List of 20 Low Carbohydrate Fat Burning Foods

Choosing high protein, low carbohydrate foods can be a good idea not only for those with diabetes, obesity, or metabolic syndrome, but most of us in general. A low carbohydrate diet will help keep blood sugar stable, thus helping you to keep excess weight off, and I’m talking specifically dangerous belly fat that wreaks havoc with your health.

The good news is, low carb eating also burns fat faster than high carb, especially if those carbs are bad quality the likes of refined grains and free sugars.

This list of low carbohydrate fat burning foods will help you to understand the difference between high quality fat burning foods, versus low quality fat promoting foods.


  • Anything containing refined sugars, such as cakes, biscuits, pastries, sweets, and confectionery.
  • Anything deep-fried, such as fish, chips, most junk foods and fries.
  • Fatty processed meats.
  • Fats and oils, such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarines, canola oil, corn oil, soy bean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil.
  • Wheat and other gluten containing products. Many people are intolerant, or feel bloated on various grains or gluten products and you will often find you start to lose weight, feel healthier and have more energy when you cut down on them, or ideally, cut them out completely. Ideal alternatives to these would be corn, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, quinoa, and brown rice.
  • Refined flour products such as white pasta, white bread, or white rice.

These above foods will hinder your weight loss efforts, and make you feel and look crappy, and who needs the stress of that on top of everything else in life? By swapping these foods for healthier versions you will not only be adding years to your life, but life to your years as the famous saying goes.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

ketogenic foods

A low carb diet is not necessarily the same as a ketogenic diet which actually forbids ALL carbohydrates. This kind of diet may be way too strict for you and probably won’t put you in the best of moods – not if you want the energy for exercise and living a full life. However, some people this can work for depending on their reasons for doing it, and also how their body reacts to it, and for obvious reasons it IS especially good for diabetics.

Personally, a totally carb free diet doesn’t work for me, and makes me feel depressed, lethargic, and generally not very happy. I get on best on a low GI plant based diet as it gives me copious amounts of nutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and fiber – all of which are perfect for vitality and energy. And some of the biggest recent studies are proving that the ketogenic diet is not healthy long term due to high consumption of animal proteins and fats, and low consumption of fiber and key nutrients found in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains.

How to Eat a Low Carb diet

cashews, almonds, peanuts in bowl

A low carbohydrate diet on the other hand will mean keeping to a minimum starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, butternut squash, corn, peas, beetroot and yams. Also, grains such as wheat, rye, millet, amaranth, spelt and oats are all high carb – but the worst offender that you should absolutely steer clear of on a low carb diet is of course the demon that is free SUGARS!

Free sugars, or fast sugars as they are otherwise known are the kind found in junk foods; but surprisingly, the so called ‘healthier’ kinds, like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar and brown rice syrup are ALL high carb too, and so also need to be eaten in moderation on the low carbohydrate diet.

I would, however, suggest that you should eat some starchy vegetables; and also fruits, pulses, and wholegrains in moderation. It will still keep you low carb at 1-2 portions a day, but that’s good as this is not a ketogenic diet (you’ll need more if you are in training, or exercising a lot). Exercise will not only help you to maintain your weight loss, but the release of those good feeling hormones that it is guaranteed with a good workout will also keep you happy.

High Sugar Fruits

  • Grapes
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Watermelon
  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Dried fruits

 Medium Sugar Fruits

  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Oranges of all kinds
  • Figs
  • Honeydew melon
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • Tangerines
  • Blackberries

Low Sugar Fruits

  • Limes
  • Guava
  • Rhubarb
  • Cranberries
  • Raspberries
  • Lemons
  • Kiwi
  • Apricots

As this is a plant based eating website it means that I have only added plant foods to this list as they are much more nutrient dense and full of antioxidants. These are not only vital for anti aging, but also lower your risks of many modern day diseases, boost energy and vitality, strengthen the immune system, detoxify your system, AND make you look and feel a million bucks in the process. However, if you do eat animal products then meat and dairy products are all low carbohydrate and okay on the low carb diet.

Fat Burning Foods

avocado with pip

These type of foods are also low GI, which means their sugars are released into the bloodstream slowly, giving you sustained energy over a period of time (so less snacking and sugar cravings… hurrah), and these low GI foods will also help you to burn fat much more efficiently.

These specific foods to help burn fat should be incorporated into your diet wherever possible for best results (but don’t forget, as is the case with ALL foods, you need to eat everything in moderation and add them into your total day’s calories).


The list below goes in order from the lowest carbohydrate food to the highest, and gives amounts per 100 grams: Note that not all nuts and seeds are on the list for the simple reason that some of them are actually high in carbs and should be eaten sparingly, such as cashews, chestnuts, pistachios and sunflower seeds.

