One of the best things about the Low Carbohydrate diet is the ability to avoid pretty much everything that comes in a packet that has a shelf life of longer than about 10 days. This makes shopping so much easier, as with only a few exceptions, you can focus on the outer ring of the supermarket. The areas of the supermarket that you will be focussing on are those that contain fresh fruit & vegetables, deli products, meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, beverages, nuts & seeds, health foods, frozen vegetables and canned and bottled vegetables/olives. These sections are going to be your new hunting grounds. For those of you who wish to indulge in a low carb sweet treat once and a while you may also want to brows the range of low carbohydrate bars that are available in the health and weight management section. Diet jelly and diet beverages may also be of interest.
In the Food Science Facts section, I added a page called Food Science Facts – Food & Beverage Labelling. This page details the information that can be found on the labelling of food and beverage products and how to read a Nutritional Panel. I highly recommend that you start looking at your nutritional panels as they contain the key information that you will need to ensure that you don’t have to necessarily count your day’s worth of carbohydrates, but that you are consuming products that contain as little carbohydrate as possible. Take the following panel as an example –
When we are talking about low carbohydrate diets, we are looking at the total carbohydrates as shown as “Carbohydrate – 5.2g/100g” in this example below. You can also see from this picture that the Sugars portion of the Total Carbohydrate is 5.2g/100g. Which means the total amount of Carbohydrate is provided through sugars alone, there is no additional starches present in this product. Some products contain high levels of Carbohydrate but very low levels of sugars. An example of a product such as this would be bread for example which has a high level of carbohydrate mainly from starches (43g/100g) but only a small amount of added sugar (3.0g/100g).
Low Carbohydrate diets take into account the Total Carbohydrates of a product, not just the sugar component. When looking at nutritional panels for small items such as an individually wrapped bar or a protein ball, ensure you look at the serving size details for the Carbohydrate level. If I am purchasing a high protein, low carbohydrate single serve bar as a treat for example, I will only purchase a single unit of food with a maximum of 4g/100g of Total Carbohydrate. I found this allowed me to keep better control on my average carbs for the day. Products containing more than this tend to have high levels of rice syrups or other sweeteners which will throw you out of ketosis.
Foods that you must avoid to be in Ketosis are all those high in carbohydrate. This includes all grain and cereal based products (see the Grains & Cereals page here), high starch vegetables and anything that includes sugar or is a form of sugar (See the Sugars page here). Basically, we are talking about anything in a packet that isn’t fresh food and excluding those items in the list I’ll be providing in the next blog. This does include a lot of the everyday items that you would be consuming as part of your current diet including breads, cakes, cereals, baked goods, processed foods, confectionary, and fast foods. It will be strange at first but you will get used to this new way of thinking about food and the rules of eating low carbohydrate.
The list of products I’ll be providing to you on my next Blog gives you a summary of the products that I used during my period in Ketosis. I’ll then be talking about these ingredients in more details as the blog progresses with food combinations, recipes and product reviews.
Low Carbohydrate Foods List
The list of products is below is not exhaustive and we will talk about these food and beverage products in more detail as the blog progresses. This list is more so you have an idea of what types of products are allowed and you can start to purchase these products if you wish. Anything not listed, or that is above 5g/100g of Total Carbohydrate is probably something you shouldn’t be including in large amounts given that you are aiming for a totally carbohydrate level of around 20-50g of Carb per day.
The levels of carbohydrates noted below have been sourced from the packaging of my favourite products on the Woolworths website at www.woolworths.com.au. The carbohydrate is shown per 100g of food in total. Please note that the Carbohydrate values listed below are averages only and will change depending on your location, the ingredients, quality, brand and the type of product you are purchasing. Always check the packaging on your products before purchasing to make sure you aren’t bringing something home that is too high in carbohydrate and that may end up being a temptation or a distraction. Trust me, it’s better to be strong when your doing the shopping and leave it behind, than to have it in your home tempting you.
