Carb Counting Secrets: How To Know What Foods Have The Lowest Net Carb Content
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Lao Tzu
The zero carb and almost zero carb lists serve as the fish, so lets learn how to fish by understanding the process behind calculating net carbs.
First, we need to examine the primary difference between carbs and net carbs. Technically, carbs are a general category of organic compounds that are found in food, consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a specific ratio. Depending on how digestible the carbohydrate is, it will be classified as either a dietary fiber or a net carb.
From a mechanistic level, a net carb is the type of carbohydrate that will be digested and used as the bodys primary fuel source. As our daily net carb intake goes up, our production of ketones goes down.
This is why the keto diet focuses so heavily on limiting net carb intake. By eating too many net carbs, your body simply will not be able to enter and sustain ketosis, which is the hallmark that sets keto dieting apart from other low carb diets.
To calculate how many net carbs are found in a particular food item, lets take a look at a simple U.S. nutrition label:
The two values that you will be focusing on to calculate the net carb content of foods are Total Carbohydrate and Dietary Fiber. Total sugars and added sugars dont matter as much because they only reflect a portion of the total net carbs found in the food.
Total Carbs Fiber = Net Carbs
The Benefits Of Eating A High
What kind of benefits are you looking at when you start your day with a protein-packed meal? For starters, protein is filling. As your body breaks down protein into amino acids, one of these amino acids triggers an increase in levels of the gut hormone peptide YY. This hormone then sends a signal to the brain that you’ve eaten your fill, enhancing satiety as well as promoting weight loss.
That’s not all. Protein also slows down the body’s absorption of carbohydrates, which helps keep blood sugar levels even-keeled. Not only does this reduce hunger, but it also wards off fat storage to help you get toned.
What Meat Has The Most Protein
Below, we list the 12 types of meat highest in protein to consider adding to your menuranked from highest to lowest protein content . Some are more unique cuts, so if you struggle to find them at your local butcher or supermarket, you might have luck online at meat suppliers such as , Snake River Farms, or FARMFOODS.
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Almost Zero Carb Eggs And Dairy
Youll find a high-fat dairy product and eggs in most keto recipes. Heres a quick breakdown of the almost zero carb varieties of these keto foods:
- Heavy Cream
Where possible, try to opt for heavy cream to keep the carb content down and the fat content up. For replacing other dairy, like milk, try to go after nut or coconut based alternatives. These are becoming more common and usually contain only 1g carbs per cup.
- Eggs. Eggs will be the most versatile keto food in your low-carb arsenal. You can have them fried, scrambled, poached, in omelets, in quiche, boiled, deviled, in keto baked goods, and in egg salad. Each type of egg will vary in its net carb content from .2 to 1 g. Be sure to check each carton. If it says it has 0 grams of carbs per egg, then count that as 0.5 grams of net carbs to play it safe.
- Heavy Cream. Most heavy whipping cream brands have a bit less than 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon, even if the packaging declares it has zero carbs. Make sure you check labels carefully each brand of cream is very different. If the label claims it has zero carbs, then count that as 0.5 grams of net carbs to play it safe.
- Half-and-Half. Because it is typically made from equal parts whole milk and cream, half-and-half will always have more net carbs per tablespoon than heavy cream. Each half-and-half product will vary, but in general, they will contain 1-2 grams of net carbs per tablespoon.
Zero Carb Spices Herbs & Seasonings
Unfortunately, many common flavor enhancers have hidden carbs and unhealthy ingredients in them. However, this doesnt mean that keto eating has to be bland and boring.
In fact, you can make your keto meals into a culinary masterpiece with these zero carb seasonings:
- Curry Powder*
* Limit these spices to a teaspoon. They have a bit more trace net carbs than the other spices listed.
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Protein Payout: 1/4 Cup 161 Calories 6 Grams Of Protein
While you may have never heard of this hearty whole grain before, it may become your new favorite. This wheat-rye hybrid packs 12 grams of protein per half cup and is also rich in brain-boosting iron, bloat-busting potassium, magnesium and heart-healthy fiber. Use triticale berries in place of rice and mix it with soy sauce, fresh ginger, cloves, shiitake mushrooms and edamame to make a healthy, Asian-inspired dish. If you prefer to firing up the oven to using the stove, use triticale flour in place of traditional flour in your baking.
Catching Hidden Carbs: Using Thin Slim Foods Zero Carb Bread As An Example
When looking for keto-friendly foods to add to your diet, youll find some products labeled as having zero net carbs or zero carbs. However, this doesnt mean that there are absolutely no carbs in the product. What this really indicates is that it has less than one gram of net carbs per serving.
Although this is a small difference that wont have a significant impact on your weight loss, these hidden net carbs can add up and reduce ketone production if you are eating multiple servings.
To help illustrate my point, lets take a look at a popular zero-carb bread product made by ThinSlim Foods:
This product is marketed as having zero net carbs, and by using the net carb equation we learned earlier , their claims seem to hold up.
However, if we take a closer look at the label we find five ingredients that have trace amounts of net carbs in them. Also worth noting is that the serving size is relatively small, being one slice of a one-ounce piece of bread.
