Zero Carb Diet: Nutrition Facts, Food To Eat, And Health Benefits

Low carb diet food

Whether you want to switch to a zero-carb diet because your doctor recommended it for health reasons or simply because you want to lose weight, you have your work cut out for you. Maintaining a no-carb diet can be difficult—the keywords here being "can be"—because not many foods have zero carbs. However, with the right resources and the right help, you may discover that maintaining a low- to no-carb diet is not only easy, but it's also tasty. It can also result in outstanding health benefits and, depending on your current state of wellbeing, a zero carb diet can even save your life.

Making The Switch To A Low- To No-Carb Diet

Just like any diet, if you approach your no-carb diet in the wrong way, you risk causing adverse health effects. Your body is used to eating a certain way, and if you drastically change what you feed it, it could end up revolting. If you want to start a no-carb diet, ease into it.

Begin by removing carb-loaded snacks from your diet and replacing them with nuts, berries and cheeses. Next, change up your breakfast. Instead of eating a bagel, a muffin or even a banana, try a bowl of yogurt with berries, or an over easy egg. At lunch time, forego the wrap and soda and opt instead for a chicken salad with a vinegar-based dressing. When it comes dinner time, say no to pasta (which causes carb overload!), and have a healthy meal of steak, lamb, chicken or seafood with a side of veggies.

Make this transition over the course of a week or two, beginning with the snacks, as mentioned above, and ending with dinner. By the time you're eating a no-carb dinner, your body should be used to the new diet and responding optimally.

Foods To Avoid

When attempting to maintain a zero-carb diet, it's just as important to know what foods to avoid as it is what foods contain little to no carbs. For instance, you may think that all fruits contain minimal to no carbs and that breakfast smoothies are the best way to go when trying to lose weight, but you would be surprised by just how carb-laden many natural and supposedly healthy foods actually are. These following 20 foods are richer in carbs than a bowl of pasta:

  • Bananas
  • Mangoes
  • Wraps
  • French Fries
  • Raisins
  • Soda
  • Raisins
  • Quinoa
  • Bagels
  • Muffins
  • Pie
  • Smoothies
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Dates
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Pizza
  • Apples
  • Applesauce
  • Energy Bars
  • Low-Fat Candy

Unfortunately, switching to a no-carb diet means no more Friday night pizzas or easy breakfasts of smoothies and energy bars, but your willpower will pay off in the end when you see a dramatic improvement in your health, energy levels and mood, and when you start to shed pounds like a snake sheds its skin.

Zero-Carb Foods That You'll Actually Enjoy

Veggie salad

A zero-carb diet doesn't have to be painful or tasteless. In fact, with the right resources, you may discover that a no-carb diet is quite enjoyable to maintain, and you may not want to switch back even after meeting your weight-loss and health goals. Like most diets, a no-carb diet relies on the right spices and your ingenuity and skills in the kitchen. Here are just a few no-carb foods that you can work with:

Meats

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Organ Meats
  • Pork Rinds

Seafood

  • Shellfish
  • Fish (Cod, Haddock, Halibut, Sole, Flounder, Catfish, Bass, Salmon, Trout, Tuna, Swordfish and Sardine)
  • Mollusks

Dairy

  • Margarine
  • Butter
  • Most Cheeses
  • Heavy Cream
  • Eggs

Vegetables

  • Cucumber
  • Leafy Greens (Arugula, Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Turnip Greens, Bok Choy and Swiss Chard)
  • Radish
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Fresh Herbs
  • Chicory (Escarole, Endive and Radicchio)
  • Celery

Fruits

  • Berries

Oils

  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Grass-Fed Butter
  • Fish Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • MCT Oil
  • Animal Fats
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Vegetable Shortening
  • Sesame Oil

Condiments

  • Vinegar (Not Balsamic)
  • Many Hot Sauces
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise

Seasonings

  • Salt and Pepper
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Vinegar
  • Pre-Mixed Seasonings (Check the Label)
  • Dill Weed
  • Chives, Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Etc.
  • Yellow Mustard

