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The No-Carb No-Sugar Diet: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re suffering from health issues like diabetes and inflammation or looking for a dietary approach to shed extra pounds, you can try the no-carb no-sugar diet. Eliminating carbohydrates and sugar and increasing the intake of fat and protein can have various health benefits, like managing blood sugar levels and getting rid of antinutrients causing inflammation and digestive problems. But that’s not all.

The No-Carb No-Sugar Diet: Everything You Need to Know
Highlights
  • On a no-carb no-sugar diet, you need to consume zero carbohydrates.
  • This diet can improve inflammatory diseases, mood, and heart health, boost weight loss, and help digestion and fertility.
  • You need to avoid all plant-based foods and focus on animal products.
  • In the early stages of cutting carbohydrates, some people may experience fatigue, nausea, and disrupted sleep.

What Is the No-Carb No-Sugar Diet?

A no-carb no-sugar diet is the most limited version of all-meat ketogenic diets, like standard Keto and Carnivore, which eliminate carbohydrates and focus on fat and protein.

Your daily calories on a no-sugar no-carb diet come from fat and protein, i.e., the macronutrient ratio is about 70-80% fat, 20-30% protein, and 0% carbohydrates. But how does this diet differ from the Keto and Carnivore diets?

How Is the No-Carb No-Sugar Diet Different from the Keto Diet?

The rules of the standard Keto and no-carb no-sugar diets are almost the same, but on a Keto diet, you can consume 5-10% carbohydrates daily, while the carb intake in a no-carb no-sugar diet is zero.

Also, the standard Keto diet allows low-carb vegetables, but a no-carb no-sugar diet excludes all plant-based foods.

No-Carb No-Sugar Diet vs. the Carnivore Diet

A no-carb no-sugar diet is a restricted version of the Carnivore diet and is also called a high-fat, all-meat, or zero-carb diet.

On a Carnivore diet, beginners usually decrease the daily carb intake to about 5-10%, but on a no-carb no-sugar diet, you consume zero carbohydrates.

But why should you eliminate carbohydrates and sugar?

Learn More: A Zero-Carb Diet: All You Need to Know

Dr. Eric Westman, Obesity Medicine Specialist:

"Eliminating carbs and sugars can lead to significant weight loss and improved metabolic health. However, it's important to ensure you're getting adequate nutrients from other sources."

The Effects of Cutting Carbs and Sugar from Your Diet

  • Improved Digestive Issues
  • Lower Risk of Metabolic Disorders
  • Decreased Inflammation
  • Weight Loss
  • Higher Energy Levels
  • Improved Mood and Reduced Anxiety
  • Improved Markers of Heart Health
  • Positive Effects of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Lower Fertility Issues

Improved Digestive Issues

Going on a no-sugar no-carb diet can improve digestive issues by eliminating all carbohydrates and sugar, especially fiber. Despite common beliefs, research indicates that fiber can act like an antinutrient and upset the gut by blocking the absorption of nutrients. [1] [2].

Lower Risk of Metabolic Disorders

Consuming carbohydrates regularly can cause metabolic syndrome [3].

Decreased Inflammation

Regular consumption of processed foods, added sugars, and industrial vegetable oils can lead to various inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, bowel disorders, epithelial cell cancers, and even infertility [4] [5]. A study on type 2 diabetics compared the impacts of a low-carb vs. a low-fat diet and reported that the low-carb diet led to significant reductions in inflammation [6].

Dr. Robert Lustig, Pediatric Endocrinologist:

"Reducing sugar intake can have profound effects on metabolic health, reducing the risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease."

Weight Loss

Recent research indicates that restricting carbohydrates can lead to ketosis, where the body’s energy source shifts from fatty acids and glucose to fatty acids and ketones, which reduces appetite and boosts weight loss [7].

Higher Energy Levels

A review study analyzing various research on the effects of avoiding carbs and energy indicates that diets low in carbohydrates can improve energy levels and reduce fatigue [8].

Improved Mood and Reduced Anxiety

Studies show that a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD), together with regular physical activity, can improve mood and lower anxiety [9] [10].

