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A list of 70 low-carb or zero-carb healthy foods + shopping list

Reducing carbohydrate intake has become one of the most popular (and effective) ways to manage appetite and portion control, reduce calorie intake, and increase weight loss.

In South Africa, it’s popularity has been largely boosted by Tim Noakes’ Real Meal Revolution and his revival of the Banting Diet.

Admittedly, following a low-carb diet isn’t always the best approach for everyone (especially athletes or highly active individuals) and it’s good to understand the pros and cons so that you can decide for yourself.

With that said, most people who eat more lower-carb foods will find themselves eating less junk and more minimally processed, wholesome foods that keep them fuller and more satisfied for longer.

[For me personally: I follow a low-er carb diet most of the time by using the “earn your carbs” approach (à la Precision Nutrition) where my meals directly before or after my workout are higher in carb-dense foods (still healthy, minimally processed foods), while my other meals are lower in carbs and higher in high-fibre vegetables and healthy fats. I find that this is a useful, uncomplicated approach to keep my carbohydrate intake in check while still getting enough carbs to fuel my active lifestyle.]

Whether you follow a low-carb diet or not, this list of 70 low-carb or zero-carb healthy foods is super handy because it still contains a good reference list of some of the most nutrient-dense foods available. It also doubles up as a convenient shopping list to help you keep your household well stocked with plenty of healthy foods that are suitable for both a low-carb and otherwise normal-carb intake diet alike.

Most of the foods on this list are under 10g carbs per 100g, except for a few minor exceptions in which case serving size would be much lower than 100g anyways.

Low-Carb Meats (#1-7)

Low-Carb Fish and Seafood (#8-17)

Low-Carb Vegetables (#18-33)

Net carbs” (total carbohydrate content minus non-absorbable dietary fibre) have been included in the food description as it can make a big difference between whether something is classified as a low-carb or higher-carb food.

Low-Carb Fruits (#34-43)

While these fruits push the limits a bit on what is considered “low-carb”, they have been included because they are still lower in carbs than most other fruit and it is useful to know which fruits are a better choice to make.

Also, keep in mind that many fruits are rich in dietary fiber which isn’t usually digested, so a fruit like Avocado which may appear high-ish in carbohydrates (8.5g carbs per 100g) can actually be very low (1.8g net carbs) due to 6.7g of that being fiber.

Low-Carb Nuts (#44-50)

Like fruit, nuts tend to push the limits on what is considered to be low-carb (at least per 100g anyways). However, a typical serving is between 14g and 28g which brings even the highest carb nut (pistachio) down to 3.8g – 7.6g per serving.

On top of that, like fruit, nuts are rich in fiber which dramatically lowers their net carb count.

Low-Carb Seeds (#51-55)

A typical serving size is between 5g – 15g, compared to the listed 100g.

Low-Carb Oils (#56-59)

A typical serving size is between 5g and 15g, compared to the listed 100g.

Low-Carb Dairy (60-67)

A typical serving size of most dairy products is less than 100g as they are very calorie-dense.

Low-Carb Other (#68-70)

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