Eggs, Meat, Poultry, Smallgoods, Seafood,
Chicken Eggs – Whole 1.4g/100g per 2 x 60g (X-Lg) eggs
All Fresh Red Meat and Poultry – All fresh unprocessed meats have basically no carbohydrate level but they do range in fat content depending on the cut, how much fat has been trimmed or in the case of chicken if it’s skin on or skin off. For those will cholesterol concerns be sure to choose lean meats, skinless chicken and low fat mince options.
Pieces, whole, strips, mince, fillets, steaks from
Seafood – Fish fillets, Whole Fish, Marinara Mix
Processed Cooked Meats –
These products provide great flavour when added in small amounts to recipes –
Cooked Sausages such as Cabanossi, Chorizo, Bratwurst, Knackwurst, Kransky, Frankfurts, Cocktail Franks – 0.5 – 7.0g/100g
Bacon Middle Rind On – 1.1g – 3.0g
Bacon Short Cut Rind On – <1g
Fermented Salami/ Sopressa – 2.3-3.0g/100g
Leg Ham – 1.8g/100g
Ham Steaks – 3.4g/100g
Processed Fresh Meat Products –
Fresh and cooked sausages, burgers, meatballs and rissoles all contain binders and other ingredients which can push the carbohydrate levels high. Look at the nutritional panels to find the lowest carbohydrate products available. For burgers and meatballs your probably best to purchase your own fresh mince and make these products from scratch.
Processed Beef Burgers & Meatballs – 1.8g/100g to 5.5g/100g depending on brand
Fresh Sausages – 3.7 – 7.6g/100g of Carbohydrate depending on brand
Tinned unflavoured salmon or tuna is an easy, portable source of protein. Once drained the meat can be quickly added to salads, quiches or omelettes. Flavoured salmon and tuna products are fantastic as they can pack huge flavours and don’t require a dressing when added to salad mixes. However, make sure that you check the carbohydrate levels on the labels as many of the flavoured varieties can contain high levels of sugar and can vary greatly between brands.
Tuna – 0.7g/100g
Salmon – 0.1g/100g
Flavoured Fish – The lowest carbohydrate flavoured varieties I could find were the Zesty Vinaigrette, Lemon & Pepper (0.5g/100g), Smoked (0.3g/100g), Tomato & Basil (3.0g/100g) and Tomato & Onion (3.9g/100g)
Smoked Mussels – 0.5g/100g
Sardines Plain – <1.0g/100g
Sardines Tomato Sauce – 1.0g/100g
Smoked Salmon – 0g/100g
Smoked Trout – 0g/100g
Cooked Prawns – 0.0g/100g
Vegan Protein Options –
Tofu Silken – 0.7g/100g
Hard Tofu – 1.0g/100g
Tempeh – 9.7g/100g
Low Carb Fruits and Vegetables
The carbohydrate levels listed below are based on the raw vegetable uncooked. You can basically consume as much of these vegetables as you wish unchecked as long as they contain less than 5g/100g. Be aware of those vegetables that do contain over 5g/100g of carbohydrate and limit your intake. Try to eat all your vegetables with the skin on to provide as much fibre as possible.
In regards to Legumes, I don’t recommend consuming legumes in a low carb diet, the reason for this is they do contain a larger amount of carbohydrate (20g/100g) and they are heavier in weight so your serving size would need to be very limited.