Improved Markers of Heart Health

Studies suggest that patients with type 2 diabetes who received treatment, including nutritional ketosis for about 12 months, experienced improvements in most biomarkers of cardiovascular disease [11].

Positive Effects of Type 2 Diabetes

Studies show that consuming carbohydrates can increase insulin needs, and lowering the intake of dietary carbohydrates can improve glycemic control [12]. Another study investigating the effects of diet on type 2 diabetes found that nutritional ketosis (induced by removing carbs and increasing fat and protein intake) can improve glycemic control and weight loss in adults with type 2 diabetes while significantly reducing their need for medications [13].

Lower Fertility Issues

A study on 18,555 women showed that those who consumed the most total carbohydrates were at a 78% higher risk of anovulatory infertility. The results of this study suggest that a diet focusing on minimizing or avoiding carbohydrates can help fertility [14].

Summary

A no-carb no-sugar diet can help improve digestive health, lower metabolic diseases and inflammation, boost weight loss, improve energy levels, mood, markers of heart health, and diabetes, and help fertility issues.

Despite these findings, some people believe that a balanced diet must include vegetables and carbohydrates. So, how safe is a no-carb no-sugar diet?

Is Following a No-Carb No-Sugar Diet Safe?

The short answer is yes, as our bodies can function properly without plant-based foods and gain all the necessary nutrients from animal-based products. Let’s review some studies on the effects of plant- and animal-based foods.

  • Although many may think we must consume carbohydrates and greens to survive, high-carbohydrate and starchy diets have increased obesity, cardiometabolic disease, and the risk of chronic diseases [15].
  • We do not need carbohydrates to survive, only fat and protein. According to the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, “The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed.” [16]
  • Avoiding plant-based foods saves us from plant toxins, which are natural pesticides found in plants. Gluten, lectins, and phytates in plants can cause intestinal permeability or leaky gut, which results in severe inflammation by entering harmful pathogens into our bloodstream [17].
  • Red meat, seafood, and animal-based fats are rich in macro and micronutrients, many of which are found only in no-carb animal products [18] [19].
  • Animal foods are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E, D3, B12, Riboflavin, Vitamin A (Retinol), Heme iron, Vitamin K2 (mk-4), Taurine, Creatine, Carnitine, Carnosine, Zinc, and Calcium [20] [21].
  • Also, despite common beliefs, various research shows no significant connection between saturated fat and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, death from heart attacks, and cancer [22] [23] [24] [25].
  • Studies suggest that total meat consumption can result in greater life expectancy, regardless of total caloric intake, economic status, urban advantages, and obesity [26].
  • Studies indicate that low-carb, high-fat, meat-based diets can have more positive effects on cardiovascular health, weight loss, and blood sugar regulation than vegetarian diets [27] [28].

Do these health benefits imply that you should have a certain health condition to try a no-carb no-sugar diet?

Keri Glassman, Registered Dietitian:

"A no-carb, no-sugar diet can be effective for weight loss and managing blood sugar levels. However, it's essential to focus on nutrient-dense foods to avoid deficiencies."

Who Should Follow a No-Carb No-Sugar Diet?

You don’t have to have specific health concerns to follow this diet. Anybody who tries to have a healthy lifestyle can go on a no-carb no-sugar diet after consulting a healthcare professional.

This diet can be specifically beneficial for those dealing with inflammation, diabetes, obesity, and digestive problems.

As obesity and diabetes are two of the most common health problems these days, causing many other health issues, let’s find out how cutting carbs and sugar can help us with these two problems.

Can a No-Carb No-Sugar Diet Help with Weight Loss?

Yes, a no-carb no-sugar diet can help us lose weight for many reasons.

  • Substituting carbohydrates with protein or fat can increase satiety, which helps you eat less and consume fewer overall calories, which can lead to weight loss [29] [30] [31].
  • Very-low-carb (VLC) diets can result in quick weight loss because of decreased body weight, as each gram of carbohydrates holds about three grams of water [32] [33].
  • A six-month study on 79 obese adults grouped the participants into carb-restricted and fat-restricted diets. The results indicated that the participants who limited their carbohydrate intake to fewer than 30 grams a day lost about 8.8 pounds more than those who limited fat to fewer than 30% a day [34].
  • Another study indicates that weight loss after very low-carb or ketogenic diets is more sustainable than weight loss from low-fat diets [35].

