Is A No Carb Diet Good For Weight Loss

Practical Applications: How To Use The Zero Carb And Almost Zero Carb Food Lists For Keto Success

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There are dozens of ways you can use this guide to help on your path toward keto diet success. Here are some practical suggestions you may find helpful:

No matter what you decide to do, always keep your health and the sustainability of the diet in mind. The results you get mean nothing if your dietary approach is worsening your health & wellbeing or if it is too difficult for you to stick with for the long-term.

Instead of forcing yourself to follow a strict diet, focus on finding weight loss strategies that may improve your health and fit better with your lifestyle and experiment with them to see if they work for you. The zero carb and almost zero carb lists, for example, may be one of these weight loss tools that can help you reach your goals and gain more control over your health and body composition.

If youd like to learn more about what you should and should not eat on the keto diet, check out these two free keto-friendly eating guides:

What Is The Zero

The Zero-Carb Diet, also referred to as the No-Carb Diet, aims to eliminate as many carbohydrates from your diet as possible for the purpose of losing weight. For context, the Atkins diet allows 20 to 100 grams of net carbs , depending on your weight-loss goals, per the official Atkins website. Atkins and other low-carb diets aim to keep your intake low, but still allow some carbohydrates to be consumed, like a limited amount of fruit, starchy vegetables, whole-grains, etc.

The goal of the Zero-Carb or No-Carb Diet is to eat as close to zero grams of carbohydrates per day as possible. In fact, one rendition of this diet is the Carnivore Diet, which promotes avoiding all plant foods and eating only animal-sourced foods , because most contain no carbohydrates.

This may sound a bit like the keto diet and while there are similarities, the keto diet has established macronutrient recommendations. There are variations of the diet but generally, carbohydrates are limited to 5 to 10 percent of your total calories, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

So, if you eat 2,000 calories per day, you are allowed 25 to 50 grams of carbs per day. Fat should make up 70 to 80 percent of the diet and protein, 10 to 20 percent. Note: This doesn’t make keto “healthier,” we’re just noting the differences.

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What Is Carb Cycling

Carb cycling means you alternate moderate to higher carbohydrate time periods with periods of eating low carb.

Though carb cycling is currently trending, its not new. It actually emerged many years ago in bodybuilding and fitness circles as a way to utilize carbohydrate consumption in the most efficient manner possible. Athletes used carb cycling in the hopes that it would make the body better at utilizing the right fuel, at the right time, during training and competition. The practice was also done as an attempt to build muscle, lose fat and enhance performance.

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A Medical Condition May Be Preventing Weight Loss

Many hormonal conditions can cause weight gain or prevent weight loss, particularly hypothyroidism.

If you suspect an underlying medical condition, see your healthcare provider. Explain that youre having problems losing weight and that you want to rule out any medical issues.

Certain medications can stimulate weight gain. Check the list of side effects to see if weight gain is on the list. You may be able to take an alternative drug that doesnt have this side effect.


Certain medical issues and medications can make it more difficult to lose weight. See a healthcare provider to discuss your options.

Many people in health and fitness circles believe that everyone should be eating many, small meals throughout the day.

Researchers have studied this thoroughly and havent confirmed the benefits of frequent, smaller meals .

Many dietitians believe its natural for humans to eat fewer meals per day and sometimes go long periods without food.

Some people use intermittent fasting, an eating pattern where you only eat within a certain time window. This may be an 8-hour window each day or occasional 24-hour fasts.

Intermittent fasting can help some people lose weight. However, this eating pattern isnt for everyone, and restricting food can trigger negative emotions in many people, especially with a history of disordered eating.

To stay safe, talk to your healthcare provider before trying fasting.

Eating 2050 Grams Per Day

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This is where the low carb diet has bigger effects on metabolism. This is a possible range for people who want to lose weight fast, or have metabolic problems, obesity, or diabetes.

When eating less than 50 grams per day, the body will go into ketosis, supplying energy for the brain via so-called ketone bodies. This is likely to dampen your appetite and cause you to lose weight automatically.

Carbs you can eat include:

  • some berries, maybe with whipped cream
  • trace carbs from other foods, like avocados, nuts, and seeds

Be aware that a low carb diet doesnt mean its a no-carb diet. Theres room for plenty of low carb vegetables.

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Honey Or Sugar In Any Form

Youre probably well aware that foods high in sugar, such as cookies, candy, and cake, are off-limits on a low-carb diet.

However, you may not realize that natural forms of sugar can have as many carbs as white sugar. In fact, many of them are even higher in carbs when measured in tablespoons.

Here are the carb counts for one tablespoon of several types of sugar :

  • White sugar: 12.6 grams of carbs
  • Maple syrup: 13 grams of carbs
  • Agave nectar: 16 grams of carbs
  • Honey: 17 grams of carbs

Whats more, these sweeteners provide little to no nutritional value. When carb intake is limited, its especially important to choose nutritious, high-fiber carb sources.

