Carbohydrate plays a vital role in our body. Without it our survival is impossible. Carbohydrates are basically large organic compounds that can be classified into three types – sugar, starch and fiber.
Functions of Carbohydrates:
Their main function is to provide energy. Almost 80% of our energy is produced by carbohydrates. Hence, it is often said that “Carbohydrate is our fuel”.
Other essential functions of carbohydrates are to maintain digestive system, promote good bacteria growth, regulate the nervous system and formation of co- enzymes like ATP, NAD and FAD. High carbohydrates (fiber) help in preventing diseases like diabetes and cancer. Deficiency (lack) of carbohydrate leads to unhealthy weight loss, weakness, fatigue, mood swings, digestive problems like constipation, dehydration, marasmus disease, ketosis, etc. Moderate amount of carbohydrate needed by us is 100-150 gm per day.
What is Zero Carb Diet?
Excess carb is also not good for the body. It tends to get stored in the body as fat, causing you to gain weight. Nowadays no one wants to get bulky or over weight because of which zero carb diet or ketogenic diet has become very popular. It is quite effective in causing quick weight loss. In zero carb diet, the body is unable to get enough carbohydrates. Thus, it uses fat as its energy source which is termed as ketosis. Ketosis is also referred to as “fat burning mode”. There is no doubt that zero carb diet is effective, but it can cause a few harmful effects to your body initially such as dizziness, headache, digestive problems, low blood sugar, muscle cramps, weakness, insomnia, frequent urination , diarrhea etc. But as you proceed your body gets used to it. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your physician before resorting to zero-carb diet plan.
No Carb Diet Plan 1:
- Breakfast– 6 boiled egg whites, 30 gm Greek cheese
- Mid-Morning Snack– 200 grams of Skimmed plain yogurt without sugar
- Lunch– 200 grams baked chicken, one large bowl fresh salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots and tuna olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.
- Afternoon Snack– 1 glass of Carrot juice
- Dinner– Green salad with salt, lime juice and pepper, Meat stir fried in olive oil
No Carb Diet Plan 2:
- Breakfast– Two poached eggs, 100 grams smoked salmon in cream dill sauce
- Mid-Morning Snack -Low-fat cottage cheese sprinkled with some herbs and salt
- Lunch– 300 grams grilled fish,a large bowl of broccoli, steamed green beans along with other salad greens and vinegar dressing
- Afternoon Snack– Celery sticks with yogurt dip, Olives with 1 cube of Cheddar cheese
- Dinner– Grilled/broiled lamb chops, Sautéed spinach and red peppers, zucchini and mushrooms skewers.
15 Best Zero Carb Foods:
As the name suggests, the zero carb diet incorporates zero carb foods. Given below are 15 such zero carb foods that should be consumed while following this ketogenic diet.
Eggs are extremely nutritious zero carb foods. They have 0% (zero) carbs but they are a rich source of vitamin B12 which is important for metabolism. Eggs also contain Vitamin D which helps promote healthy immune system and vitamin A which is good for vision, growth and tissue repair. They contain lots of protein, which is a component of cells and tissue. Vital minerals present in egg are phosphorus, Iodine and selenium. So by eating eggs, you can get a rich boost of nutrients without loading your body with unnecessary carbs.
All dairy products except milk have zero carbohydrates and so does butter. It is a very rich source of vitamin A which is very good for eyesight, skin, hair, cell growth etc. It also has good amount of Vitamin D which regulates calcium metabolism, vitamin E which works as an antioxidant and vitamin K which is important for normal blood clotting. Butter is a source of good cholesterol which is required for healthy cellular functioning. It also contains healthy fatty acid which boosts metabolism and immune system.
Chicken also has zero carbohydrates. It is a good source of protein and minerals like iron which is an important component of haemoglobin , phosphorus which repairs body cells and promotes growth , potassium which maintains the balance of minerals and water and calcium which is required for healthy teeth and bones . Chicken also has a high amount of Vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 and vitamin B5 which are vital for proper body functioning and health.