Learn More: Can I Lose Weight on a Carnivore Diet? How Much? How Fast?

No-Carb No-Sugar Diet Helps Weight Loss

A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants on a very low-carb diet experienced 2-3 times greater weight loss over six months compared to those on a low-fat diet.

Is the No-Carb No-Sugar Diet Good for Diabetes?

Avoiding carbohydrates, especially refined carbs and sugar, can help blood sugar control, which is important for diabetic patients [36].

A 6-month study on 49 obese type 2 diabetics found that the participants who were on a Keto diet experienced significant improvements in glycemic control and needed fewer or no medications than those who weren’t on a Keto diet [37].

So, to reach all the benefits of cutting carbohydrates and sugar, what should we eat and avoid on a no-carb no-sugar diet?

Foods You Can Eat on a No-Carb No-Sugar Diet

The foods you can eat on a no-carb no-sugar diet include

  • Ruminant meats like beef, lamb, bison, and pork
  • Seafood and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and anchovy
  • Poultry like chicken, duck, and turkey
  • No-carb organ meats like chicken liver
  • Eggs
  • Limited dairies like cheese and butter
  • Animal fats like tallow, ghee, and lard, and
  • Zero-carb drinks.

To know the carbohydrate, sugar, calorie, protein, and fat content in 100 grams of these foods, you can check the following table [38] [39] [40] [41].

FoodSugarCarbohydrateCalorieProteinFat
Ground Beef (raw) 0 g 0 g 254 kcal 17.2 g 20 g
Ground Lamb (raw) 0 g 0 g 282 kcal 16.6 g 23.4 g
Ground Bison (raw) 0 g 0.05 g 146 kcal 20.2 g 7.21 g
Ground Pork (raw) 0 g 0 g 228 kcal 17.8 g 17.5 g
Salmon (raw) 0 g 0 g 127 kcal 20.5 g 4.4 g
Mackerel (raw) 0 g 0 g 205 kcal 18.6 g 13.9 g
Anchovy (raw) 0 g 0 g 131 kcal 20.4 g 4.84 g
Chicken Breast (raw) 0 g 0 g 106 kcal 22.5 g 1.93 g
Duck (raw) 0 g 0 g 404 kcal 11.5 g 39.3 g
Ground Turkey (raw) 0 g 0 g 153 kcal 17.3 g 9.59 g
Chicken Liver (raw) 0 g 0.73 g 119 kcal 19.6 g 4.83 g
Egg Whole (raw) 0.37 g 0.72 g 143 kcal 12.6 g 9.51 g
Brie Cheese 0.45 g 0.45 g 334 kcal 20.8 g 27.7 g
Butter (unsalted) 0.06 g 0.06 g 717 kcal 0.85 g 81.1 g
Beef Tallow 0 g 0 g 902 kcal 0 g 100 g
Ghee 0 g 0 g 900 kcal 0 g 100 g
Lard 0 g 0 g 902 kcal 0 g 100 g

Learn More: Carnivore Diet Food List, What Foods Can I Eat?

The Low-Carb Low-Sugar Diet Foods to Avoid

You need to avoid the sources of carbohydrates, including

  • Grains like wheat, rice, oats, and quinoa, and grain products like bread and pasta
  • Sweets and baked goods like candies, cookies, and cakes
  • Fruits like bananas, apples, avocados, etc.
  • Vegetables like carrots, spinach, tomatoes, etc.
  • Vegetable oils like coconut and olive oil (as they cause inflammation)
  • Nuts like almond, walnut, and hazelnut
  • Seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seed
  • Juices like apple and orange juice
  • Legumes like red beans, kidney beans, soy, etc. 
  • Dairy with carbs like milk
  • Condiments like ketchup, salad dressings, sauces, and
  • Alcoholic beverages (Low-Carb Wine: The 10 Best Red and White Wines)

The following table shows the carbohydrate, sugar, calorie, protein, fat, and fiber content in 100 grams of these foods [42] [43] [44] [45].

