The Low-Carb Food Lists

The Low-Carb Food Lists

‘People Who Love To Eat Are Always The Best People.’

– Julia Child

The Low-Carb Food Lists are an easy, efficient, colour-coded way to comprehend the foods to be embraced (Green, Orange), wary of (Yellow, Grey, Red) and avoid (Black) when following a low-carb lifestyle.

These lists are compiled taking into account not only the carbohydrate content of foods, but also their positive and negative health effects. And so it could be that there are Green-listed foods with a higher carb and sugar content than foods on the Orange or Red lists for sound dietary and nutritional reasons.

There are a total of 5 food lists: Green, Orange, Yellow, Red, Grey, Black.

‘Food Is Our Common Ground, A Universal Experience.’

– James Beard

The Low-Carb Food Lists Infographic

Although foods on the Red List are high in carbs, they contain no sugar nor gluten and are not considered unhealthy in all other respects. People who reach the Maintenance Phase of the low-carb lifestyle and wish to increase their carb intake, can enjoy these foods without any health concerns. They should still monitor their weight, however, for any changes brought on by eating foods from the Red List.

Foods on the Grey List are those we have mixed feelings about. Although they aren’t necessarily high in sugar or carbs, they may not be real nor healthy. The items on this list await endorsement for the time being.


The Green Food List


These foods may be enjoyed during all 5 phases. Eat until satisfied. Don’t worry if initially you overeat out of habit, your appestat could be out of sync. This will come right in time.

The Green List includes the following:

  • All naturally fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut)
  • Selected vegetables
  • All seafood, poultry, meats, game, eggs and offal
  • All naturally cured meats
  • All animal-derived fats, nut and fruit oils
  • Water
  • All caffeine-free, sugar-free and additive-free drinks
  • Homemade naturally flavoured waters
  • All low-carb and homemade vinegars, condiments and flavourings
  • All hard cheeses (e.g. mature cheddar)

The Orange Food List


These foods generally contain more carbs than those on the Green List, but are otherwise healthy. These foods can be enjoyed to satisfaction during Preparation, Induction and Healing. Eat them cautiously during the Maintenance phase and follow the recommended portions and limitations for these food types. Eat only one item per day.

The Orange List includes the following:

  • All fresh dairy products (e.g. cream, milk, yoghurt, cream cheese, soft cheeses)
  • Non-dairy milks (e.g. rice, almond and coconut milk)
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Low-fructose fruits

The Yellow Food List


These foods are generally higher in carbs and have a stronger effect on one’s blood sugar than those items on the Green and Orange Lists, but are healthy in most other regards. Eat until satisfied during Preparation, Induction, Healing and cautiously during Maintenance. Not recommended during the Transformation phase.

The Yellow List includes the following:

  • Coffee
  • Caffeinated tea
  • All fruits
  • Seed and nut flours
  • Certain treats and chocolate

The Red Food List


These food items can be eaten freely during Preparation and Induction. The Red foods are prohibited during Healing and Transformation. Try to eat sparingly from this list – or as often as your body will allow – during the Maintenance phase. Think of these foods as ‘you wouldn’t say no to this when at a dinner party’.

The Red List includes the following:

  • Gluten-free grains
  • Gluten-free grain products
  • Higher-carb gluten-free flours
  • Legumes and pulses
  • Certain treats

The Grey Food List


Be wary of these foods as they may not necessarily be real nor low in carbohydrates. It is recommended to indulge in these food items only when the occasion calls. Regardless of your interest in the consumption of these items, the carb count is something to keep in mind.

The Grey List includes the following:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Protein shakes and supplements
  • Vegetarian proteins

The Black Food List


Eat freely during Preparation and Induction, then do your best never to eat them ever again! This really is the NO-YOU-CAN’T-EAT-THIS list. It’s called the Black List for a reason. These are the food items that will make you seeing black and land you in the grave. The Black List consists of the foods that have driven the obesity epidemic: foods high in sugar and carbohydrates and/or unhealthy in some way. You are strongly advised to avoid all the food items on this list.

The Black List includes the following:

  • All flours and breads made from grains containing gluten
  • All biscuits, cereals, bars, crackers, crisps and chips
  • All soft drinks, energy drinks, juices and any drinks containing sugar
  • All shortenings and seed oils
  • All highly processed meats (e.g. polonies)
  • All high-carb sweets
  • All confectionary and non-dark chocolates
  • All sugar replacements, malts, blossoms, artificial sweeteners, nectars and fructose
  • All food that contains added sugar
  • All deep-fried foods


The best policy is to cook and eat normal everyday food, to cook from scratch and not rely on takeaways and processed or pre-made foods. You may have to plan and cook certain meals in advance to get through a busy week. Use natural flavourings like salt, garlic and herbs. No packages or pre-mixes, limited snacks and fizzy drinks. Lots of fibrous vegetables with generous amounts of fat and moderate amounts of protein.

All recipes found on The Whimsical Rebel are awarded a carb status based on the carb content of the ingredients used. The carb status is derived from the ingredient with the highest carb content. For example, should a meal contain almond flour as the ingredient with the highest carb content, the recipe’s carb status will be Yellow.

We all have to eat, but what, how and when we eat affects both our health and happiness. It’s important to fuel and nourish ourselves with real wholefoods, meaning clean, unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. No preservatives, no additives and no artificial ingredients. Choose nutrient-rich food that serves as medicine for the body and soul.

‘Cooking With Love Provides Food For The Soul.’

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