Keto and Low Carb Success

Foods for Low Carb Eating

August 10, 2023 Miriam Hatoum Season 3 Episode 62
Keto and Low Carb Success
Foods for Low Carb Eating
Show Notes Transcript

Episode #:62 Foods for Low Carb Eating 

You’re Listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast, Episode # 62, Foods for Low Carb Eating.

There is nothing that you cannot have while eating a low carb diet, and there is never an issue of deprivation. You are in the driver’s seat as you plan your meals and decide how to use your carbohydrate allowance. You are not denying yourself any foods, but you are making decisions based on what foods and what quantities make you feel best. But, there are some foods you should be aware of that you might want to limit. This episode goes into detail with some of them.

1. Bread and grains
2. Legumes.    (And Phytic Acid and Lectins)
3. Fruit and Fruit Juices
4. Starchy vegetables
5. Yogurt, milk and other dairy products
6. Honey or sugar in any form
7. Gluten-free products and Frankenfoods

This week’s Actionable Coaching Advice Using the Keto and Low Carb Planner (FREE RESOURCE, below) to find your own compatible foods.

Next Episode Coming up: Shopping and Cooking for Low Carb

Get all my free guides
Take a look at this great course
Join me on Facebook
Follow me on Instagram
Check out Pinterest
And don't forget my book!

Episode #:62 Foods for Low Carb Eating 

You’re Listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast, Episode # 62, Foods for Low Carb Eating.

Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or weigh, measure and track your food? What if you could learn to have success by following an easy roadmap that takes you on adventures from learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, to learning about what foods work best in your body and why? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Conquer Cravings with Keto, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl! 

Be sure to go to to get all the free guides to help you along the way. I am in your shoes, my friends, and I wrote these guides for both of us. The link is in the show notes and transcripts.

Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast and the course is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or service, and I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!

Now on to today’s episode:

This week’s episode covers a list of foods to limit on a Low Carb Diet, so that you can make informed, uncomplicated decisions about what to eat and cook, but most importantly, what to put in your grocery cart.

There is nothing that you cannot have while eating a low carb diet, and there is never an issue of deprivation. You are in the driver’s seat as you plan your meals and decide how to use your carbohydrate allowance. You are not denying yourself any foods, but you are making decisions based on what foods and what quantities make you feel best.

There is no set definition of low carbohydrate eating. Most people comfortably eat a low carbohydrate diet with up to 100 carbohydrates a day, or even 50 carbohydrates per meal. The Standard American Diet, where no attention is paid to carbohydrate content of food, could have you eating 500 or more carbohydrates per day, so be prepared to make some changes.

Some foods to limit on your Low Carb Diet

I am going to refer you to previous podcast episodes and blogs, as I have covered most, if not all, of the foods I will be talking about in this section. If you want a reference to these podcasts and blogs check the transcript for this episode. I will have all the podcasts and blogs highlighted so you will have a quick and easy reference.

First of all, you will notice that I say “limit” and not “eliminate”. If you are following Keto which is the strictest of a low carb lifestyle then there will be foods that are off limits, not only for their carb counts, but because they can contribute to inflammation and insulin issues. These would be grains, or any foods made with grains, any legumes or foods made with legumes, any sugar or foods made with sugar, and most fruits and starchy vegetables. 

Figuring out which staple foods to avoid isn’t always easy, and your total daily carb target determines whether you need to merely limit some of these foods or avoid them altogether. That being said, if you just take a moment to learn about these foods and become aware of their carbohydrate amounts, it is not hard at all. I have had clients who come out of the gate saying they will not eat bread, pasta, cereal, rice or sweets, and they successfully lose weight doing nothing other than that – they don’t weigh or measure their foods, they don’t look up carbohydrate counts, and they don’t track what they eat. Just eliminating these high carbohydrate, inflammatory choices is all they need to find success.

Although you don’t have to eliminate the following list of foods on a low carb diet (the way you would on a Keto diet), here are some of the foods you will definitely want to limit or at least pay attention to:

1. Bread and grains

Bread comes in various forms, including loaves, rolls, bagels, and flatbreads, such as tortillas. All of these are high in carbs, regardless of whether they’re made from refined flour, whole grains or even nut flours. Included in this list all forms of pasta, from couscous to spaghetti. Most grain dishes — including rice, wheat, cereals, and oats — are also high in carbs and need to be limited. 