FoodSugarCarbohydrateCalorieProteinFatFiber
Wheat Flour 0 g 71.2 g 370 kcal 15.1 g 2.73 g 10.6 g
White Rice (raw) 0 g 80.3 g 359 kcal 7.04 g 1.03 g 0.1 g
White Bread 5.34 g 49.2 g 267 kcal 9.43 g 3.59 g 2.3 g
Pasta (dry) 2.67 g 74.7 g 371 kcal 13 g 1.51 g 3.2 g
Candy (hard) 62.9 g 98 g 394 kcal 0 g 0.2 g 0 g
Cookie (fortune) 45.4 g 84 g 378 kcal 4.2 g 2.7 g 1.6 g
Banana 15.8 g 23 g 98 kcal 0.74 g 0.29 g 1.7 g
Apple 13.3 g 15.6 g 65 kcal 0.15 g 0.16 g 2.1 g
Spinach 0 g 2.64 g 28 kcal 2.91 g 0.6 g 1.6 g
Tomato (grape) 0 g 5.51 g 31 kcal 0.83 g 0.63 g 2.1 g
Coconut Oil 0 g 0.84 g 895 kcal 0 g 99.1 g 0 g
Almond 0 g 20 g 626 kcal 21.4 g 51.1 g 10.8 g
Sunflower 0 g 24.5 g 609 kcal 18.9 g 48.4 g 7.2 g
Orange Juice 8.28 g 10.3 g 47 kcal 0.73 g 0.32 g 0 g
Kidney Beans 0 g 4.3 g 0 kcal 25.9 g 1.31 g 4.3 g
Milk 4.81 g 4.63 g 61 kcal 3.27 g 3.2 g 0 g
Ketchup 21.8 g 26.8 g 117 kcal 1.11 g 0.55 g 0 g

What is the other side of the story? Are there any side effects to a no-sugar no-carb diet?

The Side Effects of the No-Sugar No-Carb Diet

  • If you consume carbohydrates, then carbs are your main source of energy. Sometimes, a no-carb diet may decrease energy levels and cause fatigue in some people in the beginning [46].
  • The metabolic shifts happening in your body as a result of avoiding carbohydrates can lead to poor mental function, nausea, and disrupted sleep in some individuals [47].
  • Some also worry about a lack of fiber and plant-based nutrients. However, research shows that fiber is not as effective as you may think [48]. Also, we can gain all the necessary nutrients from animal-based foods, especially organ meats and bone broth [49].

Not consuming carbohydrates and sugar can cause blood sugar drops in some people. So, how can we overcome this issue without consuming sugar and carbs?

What to Do When the Blood Sugar Drops?

  • Consult a healthcare professional before starting the diet to see if it aligns with your health status and goals, especially if you’re diabetic.
  • Eat regular, nutritious meals.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Snack on protein-rich foods between meals to help maintain stable blood sugar levels.

So, if you’re considering going on a no-carb no-sugar diet, you need to know how to minimize your carb and sugar consumption and finally stop them.

How to Cut Back on Sugar and Carbs?

  • You must eat a lot of fat. Learn how to increase your fat intake with a High-Fat Carnivore Diet.
  • Your daily caloric intake from protein must not exceed 20-30% as it may cause protein poisoning [50] [51].
  • Consume lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, and leaner cuts of meat like beef, lamb, pork, and game meat.
  • Avoid added sugars. If you see any of the following words on food labels, it means they contain added sugars, so you should avoid them on a no-carb, no-sugar diet.
Agave JuiceFructoseMaple
Flo-malt Fructose sweetener Maple syrup
Corn sweetener Glaze and icing sugar Maple sugar
Edible lactose Glaze icing sugar Mizuame
Dried raisin Gomme Molasses
Date sugar Golden syrup Nulomoline
Agave nectar Granular sweetener Rice syrup
Agave sap Granulated sugar Sorghum
Agave syrup High-fructose corn Sorghum syrup
Beet syrup Syrup Starch sweetener
Brown rice syrup Honey Powdered sugar
Brown sugar Honi-bake Sucrose
Cane juice Honi-flake Sugar beet
Cane sugar Inverted sugar Sugar invert
Clintose Isoglucose Sugar ‘n’ neat
Confectioner’s Isomaltulose Table sugar
Confectioner’s sugar Kona-ame Treacle
Corn syrup Lactose Trehalose
Corn glucose Liquid sweetener Trusweet
Powdered sugar Malt Turbinado sugar
Sweetener Malt sweetener Versatose
Malt syrup Maltose Suconat

