A low-carb diet can help you lose weight and control diabetes and other conditions. Some high-carb foods obviously need to be avoided, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, cake and candy. However, figuring out which staple foods to limit is more challenging. Some of these foods are even relatively healthy, just not suitable on a low-carb diet because of their high amount of carbs.
Your total daily carb target will also determine if you need to limit some of these foods or avoid them altogether. Low-carb diets typically contain 20–100 grams of carbs per day, based on personal tolerance.
Here are 7 foods to avoid or limit on a low-carb diet.
1. Bread and Grains
Bread is a staple food in many cultures. It comes in many forms, including bread loaves, rolls, bagels and flatbreads, such as tortillas. Unfortunately, all of these are high in carbs. This is true for whole-grain bread as well as bread made from refined flour. Although carb counts vary based on ingredients and portion sizes, here are the average counts for popular breads:
•White bread (1 slice): 14 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fiber
•Whole-wheat bread (1 slice): 17 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber
•Flour tortilla (10-inch): 36 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber
•Bagel (3-inch): 29 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fiber
Depending on your personal carb tolerance, eating a sandwich, donut or bagel could put you near or over your limit for the day. Most grains are also high in carbs and need to be limited or avoided on a low-carb diet. This includes rice, wheat, oats and others.
Bottom Line: Most breads and grains are too high in carbs to include on a low-carb diet. This includes whole grains and whole-grain bread.
2. Some Fruit
A high intake of fruits and vegetables has consistently been linked to lower cancer and heart disease risk. However, many fruits are high in carbs and may not be suitable for low-carb diets. A typical serving of fruit is one cup or one small piece. For instance, a small apple contains 21 grams of carbs, 4 of which come from fiber. On a very low-carb diet, it’s probably a good idea to avoid some fruits, especially sweet fruits and dried fruits, which have high carb counts:
•Banana (1 medium): 27 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber
•Raisins (1 oz / 28 grams): 22 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fiber
•Dates (2 large): 36 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fiber
•Mango (1 cup, sliced): 28 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber
•Pear (1 medium): 28 grams of carbs, 6 of which are fiber
•Berries are lower in sugar and higher in fiber than other fruits. Therefore, small amounts (such as half a cup) can be enjoyed even on very low-carb diets
Bottom Line: Many fruits should be eaten in limited amounts on a low-carb diet, depending on your personal carb tolerance.
3. Starchy Vegetables
Most diets consider vegetables a “free food.” Many are very high in fiber, which can help with weight loss and blood sugar control. However, some high-starch vegetables contain many more digestible carbs than fiber and should be limited on a low-carb diet. And if you’re following a very low-carb diet, your best choice is to avoid these starchy vegetables altogether:
•Corn (1 cup): 41 grams of carbs, 5 of which are fiber
•Potato (1 medium): 37 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fiber
•Sweet potato/yam (1 medium): 24 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fiber
•Beets (1 cup, cooked): 16 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fiber
Bottom Line: Although many vegetables are low in carbs, some are actually quite high. It’s best to choose mostly non-starchy, high-fiber vegetables.
Pasta is a versatile and inexpensive staple food, but it’s also very high in carbs.
•One cup of cooked pasta contains 43 grams of carbs, only 3 of which are fiber.
•Whole-wheat pasta is only a slightly better option at 37 grams of carbs, including 6 grams of fiber
On a low-carb diet, eating spaghetti or other types of pasta isn’t a good idea unless you consume a very small portion, which isn’t realistic for most people.
Bottom Line: Both regular and whole-wheat pasta are high in carbs. Spiralized vegetables or shirataki noodles offer healthy low-carb alternatives.
Juice is one of the worst beverages you can drink on a low-carb diet. Although it provides some nutrients, fruit juice is very high in fast-digesting carbs that cause your blood sugar to increase rapidly.
For instance, 12 ounces (368 grams) of unsweetened apple juice contain 48 grams of carbs. This is even more than soda, which has 39 grams. And unsweetened grape juice provides a whopping 60 grams of carbs per 12-oz serving. Even though vegetable juice doesn’t contain nearly as many carbs as fruit juice, a 12-ounce serving still has 16 grams of carbs, only 2 of which come from fiber. What’s more, juice is another example of liquid carbs that your brain’s appetite center doesn’t process in the same way as solid carbs. Drinking juice can lead to increased hunger and food intake later in the day.
Bottom Line: Fruit juice is a high-carb beverage that should be limited or avoided, especially on a low-carb diet.
6. Low-Fat and Fat-Free Salad Dressings
A wide variety of salads can be enjoyed regularly on a low-carb diet. However, commercial dressings often end up adding more carbs than you might expect, especially low-fat and fat-free varieties.
For example, two tablespoons of fat-free French dressing contain 10 grams of carbs. An equal portion of fat-free ranch dressing has 11 grams of carbs. Many people commonly use more than two tablespoons, particularly on a large entree salad. To minimize carbs, dress your salad with a creamy, full-fat dressing.
Better yet, use a splash of vinegar and olive oil, which has protective effects on the heart and may also help with weight loss.
Bottom Line: Avoid fat-free and low-fat salad dressings, which are typically high in carbs. Use creamy dressings or olive oil and vinegar instead.
7. Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are nutritious foods. They can provide many health benefits, including reduced inflammation and heart disease risk. Although they’re high in fiber, they also contain a fair amount of carbs. Depending on personal tolerance, you may be able to include small amounts on a low-carb diet. Here are the carb counts for one cup (160–200 grams) of cooked beans and legumes:
•Lentils: 40 grams of carbs, 16 of which are fiber
•Peas: 25 grams of carbs, 9 of which are fiber
•Black beans: 41 grams of carbs, 15 of which are fiber
•Pinto beans: 45 grams of carbs, 15 of which are fiber
•Chickpeas: 45 grams of carbs, 12 of which are fiber
•Kidney beans: 40 grams of carbs, 13 of which are fiber
Bottom Line: Beans and legumes are healthy, high-fiber foods. You can include small amounts on a low-carb diet, depending on your daily carb limit.
Article adopted from: https://authoritynutrition.com, Written by: By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE