 4 grams per 100 grams.

13. Onions (9%)

Onions are among the tasti­est plants on earth, and add power­ful fla­vor to recipes. They are high in fiber, anti­ox­id­ants and vari­ous anti-inflam­mat­ory com­pounds.

Carbs: 11 grams per cup, or 9 grams per 100 grams.

14. Brus­sels Sprouts (7%)

Brus­sels sprouts are highly nutri­tious veget­ables, related to broc­coli and kale. They are very high in vit­am­in C and vit­am­in K, and con­tain numer­ous bene­fi­cial plant com­pounds.

Carbs: 6 grams per half cup, or 7 grams per 100 grams.

15. Cauli­flower (5%)

Cauli­flower is a tasty and ver­sat­ile veget­able that can be used to make all sorts of inter­est­ing things in the kit­chen. It is high in vit­am­in C, vit­am­in K and folate.

Carbs: 5 grams per cup, and 5 grams per 100 grams.

16. Kale (10%)

Kale is a very pop­u­lar veget­able among health-con­scious indi­vidu­als. It is loaded with fiber, vit­am­in C, vit­am­in K and carotene anti­ox­id­ants. Kale has numer­ous health bene­fits.

Carbs: 7 grams per cup, or 10 grams per 100 grams.

17. Egg­plant (6%)

Egg­plant is anoth­er fruit that is com­monly con­sumed as a veget­able. It has many inter­est­ing uses, and is very high in fiber.

Carbs: 5 grams per cup, or 6 grams per 100 grams.

18. Cucum­ber (4%)

Cucum­ber is a pop­u­lar veget­able with a mild fla­vor. It con­sists mostly of water, with a small amount of vit­am­in K.

Carbs: 2 grams per half cup, or 4 grams per 100 grams.

19. Bell Pep­pers (6%)

Bell pep­pers are pop­u­lar fruits/​vegetables with a dis­tinct and sat­is­fy­ing fla­vor. They are very high in fiber, vit­am­in C and carotene anti­ox­id­ants.

Carbs: 9 grams per cup, or 6 grams per 100 grams.

20. Asparagus (2%)

Asparagus is a highly deli­cious spring veget­able. It is very high in fiber, vit­am­in C, folate, vit­am­in K and carotene anti­ox­id­ants. It is also very high in pro­tein com­pared to most veget­ables.

Carbs: 3 grams per cup, or 2 grams per 100 grams.

21. Green Beans (7%)

Green beans are tech­nic­ally legumes, but they are usu­ally con­sumed in a sim­il­ar man­ner as veget­ables.

Cal­or­ie for cal­or­ie, they are extremely high in many nutri­ents, includ­ing fiber, pro­tein, vit­am­in C, vit­am­in K, mag­nesi­um and potassi­um.

Carbs: 8 grams per cup, or 7 grams per 100 grams.

22. Mush­rooms (3%)

Mush­rooms tech­nic­ally aren’t plants, but edible mush­rooms are often cat­egor­ized as veget­ables. They con­tain decent amounts of potassi­um, and are high in some B‑vitamins.

Carbs: 3 grams per cup, and 3 grams per 100 grams (white mush­rooms).

Oth­er Low-Carb Veget­ables

  • Cel­ery
  • Spin­ach
  • Zuc­chini
  • Swiss chard
  • Cab­bage

With the excep­tion of starchy root veget­ables, pretty much all veget­ables are low in carbs. You can eat a lot of veget­ables without going over your carb lim­it.

Fruits and Ber­ries

Even though fruits are gen­er­ally per­ceived as being healthy, they are highly con­tro­ver­sial among low-carbers.

That’s because most fruits tend to be high in carbs com­pared to veget­ables.

Woman Holding a Green Avocado, 550px

Depend­ing on how many carbs you are aim­ing for, you may want to restrict your fruit intake to 1–2 pieces per day.

How­ever, this does not apply to fatty fruits like avo­ca­dos or olives. Low-sug­ar ber­ries, such as straw­ber­ries, are also excel­lent.

23. Avo­cado (8.5%)

The avo­cado is a unique type of fruit. Instead of being high in carbs, it is loaded with healthy fats.

Avo­ca­dos are also extremely high in fiber and potassi­um, and con­tain decent amounts of all sorts of oth­er nutri­ents.

Carbs: 13 grams per cup, or 8.5 grams per 100 grams.

Keep in mind that the major­ity (about 78%) of the carbs in avo­cado are fiber, so it con­tains almost no digest­ible (“net”) carbs.