Alcohol

  • Whiskey
  • Rum
  • Gin
  • Tequila
  • Scotch
  • Vodka

Beverages

  • Water
  • Coffee (Black)
  • Tea (Plain)
  • Diet Soda
  • Herbal Tea
  • Drink Mix Powders

Healthy Low Carb Snacks

Though you may need to go no-carb for a while, you should not deprive yourself of a treat every once in a while. Your health is of utmost importance, but part of maintaining optimal health is keeping yourself happy—and part of making yourself happy means indulging in a glass of wine, a bit of chocolate or a sweet fruit every once in a while. If you feel as if you deserve a treat after a week or two of no-carb eating, don't hesitate to treat yourself to one of the following low-carb snacks:

  • A Glass of Wine
  • A Bit of Dark Chocolate
  • Full-Fat Yogurt
  • A Piece of Fruit
  • Cheese and Meats
  • Hardboiled Eggs
  • Some Avocado Toast

As with any diet, a no-carb diet can easily become unhealthy and even dangerous if you approach it in the wrong way. There are a few common mistakes that people make when they attempt to cut carbs out of their diets, each of which you can easily avoid when you are armed with the right information. Here are just a few mistakes that individuals make when attempting a low-carb diet:

  • Eating Too Few Carbs: The diet may be called a "zero-carb diet," but this is actually a misnomer, as some of the best foods for you have some carbs in them. For instance, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, strawberries, avocado and other healthy natural foods contain some level of carbs, even if that level is quite low. If you were to attempt to cut all carbs out of your diet, you would be unwittingly depriving your body of key nutrients.
  • Overeating "Good Foods": On the flip side of the same coin, some dieters try to overcompensate by overeating allowed foods. A lot of people who attempt no-carb diets do not do it correctly and so find themselves hungry all the time. To satisfy that hunger, they overeat cheeses, nuts, meats and other foods that may be low in carbs but high in fats. This not only results in health complications, but it also causes weight gain.
  • Shying Away From Fat: "No carb" is not synonymous with "no fat," yet many zero-carb dieters think that the two terms are one in the same. If you cut fats out of your diet as well, you may notice a significant decrease in weight at first, but after a while, your body will begin to metabolize fats more slowly as it realizes that it's not getting any, which will cause you to become hungrier and put on weight.
  • Falling Victim to Low-Carb Labels: Foods packaged as "low-carb" are often as dangerous as fake sugars because they often contain an ingredient called maltitol. Maltitol is responsible for high blood pressure and other serious health side effects in some people, which is why it should be avoided at all costs. If you're going to do a low-carb or no-carb diet, you need to stick to healthy, homemade foods.
  • Skipping Exercise: Just because you've eliminated carbs from your diet and have started to notice a difference in your weight does not mean that you should forego your exercise routine. Exercise is important for many reasons, with weight loss and maintenance being just one of them. Exercise can impact your mood, maintain joint health and increase your lifespan in a way that eating right simply cannot. Incorporate a light exercise routine into your daily schedule to see optimal results when on your no-carb kick.
  • Getting Into a Rut: When dieting, getting into a rut is easy to do. For many people, that means eating the same thing day after day after day. Doing this is a surefire way to grow sick of your new low-carb life and revert to eating fatty, unhealthy foods. If you don’t want to grow bored with your food, and if you want to enjoy your meals rather than dread them, treat your low-carb diet as you would any other type of food régime. Look up new recipes, try new things and just have fun with your food. Anything can be de-carbed, and once you learn which foods are "bad," and which are "good," you will discover that maintaining a tasty, low-carb diet comes naturally.

The low-carb and no-carb life can make a positive impact on your health, happiness and future, but only if you go about it in the right way. By knowing which foods are bad for you, which are good, and which are okay in certain circumstances, you can not only maintain a zero carb diet but even come to enjoy it. Ease yourself into your new lifestyle by following the advice above, and by starting with snacks first and working your way up to your favorite meal of the day. 

Speak Your Mind

*