To sweeten foods or beverages without adding carbs, choose a healthy sweetener instead.

SUMMARY If youre on a low-carb diet, avoid sugar, honey, maple syrup, and other forms of sugar, which are high in carbs but low in nutrients.

You Dont Even Need To Reduce Carbohydrates Much

The third study compared a low-carbohydrate to a low-fat diet in severe obesity. These people had a high prevalence of diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

The low-carbohydrate group was instructed to keep carbs at 20 g a day. However, they didnt. They could eat as much as they wanted.

The low-fat group was instructed to keep fat at 30% of calories, and to reduce their calorie intake by 30%.

The low-carb group lost 5.8 kg after 6 months, the low-fat group 1.9 kg. The low-carb group spontaneously reduced their calorie intake, so that the 2 groups ate about the same number of calories, again showing the power of reducing hunger and body weight set point.

Notably, the low-carb group wasnt very compliant, and they only reduced their carb intake to 37% of calories at 6 months, vs. 51% for the low-fat group. Yet they still lost more weight.

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It looks from the graph that although initial weight loss is better with low carb the Mediterranean diet finishes with a weight loss that is similar to low carb but just as sustained. In general youve made no mention of this and the documented advantages of the Mediterranean diet. Being sponsored to promote low carb?

Hi Sam, thanks for your comment. Were not sponsored to promote particular diets, instead we evaluate and follow the latest scientific evidence. As you said, the Mediterranean diet finishes with a similar weight loss to a low-carb diet after 2 years on the graph. However, you can see that its still less weight loss compared with the low-carb diet. A Mediterranean diet is extremely vague and there is no agreed upon definition unscientific literature. Some versions of this diet can be moderate/high carb and some variations can be low-carb. For that reason, its challenging to discuss its benefits from research, unless the exact nutrient analysis of the diet is included. On top of this, a low-carb diet provides the added benefits of managing our blood sugar levels, which can have knock on effects on our mood, weight, and risk for long-term chronic disease like type 2 diabetes. The sustained weight loss, combined with these benefits, are the main reasons we discuss the advantages of a lower carb diet in this guide.

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How Did The Researchers Interpret The Results

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The researchers say that, “Calorie for calorie, restriction of dietary fat led to greater body fat loss than restriction of dietary carbohydrate in adults with obesity. This occurred despite the fact that only the carbohydrate-restricted diet led to decreased insulin secretion and a substantial sustained increase in net fat oxidation compared to the baseline energy-balanced diet.”

They added: “We can definitively reject the claim that carbohydrate restriction is required for body fat loss”, saying that, “Fat loss is a more important goal than weight loss in the treatment of obesity” and that outside of the highly controlled diet lab “diet adherence is likely the most important determinant of body fat loss”.

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May Lack Some Nutrients

A no-carb diet may not provide enough vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, B vitamins, and vitamin C, which are abundant in fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods .

Additionally, the increased urination that results from restricting carbs may lead to deficiencies in sodium and potassium over time .

Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods can help ensure that you get enough of the nutrients you need. Additionally, its more sustainable than a no-carb diet in the long term.

What Is A Zero

A zero-carb diet is a lot like how it soundsa diet that restricts carbohydrate intake as low as possible. This may sound very similar to other diet plans that aim to restrict carbohydrates, like Atkins or Keto, but there are some differences. Atkins, for instance, has its users consuming between 20 and 100 grams of net carbs per day, depending on their plan. The term net carbs is important here, which means total carbohydrates minus fiber in any meal. By basing its recommendations off of net carbs, Atkins does allow room for some carbohydrate foods if they are also fiber sources.

The keto diet is another popular plan which restricts carbohydrate intake. Keto users are usually aiming for 50 g or less of carbohydrates per day. But, keto also places emphasis on high fat intake and only moderate protein intake.

A zero-carb diet, on the other hand, aims for its users to go as low carbohydrate as possible, but doesnt offer specific guidelines on how protein versus fat intake should be divided.

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Health & Wellnesswant To Try A Low

A recent study found that both low- and high-carbohydrate diets were tied to an increase in mortality, while moderate-carbohydrate diets had the lowest risk of mortality. Though the research is not specific to cycling of carbs, it could suggest that carb cycling may be the perfect meeting in the middle approach.

Before You Begin This Meal Plan

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Before starting any healthy eating programme, please read how to choose your meal plan to make sure you follow the plan that’s right for you.

Please speak to your diabetes health care team before making significant changes to your diet.

This is especially important if you treat your condition with insulin and diabetes medications that increase the risk of hypos . Reducing your carbohydrate intake and changes to your body weight may mean your insulin and diabetes medication needs to be adjusted.

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Know The Carb Counts And Serving Sizes Of Foods

Most low carb diets only allow for 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Because of this, it is essential that people following low-carb diets choose foods that have a lower carb count but a high nutritional value per serving.

