A zero carb diet involves zero carb foods, meaning it eliminates all carbs, including most fruits and vegetables, whole grains and more. It is also considered an extreme version of a low-carb diet that comes with a plethora of benefits.
Although studies suggest that a low-carb diet can help you lose a significant amount of weight, it is important to note that completely eliminating carbs from your diet is restrictive, unnecessary, and might even lead to serious health issues.
Nevertheless, to help you get started with a no-carb diet, we’ve provided below some healthy zero carb foods to choose from and a few to avoid.
Zero Carb Foods To Add to Your No-Carb Diet
There are plenty of 0-carb foods you can consider adding to your everyday meals. Some of the healthiest options include:
Fish and other seafood such as trout, salmon, shrimp, crab, cod, herring, sardines, tilapia, and shellfish are incredibly healthy and have next to no carbs. These fish are loaded with B12, omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, and various other essential nutrients.
Eggs and meats are also zero carb foods, although organ meats such as liver have about 4% of carbs. Beef, chicken, bacon, jerky, veal, and bison are all healthy meats with zero to very low carbohydrate content.
Most vegetables, particularly cruciferous, leafy greens, and non-starchy vegetables are considered zero carb foods or have a very low carbohydrate content. These include brussel sprouts, zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, bell peppers, turnips, asparagus, cucumbers, green beans, and more.
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are also very popular zero carb foods to add to your diet. While these popular snack items are low in carbohydrates, they are high in fiber, fat, protein, and various other micronutrients.
Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are great 0-carb snacks that you can munch on at any time. Since they are high in fat, you just need to be mindful of your portion size.
Zero carb beverages
Plain water, plain tea, and black coffee are good options for zero-calorie beverages.
Foods To Avoid on a Zero Carb Diet
A zero carb diet eliminates several foods, including:
Baked goods: Cookies, sodas, cakes, candies, sugary beverages
Grains: Quinoa, pasta, bread, rice, barley, wheat, farro
Dairy: Yogurt and milk
Fruits: Oranges, berries, pears, apples, bananas, kiwi
Legumes and beans: Chickpeas, black beans, lentils, kidney beans
Alcohol: Wine and beer
Added sugar: Barbeque sauce, ketchup, salad dressing
Benefits of Zero Carb Foods
So far, there has been no study on a diet that completely eliminates carbs, but studies on very low-carb diets have shown that they may offer some great benefits, such as:
May Benefit Cardiovascular Health
Reducing your carb intake may promote a healthy heart and improve your overall cardiovascular health. Low-carb diets, in particular, have been shown to reduce triglyceride levels. High triglyceride levels can increase the risk of heart disease.
May Help You Lose Weight
Consuming zero carb foods can help you lose weight, at least in the short term, but completely eliminating carbs to attain weight loss can affect other bodily functions and lead to medical concerns in some cases.
Controls Blood Sugar
Reducing the intake of carbs, particularly refined carbs and sugar, can potentially help maintain blood sugar and may be especially beneficial for people with diabetes. Various studies also suggest that keto and low-carb diets are very effective at controlling blood sugar levels.
Other possible advantages include lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, and a reduction in abdominal fat.
Risks and Side Effects
A zero carb diet may have a number of side effects, including:
- fatigue and low energy
- constipation and other gut problems
- nutrient deficiencies
- disturbed menstrual cycle
As a zero carb diet is highly restrictive and eliminates certain micronutrients, it is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or people with eating disorders and cholesterol problems.
While it may help reduce weight and boost heart health, it is also important to remember that a no-carb diet can reduce energy levels and increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies. So, before making any changes to your diet plan and eating habits, consult a doctor to determine whether it is safe for you.