24. Olives (6%)

The olive is anoth­er deli­cious high-fat fruit. It is very high in iron and cop­per, and con­tains a decent amount of vit­am­in E.

Carbs: 2 grams per ounce, or 6 grams per 100 grams.

25. Straw­ber­ries (8%)

Straw­ber­ries are among the low­est carb and most nutri­ent-dense fruits you can eat. They are very high in vit­am­in C, man­ganese and vari­ous anti­ox­id­ants.

Carbs: 11 grams per cup, or 8 grams per 100 grams.

26. Grapefruit (11%)

Grapefruits are cit­rus fruits that are related to oranges. They are very high in vit­am­in C and carotene anti­ox­id­ants.

Carbs: 13 grams in a half grapefruit, or 11 grams per 100 grams.

27. Apricots (11%)

The apricot is an incred­ibly deli­cious fruit. Each apricot con­tains little car­bo­hydrate, but plenty of vit­am­in C and potassi­um.

Carbs: 8 grams in 2 apricots, or 11 grams per 100 grams.

Oth­er Low-Carb Fruits

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are very pop­u­lar on low-carb diets. They tend to be low in carbs, but high in fat, fiber, pro­tein and vari­ous micronu­tri­ents.

Woman Eating Nuts From a Glass

Nuts are often eaten as snacks, but seeds are rather used for adding crunch to salads or recipes.

Nut flours and seed flours (such as almond flour, coconut flour and flax seed meal) are also often used to make low-carb breads and oth­er baked foods.

28. Almonds (22%)

Almonds are incred­ibly tasty and crunchy. They are loaded with fiber, vit­am­in E and are among the world’s best sources of mag­nesi­um, a min­er­al that most people don’t get enough of.

Addi­tion­ally, almonds are incred­ibly filling, and have been shown to pro­mote weight loss in some stud­ies (15, 16).

Carbs: 6 grams per ounce, or 22 grams per 100 grams.

29. Wal­nuts (14%)

The wal­nut is anoth­er deli­cious type of nut. It is par­tic­u­larly high in the omega‑3 fatty acid ALA, and also con­tains vari­ous oth­er nutri­ents.

Carbs: 4 grams per ounce, or 14 grams per 100 grams.

30. Pea­nuts (16%)

Pea­nuts are tech­nic­ally legumes, but tend to be pre­pared and con­sumed like nuts. They are very high in fiber, mag­nesi­um, vit­am­in E and vari­ous import­ant vit­am­ins and min­er­als.

Carbs: 5 grams per ounce, or 16 grams per 100 grams.

31. Chia Seeds (44%)

Chia seeds are cur­rently among the world’s most pop­u­lar health foods. They are loaded with many import­ant nutri­ents, and can be used in all sorts of low-carb friendly recipes.

Chia seeds are extremely high in fiber, and may be the richest source of diet­ary fiber on the plan­et.

Carbs: 12 grams per ounce, or 44 grams per 100 grams.

How­ever, keep in mind that about 86% of the carbs in chia seeds are fiber, so in real­ity they con­tain very few digest­ible (“net”) carbs.

Oth­er Low-Carb Nuts and Seeds

  • Hazel­nuts
  • Mac­ad­amia nuts
  • Cashews
  • Coconuts
  • Pista­chios
  • Flax seeds
  • Pump­kin seeds
  • Sun­flower seeds

Dairy

If you tol­er­ate dairy, then full-fat dairy products are excel­lent low-car­bo­hydrate foods. Just make sure to read the label and avoid any­thing with added sug­ar.

Young Chef With a Piece of Cheese

32. Cheese (1.3%)

Cheese is among the tasti­est low-car­bo­hydrate foods, and can be eaten both raw and in all sorts of deli­cious recipes. It goes par­tic­u­larly well with meat, such as on top of a bur­ger (without the bun, of course).

Cheese is also highly nutri­tious. A single thick slice of cheese con­tains a sim­il­ar amount of nutri­ents as an entire glass of milk.

Carbs: 0.4 grams per slice, or 1.3 grams per 100 grams (ched­dar).

33. Heavy Cream (3%)

Heavy cream con­tains very little car­bo­hydrate and pro­tein, but is high in dairy fat. Some low-carbers put it in their cof­fee, or use it in recipes. A bowl of ber­ries with some whipped cream can be a deli­cious low-carb dessert.

Carbs: 1 gram per ounce, or 3 grams per 100 grams.