Please know that even grain cereals touted as healthy, such as muesli, Grape Nuts, granola, or oat cereals such as steel cut oats, are very high in carbohydrates, and offer little natural nutritional value. When you see words like “fortified” it means that the food has been stripped of its vitamins and minerals and they have been artificially added back in. 

Chips and crackers, popular snack foods, add carbs quickly. Even a grain-free chip, such as Seite Grain-Free Tortilla Chips have 19 grams of carbohydrates for one ounce. Don’t be fooled by all the wolves out there in sheep’s clothing.

However, remember, none of it is off limits on a low carb eating plan. Just investigate the carbohydrates in the food and don’t be fooled by the fact that it looks like a health food. 

A further, more important issue with limiting grains is the inflammation factor, and which is why they are not eaten on Keto no matter what the carbohydrate count is.. Episode #26 which aired on November 24, 2022 and Episode #37 which aired on February 16, 2023, as well as my blog entitled “Inflammation and Grains” go into detail on this.

2. Legumes

People in the health field have a love-hate relationship with legumes. These are your beans and lentils. Legumes also include green peas, peanuts and soybeans. 

On the one hand, legumes are considered very healthy, and research indicates that their health benefits include less risk of chronic diseases and obesity. They encourage microbiome diversity and immune support. They may also help control blood pressure and cholesterol. Legumes provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and phytochemicals, complex carbohydrates and protein. They are a staple in many cultures.

The other side of this love/hate feeling toward legumes is the concern about phytic acid and lectins.

Phytic acid, or phytate, is an antioxidant found in all edible plant seeds, including legumes. It impairs the absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium from the same meal and may increase the risk of mineral deficiencies in people who rely on legumes or other high-phytate foods as a dietary staple. However, this appears to be a problem only when meat intake is low, and the legumes make up a large part of the diet. People who regularly eat meat are not at risk of mineral deficiencies caused by phytic acid. 

Lectins are a family of proteins that may constitute up to 10% of the total protein content of legumes. They resist digestion and may affect the cells lining your intestinal tract. In most edible legumes, the amount of lectins is not high enough to cause symptoms, but beans should only be eaten fully cooked and prepared. Soaking overnight, boiling, sprouting and fermenting will reduce both phytic acid and lectins.

When I serve legumes, they take on more the role of a condiment rather than the whole show. In other words, when I make a hearty vegetable soup I will add 1 or 2 cups of cooked legumes, rather than make something like a bean soup where the vegetables take a back seat. When I make something like hommos, yes, chickpeas are the main ingredient, but it still tastes delicious when mixed with roasted vegetables and served with crudites and on lettuce. Lentil soup – one of my favorites – rather than being so thick you can eat it with a fork – is very “brothy” although there is no mistaking that it is a lentil soup. 

Legumes are not off limits on a low carb diet but do be aware of the carbohydrate counts before you indulge too often. Here are some examples for ½ cup servings. Notice how much lower the net carb count is, indicating the fiber in the food.

  • Lentils: 18 grams (11 grams net)
  • Black beans: 20 grams (12 grams net)
  • Pinto beans: 23 grams (15 grams net)
  • Chickpeas: 25 grams (18 grams net)
  • Kidney beans: 20 grams (13 grams net)

3. Fruit and Fruit Juices

Don’t have your head in the sand about fruit and stubborn weight loss.  

While you are following a low carb eating style, you can have fruit.  However, I think the biggest downfall of some of the popular diets is that fruit is unlimited. For instance,

·       A cup of grapes is 29 carbohydrates, and

·       Half a medium cantaloupe is 23 carbohydrates.

(You might say – who eats a half a cantaloupe?  If you are my age – in your 60s, surely you remember putting cottage cheese in the well of half a cantaloupe!)

