The Top 20 No-Carb, No-Sugar Foods for a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating a diet low in carbohydrates and sugar can provide many health benefits. It can help with weight loss, regulate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

This article will explore the top 20 no-carb, no-sugar foods and their unique health benefits. It will also provide tips on how to incorporate more of these foods into your diet for improved health.

Why Go Low-Carb and Low-Sugar?

Limiting carbohydrate and sugar intake has become a popular dietary approach for weight loss and disease prevention. Here are some of the key reasons to reduce carbs and sugars in your diet:

Weight Loss

Eating fewer carbs and less sugar can help reduce appetite and decrease calorie intake, leading to weight loss. Low-carb diets have been shown to be very effective for weight loss in numerous studies.

Blood Sugar Control

Replacing refined carbs and sugar with fiber-rich, low-carb foods can help regulate blood sugar levels and insulin secretion. This is extremely beneficial for those with prediabetes, diabetes or insulin resistance.

Reduced Inflammation

Diets high in refined carbs and sugar tend to promote inflammation, while anti-inflammatory diets tend to be lower in these foods. Lowering inflammation can improve overall health.

Disease Prevention

Limiting carb and sugar intake may help reduce risk factors for many chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, fatty liver disease and neurodegenerative disorders.

20 Low-Carb, Low-Sugar Foods

Here are 20 delicious whole foods that are very low in net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) and sugar:

1. Eggs

Eggs are one of the healthiest and most versatile protein sources. A large whole egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs and no sugar.

Eggs also provide antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin which support eye health, as well as choline which is important for brain function.

2. Salmon

Salmon is a fatty fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain and heart health. A 3.5-ounce serving of salmon has zero carbs and sugar.

Salmon also contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant that may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

3. Avocados

Avocados are a creamy, green fruit loaded with healthy fats. One medium avocado has 13 grams of carbs but only about 2 grams are digestible, so the net carbs are very low. Avocados do not contain any sugar.

The fat content in avocados may promote weight loss, heart health and reduce arthritis symptoms.

4. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers come in various colors like red, yellow, orange and green. One cup of chopped red bell pepper has only 9 grams of carbs and 5 grams of sugar.

They are also rich in antioxidants like capsanthin, violaxanthin and quercetin which have anti-inflammatory benefits.

5. Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that provides major health benefits. A cup of cooked spinach contains 8 grams of carbs and no sugar.

Spinach contains nitrates that can boost blood flow and lower blood pressure. It may also reduce the risk of heart disease and hypertension.

6. Asparagus

Asparagus is a spring vegetable that grows as green and white spears. A cup of cooked asparagus has 8 grams of carbs with no sugar.

It is high in folate, an essential B vitamin that produces healthy red blood cells and supports pregnancy. The high fiber content also promotes digestive health.

7. Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous veggie high in sulforaphane, a compound with potent anti-inflammatory effects that may prevent chronic disease. One cup cooked has 12 grams of carbs and 2 grams of sugar.

The rich nutrient content of broccoli, including antioxidants, supports detoxification and may protect against certain cancers like prostate and colon cancer.

8. Cabbage

Cabbage belongs to the highly nutritious cruciferous family including kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. One cup raw sliced cabbage contains 5 grams of carbs and 3 grams of sugar.

It’s very high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts immunity and collagen production for youthful skin. The insoluble fiber content aids digestion as well.

9. Cauliflower

Cauliflower provides only 5 grams of net carbs and no sugar per cup. It is packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals that may shield cells from damage and lower cancer risk.

Additionally, a compound in cauliflower called glucoraphanin helps protect the health of the digestive tract.

10. Celery

Celery is extremely low in carbs and sugar, with just 3 grams of carbs and no sugar in one cup chopped. It contains antioxidants like luteolin that reduce inflammation.

Celery also provides apigenin, a bioactive compound that may help combat cancer cell formation and growth.

11. Carrots

Carrots are root vegetables high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which forms vitamin A in the body. One cup of chopped carrots has 10 grams of carbs and 5 grams sugar.

Their high antioxidant content supports healthy vision, boosts immunity and acts as an anti-inflammatory. The pectin fiber feeds good gut bacteria as well.

12. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard belongs to the same plant family as beets and spinach. It provides 4 grams of net carbs and no sugar per cooked cup.

It contains at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants to reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar and prevent chronic disease. The leafy greens are also high in vitamin K.

13. Cucumber

Cucumbers are low in sugar and carbs, with just 3 grams of carbs and no sugar in 1 cup of sliced cucumbers. They are made up of mostly water, making them naturally hydrating.

Cucumbers contain cucurbitacins that may inhibit cancer cell growth. The nutrient silica in cucumber improves skin health and bone strength.

14. Eggplant

Eggplant is a popular nightshade vegetable with a unique taste and texture. One cup chopped contains 8 grams of carbs and 3 grams of sugar.

It provides a antioxidant called nasunin which can sweep free radicals from the body. Eggplant also contains chlorogenic acid, which may promote healthy blood vessel function.

15. Lettuce

Lettuce is one of the lowest carb vegetables, with just 2 grams of net carbs and no sugar in one cup of shredded lettuce. Its high water content makes it extra hydrating.

The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in lettuce may prevent age-related eye disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration. The vitamin K content benefits bone health.

16. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are extremely low in carbs and sugar, with just 2 grams of net carbs and no sugar per cup sliced. They provide antioxidants like ergothioneine and beta-glucans, compounds with immune-boosting qualities.

Certain mushrooms like maitake may also have anti-cancer effects and the ability to kill cancer cells.

17. Zucchini

Zucchini is a type of summer squash that makes a healthy substitution for higher carb vegetables like potatoes. One cup sliced has just 4 grams of net carbs and 2 grams of sugar.

It provides antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin that support eye health. The cucurbitacins in zucchini may also have anti-cancer effects.

18. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts look like mini cabbages and provide about 5 grams of net carbs and 2 grams of sugar per cooked cup.

They are high in glucosinolates, compounds that break down into isothiocyanates with potential anti-cancer properties during digestion.

20. Olives

Olives grow on trees and are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory effects. Ten green olives have less than 1 gram of digestible carbs and no sugar.

Olives provide antioxidants like vitamin E and oleuropein, which may reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Tips to Reduce Carbs and Sugars in Your Diet

Here are some tips to restrict carbs and sugars without completely eliminating major food groups:

  • Increase non-starchy vegetables substantially as the base of your diet. Try to fill half your plate with veggies at each meal.
  • Choose nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil and fatty fish like salmon as healthy fat sources.
  • Swap starchy carbs like rice, bread, pasta and potatoes for veggie carbs like cauliflower, zucchini and broccoli.
  • Pick fruits lower in sugar like berries and limit high-sugar fruits like mangoes, grapes and bananas.
  • Avoid sweetened beverages like juice, pop and sweetened coffees and teas. Opt for water, unsweetened tea and seltzer water.
  • Read nutrition labels carefully and limit packaged foods with added sugars. Look for “no added sugar” on labels.
  • Satisfy sugar cravings with small portions of 70%+ dark chocolate or a few berries with yogurt.
  • Bake and cook with zero-calorie sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit instead of sugar.

Health Benefits of Eating Low-Carb, Low-Sugar

Decreasing your carb and sugar intake and focusing on whole foods like vegetables, proteins, fats, fruits and herbs/spices provides tremendous benefits:

  • Lose excess body fat, especially around the abdomen
  • Keep blood sugar and insulin levels low and stable
  • Reduce inflammation throughout the body
  • Lower triglycerides and improve cholesterol markers
  • Lower blood pressure levels
  • Improve gastrointestinal function and gut microbiome
  • Reduce risk factors for many common diseases
  • Feel more energized and improve brain function
  • Decrease sugar and carb cravings over time

A lifestyle focused on no-carb and no-sugar whole foods can lead to transformative improvements in health and wellbeing. There are endless delicious and satisfying options to create amazing low-carb, low-sugar meals.

Focus on incorporating more non-starchy veggies, high-quality proteins, healthy fats and low-sugar fruits into your routine. Read labels to avoid sneaky sources of sugar like condiments, sauces and dressings.

With a little creativity and commitment to this dietary pattern, you can easily reduce your carb and sugar intake for good.

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