34. Full-fat Yogurt (5%)

Full-fat yogurt is excep­tion­ally healthy. It con­tains many of the same nutri­ents as whole milk, but yogurt with live cul­tures is also loaded with bene­fi­cial pro­bi­ot­ic bac­teria.

Carbs: 11 grams per 8 ounce con­tain­er, or 5 grams per 100 grams.

35. Greek Yogurt (4%)

Greek yogurt, also called strained yogurt, is very thick com­pared to reg­u­lar yogurt. It is very high in many bene­fi­cial nutri­ents, espe­cially pro­tein.

Carbs: 6 grams per con­tain­er, or 4 grams per 100 grams.

Fats and Oils

There are many healthy fats and oils that are accept­able on a low-carb, real food-based diet.

Chef Pouring Olive Oil on a Salad, Smaller

Just make sure to avoid refined veget­able oils like soy­bean oil, corn oil and oth­ers, because these are very unhealthy when con­sumed in excess.

36. But­ter (Zero)

Once demon­ized for the high sat­ur­ated fat con­tent, but­ter has been mak­ing a comeback. Choose grass-fed but­ter if you can, it is high­er in some nutri­ents.

Carbs: zero.

37. Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil (Zero)

Extra vir­gin olive oil is the health­i­est fat on the plan­et. It is a staple ingredi­ent on the heart-healthy Medi­ter­ranean diet.

It is loaded with power­ful anti­ox­id­ants and anti-inflam­mat­ory com­pounds, and has impress­ive bene­fits for car­di­ovas­cu­lar health.

Carbs: zero.

38. Coconut Oil (Zero)

Coconut oil is a very healthy fat, loaded with medi­um-chain fatty acids that have power­ful bene­fi­cial effects on meta­bol­ism. They have been shown to reduce appet­ite, boost fat burn­ing and help people lose belly fat (17, 18, 19, 20).

Carbs: zero.

Oth­er Low-Carb Friendly Fats

Bever­ages

Most sug­ar-free bever­ages are per­fectly accept­able when eat­ing low-carb.

Girl Smelling Cup of Coffee

Keep in mind that fruit juices are very high in sug­ar and carbs, and should def­in­itely be avoided.

39. Water

Water should be your go-to bever­age, no mat­ter what the rest of your diet con­sists of.

Carbs: zero.

40. Cof­fee

Des­pite hav­ing been demon­ized in the past, cof­fee is actu­ally very healthy.

It is the biggest source of anti­ox­id­ants in the diet, and cof­fee drink­ers have been shown to live longer and have a lower risk of sev­er­al ser­i­ous dis­eases, includ­ing type 2 dia­betes, Parkinson’s dis­ease and Alzheimer’s (21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26).

Just make sure not to add any­thing unhealthy to your cof­fee. Black is best, but some full-fat milk or heavy cream is fine as well.

Carbs: zero.

41. Tea

Tea, espe­cially green tea, has been stud­ied quite thor­oughly and shown to have all sorts of impress­ive health bene­fits. It may also boost fat burn­ing slightly (27, 28).

Carbs: zero.

42. Club Soda /​ Car­bon­ated Water

Club soda is pretty much just water with added car­bon diox­ide. It is per­fectly accept­able as long as there is no sug­ar in it. Read the label to make sure.

Carbs: zero.

43. Dark Chocol­ate

This may sur­prise some people, but qual­ity dark chocol­ate is actu­ally the per­fect low-carb treat.

Just make sure to choose real dark chocol­ate with a 70–85% cocoa con­tent (or high­er), then it won’t con­tain much sug­ar.

Dark chocol­ate has numer­ous bene­fits, such as improved brain func­tion and reduced blood pres­sure (29, 30). Stud­ies also show that dark chocol­ate eat­ers have a much lower risk of heart dis­ease (31).

You can read about more health bene­fits in this art­icle.

Carbs: 13 grams per 1‑ounce piece, or 46 grams per 100 grams. This depends on the type, so make sure to read the label.

Keep in mind that about 25% of the carbs in dark chocol­ate are fiber, so the total digest­ible carb con­tent is lower.

44. Herbs, Spices and Con­di­ments

There is an end­less vari­ety of deli­cious herbs, spices and con­di­ments that you can eat. Most of them are very low in carbs, but pack a power­ful nutri­tion­al punch and help add fla­vor to meals.

Some not­able examples include salt, pep­per, gar­lic, ginger, cin­na­mon, mus­tard and oregano. This art­icle lists 10 deli­cious herbs and spices with power­ful health bene­fits.

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