  • A fresh Bartlett pear is 25 carbohydrates
  • A small banana  is 24 carbohydrates
  • A medium Granny Smith apple is 24.1 carbohydrates
  • 1 cup of cherries is 22.1 carbohydrates
  • 1 cup of watermelon is 11.6 carbohydrates
  • A medium navel orange is 17.6 carbohydrates
  • Two clementines is 18 carbohydrates
  • 1 large grapefruit is 26.8 carbohydrates

The reason fruits are not allowed on Keto and should be limited for low carbohydrate eating is because they are made up of fructose, sucrose and glucose, and therefore most carry a high carbohydrate load.

One difference here with low carb vs. keto is that fruit in moderation is allowed on low carb, while on keto, typically, only berries are allowed. Limit your fruits to very low carbohydrate ones (the lower carb count indicates less sugar) and limit the amount you eat in a day to no more than one or two. Forget the gigantic fruit salads you think are so wonderful!  

It is important to build an awareness and a mindfulness when you reach for fruit. The carbohydrate count alone can get in the way of successful weight loss, but there are things much more sinister lurking in fruit sugar.

Regarding fruit juices, except for lemon and lime juice used for flavoring, juices should be on a strongly-limit list. Although there may be fiber in the juice which mitigates how quickly you absorb the sugar and nutrients, it does not change the fact that you are getting even more of a sugar hit than you would with the whole fruit.

Learn more about fruits in Episode #40 which aired on March 9, 2023, and the blog entitled, “What Fruits to Eat on Keto.”

4. Starchy vegetables

Starchy vegetables are more than just potatoes and peas and carrots. Let’s define them and see why they are so high in carbohydrates:  

  • Most starchy vegetables grow below ground.  
  • They are loaded with sugar because they are the source for feeding the greenery that grows above the root.  
  • Most people will think of potatoes but also think beets, carrots, parsnips, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, shallots, onions and yams. 
  • There are others too. 
  • Always check the carb counts for a vegetable other than leafy greens. 
  • Two exceptions to the high-carb, below-ground vegetables are scallions (green onions) and radishes.

Above-ground starchy vegetables include 

  • winter squashes and corn (which is actually a grain, but some people consider it a vegetable). 
  • pumpkins 
  • tomatoes (which are actually fruit)
  • Pumpkins and tomatoes higher in carbohydrates than other above-ground vegetables but not considered “starchy” and are allowed in very careful quantities. 

Ginger and garlic, both considered below-ground vegetables, have one carbohydrate for one tablespoon and one clove, respectively, so they certainly can add up in a recipe! When you have escaped from diet prison and are no longer counting everything that you eat, these carbohydrates will be minimal additions to your cooking.

Examples of how many grams of carbohydrates are in starchy and root vegetables:

  • Small baked potato: 25 grams 
  • One cup of peas and carrots: 22 grams 
  • One cup of beets: 12 grams
  • One cup steamed carrots: 17 grams
  • One cup steamed parsnips: 31 grams
  • One cup acorn squash: 30 grams
  • One medium sweet potato: 28 grams
  • AND THE WINNER IS YAMS: One cup fresh (not canned with syrup): 38 grams 

These little innocent sides to your meal could be your full carbohydrate allotment for keto and easily half your day’s allotment for low carb. 

Learn more in Episode #40 which aired on March 9,, 2023, and also from my blog post, “Root Vegetables on Keto.”

5. Yogurt, milk and other dairy products

In Episode #58, which aired on July 13, 2023, and in my FAQ on yogurt, I explain how to count carbs for yogurt. Following the advice I give for counting carbohydrates is the same for keto or low carbohydrate eating plans. Here is why many consider it okay to not count the sugar in yogurt, as long as it is FULL-FAT PLAIN UNFLAVORED (and preferably Greek) yogurt: 

·       The bacteria in yogurt eat the lactose for energy. 

·       What is on the label is what goes into the product before it is processed.

·       Carbs that are left behind after this process are a fraction of what is on the label. 

·       Some people who follow strict Keto will say to count all the carbs on the label. 

·       Some will say don't count any. 

·       The way I count it is to split the difference. 

o   If I get a yogurt that states six grams of carbohydrates for the cup, I will count three. 

o   However, this is for PLAIN UNFLAVORED FULL-FAT yogurt ONLY. 

o   We are not talking about flavored or light yogurts. 

o   No exceptions.