Altogether, this means that one slice of this bread is going to have between 0 and 1 grams of net carbs in it. If you are being cautious with your net carb intake, you may want to count each slice as having one gram of net carbs to play it safe.
Also Check: What Are Good Proteins To Eat For Weight Loss
Protein Payout: 1 Oz 164 Calories 6 G Protein
Think of each almond as a natural weight-loss pill. Combined with a calorie-restricted diet, consuming a little more than a quarter-cup of the nuts can decrease weight more effectively than a snack comprised of complex carbohydrates and safflower oilafter just two weeks! For optimal results, eat your daily serving before you hit the gym. Almonds, rich in the amino acid L-arginine, can actually help you burn more fat and carbs during workouts, a study printed in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found.
What Food Has Protein Without Salt Or Fat
Most natural foods that contain protein have at least a trace amount of salt and fat in them. Beans are another good source of protein with kidney beans containing 7.7 grams protein per raw cup, less than 1 gram of fat and a small amount of sodium — 11 milligrams. Although egg whites are almost exclusively protein with 3.6 grams per large white, they contain 55 milligrams of sodium. A small amount of sodium is necessary in your diet, and fat is an essential nutrient, so moderate amounts of each are healthy.
- Basic Medical Biochemistry A Clinical Approach, 3rd Edition Michael Lieberman, Ph.D. and Allan D. Marks, M.D
Gina Battaglia has written professionally since 2006. She served as an assistant editor for the “International Journal of Sports Medicine” and coauthored a paper published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.” Battaglia completed a Doctor of Philosophy in bioenergetics and exercise science at East Carolina University and a Master of Science in biokinesiology from the University of Southern California.
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Protein Payout: 1 Cup 139 Calories 6 G Protein
Tomatoes are packed with the antioxidant lycopene, which studies show can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Just one cup of the sun-dried version will lend you 6 grams of satiating protein, 7 grams of fiber and ¾ of your RDA of potassium, which is essential for heart health and tissue repair. They’re also rich in vitamins A and K. Use them as a pizza topping, a tangy addition to salads, or snack on them right out of the bag.
Protein Payout: 1 Cup 112 Calories 15 G Fat 42 G Protein
The highest-protein fruit, guava packs more than 4 grams per cup, along with 9 grams of fiber and only 112 calories. With 600 percent of your DV of Vitamin C per cup the equivalent of more than seven medium oranges! the tropical fruit should merengue its way into your shopping cart ASAP. And while you’re at the store, be sure to pick up some of these other surprising high-protein foods.
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Healthy Complex Carbohydrate Choices
Eating high-carbohydrate, low-protein, low-fat foods means that you need to include a variety of healthy carbohydrates in your daily diet. Ideally, you should eat a variety of complex carbohydrates, while minimizing your animal protein and fat intake. Fortunately, this means that a wide variety of plant-based foods are available to you since these foods are typically low in fat and most are low in protein. This means that complex carbohydrates can come from fruits like:
Complex carbohydrates can also come from grains and grain-products like:
- All-bran cereals and high-fiber breakfast cereals
- Pita, multigrain, pumpernickel and other types of whole-grain bread
- Oat-based products like oatmeal and oatcakes
- Cornmeal products like polenta and porridge
- Pasta and noodles, particularly those made with buckwheat and other whole grains
- Brown rice and wild rice
You can also obtain complex carbohydrates from nuts, seeds and legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, split peas, and various types of beans, including soybeans. You should be aware that these foods have more protein compared to other plant-based products. However, these plant-based protein sources are a good way to enrich your diet with both protein and carbohydrates simultaneously. If you’re uncertain about how to plan a high-carbohydrate diet, you can always use the Okinawan diet as an example, since this high-carb, low-fat, low-protein diet has well-studied health benefits.
Read more:16 Diet-Friendly Healthful Carbs
Zero Carb Drinks & Beverages
While you are on the keto diet, make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids, especially when you first start restricting carbs.
To help you increase your fluid intake on keto, here are the best zero carb drinks you can have throughout the day:
- Seltzer water
- Soda water
If you have trouble with the keto flu or headaches from being on keto, you can add liquid electrolytes to any of these drinks without adding any carbs.
You can also increase your fluid intake with diet drinks. However, they may trigger cravings and other side effects that can make keto dieting more difficult:
- Sugar-free and carb-free energy drinks
- Diet drink mixes or drink enhancers with no added sugars
- Diet soda and other diet drinks
If youd like to see more detailed keto drink recommendations, check out our comprehensive guide to keto-friendly drinks & beverages.
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The Best Protein Sources
Choose protein sources that are nutrient-rich and lower in saturated fat and calories, such as:
- Lean meats
- Nuts and seeds
It’s a good idea to change up your protein foods. For instance, you could have salmon or other fish that’s rich in omega-3s, beans or lentils that give you fiber as well as protein, walnuts on your salad, or almonds on your oatmeal.
