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List of No-Starch Foods

author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
List of No-Starch Foods
A crate of fresh sardines on a dock at a harbor. Photo Credit: sahilu/iStock/Getty Images

Starches are complex carbohydrates in some foods, and no carbohydrate-free foods contain starches. Carbohydrate-containing foods might be free from starch if their carbohydrates are from sugars. Limiting your starch intake might help you control your calories or blood sugar levels, but keep in mind that some starchy foods are nutritious, and some starch-free foods are unhealthy.

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Beef and Poultry

Beef and poultry provide high-quality protein, and they are naturally carbohydrate-free, so they do not contain starches. All kinds of pure meats are acceptable on a starch-free diet, but fatty beef and dark-meat poultry with the skin are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Lean beef and white-meat, skinless chicken or turkey are better choices. A meat or poultry dish might contain starches if it is breaded, or if it is cooked in a sauce with cornstarch or potato starch as a thickener.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish are starch-free and carbohydrate-free, unless they're breaded or battered, and they provide protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Eat two servings per week of fatty fish, such as herring, sardines, tuna and salmon, to lower your risk for heart disease, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Fatty fish are natural sources of vitamin D, which is a healthy nutrient for bones because it helps your body absorb and use calcium.

Dairy Products

Dairy products can be starch-free even though they contain carbohydrates because the natural carbohydrate in milk is a sugar called lactose. Milk, cheese and yogurt can be starch-free, and they are excellent sources of calcium. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products to limit your intake of saturated fat, and get three servings per day to meet recommendations, for a 2,000-calorie diet, from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Flavored dairy products, such as ice cream or fruit-flavored yogurt, might contain small amounts of starch.


Pure fats are free from starches because they do not contain any carbs. Choosing unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats can lower levels of cholesterol in your blood and reduce your risk for heart disease. Sunflower, safflower, corn, soybean, canola and olive oils are all heart-healthy choices because they provide polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These oils also provide vitamin E. Limit your intake of butter, palm oil and coconut oil because they are highly saturated.

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