Following a keto diet isn't always easy, but zero-carb foods can help. If you're looking for keto-friendly foods, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll reveal some of the best no-carb and low-carb foods for following a keto diet and achieving your health goals.
Let's get started!
Why You Need To Limit Carbs on Keto
Eating too many carbs is one of the most common mistakes when doing keto.
But great news! There are plenty of high-fat, low-carb foods to help you enjoy your keto diet while still providing enough energy to get through the day.
Even though 150 grams or less is considered low-carb, this amount is too much to induce the fat-burning state called ketosis. So if you want to get the most out of keto, stick to less than 50 grams (or in some cases 20 grams) a day.
No-carb and low-carb foods are one of the most valuable allies you have on your keto journey. These foods allow you to achieve ketosis, feel better, and burn more fat.
Weight loss is perhaps the most researched keto benefit. In one study, obese individuals followed a 24-week keto diet. They lost weight and had notable improvements in other health factors, including cholesterol.[*]
Tracking Your Macros on Keto
The first rule of a low-carb diet is to keep track of your macros.
Or, as the cool kids say, mind your macros.
On the keto diet, it's all about the macros. Focusing on your macros entails eating:
- 55-60% of your daily calories from fat
- 30-35% of your daily calories from protein
- 5-10% of your daily calories from carbohydrates[*]
It's important to note that food does not have to be zero carbs to be keto-friendly. There are several low-carb foods that aren't no-carb, and they're well worth adding to your plate. A keto diet is not a 0g carb diet as some people would have you believe.
The Difference Between Zero-Carb and Low-Carb Foods
What exactly does the term "zero-carb" mean?
Zero-carb is a term used to describe food that has absolutely no carbohydrates. When you're counting grams of carbs, you must also include the decimal places. So if a food has 0.0 carbs, it's a zero-carb food.
Low-carb foods have more than zero carbs, but generally less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. The greatest benefit of eating zero-carb foods is being able to hit your protein or fat goals without going over your carbohydrate macro. However, both zero-carb and low-carb foods are acceptable on a keto or low-carb diet. Now let's take a look at some of the best zero-carb foods for keto.
Top Zero-Carb Foods To Eat on Keto
Use this zero-carbs food list to help you reach your goals, whether you're cutting carbs, just starting keto, or simply trying to eat healthier.
Many healthy fats and oils are compatible with a keto diet. For the best outcomes, stick to these zero-carb foods.
- Extra virgin olive oil: 0 grams of carbs per 1 tablespoon
- Olive Oil Mayonnaise: 0 grams of carbs per 100 g
- Extra Virgin Avocado Oil: 0 grams of carbs per 100 g
- Unrefined coconut oil: 0 grams of carbs per 1 tablespoon
- Ghee: 0 grams of carbs per 1 tablespoon
- MCT oil: 0 grams of carbs per 100 g
On a low-carb diet, sugar-free beverages are usually fine, but they can contain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. Sometimes zero-carb does not mean healthy, especially if the carbs are swapped for chemical additives, fake flavorings, or artificial sweeteners.
Be sure to check the label of your favourite beverage and look for keto-friendly varieties.
Here are some of the most refreshing no-carb drinks you can enjoy on a daily basis.
- Water: 0 grams of carbs per 236.59 mL
- Sparkling water: 0 grams of carbs per 236.59 mL
- Black coffee: 0 grams of carbs per 236.59 mL
- Club soda: 0 grams of carbs per 236.59 mL
Please be aware that many premixed alcoholic drinks are high in sugar and aren't keto-friendly - opt for spirits like Gin or Vodka mixed with soda water or avoid alcohol completely whilst following a keto lifestyle.
In this section, we'll look at some delicious low-carb foods that you can add to your keto eating plan.
Low-Carb and Zero-Carb Meat and Eggs
Meat is the marquee dish in a ketogenic diet because it contains so few carbs. Look for fresh varieties that don't contain additives.
Here are some low-carb options you'll want to try.
- Chicken: 0 - 0.5 grams (depending on the label) of carbs per 100g, chopped or diced
- Pork: 0.941 grams of carbs per 113.4 grams center cut chops
- Lamb: 0 grams of carbs per 100 grams
- Veal: 0 grams of carbs per 100 grams
- Turkey: 0.2 grams of carbs per thin slice
- Beef: 0 grams of carbs per 100 grams
- Eggs: 0.6 grams of carbs per large egg
Low-Carb and Zero-Carb Seafood
Seafood is an excellent source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids for people on the keto diet. According to a 2021 study, having at least two servings of fatty fish each week lowers the risk of mortality in those with existing heart disease.[*]
Here's a list of seafood that is low-carb when purchased fresh and without additives.