You can use numbers 15-20 on this list as part of your 1-2 carb portions per day on the low carb diet, but you will need more if you’re doing a lot of exercise or training. You can also use pulses and lentils instead of pastas, rice and grains, but be aware they are higher carbohydrate value than anything on this list, but still lower carb than your ordinary low GI carbs.

  1. Oils of all kinds 0g
  2. Soy/Tempeh/Tofu 1.9g
  3. Brazil Nuts 4g
  4. Pecans 4g
  5. Pumpkin seeds 5g
  6. Macadamia Nuts 5g
  7. Olives 6g
  8. Walnuts 7g
  9. Peanuts 7g
  10. Hazelnuts 7g
  11. Pine Nuts 7g
  12. Chia seeds 7g
  13. Avocados 9g
  14. Almonds 10g
  15. Butternut Squash 12g
  16. Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cacao) 13g
  17. Green Peas 14g
  18. White Potatoes 17g
  19. Sweet Potatoes 20g
  20. Cooked Quinoa 21g


man lifting barbell

I haven’t put these on the actual list as they often come in at different carbohydrate values depending on the type and brand, but they can play an integral role in a low carb diet due to them being filling and low GI. They usually come in at either zero or very low carb, and can be used as actual meal replacements. They are especially good in you want to boost your metabolism to burn fat fat more efficiently; or you’re in training and want to cut fat and build muscle.

You should always choose a good quality protein powder if you wish to see maximum results, and to also be sure you are getting a great amino acid profile that will cover all bases.

Unlikely High Carb foods

You may find this list has some very interesting facts that you may not have realised when it comes to carbohydrates in foods. For instance, white potatoes come in at 17g carbs versus cashew nuts that are actually a whopping 30g carbs. Who would have ever guessed that potatoes actually contain almost half the carbs as a nut!

The difference between them (and this is where it can get a bit complicated) is that cashews are actually low GI due to their high fat and protein content, and so they are considered healthier in that respect than white potatoes that have very little fat and protein.

The presence of fat and protein in a food will slow down the sugar release into the bloodstream. To understand this in more detail then please learn more here about low glycemic foods, as it will open your eyes to how a low GI diet combined with the low carbohydrate diet is one of the best long term, sustainable weight loss strategies there is.


bulging belly fat

A low GI diet is different to a low carb diet in the respect that it focuses more on how quickly carbohydrates in a food hit the bloodstream. Too fast and you will have a much bigger insulin response to clear those sugars out of the blood, which is not good in terms of weight loss as those sugars are usually stored as fat (the dangerous belly fat kind), which is why low GI foods are much healthier for long term health.

Pretty much everything on the above list is considered low GI because they all contain the other elements of fat and protein, apart from the latter part (numbers 15-20) – the white potatoes especially. But this is where correct food combining comes into play. If for example you ate mashed white potatoes alone, then they would be extremely high GI and would therefore encourage fat storage, but if you eat them combined with other foods that contain fats and protein this would then lower the GI of the potatoes, and in fact the whole meal.

Correct food combining

plate of vegan food

So the moral of the story without complicating things too much, is the perfect food combinations of fats, carbs and proteins in ALL of your meals and snacks. Obviously, go very easy on the fats, and make sure when you do eat them that they are healthy and of good quality. It’s easy to do when you understand the 3 macro nutrient food groups of fat, carbohydrates and protein.

Below is a list to give you a hand, and don’t forget a lot of them overlap each other and contain 2 or 3 elements in the one food, so therefore have been added to more than one food group.


  • All kinds of oils
  • Butters
  • Ghee
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocados
  • Cheeses


  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Soy
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • Pulses
  • Wholegrains
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils


  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Lentils
  • Grains
  • Sweetcorn
  • Dried Fruits
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, squash, parsnips, carrots
  • Chickpeas
  • Pulses

If you have any questions about low carb eating, or you need any extra advice then I would be happy to help. Please post any comments below this thread, and thanks for visiting zestforever!

Please help us spread the word for a more plant based world!
Stefanie Taylor
Plant based eating is set to EXPLODE in 2021; not just for health reasons, but also to help keep our beautiful planet thriving too!

Here at ZestForever we pledge to be part of that change to a more plant based world, to help others eat more healthily, purchase more mindfully, and support projects and organisations that wish to have a positive impact on the environment.

On a personal note, I have studied, tried and tested all manner of ways of eating over the past 20 years, but nothing has come close to giving me the buzz that plant based has. I have also studied and worked as a Sports Nutritional Advisor, Nutritional Therapist, and Clinical Weight Loss Advisor, and have a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, and Personal Trainer reviewing and contributing to posts to ensure you get the most accurate information possible.