The foods in the quantities listed below all contain approximately 15 g of carbs:

  • 1 tennis ball sized apple or orange
  • 1 cup of berries
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/3 cup of cooked rice

While the foods listed above all contain roughly equal amounts of carbohydrates, they are not all nutritionally equivalent. The dairy products on the list contain protein and vital nutrients, such as Vitamin D and calcium in addition to the carbohydrate content.

The fruit and vegetables also contain essential vitamins and minerals. Choosing whole-grain varieties of bread and rice will provide more nutrients than white varieties, even though the carb content is similar.

Nuts Nut Butters And Seeds:

  • Hemp seeds, hulled: 25 grams of protein and 4 grams of net carbs per 1/2 cup
  • Sacha inchi seeds: 18 grams of protein and 1 gram of net carbs per 1/2 cup
  • Peanuts: 18 grams of protein and 9 grams of net carbs per 1/2 cup 19
  • Peanut butter : 16 grams of protein and 8 grams of net carbs per 1/4 cup
  • Almond butter: 15 grams of protein and 7 grams of net carbs per 1/4 cup
  • Almonds: 14 grams of protein and 6 grams of net carbs per 1/2 cup
  • Sunflower seed butter : 14 grams of protein and 4 grams of net carbs per 1/4 cup
  • Tahini: 10 grams of protein and 8 grams of net carbs per 1/4 cup

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Al Roker Cooks A Giant Steak And Makes A Low

Processed foods and fast foods common in Western diets are often high in carbs. They can contain a lot of refined carbs that dont offer a lot of nutritional value. Low-carb diets limit these high-carb foods, as well as grains, starchy vegetables and fruit. They emphasize foods low in carbs and high in protein and fat instead, like meat, cheese and nuts, as well as leafy vegetables.

What Is A Vegan Diet

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A vegan diet contains no animal products. Unlike some vegetarians, vegans dont eat eggs or dairy products. Those on a vegan diet also avoid animal-based ingredients like gelatin, which is made from bones and hides.

Is being plant-based or vegetarian the same as being vegan? Not always. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they mean different things.

Also, a vegan or vegetarian diet is not automatically a nutritious diet. For instance, white bread, cane sugar, refined flour crackers, and desserts can all be vegan or vegetarian.

Definitions of plant-based diets vary. Although they all focus on vegetables and other plants, some may include small amounts of animal foods.1

People typically choose a plant-based way of eating for health, environmental, or ethical reasons.2 For some or all of these same reasons, vegans do not use animal products, including clothing and other items made from animals, like wool, leather, or suede.

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What Does A Cycle Look Like

Heres the challenge for the average person: The cycling period, as well as the amount and the type of carbohydrate is not defined, so most individuals may have to try different types of cycling before figuring out what works for their goals. For example, what works for a 23-year-old elite athlete may not work for a 46-year-old woman entering menopause.

If someone is training for a fitness event, he or she might eat less carbs followed by eating a higher carb count a few days before a planned event. You could also alter your carb content based on the type of physical activity .

If youre hoping to go into ketosis on your low-carb days , you have to plan for that as well by scheduling in longer periods of carbohydrate deprivation to reach that goal.

See? It’s complicated!

Eating 100150 Grams Per Day

This is a moderate carb intake. It may work for people who are lean, active, and trying to stay healthy and maintain their weight.

Its possible to lose weight at this and any carb intake, but you may also need to be aware of calorie intake and portion sizes to lose weight.

Carbs you can eat include:

  • all vegetables
  • several pieces of fruit per day
  • moderate amounts of healthy starches, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and healthier grains, like rice and oats

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Highly Restrictive With Unknown Long

Insufficient studies exist on the long-term effects of very-low-carb diets, so its especially difficult to estimate the long-term effects of a no-carb diet.

Due to this lack of research, following a no-carb diet over a long period could have severe health consequences .

As a no-carb diet is highly restrictive, very high in fat, and not well researched for safety, its not appropriate for those with eating disorders, children, cholesterol hyper-responders, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.


A no-carb diet restricts foods with fiber and most plant foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. This may lead to constipation, low energy, and possible micronutrient deficiencies.

Foods that are typically allowed on a no-carb diet include:

  • Meat and low-carb animal products: chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, venison, bison, pork, eggs, butter, lard, cheese
  • Seafood:salmon, tilapia, cod, shrimp, sardines, herring, crab
  • Seasonings: herbs and spices
  • Zero-calorie beverages: water, black coffee, and plain tea
  • Nuts and seeds : almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, cashews
  • Non-starchy vegetables : broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, cauliflower, leafy greens, rutabaga, turnips, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, mushrooms
  • High-fat fruits: coconut, avocado


A no-carb diet restricts foods that are high in carbs and relies primarily on meat, dairy, seafood, and low-carb plant foods.

A no-carb diet is highly restrictive and eliminates several food groups, such as:

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