Lower Carbohydrate Vegetables (Under 3.0 g/100g) –
Tinned Champignon Mushroom – 0.1g/100g
Mushroom – 0.3g/100g
Broccoli – 0.4g/100g
Herbs All types – 0.5-1.7g/100g
Rocket – 0.5g/100g
Avocado – 0.6g/100g
Bean Sprouts – 1g/100g
Celery – 1.2g/100g
English Spinach – 0.7g/100g
Bean Sprout – 1.4g/100g
Cucumber – 1.4 – 2.1g/100g
Lettuce all types – 0.4-1.9g / 100g
Mixed Salad Leaves – 0.6g/100g
Zucchini – 1.6g/100g
Cauliflower – 1.9g/100g
Brussel Sprouts – 2.1g/100g
Tomato Large and Cherry– 2.2 – 2.4g / 100g
Eggplant – 2.4g / 100g
Capsicum Green – 2.5g/100g
Red Cabbage – 2.7/100g
Radish – 1.9-2.9g/100g
Frozen Spinach – 2.9g/100g
Leek – 3.3g/100g
Fennel – 3.3g/100g
White Cabbage – 3.4/100g
Turnip white – 3.4g/100g
Fresh Coconut Flesh – 3.4g/100g
Capsicum Red – 3.5g/100g
Coleslaw mixes – 3.5g/100g
Frozen Green Peas – 3.5g/100g
Frozen Edamame Beans – 3.6g/100g
Coleslaw Mix – 3.7g/100g
Passata Tomato – 4.0g/100g
Tinned Diced or Crushed Tomato – 3.9g-4.5g/100g
Onion – 4.6g/100g
Carrot – 5.5g/100g
Beetroot – 7.7g/100g
Pumpkin – 5 – 8.8g / 100g dependant on the variety
Sweet Corn Kernels – 8-12.5g/100g dependant on brand
Higher Carbohydrate Levels (10g/100g and over)
Best to Avoid during Ketosis unless you are using them more as a garnish and only consuming small amounts.
Parsnip – 10.2g/100g
Apples Green Unpeeled– 10.6g/100g
Corn on the Cob – 12.5g/100g
Potato’s – 13.0g/100g
Sweet Potato Orange – 14.0g / 100g
Sweet Potato White – 16.0g / 100g
The majority of fruits are high in natural fruit sugar or Fructose. They are best to be avoided when in Ketosis as they contain too much sugar and will throw you back into burning carbohydrate. Berry’s contain less sugar than other fruits but should still be consumed in moderation. Lime and Lemon juices are fantastic for flavouring water or soda water, and for use in salad dressings and marinades.
Lime – 1.2g/100g
Lemon Juice – 2.4g/100g
Frozen and Fresh Berries
Strawberries – 3.9g/100g
Raspberry – 7.3g/100g
Blackberry – 7.5g/100g
Blueberries – 10.1g/100g
Rockmelon – 5.7g/100g
Watermelon – 6.4g/100g
White Skinned Honey Dew – 7.1g/100g
Dairy products can cause some people stomach problems if they are lactose intolerant. If you choose to consume dairy proudcts, I cannot express how strongly I feel about consuming full fat dairy products in general and this is especially important on a low carbohydrate diet. The higher level of fat not only tastes better but provides satitety or the ability to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Many low fat products contain higher levels of salt or sugars to compensate for the removal of the fat and to balance the flavour.
Cheeses provide essential calcium to your diet, can be used in both cold and hot dishes and make a quick portable snack. I have a soft spot for cheese so I keep a range of cheeses in my fridge at all times.
Soft Cheese –
Bocconcini – <0.1g/100g
Camembert – 1.0g/100g
Brie – <1.0g/100g
Blu – <1.0g/100g
Cream Cheese – Block 2.3g/100g
Cottage Cheese – 2.6g/100g
Cream Cheese – Spreadable – 2.8g/100g
Mascarpone – 2.8 – 3.2g/100g
Feta – 3.3g/100g
Ricotta – 3.6g/100g
Hard Cheeses – <1g/100g
Parmesan Shredded, Shaved and Grated
Cheddar Block, Sliced, Grated
Grated Pizza Cheese
I use cream instead of milk in my coffee and tea as they both contain the same amount of carbohydrate. As cream is richer you use much less with only 1-2tbsp being enough for a rich coffee. I also find that coffee and tea made with cream keeps me fuller for much longer and I’m not looking for food as soon afterwards.