Fish also falls in the category of zero carb foods. It has a rich nutritional value but is low in calories. All varieties of fish are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids which help maintain healthy nerve cells, eye and brain. Fish is also good for heart functioning. All kinds of fish are rich sources of vitamin B (B6 and B12), Vitamin A and Vitamin D. They have approx 37 % daily value (DV) of protein which is vital for body growth and development.
Besides being a zero carb food, beef is a good source of vitamin B12 (Approx 43% DV) which is involved in important bodily functions like energy formation, metabolism, etc. and Vitamin B6 (approx 20%DV) which acts as a co enzyme and helps in nervous system functioning. Minerals present in beef are phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc etc.
Apart from being a zero carb food, lobster is low in calories, fat and cholesterol. It is a rich source of protein which helps in maintaining tissues, providing energy for enzyme action etc. It is a good source of vitamin B12 which is essential for nervous system and maintenance of red blood cells. It is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and has a high content of selenium, copper, iodine.
Crab is another carb-free food option for a zero carb diet. It is low in calories but contains a good amount of protein and saturated fat. It is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids which prevent cancer and heart disease. Crabs are very good sources of vitamin B-12 and vitamin C. They contain minerals like phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper etc.
Turkey also has zero carbohydrate. It is high in protein content. It is a good source of vitamin B6, which helps in forming antibodies and maintaining nervous system. It also has a good amount of vitamin B3. Some essential minerals needed by body present in it are phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, iron and selenium which are good for thyroid functioning and immune system.
Duck meat is a nutritious zero-carb food. It is a healthy choice if you like poultry meat. It is rich in protein which promotes body growth and repairs skin, tissue and cell damage. It is a good source of Vitamin B12 and vitamin B5 and contains micronutrients like iron, zinc and selenium in small amount, all of which contribute to healthy body.
Among beverages, coffee is a great option for those on a low-carb diet. It doesn’t have a large amount of vitamin and minerals. It contains small amounts of Vitamin B2 and vitamin B5 as well as minerals like magnesium and calcium. Coffee also helps in burning fat, lowers the risk of heart disease and is good for your liver.
If you are a tea lover, then you don’t have to give it up while following a zero carb diet since it is also a zero carb food. Studies have shown that tea prevents cancer, reduces heart diseases, strengthens immune system, prevents tooth decay and reduces excess fat. Black tea can help treat lung damage caused by cigarette smoking and reduces the risk of stroke while green tea has antioxidant property which helps fight cancer cells and improve cholesterol level.
12. Coconut Oil:
This edible oil can be used as cooking oil if you are on a zero-carb diet. It helps in vitamins and minerals absorption by the body. It has low cholesterol, contains Vitamin E and Vitamin D. It is also one of the richest sources of saturated fat. [Read about 30 amazing benefits with coconut oil]
Olive oil is another option for people on a low carb diet. It has zero carbohydrate, is high in calories but low in cholesterol. It contains Vitamin E and vitamin K. It has been found effective in the treatment of several health issues like blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes etc. It contains high amount of minerals like phosphorous, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
14. Sunflower Oil:
You can use sunflower oil in cooking if you are on low carb diet as it has zero carb in it. It is rich in vitamin E which protects body from free radicals , thanks to its antioxidant properties. It also contains vitamin K in small amounts. Its primary function is blood clot formation. It contains lots of fat, so you should consume it in moderation.
15. Sesame Oil:
It is an edible vegetable oil with zero carb. Sesame oil has a good amount of vitamin E which helps in combating diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and promotes healthy bones. It is high in calories like other oils so you should be careful of its over consumption.
Before you plan to include these zero carb foods, it is advisable to consult your physician. Hope that the above list of foods will definitely help you in planning out the meals. Feel free to share your thoughts on these if any.