What foods have no carbs?

When following a low-carb or keto diet, it’s important to know what foods contain minimal amounts of carbohydrates. Carbs should be restricted or eliminated on these diets, so choosing foods with no carbs makes it easier to stay within your daily carb limit.

Meat and Poultry

Most cuts of meat and poultry contain 0 grams of carbohydrates per serving. This includes:

  • Beef: ground beef, roasts, steaks
  • Pork: chops, ham, bacon
  • Chicken: breasts, thighs, wings, legs
  • Turkey: ground turkey, turkey breast
  • Lamb: chops, leg of lamb

Cold cuts and sausages may also be carb-free, but read labels since some contain added sugars. Organ meats like liver are very low carb as well.

Fish and Seafood

Fish and shellfish don’t naturally contain carbs. Options like:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Halibut
  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Crab
  • Scallops
  • Tilapia
  • Cod

Are great low-carb choices. Canned fish like sardines and anchovies are carb-free as well.


Whole eggs contain minimal carbs. One large egg has 0.6 grams of carbs, almost entirely from protein in the egg white.

So foods like:

  • Fried eggs
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Boiled eggs
  • Poached eggs
  • Omelets

Are excellent options. Make sure to avoid carb-heavy additions like pancake batter or sugary syrups.

Natural Fats and Oils

Natural sources of fat like:

  • Butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Lard or tallow

Contain 0 grams of carbohydrates per serving. So use them liberally for cooking, dressings, marinades, and more.

Non-Starchy Vegetables

Most non-starchy vegetables are very low in carbs. Great options include:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms

Just watch portions since carbs can add up. Avoid starchy veggies like potatoes and corn.


Add flavor to no-carb foods with condiments like:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Most spices and herbs
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Vinegars
  • Soy sauce
  • Mustard

Steer clear of sweetened sauces and condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce, and teriyaki sauce.

Full-Fat Dairy

Full-fat plain dairy products have minimal carbs. Opt for:

  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Heavy cream
  • Hard cheeses

Avoid flavored, sweetened, or low-fat dairy products.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are higher in carbs, but reasonable portions of:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flaxseeds

Can fit into a low-carb lifestyle. But limit high-carb nuts like cashews and pistachios.


Stick to low-carb beverage options like:

  • Water
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Unsweetened coffee
  • Bone broth
  • Dry wine
  • Spirits like whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila

Avoid sugary drinks, fruit juices, milk, sweet tea, beer, mixed cocktails, and other high-carb beverages.

Artificial Sweeteners

Sugar-free sweeteners like:

  • Stevia
  • Splenda
  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Saccharin
  • Monk fruit
  • Erythritol

Can provide sweetness without carbs. But use minimally since they may cause cravings.

Low-Carb Flours

Flours made from:

  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Flax meal

Are lower in carbs than wheat flour. Use them to make low-carb baked goods or for coating foods.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Look for 100% cacao unsweetened cocoa powder. Although bitter, it contains antioxidants and only 2 grams of carbs per tablespoon.

Protein Powders

Whey protein and collagen protein powders contain minimal carbs. Use them to make smoothies or add protein to foods and drinks without boosting carbs.

Foods To Avoid

Avoid carb-heavy foods like:

  • Grains: bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, cereal
  • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas
  • Fruit: apples, bananas, grapes, citrus fruits
  • Beans and legumes: lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas
  • Sweets: cookies, cakes, candy, ice cream
  • Sugary beverages: soda, juice, sweet tea
  • Processed low-fat foods
  • Beer
  • Sugary condiments: ketchup, barbecue sauce

Shopping Tips for Low-Carb Foods

When grocery shopping, spend most of your time around the outer aisles of the store where the produce, meat, eggs, and dairy are located. Avoid the inner aisles with processed foods.

Here are some other tips for finding no-carb and low-carb foods:

  • Choose fresh or frozen vegetables over canned versions with added sugars or starches.
  • Opt for plain Greek yogurt and add your own sweetener if needed.
  • Look for low-carb tortillas, bread, and pasta made with alternative flours.
  • Seek out low-sugar condiments or make your own sauces and dressings.
  • Find snacks like pork rinds, cheese crisps, nut butters, and olives.
  • Read nutrition labels and look at the carb count per serving.
  • Buy nuts in the shell so you eat less of them.

Sample Low-Carb Daily Menu

Here is an example of what a day of carb-free eating could look like:

Meal Foods
Breakfast Fried eggs with spinach and avocado
Bulletproof coffee
Lunch Tuna salad wrapped in lettuce
Sliced cucumbers
Dinner Grilled salmon
Buttered broccoli
Side salad with oil and vinegar dressing
Snacks Sliced cheese
Handful of almonds

Counting Net Carbs

Some foods with carbs also have a high fiber content. For low-carb dieting, you can subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbs to find the net carbs:

Total Carbs – Fiber = Net Carbs

For example, an avocado has 13 grams total carbs and 10 grams of fiber so it has just 3 grams of net carbs.

Focusing on net carbs provides more flexibility when planning low-carb meals.

Should You Eliminate Carbs Completely?

Most low-carb eating plans don’t require completely avoiding carbs. Plans like the keto diet aim for 20-50 grams of net carbs per day. This provides some room for non-starchy veggies, nuts, seeds, and low-carb fruits like berries.

Going extremely low-carb or no-carb is not necessary for most people. And it may be hard to sustain in the long run.

Focus on getting carbs mainly from nutrient-dense whole, unprocessed foods. Consider carb cycling by having 20-50 grams of net carbs on most days, with a slightly higher carb intake every fourth day or so.

Health Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet

Reducing carbohydrates and eating more protein and healthy fats provides several benefits:

  • Promotes weight loss
  • Helps manage diabetes
  • May reduce heart disease risk
  • Improves blood sugar regulation
  • Increases HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Reduces triglycerides
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Decreases appetite and food intake

Potential Drawbacks of No-Carb Diets

Despite the benefits, very low-carb and no-carb diets do have some potential downsides to be aware of:

  • May cause nutritional deficiencies if nutrient-dense carbs are eliminated long-term
  • Can result in fatigue, headache, nausea, constipation from lack of fiber
  • Hard to sustain lifelong
  • May increase LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Should be avoided by people with kidney disease or taking certain medications
  • Not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women


Eating a low-carb or ketogenic diet centered around high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables can promote weight loss and provide several health benefits. Foods like meat, seafood, eggs, natural fats, cheese, and low-carb veggies contain minimal or zero carbs to help you stay in ketosis.

Completely eliminating carbs is unnecessary for most people. Focus on getting 20-50 grams of net carbs from nutrient-dense whole foods, then supplement with the many delicious no-carb options. This provides dietary flexibility while still limiting carbs to achieve your health goals.

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