Low Carbohydrate Food: Meat, Fish, Nuts, Cheese, Eggs, Beans
If you would like to read more about meat, fish, nuts, cheese, beans or eggs, you can read about them on our high protein foods page. On the current page I will discuss foods that are not necessarily high in protein, but are foods low in carbohydrates.
Low Carbohydrate Foods: Vegetables
Not all vegetables are the same. Some are definitely low carbohydrate foods, while some are definitely not. I tend to think of vegetables coming in three groups. There are those that are so low in carbs that you can practically eat as much as you want without eating any significant carbs at all. This includes all lettuces, celery, cucumbers, and alfalfa sprouts.
There are some vegetables that have a little more carbohydrate content than those in the first group, and should probably not be eaten more than a cup at a time, though they should be in your diet. These include asparagus, broccoli, onions, tomatos, cabbage, turnips, green beans, and snow peas.
Finally, there are vegetables that should be avoided almost altogether. These include potatos, carrots, some squashes, and sweet potatos.
Low Carbohydrate Food: Fats
Fats are one of the most essential low carbohydrate foods. Fats have gotten a bad rap the last 30 years in the United States. Bad fats have been called good, good fats have been called bad. Cholesterol has been vilified, etc.
After reading several works, and reviewing the amazingly scant evidence against saturated fat and cholesterol, I am firmly convinced that the best fats are the saturated fats, and the worst are the trans-fats and polyunsaturated fats. These latter fats oxidise much more quickly than the saturated fats. And, quite ironically, they and not the saturated fats may be a major source of cancer and heart disease. For more on this I recommend Mary Enig's Know Your Fats.
So what are the best fats to eat on a low carbohydrate diet? I think there's nothing better than unsalted sweet cream butter. This is definitely a delicious food low in carbohydrates, and it goes with anything almost. Beef fat is also good. When you make the roast in the slow cooker, save the "juice" and make a soup out of it. Just add some vegetables, some spices, and a little of the roast, and you've got a great beef stew.
Coconut oil is great, and is one of the fats least likely to oxidize. (One of the reasons we take Anti-"oxidant" vitamins is to combat the effects of oxidized fats.) Olive oil is a good monounsaturated fat.
Low Carbohydrate Foods: Breads
Breads should be avoided for the most part. However, breads can be a great low carbohydrate food, if made properly, and eaten in moderation. There are a couple of low carb bread recipes on this site.
Low Carbohydrate Food: Desserts
Desserts are generally not low carbohydrate foods. I think long term the best thing is just to break the dessert habit. The best desserts have sugar in them, for sure. And even some low carb recipes for things like pudding can backfire.
However, there are some that work. Jello sweetened with an artificial sweetener like splenda (sucralose) or saccharine is a food low in carbohydrate, and is a good choice. Avoid nutrasweet (aspartame). I'm not sure, but I swear nutrasweet raises my blood sugar some and winds up triggering an insulin reaction.
Other low carbohydrate desserts can include berries, as long as you are not in one of the stricter phases of your diet. A half cup of blueberries with whipped cream (no sugar) is a treat. I even like them with finely chopped walnuts sprinkled on top, but some people tell me I'm alone on that one.
I have yet to try one of the low carbohydrate ice creams. They do sound tempting, though, don't they?