Meat, fish, seafood, fats and oils are the most common no-carb foods but the list doesn’t end there. There are beverages, seasonings, condiments, sweeteners, and snacks that are also zero carb, but you have to know which ones.
Carbs can add up fast so being able to distinguish low carb foods from zero carb foods is critically important. Many of today’s most popular diets—such as the Keto Diet, Atkins Diet, and AIP Diet—are based on limiting carb intake.
So we compiled the definitive list of no carb foods. We included some items that are low-carb for reference, but unless otherwise indicated, all foods on this list are zero carb foods.
Your List of No Carb Foods
Meat is your friend when it comes to zero carb food.
Almost all fresh meat qualifies as no carb, regardless of the fat content. Meat is primarily protein and fat and is a staple food on most high fat, low carb diets.
Keep an eye on how the meat is prepared, however, as this can add unnecessary carbs. You’re going to want preparations that are grilled, baked, boiled, or steamed — not breaded, deep fried, or stewed.
Meat is also a great way to increase your protein intake. In fact, meat is one of the best high-protein foods that contains no carbs.
- Game Meat (Venison, Bison, Boar)
- Organ Meat (Kidney, Heart, Tongue)
A Note On Liver. It’s a fantastic source of nutrients, but it has higher than expected carbohydrate count. One serving (100g) of liver contains 4 grams of carbohydrates.
What to Watch Out for with Zero Carb Meat
It’s important to source your meat from a quality producer. Depending on your preference, there are quality options within the different categories of grain-fed, grass-fed, organic, and all-natural. They all offer unique flavor profiles and nutritional benefits. The key is to work with a producer that focuses on quality.
No-Carb Fish and Seafood
Seafood is another fantastic no carb category of food with a range of delicious options. Fish and other seafood are nutritious and healthy. They are high in B12, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood is also a great high protein food option.
The following fish and seafood are not zero carb, but still qualify as low-carb.
- Shrimp (0.2g)
- Oysters (4.95g)
- Clams (5.13g)
- Scallops (5.41g)
- Mussels (7.39g)
What to Watch Out for with Zero Carb Seafood
Seafood is the same as meat. It’s important to source your fish and seafood from a quality producer. Depending on your preference, there are quality options that range from wild-caught to farmed. They all offer unique flavor profiles and nutritional benefits. The key is to work with a producer that focuses on quality and freshness. Also, make sure to purchase canned fish that comes in a BPA-free can.
No-Carb Fats & Oils
The following fats and oils are completely zero carb. They are great sources of nutrition on diets that require high fat such as the Keto Diet. Like most food items on this list, quality is important for no-carb fats and no-carb oils.
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Canola Oil
- Avocado Oil
- MCT Oil
- Macadamia Nut Oil
What to Watch Out for with Zero Carb Fats and Oils
Not all fats are created equal. Some oils are overly-processed and full of chemicals. Most vegetable oils, for example, are high in omega-6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation and other health issues. For this reason, we recommend avoiding soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, and peanut oil.
Water is critical to a happy and healthy body. You can never drink enough water and it’s always going to be zero carb. It can get a little boring drinking water all day, so there are a few other zero carb options.
- Coffee (Black)
- Sparkling Water
- Soda Water
- Club Soda
- Naturally-Flavored Water
What to Watch Out for with Zero Carb Beverages
The explosion of low-carb diets has attracted a range of low-carb and no-carb beverage options to hit the market. Be careful, as some of these zero carb drinks have artificial ingredients and additives that could have potential negative effects.
Herbs, spices, and seasonings are a fantastic way to incorporate more flavor into your low carb diet or no carb diet. Because most seasoning and herbs are used in such small quantities, they qualify as no carb.
- Black Pepper
- Chili Powder
What to Watch Out for with Zero Carb Seasoning
Single ingredient seasonings are a safe bet when it comes to no carb seasoning. Be careful of seasoning blends or mixes as there can be some hidden sugars or other ingredients that contribute carbs.
Condiments are another way to infuse some flavor and diversity into your meals.
What to Watch Out for with Zero Carb Condiments
Always check the ingredient list and nutrition facts of your condiments to confirm that your specific brand is made without any added sugars or other ingredients that have carbs.
One of the most challenging parts of following a zero carb diet or low carb diet is the restriction of sweets and desserts. Thankfully, there are a few sugar alternatives that do not have an impact on our blood sugar levels.