- Tilapia: 0 grams of carbs per 100 grams
- Tuna: 0 grams of carbs per 100 grams
- Trout: 0.3 grams of carbs per serving
- Sardines: 0 grams of carbs per 1 can
- Salmon: 0 grams of carbs per 100 grams
Here is a selection of the most delectable low-carb drinks you can enjoy on a daily basis.
- Keto coffee: The total carbs depend on the ingredients you add to the coffee.
- Unsweetened black tea: 0.7 grams of carbs per cup
- Coffee with 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk: 1 gram of carbs per serving
- Coconut water: 9 grams of carbs per cup
- Unsweetened cashew milk: 1 gram of carbs per cup
- Kombucha tea: 6.3 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup
*The carbs in kombucha may vary slightly depending on the ingredients and brand.
On the off-chance that you're wondering whether any dairy products are keto-friendly, rest assured that many are.
Grab the full-fat option and choose organic and raw if available. Watch out for pre-grated variants as these often contain added carbs from potato or rice flours to stop the cheese binding together in the packet.
If you're able to consume dairy products (and can't imagine life without them), the following low-carb dairy foods are worth trying.
- Goat cheese: 0.1 grams of carbs per 100g
- Swiss cheese: 0.4 grams of carbs per slice
- Buffalo Mozzarella cheese: 1.8 grams of carbs per 100 grams
- Cheddar cheese: 1.3 gram of carbs per 100 grams
- Brie cheese: 0.5 grams of carbs per 100 grams
- Heavy whipping cream: 0.5 grams of carbs per tablespoon
Low-Carb Fats, Oils, and Nuts
You may include healthy fats in your meal to meet your quota for the day.
Many healthy fats and oils are compatible with a low-carb diet. For the best outcomes, stick to these low-carb oils, fats, and nuts.
- Pecans: 7 grams of carbs per 50 grams
- Brazil nuts: 6 grams of carbs per 50 grams
- Almond butter: 3 grams of carbs per tablespoon
- Macadamia nuts: 7 grams of carbs per 50 grams
- Walnuts: 7 grams of carbs per 50 grams
- Butter: 0.1 grams of carbs per 100 grams of butter
You'll be happy to know snacks aren't off-limits on your keto eating plan. These low-carb snacks are filling and convenient to carry with you on the go.
- Beef jerky (without flavoring or added sugar): 2.2 grams of carbs per 1 large 20 g piece
- Pork rinds (without flavoring or added sugar): 0 to 3 grams of carbs per 100 g depending on the brand
- Hard-boiled eggs: 0.6 grams of carbs per egg
- Homemade bone broth (with just the bones, water, salt, and pepper): 0.9 grams of carbs per cup
Low-Carb Spices, Sauces, and Condiments
You can use keto-friendly condiments to spice up your dishes.
Stick with your favorites that have no sugar or starch added. And enjoy these no-carb options to upgrade your soups, steaks, veggies, and more.
So many spices, so little time.
- Salt, especially pink Himalayan salt: 0 grams of carbs per 0.25 teaspoon
- Garlic: 2.98 grams of carbs per clove
- Ranch Olive Oil Dressing: 2.5 grams of carbs per 100 ml
- Cumin: 0.9 grams of carbs per teaspoon
- Unsweetened Smokey Barbecue Sauce: 0.9 grams of carbs per 12 g
- Anchovy paste: 0 grams of carbs per tablespoon
- Chili powder: 0.3 grams of carbs per 0.25 teaspoon
- Turmeric: 0.7 grams of carbs per 0.5 teaspoon
- Sriracha: 1 gram of carbs per 1 teaspoon
- Basil: 0.1 grams of carbs per 2 tablespoons, chopped
- Fish sauce: 0.7 grams of carbs per tablespoon
- Cinnamon: 2.1 grams of carbs per teaspoon
- Mustard: 0.3 grams of carbs per teaspoon
- Oregano: 0.7 grams of carbs per teaspoon leaves
Searching for the best keto sweeteners? These keto-friendly sweeteners have you covered:
- Monk fruit sweetener: 1 gram of carbs per 0.25 tablespoon
- Erythritol: 4 grams of carbs per 4 grams
Note: Though these sweeteners have a small amount of carbs, they don’t count against your keto total. Find out more about this in our Sweetener article here.
Next Steps on Your Keto Journey
Now that you've read this list of low-carb and zero-carb foods, you're ready to make the most of your keto experience. When you feel overwhelmed by too many options, keep it simple by relying on the foods on this list to get you through.
Continue reading Hunter & Gather for fascinating articles, delicious recipes, and keto-friendly products to help you achieve your goals.
Remember that you're not alone on your keto journey!
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.