Which low-carb foods are the best and worst?
Whether or not a low-carb diet is true will depend on your own physiology and goals, and will always be discussed with your doctor. If you prefer to go on a low-carb diet to achieve your short-term health goals, as with the other diet, there is a healthy and unhealthy thank you for doing so. Article: Low-Carb Foods: The Best and Worst in 2021
It is important to prioritize the nutritional value of what you eat, not just the carbohydrate content on the internet.
Here are the simplest foods to eat (and the ones to avoid) to snack on carbs without harming your health …
10 Low-Carb Foods to Try
Nature has the most basic low-carb diets. They’ve been treated to a minimum and are free of needless chemicals, additives, and pesticides.
Vegetables contain some carbohydrates, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid them!
Vegetables are an essential component of a balanced diet. They’re still rich in fiber, which means they’re lower in net carbs, which is what you’re looking for on an LCHF diet.
Loading up a day with leafy greens and colorful low-carb veggies will ensure you’re getting plenty of disease-fighting antioxidants.
As a general rule of thumb, vegetables that grow above ground tend to have fewer net carbs. There are a couple of exceptions, of course, like pumpkins that grow above ground but are higher in carbs.
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Green beans
- Bok choy
Nuts and Seeds
These wonderful little foods are packed with good fats and nutrients that promote health and weight loss.
They are high in omega-3 fatty acids, known to support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response, and are also rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to support healthy blood glucose regulation. (two)
- chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Pili nuts (the lowest carb nut!)
- Macadamia nuts
Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense natural sources of protein (6 grams per egg), containing all 9 essential amino acids and 14 key nutrients.
Although they are high in cholesterol, this may not affect your heart health as previously thought. This is often because eggs contain phospholipids that have been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. (3)
Seafood and Pasture-Raised Meat
Meat and seafood contain zero carbohydrates and are excellent sources of protein and healthy fats.
Opt for grass-fed meats and poultry, and avoid conventionally raised meats that are noticeably less nutritious and better in inflammatory fats. These animals are raised in unsanitary conditions, fed unnatural, nutrient-poor diets, and given antibiotics and growth hormones.
Enjoy wild-caught shellfish and limit shellfish and larger fish like tuna, which tend to contain higher levels of heavy metals like mercury.
Fermented foods have been a staple for hundreds of years in most diets around the planet, and good reason!
These foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha, are rich in beneficial bacteria that play a crucial role in digestion and gut health. (5)
Many of those gut-healthy foods are low carb, but be sure to read the labels! Kombuchas, especially, often contain added fruit mash or perhaps sugar for flavor, which increases your carb count significantly.
Fats are an important component of a successful low-carbohydrate diet.
They fill you up without spiking your blood glucose, which helps control sugar cravings.
Today’s experts agree that a diet rich in healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids) is best for supporting metabolic health, weight management, and overall vitality.
And if the keto craze has proven anything, it’s that eating just fat doesn’t make you fat!
- Extra virgin vegetable oil
- Coconut oil
- Butter or ghee from grass-fed animals
- Hemp oil
- Linseed oil
- Avocado oil
Collagen, amino acids, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium are abundant in this common diet.
Adequate water intake is important to maintain your energy and overall health. Any of those sugar-free drinks are also usually a healthy component of a low-carb diet.
- Water or sparkling water
- Black coffee
- Tea is a beverage that is drunk in (black tea, green tea, herbal tea, rooibos, etc.)
- Unsweetened nut milk
100% Dark Chocolate/Cacao
If you need an excuse to keep chocolate in your low carb lifestyle, here it is:
Cocoa can be a rich source of flavonoids, chemical compounds that will help healthily regulate blood glucose and even help your heart.
Choose a minimum of 70% cocoa to ensure the sugar/carb count is minimal. There are also some keto-friendly bittersweet chocolate bars sweetened with natural calorie-free sweeteners like stevia.
The quality of carbohydrates we consume can greatly affect our health number of carbohydrates.
After all, it’s the fast-digesting refined carbohydrates, not the high-fiber sources, that will wreak havoc on our overall health. (8)
If you are limiting your carb intake but not on a strict ketogenic diet, you will want to include some nutrient-dense carbs and not spike your blood glucose like processed carbs.
- Starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, beets, celeriac, parsnips)
- Berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)
- Low carb fruit (melon, citrus, kiwi)
- Beans and lentils
Low-Carb Recipes at Their Worst
A nonprofit group called the Clean Label Project tested 134 top-selling protein powders for contaminants, and therefore the results were alarming.
