A low-carbohydrate diet does not include bread, pasta, potatoes, sweets and alcohol. Sugar, starches and grains contain the highest levels of carbohydrates, therefore low-carb dieters avoid foods containing high amounts of these ingredients.
Foods that are high in simple carbohydrates include soft drinks, pastries, wheat-based foods, corn and chestnuts. Dieters following a low-carbohydrate diet are also encouraged to avoid artificial sweeteners, trans and saturated fats, and highly processed foods such as deli meats or pre-packaged snacks.
A low-carbohydrate diet focuses on the inclusion of vegetables and lean proteins. Dairy products such as low-fat plain yogurt, skim milk or cottage cheese may also be included in the diet plan. All humans require some carbohydrates to stay healthy, therefore a long-term low-carbohydrate diet should include a small amount of complex carbohydrates from whole grains, legumes and fruits.
Low-carbohydrate vegetables include zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms and celery. Low-carbohydrate fruits include apricots, strawberries, peaches and watermelon. Protein sources such as salmon, chicken, ground turkey and pork are all good choices on a low-carbohydrate diet. While high-carbohydrate grains such as wheat and barley are not usually part of a low-carb diet, in many cases these are replaceable with healthier grains such as amaranth or grain-free flours such as almond flour.