How much protein are you getting? Here’s how many grams of protein are in these foods:
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese: 12.4g
3 ounces tofu, firm: 9g
1/2 cup cooked lentils: 9g
2 tablespoons natural-style peanut butter or almond butter
3 oz skinless chicken breast: 26g
3 oz fish fillet : 17-20g
1 ounce provolone cheese: 7g
1/2 cup cooked kidney beans: 7.7g
1 ounce almonds: 6g
4 ounces low-fat plain yogurt: 6g
4 ounces soy milk: 3.5g
4 ounces low-fat milk: 4g
Protein Payout: 4 Oz 124 Calories 24 G Protein
A longtime enemy of doctors and dieters, pork has been coming around as a healthier alternative of late as long as you choose the right cut. Your best bet is pork tenderloin: A University of Wisconsin Study found that a three-ounce serving of pork tenderloin has slightly less fat than a skinless chicken breast. It has 24 grams of protein per serving and 83 milligrams of waist-whittling choline . In a study published in the journal Nutrients, scientists asked 144 overweight people to eat a diet rich in fresh lean pork. After three months, the group saw a significant reduction in waist size, BMI and belly fat, with no reduction in muscle mass! They speculate that the amino acid profile of pork protein may contribute to greater fat burning.
How Much Protein For A Fat Loss Diet For Men
The amount of protein for a fat-loss diet for men will depend on their body size and activity level. The recommended dietary allowance for sedentary men is 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight per day, which would be 56 grams for a 154-pound man. Exercising regularly increases protein needs, since building and repairing muscle requires a larger pool of amino acids. The 2011 “Nutrition Research” study showed that eating a reduced-calorie diet containing 30 percent protein may aid in fat loss. A 2,000-calorie diet with 30 percent protein would mean that a 154-pound man would consume 150 grams of protein, nearly three times the RDA.
Almost Zero Carb Nuts And Seeds
All nuts and seeds have some net carbs in them, but there are a few varieties worthy of the almost zero carb list:
- Raw macadamia nuts 1.6 grams of net carbs per ounce
- Raw pecans 1.2 grams of net carbs per ounce
- Raw brazil nuts 1.2 grams of net carbs per ounce
- Chia seeds 1.7 grams of net carbs per ounce
- Flaxseeds 0.5 grams of net carbs per ounce
It is relatively easy to eat a lot of nuts without realizing it, so make sure you eat them in moderation. Although they are a great way to meet your fat needs, the net carbs and calories can add up quickly if you are not careful.
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Use Vegetables As A Vehicle For Fat
A common mistake keto beginners make is neglecting vegetables by focusing too much on staying under a certain number of carbohydrates. Dont forget that vegetables are an important part to a healthy diet. Luckily, there are plenty of low-carb, high-fiber vegetables to enjoy on a ketogenic diet that will help keep your cells and microbiome happy.
Pick a low-carb vegetable:
- Leafy greens
Option 1: Choose an oil
Use oils over salads, raw vegetables, or cooked vegetables.
- Coconut oil
- Pumpkin seed oil
Option 2: Select a high-fat dressing
Unfortunately, most store-bought dressings contain vegetable oils and added sugars or artificial sweeteners. If you prefer to purchase dressing, make sure to read the label. To make your own, try different variations and experiment with the following ingredients:
Pick an oil base:
Optional: Add one or more of the following fats:
- Full-fat dairy or dairy-free yogurt
*Use blender for smooth and creamy texture
Choose flavors and add-ins:
- Fresh or dried dill weed
- Chili powder
- Raw or powdered ginger
Option 3: Snack on high-fat dips
There are a lot of options for store-bought dips that comply with a ketogenic diet. Guacamole, cream cheese, dairy-free cream cheese , tzatziki, and nut butters all work just make sure there are no added sugars! Mix in some oil to make the dips more ketogenic. Alternatively, you can get creative in the kitchen and blend your own.
Choose a base:
- Nut butter
- Cream cheese
Top 10 Foods Highest In Protein
Protein is a macronutrient that forms the building blocks of the human body. It is necessary for the growth and repair of all tissues, along with many other functions including forming hormones and enzymes. A deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy and impaired functioning of the body in general.
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What Has Protein And No Fat
Choose protein sources that are nutrient-rich and lower in saturated fat and calories, such as:
Furthermore, what foods do not have protein in them? Healthy Low-Protein Foods to Include
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, pears, peaches, berries, grapefruit, etc.
- Vegetables: Tomatoes, asparagus, peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, etc.
- Grains: Rice, oats, bread, pasta, barley, etc.
- Healthy fats: Includes avocados, olive oil and coconut oil.
Then, what has protein and carbs but no fat?
Butternut squash: 1 cup of butternut squash has 22 grams of carbohydrates, with no fat and only 2 grams of protein. Rice: 1 cup of cooked white rice has 45 grams of carbohydrates, less then 1 gram of fat and only 4 grams of protein.
What food is highest in protein?
Here is a list of 20 delicious foods that are high in protein.
10 Foods That Are Almost Pure Protein
- Chicken breast. Chicken is one of the most commonly consumed high protein foods.
- Turkey breast. Turkey is a low fat source of protein.
- Egg whites. Like most other animal foods, eggs have high quality protein that contains all the amino acids.
- Dried fish.