To help you get started, I’ve provided a sample 10-day no-carb no-sugar diet meal plan.

10-Day No-Carb No-Sugar Diet Meal Plan

You can modify this sample 10-day meal plan based on your preferences. Just remember that it can include no sources of carbohydrates or sugar.

Day 1

Breakfast:

  • Scrambled eggs cooked in butter
  • Bacon strips

Lunch:

  • Grilled chicken thighs with skin
  • Pork rinds

Dinner:

  • Ribeye steak

Day 2

Breakfast:

  • Omelet with cheese, cooked in ghee
  • Sausage links

Lunch:

  • Tuna salad with Carnivore mayonnaise
  • Hard-boiled eggs

Dinner:

  • Salmon fillet

Day 3

Breakfast:

  • Ham and cheese roll-ups
  • Black coffee

Lunch:

  • Beef burger patties (without buns)

Dinner:

  • Lamb chops cooked in ghee
No-Carb No-Sugar Diet Helps Blood Sugar Control

According to a 2021 study in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, individuals following a no-carb, no-sugar diet showed a significant reduction in HbA1c levels, indicating improved blood sugar control.

Day 4

Breakfast:

  • Scrambled eggs with diced ham

Lunch:

  • Chicken wings with hot sauce (no sugar)
  • Pork rinds

Dinner:

  • T-bone steak

Day 5

Breakfast:

  • Sausage and egg breakfast casserole
  • Black coffee

Lunch:

  • Turkey slices with cream cheese

Dinner:

  • Grilled pork chops with garlic butter

Day 6

Breakfast:

  • Bacon and eggs

Lunch:

  • Shrimp cooked in butter
  • Hard-boiled eggs

Dinner:

  • Beef stir-fry cooked in beef tallow

Day 7

Breakfast:

  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese
  • Black coffee

Lunch:

  • Chicken drumsticks with skin
  • Pork rinds

Dinner:

  • Prime rib roast

Day 8

Breakfast:

  • Ground beef cooked in butter
  • Bacon strips

Lunch:

  • Turkey and cheese roll-ups
  • Side of beef jerky

Dinner:

  • Grilled lamb chops with ghee

Day 9

Breakfast:

  • Scrambled eggs with chorizo
  • Black coffee

Lunch:

  • Salmon patties
  • Beef liver

Dinner:

  • Beef ribeye steak cooked in beef fat

Day 10

Breakfast:

  • Egg salad with bacon bits
  • Herbal tea

Lunch:

  • Chicken liver pâté with pork rinds

Dinner:

  • Grilled veal chops with ghee

But if we’re eating all these animal-based foods and are not allowed to eat carbohydrates and sugar, what should we do if we crave sweets?

Learn More: Carnivore Diet Meal Plan: Your 30-Day Free Beginner Guide

No-Carb No-Sugar Foods for When Craving Sweets

  • Sugar-free gum
  • Snacks or desserts sweetened with stevia
  • Whipped heavy cream sweetened with a sugar substitute like stevia
  • Sugar-free flavored water or herbal teas

Summary

A no-carb no-sugar diet is a restricted version of the Carnivore diet, which can help reduce inflammation, boost weight loss, and improve digestive health.

If you’re considering going on this diet, you should consult a healthcare professional first, especially if you have health issues like diabetes.

Combining a nutritious diet with a healthy lifestyle and regular physical activity can help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

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