This website is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical diseases or illnesses. It's merely meant to show you ways of potentially boosting your health through the eating of more nutritious plant foods in place of junk foods.

19 thoughts on “List of 20 Low Carbohydrate Fat Burning Foods”

  1. Great info here and some good choices too. I have tried to cut out all of the fats and go low carb but it does get difficult because I have become set in my ways. I am considering a ketogenic diet to help lose some extra pounds. I do exercise but have a kind of hectic family life that keeps me on my toes. I do hear that diet is almost all of losing weight and that you need muscle to burn fat. So I am shooting for a low carb diet and high intensity short workouts. Great read here.

    • Hi David, I know what you mean about a hectic life as I’m the same! I do a lot of meditation though, as you probably do judging by your website, and that really helps. Yes, I think a low carb diet could work for you, but you may find totally ketogenic hard if you are training. I’d go for a couple of portions a day of the lower carb veggies on the list and maybe some brown rice instead of high sugar carbs like refined flours, sugars etc.

      Yes, it is very true about muscle mass and we need it to keep our bodies in fat burning mode. Also, there are many other reasons why muscle mass is vital for good health and you may find my post on this interesting if you need any muscle building tips

  2. I did not really realize that bananas are a high sugar fruit. I am sort of bummed LOL. I love bananas. Anyway, my son and I both started a low/no carbohydrate diet. We are eating only chicken, fish, rice, veggies, apples and bananas. I have lost 4 pounds in the last week. I am quite excited. So everyone needs to follow this advice you have! It does work.

    • Hi there, don’t worry about eating bananas if you are already cutting calories and fat, I didn’t mean to scare anyone of fruit as it’s SO healthy! Just on a low carb diet specifically you should watch your portions of high sugar fruits as they are high carb. It can get confusing I know and it’s all about moderation.

      It’s great you have lost weight and you should carry on with what you are doing as it is working. There are different ways to lose weight, and it sounds like you are cutting calories which will explain it. Some people who go on a proper ketogenic diet (the type that I don’t like personally) will not eat ANY carbs in any form, but lots of fat and protein, so even though they are eating lots of calories they will still lose weight as their body goes into ketosis. This type of diet is good for the clinically obese, or those with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.

  3. I’m a huge health nut, and I’m currently trying to maintain my weight. I try to get mostly organic and whole wheat products. I wish I could be 100% plant based (I love my meat too much) but other than that my diet consists of lots of protein and fairly good carbs! I’ve been on the fence about butter for a long time now, so I’m glad you clarified this for me!! I’ve tried to completely quit buying it because I was convinced it was bad, and was using it with literally everything. Thanks for the food inspiration!

    • Hi Melanie, I understand how hard it is to give up meat as it took me 4 attempts to give it up as I missed it so much every time, in fact, more than even sugar or junk foods. So it just goes to show how deep rooted it is. However on my 4th attempt something weird happened and I knew I’d never eat it again, the craving just went completely like magic and has never come back in over a year! Anyway that’s my story and may not be the same for others.

      I think it’s just good to be mindful of where your meat comes from if your’e going to eat it, and just have in moderation. Start by making a few plant based dinners a week and you will soon learn new recipes etc, and get used to it.

      When it comes to butter, if you are trying to maintain weight then I definitely wouldn’t go overboard with it. However, ‘real’ butter instead of margarine or low fat spreads is far more preferable as they have all sorts of chemicals and additives, and have usually been processed in a way that makes them very bad for you. So always go for the real thing. If you are going to eat a low carb diet then it is good to have some healthy fats in moderation, in fact we need them, but not too much. Hope this helps.

  4. What a great post and so glad I found your site. I have bookmarked it because I am very interested in eating more plant-based and this article in particular outlines for me the balance between high carbs, simple sugars and what to eat to maintain a healthy balance and what to eat that has a low-glycemic index.

    It is a very confusing thing for me because I have been on Weight Watchers and they don’t always focus on being healthy, so I compromise my health for the “points”, but your article has helped because I see that a lot of what I eat is low on the list of high carbs, so I am glad about that! Thanks for the great info!

    • Hi Amy, I am happy your’e interested in eating a more plant based diet as I think you will find it will definitely help you to lose weight. I know what you mean about weight watchers as I joined it a couple of years ago and found that I lost about 9 lbs but put it all straight back on again. Plus I was hungry all the time, so it really wasn’t for me.