Here are some typical carbohydrate counts for a 6-ounce serving of plain yogurt:

  • Low-fat yogurt: 12 grams of carbohydrate
  • Nonfat or skim milk yogurt: 13 grams of carbohydrate
  • Whole milk Greek yogurt: 7 grams of carbohydrate
  • Whole milk yogurt: 8 grams of carbohydrate

Add fruit, even with ones labeled “light” and you may be looking at 20 or more carbohydrates for a 6 ounce cup, and if you buy fruit yogurt with sugar, the carbohydrate count could be double that.

Be aware with other dairy, from cheese to milk, the lower the fat, the higher the carbohydrates in it. You will not want to do low carb AND low fat. 

For instance, if you’re only using 1–2 tablespoons  in coffee each day, you may be able to include small amounts of milk in your low carb diet. However, cream or half-and-half may be better options if you drink coffee frequently since these contain fewer carbs. If you drink a lot of milk-based beverages you may want to change to almond or coconut milk.

6. Honey or sugar in any form

However, you may not realize that natural forms of sugar, such as pure maple syrup and honey have as many carbs as white sugar. 

Here are the carb counts for 1 tablespoon (13–21 grams) of several types of sugar:

  • White sugar: 13 grams
  • Maple syrup: 13 grams
  • Agave nectar: 16 grams
  • Honey: 17 grams

Any sweetener provides little to no nutritional value. Again, not off limits, but when you are limiting your carb intake, it’s especially important to choose wisely. Don’t be fooled when a label says, “natural sugar”.

7. Gluten-free products

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods. Some people, such as those with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders, must avoid gluten to manage digestive symptoms and prevent intestinal damage. 

Many people, even without any sort of gluten-related disorders seek out gluten free products. However, gluten-free bread, muffins, and other baked goods aren’t typically low in carbs. In fact, they often have even more carbohydrates than their gluten-containing counterparts. In addition to this, the flour used to make these foods is typically made from starches and grains that tend to raise blood sugar rapidly. 

Some of these foods are known as FRANKENFOODS. The term actually means foods that are genetically modified but has also come to mean foods that are very removed from their natural state by being processed with many ingredients and chemicals. Next time when you pick up gluten-free breads and rolls take a look at the label. Also note that a lot of foods are marketed as "gluten-free" when they are gluten free anyway! Don't pay extra for the marketing.

This week’s Actionable Coaching Advice:

This week’s actionable coaching advice is what I gave you in an earlier episode. If you have already done it, bravo! If not, consider doing it this time as you prepare for next week’s episode on grocery shopping and cooking for the family.

First, make a list of any foods you are missing or think you will miss on Keto or Low Carb. If you don’t already have one, download my Keto and Low Carb Planner from my resource section – the link is in the show notes and transcript.  Go to page 30 and fill out those two columns.

Second, go through the second column of the list and mark off what might not be a safe food for you because you will tend to overeat it, or perhaps even find yourself in the middle of a binge with it. For instance, you might have a lovely sugar-free, frozen yogurt that you love, but find you will finish the full carton rather than stopping at one portion.

Looking at that, you can see two things: You are not being denied anything, but it might not be a good idea for you to have it right now. You get to decide what to eat, you are not being told what to eat.

Then go to page 32 and fill it out. Being reminded of this information is incredibly valuable in your journey.

 And, let me remind you. If you’ve ever got a question you’d like to ask me or share a topic idea that you would like me to cover on a future episode, don’t be a stranger! I always look forward to hearing from listeners like you. You are welcome to email me directly… And don’t forget to leave a review wherever you listen to this podcast. I would SO appreciate it. Leaving a review makes it easier for other people who are looking to listen and learn about Keto and Low Carb.

Coming up in the next Episode

Next week’s episode will be on grocery shopping and cooking for the family, now that you know what to put in your cart.

Please share this show with your friends and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison with my Keto and Low Carb Success podcast. Especially share this podcast with anyone you know who is struggling with their weight or eating plan. This podcast and the resources I give you for free can be game changers if you take the information and coaching advice that are in them, they really are. It will help so many people transform their lives – not just with food but with how they feel about themselves, how they approach the food they eat, and how they make decisions about any area of their lives.

Until the next episode, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.
Get all my free guides
Take a look at this great course
Join me on Facebook
Follow me on Instagram
Check out Pinterest
And don't forget my book!