Does low carb mean no carb?

Reducing your carb intake can have many benefits for your health such as weight loss, blood glucose regulation and type 2 diabetes remission. But, does this mean you can’t eat carbs at all?

In this blog we’ll be looking at why low carb doesn’t mean no carb and show how even starchier foods can be enjoyed in moderation on a low carb lifestyle.

What is a low carb diet?

A low carb diet involves eating less than 130g of carbs per day. When you join the Low Carb Program, we suggest 130g as a starting point and then adjusting that amount to suit individual goals. For example, some people choose to lower their carb intake to fewer than 50g per day, which is also known as a very low carb, ketogenic diet. This is known to have many health benefits such as greater blood glucose control [1].

So, by this definition, even on a very low carb, ketogenic diet you are still consuming a small amount of carbs.

What can you eat on low carb?

The focus of a low carb diet is to replace processed foods and refined carbs such as bread and pasta with unprocessed, real foods. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean not eating carbs at all.

Pulses and legumes for example are classed as ‘starchier’ foods as they contain a higher carb content than non-starchy vegetables, but in comparison to bread or pasta, are less likely to spike blood sugars.

Even when following a very low carb, ketogenic diet where starchier foods are restricted even further, the carb content of the non-starchy vegetables can contribute to the overall carb content of the meal. For example, broccoli is a lower carb vegetable but still contains 3.2g of carbs per 100g.

What’s the take home?

Choosing to switch to a low carb lifestyle doesn’t mean you’ll be eating a no carb diet. While the target for carb intake can vary from person to person depending on individual goals, starchier foods such as pulses and legumes can be enjoyed in moderation on a low carb lifestyle, plus even non-starchier vegetables can contribute to the overall carb content.


Learn more about how low carb could benefit your health when you join the Low Carb Program.

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[1]       Volek, J.S., Phinney, S.D., Forsythe, C.E., Quann, E.E., Wood, R.J., Puglisi, M.J., Kraemer, W.J., Bibus, D.M., Fernandez, M.L. and Feinman, R.D., 2009. Carbohydrate restriction has a more favorable impact on the metabolic syndrome than a low fat diet. Lipids44(4), pp.297-309.