- Pure Erythritol
- Monk Fruit
What to Watch Out for with Zero Carb Sweeteners
Sugar alcohols are a great way to get a zero carb sweetener into the mix. Be careful, however, as some can cause digestive discomfort.
- Beef Jerky
- Dried Seaweed Sheets
- Pork Rinds
- Salmon Skins
What to Watch Out for with Zero Carb Snacks
The snack category comes with a few caveats. Keep an eye on the ingredient list and nutritional panel to make sure the snack is truly zero carb. Some supposedly “zero carb” snacks actually have hidden carbs, additives, and artificial ingredients.
Low Carb and Low Net Carb Foods
All of the no carb foods mentioned above are 100% zero carb which makes them excellent options on a low carb or no carb diet. They can be the building blocks of a healthy, low-carb diet.
While it’s important to know what foods can be enjoyed without limit, there are foods that are low carb and can be enjoyed in moderation, especially when trying to eat a balanced diet that is also low carb.
A Note on Net Carbs
Net carbs are the digestible carbohydrates in food after any indigestible carbohydrates have been deducted from the total carbs. Dietary fiber and sugar alcohols are considered indigestible carbs and do not have an impact on your blood sugar. Thus, some low carb dieters will look at net carbs when considering total carbs.
Low Carb Dairy
Eggs and dairy products have very limited amounts of carbohydrates. Generally speaking, aged cheeses have less lactose (milk sugar) which makes them lower in carbs than a fresh cheese.
- Eggs (0.7g Carb)
- String Cheese (0.3g Carb)
- Goat Cheese (0.5g Carb)
- Blue Cheese (0.8g Carb)
- Heavy Cream (0.8g Carb)
- Asadero Cheese (<1g Carb)
- Cheddar Cheese (<1g Carb)
- Gouda Cheese (<1g Carb)
- Asiago Cheese (<1g Carb)
- Full Fat Greek Yogurt (2g Carb)
What to Watch Out for with Low Carb Dairy
Low fat cheese should generally be avoided when eating a low carb diet because they are stripped of nutritional value and are often filled with preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Low Carb Fruits
All fruits contain carbohydrates, which makes them difficult to consume when avoiding carbs.
- Raspberries (10g Carb, 5g Net Carbs)
- Blackberries (11g Carb, 5g Net Carbs)
- Strawberries (8g Carb, 6g Net Carbs)
- Blueberries (14.5g Carb, 12g Net Carbs)
Low Carb Vegetables
Vegetables are made up mostly of carbohydrates, which can make them challenging on a low carb diet. However, there are several that are rich in fiber which reduces the net carbs. Most leafy greens such as spinach, cabbage, and kale are low in carbs. Starchy veggies such as potatoes, corn, peas, and squash have high carb counts.
Cruciferous vegetables are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.
- Spinach (3.5g Carb, 1g Net Carbs)
- Lettuce (3.5g Carb, 2g Net Carbs)
- Asparagus (4g Carb, 2g Net Carbs)
- Avocado (9g Carb, 2g Net Carbs)
- Cucumber (3.5g Carb, 3g Net Carbs)
- Tomato (4g Carb, 3g Net Carbs)
- Cauliflower (5g Carb, 3g Net Carbs)
- Zucchini (5g Carb, 3g Net Carbs)
- Green Pepper (5g Carb, 3g Net Carbs)
- Kale (6g Carb, 3g Net Carbs)
- Cabbage (6g Carb, 3g Net Carbs)
- Eggplant (5g Carb, 3g Net Carbs)
Low Carb Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are natural sources of fiber that can be low in carbs.
- Pecans (4g Carb, 1g Net Carbs)
- Macadamia Nuts (4g Carb, 2g Net Carbs)
- Brazil Nuts (3g Carb, 1g Net Carbs)
- Walnuts (4g Carb, 2g Net Carbs)
- Hazelnuts (5g Carb, 2g Net Carbs)
- Pine Nuts (4g Carb, 3g Net Carbs)
Following a low carb diet has many health benefits such as lowering blood sugar, managing blood pressure levels, and improving good cholesterol. Plus, low carb foods have been shown to aid in weight loss.
The list of no-carb foods is substantial but not infinite. Meat, fish, oil, and some condiments are zero carb and can be enjoyed without increasing carbohydrate intake. There are also foods that contain minimal carbs that can be enjoyed in moderation.
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