      I think the problem with ‘diets’ is they aren’t viable for long term use, so as soon as you’ve lost your weight you stop your diet and go back to your old ways of eating.This may happen instantly or you may slowly slip back over time. This is because you haven’t really changed your programming around food which is exactly what you do when you adopt a healthier plant based lifestyle.

      The fact that weight watchers own foods are full of junk and rubbish says it all, they are not teaching you healthy eating. I think you may be interested in my post

  5. Wow…This post hits the nail on the head regarding what not to eat!

    Lets see:

    Cakes, biscuits, pastries, sweets, chips, and fries just to name a few are staples of the American diet!
    Processed foods are killing us. Millions of people ate meats in the past – it’s just that the meats weren’t processed.

    Refined flour products such as white pasta, white bread, or white rice are absolutely killing us. These so called foods are devoid of nutritional value. They’re meaningless as far as nutrition is concerned.

    Most people wouldn’t know buckwheat, amaranth, millet, or quinoa if it fell out the sky and hit them in the face. These are much healthier alternatives to the gluten filled items most people consume.

    So you are absolutely right in that as long as Americans follow the standard food choices accepted by the general populace, millions of us will continue to look like CRAP!

    This is an outstanding post…

    • Hi Howard, wow, thanks for your praise, it really means a lot as I love creating posts that are going to help people lead better lives. That made me laugh what you said about the quinoa falling out of the sky and hitting them in the face ha ha. Unfortunately, I think you are right about that as there is still so much education to be done around food. Really it should start in school.

      I live in the UK and the diet is just as bad here…almost. I think we are now the second leading country in the world from the US with the obesity crisis and it makes me so sad. We have kids now getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes, IT’S THAT BAD! And so I shall continue to keep spreading the word as best I can and hope that it makes a difference to some.

      Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

  6. Thank you so much Stefanie for this amazing post. Having low carb food for weight lose is the healthiest approach. I really love the way you have explained it and the low carb food list is amazing. Now we don’t need to struggle what to eat and what not to eat as we have a really helpful list of food. You always do superb work Stefanie, keep it up.

    • Thanks Sarah, I have always found that these foods really do keep weight under control, and I try to have no more than 2-3 (depending on training) healthy carbs a day. It also, I find, helps to really keep blood sugar under control which stops that vicious circle of sugar cravings that many of us are caught up in.

  7. Super helpful post! I’ve been debating whether to go keto or low carb, and I feel like I have more information to make that decision…I think for the long run low carb is a better idea for me. great info!

    • Yes, low carb as opposed to no carb is much healthier in the long run, and way more sustainable. A no carb diet can often leave you with no energy and irritable, that is what I have found in my research and from my own personal experience. Also, you don’t want to miss out on vital nutrient sources by cutting out completely such a large food group. I’m glad I’ve inspired you Penelope and good luck with it!

  8. Nice post Stefanie, it seems like thats the going thing these days trying to eat right and lose weight. The trouble with me is just getting started doing it. I don’t think dairy products are very good for our bodies, but I continue to eat them. Got to get stronger with that and eat more plant based products.

    • Hi Fred, yes healthy eating is here to stay I reckon. I guess it’s because we are just all a lot more educated about food these days, and the information is at our fingertips as in the internet. Which is fantastic of course because it means we are all responsible for taking charge of our own health and we can choose how we want to live our lives from a more educated point of view.

      I know what you mean about getting started with it, it can be hard at first but once you start to feel the benefits then you don’t want to go back to feeling rubbish anymore. Well that was my experience at least, and I just keep trying to get better and build on it every day. But I do allow myself some leeway because without that life can get boring, so everything in moderation is my rule but it has to ALL be plant based these days for me.

  9. Getting the right mix for your goals is important. When I started using an app to track my meals, I realized even though my overall choices weren’t bad, the mix was wrong. Not enough fat, not enough cals, not enough protein and almost always too many carbs… Once I started balancing it, I saw better results. Even had to have pure olive oil added to hit my fats and calories at times.

    • Hi there, thanks for your interesting experience on using apps to track food. I’ve never tried that sort of thing but I should as I always tend to add up everything in my head which is something I have become rather adept to over the years. I always have my daily calorie count in my head and fortunately, because my whole life is about diet and food (hence the website) I pretty much know off by heart the nutritional information of everything so it makes it easier for me to do it this way ha ha.

      It’s true that if things are out of balance in your diet then not only will you not feel satiated after a meal but you probably won’t see the results you want and you are also way more likely to give up.

      Fat is especially important for every function in the body (as long as they are healthy fats from nuts, seeds, oily fish, and olive oil) so I’m glad you are having some every day. It’s definitely good for keeping your joints supple, brain healthy, oh and it’s really anti aging and helps to keep skin moistened and wrinkles at bay.


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