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Fat-Free & Carb-Free Foods

By Jay Schwartz

Fat-free foods are foods that have less than 0.5g of fat per serving, according to the U.S. government. There is no definition of carb free or carbohydrates free although product labels do inform consumers when foods are free of cholesterol, sodium and sugar. There are very few foods that have less than 0.5g of fat and carbohydrates.

Don't Eliminate Fat

A totally fat-free diet isn’t recommended because “some fat in the diet is needed to build parts of the body’s cells, particularly the cell membranes,” reports “The Best of Health,” a book produced by “Consumer Reports.”

In the typical American diet, more than 40 percent of calories come from fat. Numerous health- and consumer-related organizations recommend that less than 30 percent of calories come from fat. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that people who have been unable to reduce their high cholesterol levels get only 7 percent of their calories from fat.

Carb-Free Not Recommended

A diet free of carbohydrates or even low in carbohydrates is not recommended by most nutritionists and governmental agencies. Approximately 30 percent of the calories in a typical American diet come from carbohydrates, but that number should be 55 percent, recommends the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution” recommends that people eat very few carbohydrates because they are responsible for obesity, a conclusion that most food experts disagree with.

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Fat-Free and Carb-Free

The list of foods with absolutely no fat and no carbohydrates is short, according to “Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease.” A chart in Ornish’s book lists more than 600 foods. Of those 600, the following are the only foods listed with zero fat and zero carbohydrates: baking soda, Sprite without sugar, Fresca, unflavored gelatin, low-calorie gelatin, gin, rum, vodka, whiskey and table salt.

Close to Zero Fat and Carbs

There are several kinds of fish that meet the U.S. government’s standards of fat-free foods and also have less than 0.5g of carbohydrates per serving. They are anchovies (0.3g fat, 0 carbohydrates), flounder (0.2g fat , 0g carbohydrates), haddock (0.1g fat, 0g carbohydrates), halibut (0.3g fat, 0g carbohydrates), scallops (0.3g fat, 0g carbohydrates), shrimp (0.2, 0.1g carbohydrates), snapper (0.3, 0g carbohydrates) and sole (0.2g fat, 0g carbohydrates).

Egg whites also meet the government’s fat-free definition and have only 0.4g of carbohydrates per serving. Other fat-free, carb-free foods are bouillon (0.1g fat, 0.2g carbohydrates), Tab (0g fat, 0.1g carbohydrates) and mustard (0.2g fat, 0.3g carbohydrates).

No Fats or Carbs

There are innumerable foods that qualify as fat-free, including most fruits and vegetables and a significant percentage of beans, cereals and breads.

There are also innumerable foods with few carbohydrates, including most meats, poultry, fish and cheeses.

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