Cream Thickened – 2.5g – 3.7g/100g
Sour Cream – 2.8 – 3.1g/100g
Plain Greek Yoghurt – 5.2 – 6.9g/100g
Fats & Oils
Fats and Oils that are as least refined as possible are the best option. Avoid highly refined margarine where possible and stick with the product below.
Hard Fats – <0.1g / 100g
Coconut Oil – 0.5g / 100g
Oils – 0g/100g
It’s critical to consume at least 2 Litres of water or liquid per day to replace the water you lose and to allow your body to effectively release waste from the liver and the kidneys. This is especially important during the summer and on hot days. Symptoms of not enough liquid includes dark urine, dehydration and headaches. Water can get a little monotonous so when I need a flavour change I use fresh lime and lemon juice squeezed into iced water or a dash of diet cordial in soda water.
Cold Water Based Beverages –
Diet Dry Ginger Ale
Diet Soft Drinks
Low Joule or Diet Cordials
Low Joule or Diet Sweetened Iced Tea
Hot Water Based Beverages –
Coffee – Decaf, Regular
No Dairy Beverages (Fresh & UHT) –
Almond Milk No Added Sugar – 0.7g/100g
Almond Coconut Milk No Added Sugar – 0.4g/100g
Be very careful with dressings as they can contain high levels of sugar. I have found Mayonnaise products that can range from 2.4g – 15.5g/100g of Carbohydrate dependant on the brand. The sugar is usually added to the product for flavour and to soften and balance out the vinegar notes. Be sure to check your labels. Even though your usage level on your actual salad is quite low, usually around 20-30ml per serve for a salad, each gram of carbohydrate counts towards your ultimate weight loss.
Mayonnaise – 2.4 – 15.5g/100g
Vinegar based dressings such as French, Greek, Balsamic –8.3g-15.5g/100g – Usually quite high in sugar to mask the vinegar notes.
Tahini – 11.5g/100g
Tomato & BBQ sauces – I really think it’s best to avoid these sauces as they usually get applied to food more than once during the meal. Tomato and BBQ sauces, as popular as they are contain around 25 – 43g/100g of sugar which is very high when you consider the average child eats about 2 Tbsp or around 40g at one sitting. At 25% sugar, this equates to 10g of sugar or over 2 tsp. It’s no wonder kids love Tomato & BBQ Sauces.
Tartare Sauce – 7.0 – 15.0g / 100g
Thousand Island Dressing – 24.2g /100g
Ranch – 5.2g – 13.5g /100g
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are great to use as salad toppers, roasted for snacking and in baking.
Pumpkin Seeds/Pepitas – 1.0g/100g
Linseed – 1.1g/100g
Macadamia – 4.5g/100g
Pecan Halves – 4.9g/100g
Almonds Skin On – 4.8g/100g
Almond Meal – 4.4g/100g
Peanuts – 9g/100g
Sunflower Seeds – 20g/100g
Coconut Shredded – 22.7g/100g
Coconut Grated – 6.7g/100g
Coconut Milk – 1.2g/100g
Coconut Cream – 1.00g/100g
Coconut Water Beverage – 4.4g/100g
Sugar Replacers and Dessert–
Natvia Sticks – 0g/100g
Diet or Low Joule Jelly – 0.1g/100g
Fermented & Preserved Foods –
Sauerkraut – 2 -3.4g/100g
Kimchi – 7.6g/100g
Kombucha – 2-2.4g/100g
Kalamata Olives – 6.3g/100g
Spanish Black Olives – 1-3g/100g
Sundried Tomato – 10.8g/100g
Canned Beetroot Slice and Baby – 9.2g/100g
The data above came from the packaging of different proePlease let me know if there are any other types of products you would like me to discuss??
Copyright 2017 Food Facts for Healthy Eating