Many diets today promote the reduction of carbohydrates in order to lose weight. To do this, you replace certain foods that are high in carbs with no carb foods, or at least low carb foods. Let’s review some no/low carb foods so that you can start including them in your regular diet.
While consuming low carb foods has proven effective weight loss, remember that everybody is different and that, if you are drastically altering your diet, you should always consult with a registered dietitian or, if you’re struggling with a specific health issue, your doctor.
What is a low carb diet?
Low carb diets like the Ketogenic and Atkins diet are based on a simple principle: By reducing digestible carbohydrates, which are your body’s main fuel source. Your body then switches to the next available fuel source, fat. Low carb foods, like fats, protein, and non-strachy vegetables, are the main components of these diets.
Low carb diets usually reduce carb intake to as low as 20–50 grams per day, but there are numerous approaches to a low carb diet and it’s important to start somewhere reasonable and see how feasible it is based on your health and lifestyle.
This approach tends to burn off excess fat quite quickly, especially when coupled with intermittent fasting and exercise. However, we normally eat a substantial amount of carbohydrates throughout the day and the switch to no carb foods can feel quite sudden to our bodies.
Note that there are low carb diets as well as no-carb diets. The latter is a more extreme approach to cutting carbs and isn’t recommended for those that are just starting with this weight loss method. Low carb diets will still include many no carb foods.
Can it help you lose weight?
Consuming no carb foods, or low carb foods has proven to be effective in weight loss. However, it isn’t always recommended in the long term, for various reasons.
In the short-term, you’ll notice a sudden drop in weight. Carbohydrates hold more water than other macronutrients so, when carbs are omitted, you quickly lose quite a bit of water weight.
Since your body starts to burn fats instead of carbs, you’ll notice fatty regions of your body transform dramatically, especially if you also expend additional calories through exercise. Problematic areas with excess fat, like the belly, love handles, and thighs may become noticeably less fatty or more defined, depending on your physique.
In the long term, you’ll find that a low carb diet is hard to maintain because it’s very restrictive. Keeping track of your carb intake on a daily basis requires a lot of control and can get in the way of eating out and socializing. Depending on your dietary preferences, it can also be more expensive.
A less extreme approach to losing weight, such as gradually decreasing your carb intake combined with focusing on high-intensity interval training exercises (HIIT) that optimize the number of calories you burn, can also be just as effective. Other approaches, like metabolic confusion and intermittent fasting, also lead to impressive results.
No carb foods to eat
If you’re planning to implement a low carb diet, here are some no carb foods you should consider adding to your diet plan. Note: if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, this approach to weight loss may not be for you!
Here they are, quick and simple: eggs, meat, and seafood.
All of these have essentially no carbs while still providing your body with essential nutrients. That said, always try to find organic sources of protein from healthy animals because everything that the animal received, in terms of hormones or antibiotics, will then be absorbed by your body.
Fish, in particular, is considered one of the healthier options among these three, and you can choose from a wide variety, including salmon, trout, tuna, and sardines.
Eggs are also nutritious and popular due to their convenience. In fact, you probably already include eggs in our daily diet.
Finally, meat like beef, lamb, chicken, pork (including bacon) are good no-carb options.
If you’re not aiming for no carb foods and are fine eating low carb foods, consider nuts, like pumpkin seeds, almonds, and pistachios. In terms of vegetables, consider dark leafy greens as well as zucchini, cauliflower, rutabaga, and asparagus. Beans are also a great source of protein while being lower in carbs compared to breads and starches.
No carb sample menu
Here is a three-day sample that includes no-carb foods:
- Breakfast: omelet with bell peppers and chicken or bacon
- Lunch: leafy greens salad with salmon, cheese
- Dinner: chicken, broccoli with a coconut-flour tortilla
- Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, sliced avocado, and spinach
- Lunch: tuna-fish salad with carrots dipped in guacamole
- Dinner: steak, leafy greens salad, dressing, avocado, and sunflower seeds
- Breakfast: coconut flour pancakes with butter and nuts
- Lunch: Arugula salad, roasted asparagus, and coconut fried shrimp
- Dinner: bison burgers with stir-fried low carb veggies and leafy green salad