- Animal foods like meat, eggs, and full-fat dairy are naturally low in carbs.
- Low carb plant foods include leafy greens, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and certain fruits.
- Avoid processed low carb products and limit nut/seed flours for best weight loss results.
- Dark chocolate 70% cacao or higher can fit into a low carb diet in moderation.
Low carb diets have surged in popularity as an effective way to lose weight, improve health, and simply feel better. But with so many food options, what should you eat on a low carb diet? In this ultimate guide, we will provide a comprehensive low carb food list so you can fully understand the best choices to power your low carb lifestyle.
The Lowdown on Carbs: Animals vs. Plants
To determine if a food is low carb, it helps to consider where it comes from. Foods from animal sources like meat, fish, eggs, and full-fat dairy contain minimal carbs. Plants, on the other hand, produce carbs through photosynthesis. So while plant foods do contain carbohydrates, you can still build a low carb diet with the right choices.
Fill Up on Low Carb Meat and Seafood
All types of meat and seafood contain barely any carbs. Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish, shellfish, and eggs are all low carb superstars. Some meat products like bacon and jerky can work too, but limit processed meats when possible.
Carefully Choose Your Dairy
Full-fat dairy products tend to have less carbs than low-fat versions. Opt for full-fat yogurt, heavy cream, sour cream, and cheese. Check the labels though, as added sugars can sneak in.
Incorporate Low Carb Vegetables
Low carb vegetables provide important nutrients. Focus on low starch veggies like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, and zucchini. Be mindful of onion intake on very low carb diets.
Add Nutrient-Dense Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds can fit into a low carb diet in moderation. Stick to one serving per day and favor lower carb options like pecans, walnuts, and macadamias. Avoid roasted nuts with unhealthy oils.
Pick the Right Low Carb Fruits
Fruits like avocado, coconut, lemons, and olives make the low carb list. Berries and other fruits are okay for some low carb eaters. Limit total fruit on very low carb and keto diets.
Save Room for Dark Chocolate
High cacao dark chocolate (70% or above) satisfies chocolate cravings the low carb way. Focus on brands without added sugars. Acquire the taste for darker chocolate as your tastebuds adapt.
Following a low carb diet is simple when you understand the optimal food choices. Fill up on low carb meats, eggs, full-fat dairy, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Be mindful of processed low carb products and added sugars. With the right foods fueling you, you can succeed in your low carb weight loss and health goals.
What to Do Next?
- Download our printable low carb food list
- Try our top 10 low carb breakfast recipes
- Read our beginner’s guide to the keto diet
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best low carb snacks?
Good low carb snack options include hard-boiled eggs, vegetables with nut butter, jerky, cheese, and berries.
How many carbs should I eat per day on a low carb diet?
Carb intake varies, but a good guideline is under 50g net carbs if losing weight, and 20-30g for ketogenic diets.
Can I still drink alcohol on a low carb diet?
Dry wines and pure liquors like whiskey, vodka, and gin are low carb alcohol options. Avoid beer, cocktails, and sweet wines.
Shahane Tan, a Nursing graduate from Xavier University, combines healthcare expertise with roles in real estate and life coaching. Passionate about holistic well-being, her insights bridge science and practicality. Explore her balanced wellness approach at JustFlourishing.com.