Author Topic: Zero Carb - what does it mean and are there alternative terms?  (Read 18008 times)

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Offline PaleoPhil

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Zero Carb - what does it mean and are there alternative terms?
« on: October 18, 2010, 08:24:03 am »
"Zero carb" (ZC) as a term can be confusing, misleading, and divisive, but it remains popular, so I'll try to explain the term in an effort to minimize future confusion.

It's impossible to achieve literally zero carbs, because even meats contain trace amounts of carbs. Most ZCers know this, so ZC is really shorthand for a diet that tries to minimize carbs. However, different people have different definitions of ZC and some people's definitions, or at least the explanations of them, have changed in the past, so it's best to think of this as a rough label and not get too hung up on its meaning. For example, milk and yoghurt used to be prohibited at the ZIOH zero-carb-diet-promoting forum per Bear Stanley's dietary principles and because milk contains significant carbs. Liver and eggs used to be frowned upon at ZIOH, though I don't think they were prohibited, because they tend to contain significant amounts of carbs. [Update on 4.19.11: people at the Dirty Carnivore forum informed me that Charles W. and the ZIOH forum have reverted back to the original definition of ZC that excludes carb-containing dairy products like milk and yoghurt.]

Bear's original 7 milk-and-yoghurt-free rules that were still listed on ZIOH as of at least 07-20-2010:,358.msg11532.html#msg11532
3) On diary (sic): avoid milk and yoghurt (heavy carbs- lactose), use only pure (not 'thickened'- heavy) cream (read the label), cheese and unsalted butter.

% of calories as carbs, per Nutritiondata:
Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat: 30%
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw: 12%
Egg, whole, raw, fresh: 2%

Other less confusing related terms for rawists that do not imply that it's possible to eat literally zero carbs but do suggest an attempt to minimize them include:
- raw pure carnivore; raw 100% carnivore (RPC)
- raw obligate carnivore (ROC)
- raw meat diet (RMD); if this is meant to include liver, then it would fall into the category below

These could include more than 1% carbs, so they aren't technically exact alternatives to ZC, but come pretty close:
- raw carnivore (RC)
- raw facultative carnivore (RFC)
- raw animal foods (RAF)
- raw very low carb (RVLC)
- raw zero plant foods (RZPF)
- raw meat/organ diet (RMO)
- and others...


Raw Carnivore = what a carnivore would eat--meat, fat, organs, fish, shellfish, eggs, insects and some fruits, greens, seaweeds or honey if they are facultative (a carnivore that does not depend solely on animal foods). For example, the polar bear will eat kelp or berries if meat/fish is not available. A small amount of raw milk or kefir might fit too, since a carnivore/hunter might happen to kill and eat a lactating female animal, but dairy wouldn't typically be a staple (although some folks who call themselves carnivores or Zero Carbers eat dairy fat, such as butter). Technically, some carnivores like the Giant Panda and other bears eat omnivorous or herbivorous diets despite being classified as carnivores due to carnivorous taxonomy and morphology, but for the purposes of human diets people generally mean a diet heavy in animal flesh, with plant foods seen as a nonessential, medicinal or very minor aspect.
> facultative carnivore: a carnivore that may consume non-animal foods (but non-animal foods are not essential for its survival; examples: canids, lorids, most bears--some prefer to call facultatively carnivorous bears "omnivores," though "omnivore" is not a truly scientific term). "When other food is unavailable, polar bears sometimes eat muskox, reindeer, small rodents, seabirds, shellfish, fish, eggs, kelp, berries, ...."
> obligate carnivore: a carnivore that depends solely on the nutrients found in animal flesh for its survival (it may consume some plants, but only for medicinal or other non-nutritive purposes; example: the big cats)

Raw Dirty Carnivore = raw carnivore plus a small amount of foods that are acknowledged as not carnivorous (ex: dairy fat as a staple); very similar to raw facultative carnivore, with a somewhat looser definition

Raw Animal Foods = meat, fat, organs, fish, shellfish, eggs, insects + dairy is often a staple; generally no or negligible plant foods; I would think that honey could be included; seaweeds are are a sort of combination of plant and animal, so I'm guessing that they're not included; I'm also guessing that fungi are not included, which are neither plants nor animals

Raw Zero Plant Foods = literally what it says (everything but plant foods); add fungi to RAF and add seaweeds if RAF is not considered to include them; this term was just recently invented at this forum, I think, so I doubt that many are using it

[Post edited to make it more of an information post suitable to a sticky]
« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 05:41:08 am by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs)
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb


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