People on low-carb diets limit carbohydrates in order to burn fat for energy and feel less hungry. It is difficult to find zero-carb foods, but meats have few or no carbs. Some cheeses have virtually no carbs, and although oils do not contain carbs, they should be used in moderation. Leafy, green vegetables are the best choices. Zero-carb foods are low on the glycemic index and don’t cause a spike in blood sugar.
Shirataki noodles are Japanese noodles made from the konjac plant. They contain no calories, no gluten and no carbs. The tofu version of shirataki, which is sold in American grocery stores, does contain 3 grams of carbohydrates and 20 calories per serving. Also called Japanese yam noodles, shirataki is high in fiber and is used as a substitute for pasta in Asian and Italian dishes.
Most meats and lean-protein sources contain zero carbs. Fish, chicken, beef, eggs, duck and lamb are all no-carb foods. Avoid the processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs and lunchmeats that have been linked to colon cancer. Processed meats may contain sugar. Animal protein provides a complete protein source with all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle.
Vegetables that contain zero or virtually no carbs include spinach, celery, bok choy, lettuce, endive, alfalfa sprouts, mushrooms, peppers, radishes, cucumber and pepper. Herbs and spices without carbs include sage, thyme, dill, tarragon, oregano, ginger, cayenne pepper, rosemary, garlic, basil, parsley, fennel and cilantro. Use herbs in place of sugars and oils when cooking.
Some cheeses contain virtually no carbs or less than 1 gram in several slices. Monterey Jack, Gruyere, blue cheese, Swiss cheese, Gouda are great zero-carb cheeses. Low-carb cheeses include cheddar, Muenster, fontina and mozzarella. Avoid eating cottage cheese or cheese spreads which do contain carbs. Fats do not contain carbs. Olive oil, canola, walnut, grape seed, sesame, safflower, sunflower, soybean oil are the best sources of fat in a low-carb diet.
- “Carb Book;” Karen Bellerson, 2006.