6 Foods That Have More Carbs Than You Think

Often when people stall in their weight loss or stop getting other benefits from low-carb diets, the problem is "carb creep"—the insidious tendency to gradually increase the amount of carbohydrate in the diet, often without being totally aware of it. Of course, if you are getting muffins at your local coffee shop, hopefully, you are aware of it!  But there are foods that are relatively low in carbs that people following low-carb ways of eating start thinking are "free foods." These are foods that are low in carbohydrate but still, have enough that it will trip you up if you eat too much.  These are the top foods I see that trip, people, up.

Nuts and Seeds

Flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds
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They're nutritious, they are low-carb, they are tasty—what's not to love? While some nuts and seeds (like flax seeds and chia seeds) do have a very little net carb, others, like cashews, actually have quite a lot of starch. An ounce of cashews has 8 grams of net carbohydrate—very far from zero. Here is a chart of the carb, fiber, fats, and calories in various nuts and seeds.


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One of the delights of low-carb eating is that we can eat cheese again! But not an unlimited amount! An ounce of Mozzarella or cream cheese has a little less than a gram of carb. Brie has less, whereas processed cheeses tend to have more, sometimes over 2 grams per ounce. 

On Atkins Induction, a limit of 4 oz per day is recommended.


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You can read it right there on the label - zero grams of carb per serving! Hurray! But...uh oh...this is one of those classic "serving size" problems. If it is less than one gram per serving they can legally say "zero." But what if it is ever-so-slightly less than 1 gram? Then you can run into a problem. A cup of heavy cream has 6.6 grams of carbohydrate, which is about half a gram per tablespoon. Half and half has 10.4 grams per cup. So don't just dump it in your coffee willy-nilly. And by the way, sour cream is almost the same as half and half.

Carbs in Dairy Products and Milk Substitutes

Some Non-Starchy Vegetables

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Vegetables are so good for us, but it is possible to get carried away. Vegetables that are roots (like beets and parsnips) tend to be the carbiest (but not always: radishes are very low in carbohydrate). Also, watch for vegetables which are the fruit of the plant, such as squash, tomatoes, and eggplant.  You can eat some, but be careful not to go way aboard.

This vegetable list is roughly from the least to the most carbohydrate, and this list has a quick tip to help you remember.


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Yes, we tend to know that fruits tend to have quite a bit of sugar, but we also know that berries have the least. Still, it pays to watch your serving sizes of even the low-sugar fruits. Half a cup of strawberries still has twice the sugar as half a cup of tomatoes, so it can add up.

List of Low-to-High-Sugar Fruits


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Did you know that a tablespoon of ketchup has a teaspoon of sugar in it? That jam is almost all sugar? That BBQ sauce is usually outrageously high, and teriyaki sauce has quite a lot as well. Check your salad dressings and other bottled sauces—well, check all the labels.

Condiments in the Low-Carb Pantry

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