Are you Confused About Low Carb Foods?

 Low Carb Diets are Good for Your Health

Many diets today advocate a diet low in carbohydrates. This is a particularly healthy diet as it essentially cuts out the sugar from your diet as well as other foods that are easily converted into sugar

The best way to stick to a low carbohydrate diet is to have a low carb foods list ready at hand to ensure that you ae always able to make informed choices about the foods you eat.

We will use a carbohydrate count that is net carbs per 100g (3.5 oz) weight, not per serving, because serving sizes vary. Carb counts come from the USDA database and we cannot be held responsible for any errors.

We have grouped the foods according to how they are usually used in cooking, rather than by their botanical classification (so for example tomatoes and olives are with vegetables, and quinoa is with grains). The list is in three parts. Here in part 1, we cover protein foods and fats.

Protein Foods

Meat, Fish, Eggs

Meat and fish are the stars of the low carb foods list. Most meat and fish is zero carb provided it is not processed.

Processed meats like bacon, ham and sausages may contain added sugar or other ingredients, so check the labels. Oysters, mussels and organ meats (liver, kidneys etc) have some carbohydrate and are best eaten only occasionally.

Eggs are low carb. A large egg has 0.4g carbohydrate per egg.

However you need to be cautious when eating prepared protein dishes such as meatloaf, fish cakes, burgers etc as they may contain bread or flour and other high carb ingredients, unless of course you make your own. It is best to avoid them, as well as anything coated with breadcrumbs or batter. Also meat that has been prepared with barbecue sauce or other flavoring as they can often contain sugar or other sweetener.

Dairy Products

Milk contains lactose which is a milk sugar and therefore high in carbohydrate. Milk has around 5g carbohydrate per 100 ml (12g per cup), so it is usually restricted on low carb diets. However, the lactose is mainly contained in the skim part of the milk, so cream and products made from cream can be low carb. It is also possible to buy lactose free milk in your supermarket

Heavy (double) cream is a good addition to your low carb foods list with 0.4g carbohydrate per tablespoon (2.8g per 100 ml, 6.6g per cup). However, what is sold as cream in Canada is not pure dairy cream but more like American half and half. It may have a much higher carb count.

The good news is that butter is almost zero carb (0.1g per 100g).

Cheese varies according to the type and the method that is used to make it. Hard cheese (cheddar style) is often almost zero. Other cheeses can be considerably higher. Check labels.

Plain yogurt has around the same carbohydrate content as milk. Whole milk yogurt is a little lower in carbs than skim milk (low fat) yogurt. This is because the skim milk contains more lactose. Beware of yoghurt that has added fruit as they have added sugar or other high carbohydrate ingredients. Get into the habit of checking the labels.


Liquid oils such as olive oil, canola oil and sunflower oil are zero carb. Coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature in cooler climates, is also zero carb and incidentally one of the healthiest oils.

Beware of spray oils as they may contain added ingredients that means they have a carb count, so again check the label. However, spray oils were intended for low fat diets, so are not required as part of the low carb plan.

Nuts And Seeds

All nuts and seeds are not created equal when it comes to carb content.

Flax seeds (linseeds), which are very high in fiber, are extremely low carb. Some low carb diets recommend taking one tablespoon of ground flax seed per day to add fiber to the diet. These are best eaten freshly ground

Pecans are the lowest carb nut with 4.3g net carb per 100g.

Walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pine nuts, brazils, macadamias, filberts (hazelnuts), sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are in the medium carb range (5g to 12g net carbs per 100g).

Pumpkin seeds and cashews are higher (14g and 27g respectively).

Quite a lot of information to take in but as you use this low carb diet plan you will start to get used to which of the foods are the best to eat

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2 comments to Are you Confused About Low Carb Foods?

  • Warren Contreras

    An interesting discovery I recently made was that you can get Hemp Milk with almost no carbs to use in place of regular milk and it’s quite good. Be sure to read the label to find the low carb version.

  • Janet

    Thanks for that Warren – I will research it and see where it can be bought

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