If you have ever tried to lose weight on a low carb diet you will come realize pretty quickly that there are lots of carbohydrate foods. The key is getting the balance right. Try to base your meals around foods that high in protein but also low in carbs.
What are High Protein Low Carb Foods?
What are high protein, low carb foods, and, more to the point, why should you care?
We’re not dealing with rocket science here. Foods of this nature provide a lot of protein but have a very low percentage of carbohydrates.
People who are doing the Keto Diet often build their meals around high protein, low carb foods. They are also a good match for people following the Atkins Diet.
If you are dieting to lose weight, the potential value of high protein, low carb foods may seem questionable. After all, protein and carbohydrate provide the same amount of calories per gram.
Protein: 7 Calories Per Gram | Carbohydrate: 7 Calories Per Gram
Calories are a unit of energy. You use them to measure how much energy your body gets from food and how much it burns via exercise and to support all the important biological functions that keep us alive.
As fuel for the body, protein and carbs appear to be evenly matched so why would anyone choose one nutrient over the other?
There are two types of carbs simple and complex.
Why More Protein + Less Carbs May Be a Good Way to Go
There are two types of carbs simple and complex.
Simple carbs are basically sugars. The body processes them fast. That makes them good for providing a quick energy boost.
Complex carbs take longer to digest. This makes them better for providing energy over longer periods of time.
For a diabetic who needs to bring their blood sugar up, a candy bar would be an excellent choice.
A bowl of oatmeal (oats are a complex carb) would be a better option for a long-distance runner or anyone else who needed to sustain intense physical activity for long periods of time.
However, carbs only offer value as a source of energy. Protein is a vital cornerstone of nutrition.
As you are probably aware, the body uses it to build muscle. That’s not all protein is good for though.
The body also needs protein to repair tissues and organs. It uses it to make enzymes and sustain bones and cartilage too.
So, protein is more versatile than carbohydrates. That’s the bottom line. However, there are additional reasons why opting to eat more high protein, low carb foods can be beneficial. Especially when you are trying to lose weight.
How High Protein Foods Help with Weight Loss
Eating high protein foods is a good way to avoid hunger. Protein is more difficult to digests than carbohydrate—even the complex form.
Foods that contain protein are good for suppressing appetite and curbing hunger cravings.
Because it takes longer to digest, it stays in the stomach for longer, helping to keep it feeling nice and full. Compare that to a simple sugar that’s so easy to digest it melts in the mouth. [source]
Enhances Fat Burning
The idea that eating more protein can help with fat burning may seem pretty far out but it’s not a crazy as it seems.
The body has to expend energy to digest food. It doesn’t take much energy to digest simple carbs and sugar. Fat (9 calories per gram) is easy to digest too. As already established, protein is not.
When you choose high protein, low carb foods in preference to ones that are high in carbs or fat, it can help you to lose weight faster.
Let’s not forget carbs and proteins each provide seven calories per gram. They put the same amount of energy into the body but protein takes extra energy to digest. Scientists explain this by saying protein has a greater thermic effect.
When you are following a low-calorie diet and eating low calories foods, the higher energy consumption required to digest protein can increase the energy deficit in the body, causing a requirement to burn more fat.
Provides a Long-Term Metabolism Increase
Carbohydrate only provides energy. Protein helps you build muscle. We’re going over old ground here, but it’s such an important consideration it bears repeating.
When you are dieting, the body often burns a little muscle along with its stores of fat. Eating plenty of high protein foods can help prevent this from happening.
More importantly, eating plenty of protein-rich foods can also help you increase your existing muscle mass. This will be especially true if you are exercising regularly as part of your weight-management routine.
The body has to expend energy to maintain muscle mass. To put it another way, gaining muscle increases metabolism. Losing muscle retards metabolism.
We are not talking about fantastic leaps here but it’s always preferable to have an increase in metabolism over a reduction.
When your metabolic rate increases it allows you to burn extra calories 24 hours per day—even during sleep. [source]
High Protein Low Calorie Foods: Some Good Food Choices
When you are looking for suitable high protein, low carb foods to add to your diet, there are plenty of choices.
There are also many different ways you can prepare them so eating this type of diet should never be boring or dull.
1. Lean Meats
Lean meats are good a source of protein but do not provide any carbohydrate.
Chicken and turkey are excellent choices and, if you stick to the breast meat, there should be very little fat.
Lean cuts of pork are almost as good and, if you are partial to a nice juicy steak, you can have that too. Just be careful about trimming off any excess fat.
Fish is another good high protein food that doesn’t contain any carbohydrates. Many choices are also very low in fat.
Tuna is a very good choice but, if you opt for the canned variety, choose one that has water instead of oil.
Cod, haddock, halibut, swordfish, shark, bass—there are so many options to choose from!
Eggs are another good source of protein and they are very easy to prepare and cook.
Poached, scrambled, or boiled; they’re just the ticket if you are looking for a quick high-protein snack. Resist the temptation to fry them though.
If you can’t resist, use olive oil or a similar healthy option instead of saturated fat.
Tofu is normally associated with vegetarians and vegans but meat-eaters can enjoy it too.
Having a little tofu now and then is a good way to add a little variety to your diet.
It can vary depending on the brand, but a 100-gram serving of tofu provides around 8 grams of protein and only 1.9 grams of carbohydrate.
It’s a great option for anyone who wishes to up their protein intake and eat less carbs.
5. Almond Butter
Almond is a great example and a great choice. It tastes lovely and can replace butter made from dairy. It can also be added to your morning porridge
Flaxseed has many, many health benefits and can added to most of your meals very easily. You can sprinkle some on salads and even pop some in your smoothy.
15 More High Protein Low Carb Foods
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Almond Flour
- Greek Yogurt
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Chia Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Cottage Cheese
- Sunflower Seeds
- Unsweetened Peanut Butter
So, as you can see there are lots of foods that are easily available that low in carbohydrates but high in protein.