Many contained heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury), bisphenol-A (BPA), pesticides, or other compounds associated with undesirable health conditions.
Lead and cadmium, for example, were detected in 70% and 74% of the samples, respectively.
One protein powder contained more than 25 times the regulatory limit for BPA! This known hormone disruptor has been linked to cancer and birth defects.
Skip the protein shakes and choose naturally high protein foods like eggs or nuts.
Low Carb Tortillas & Bread
On a low-carb diet, tortillas and light bread? When something seems to be too good to be real, it most definitely is.
These “low carb” imitation bread and tortilla pieces are made with highly refined, artificial, and/or chemically altered compounds like modified wheat starch, vital gluten, and hydrogenated vegetable oils.
It’s best to use a lettuce wrap for your taco.
Vegetable Oils and Spreads
This includes refined oils (canola, peanuts, corn, soybeans), margarine and “butter” spreads, and shortening.
These industrially processed vegetable fats are often hydrogenated, creating harmful trans fats. They are also disproportionately high in Omega 6 fats versus Omega 3. (9)
Omega-6 fats can promote inflammation and be linked to chronic inflammatory diseases and obesity. (10)
It may not contain carbohydrates, but, according to the Planet Health Organization, there is compelling evidence that processed meat is often linked to a host of unwanted health conditions.
Meat that has been “transformed by salting, drying, fermenting, burning, or other methods to maximize taste or increase longevity” is referred to as processed meat. (eighth)
This includes sausage, hot dogs, jerky, bacon, salami, pepperoni, and cold cuts.
With flavors like cakes, cookies, and cream, it’s easy to determine how most low-carb protein bars aren’t exactly health foods.
These highly processed products are loaded with unnatural additives and fillers like emulsifiers (lecithin, xanthan gum, etc.) that have been shown to affect the gut microbiome and should cause intestinal inflammation. (12)
Of course, there are some “clean label” bars made with ingredients like almond butter, collagen, and copra oil. These contain fewer additives and are a much better alternative to the occasional packaged low-carb snacks.
Highly processed cheeses, like cheese, are pasteurized and generally not organic.
Pasteurizing dairy products removes many of the natural bacteria and enzymes that promote gut health. (13)
You may also want to avoid dairy products that are not certified organic, as any of the following are often used in raising livestock for the production of non-organic dairy: (14)
- Animal medications, including hormones, promote growth.
- Plastic pellets for fodder
- Urea or manure added to food.
- Fed with animal by-products such as animal fats and recycled products.
- Supplements or additives in the above amounts necessary for nutrition and health.
Low carb versions of traditionally high carb junk food are still junk food!
Packaged cookies, cakes, and muffins are ultra-processed and made with bloating sugar alcohols and potentially inflammatory refined vegetable oils.
These processed junk foods provide no nutritional value and crowd out other health-promoting calories in your diet.
They feature attractive labels like “6g net carbs” and are very convenient, but the ingredient labels reveal why most of those packaged meals will cost your health in the long run.
Here’s an honest rule of thumb: If you can’t pronounce it, you almost certainly shouldn’t eat it!
This does not mean that organic vegetables and quality meats are not good food shortcuts to stay in the freezer! Just avoid meticulous dinner-style meals on television.
“Diet” and “zero calories” drinks are generally sweetened with artificial sweeteners.
They may be low in net carbs, but studies show that artificial sweeteners can encourage sugar cravings and sugar dependence and contribute to weight gain. (fifteen)
Recent research also shows that non-caloric artificial sweeteners actually disrupt the gut microbiome, which can cause glucose intolerance. (sixteen)
Keto Fast Food
Breadless burgers, rice-free burrito bowls, naked salads – there are certainly ways to ask for LCHF complaints at fast-food restaurants!
Nutrients, on the other hand, are intended to be addictive and inexpensive rather than safe. It’s rich in salt, saturated fat, and preservatives, but low in nutrition, antioxidants, and other important nutrients.
Frequent consumption of fast food is linked to systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. It also increases the danger of a host of undesirable health conditions. (17)
LCHF diets might also be better for short-term goals, rather than long-term lifestyles, as whole-food carbohydrates are a crucial component of human nutrition.
If you are planning to follow a low-carb diet, it is helpful to ensure that it is composed primarily of whole foods to avoid potential nutrient deficiencies and the long-term health consequences of highly processed foods.
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