Low-carb, high-protein diets are all the rage in weight-loss circles. While the idea of giving up your precious sandwiches, cookies and cereals may sound like a nightmare, low-carb, high-protein eating can be tasty, healthy and easy, and it can aid with weight loss by keeping you fuller for longer. The key is to choose the right foods, plan in advance and still aim to follow a balanced diet.
When you think of low-carb, high-protein diets, your mind is probably drawn straight to such foods as pork chops fried in fat or bacon with butter. This certainly doesn't have to be the case, though. According to MayoClinic.com, meat and poultry are high-quality sources of protein and nutrients. Avoid processed meats or fattier cuts and opt instead for leaner cuts of poultry, such as chicken or turkey breast, as well as leaner red meat, such as extra-lean ground beef or sirloin and tenderloin steaks.
Fish and Other Protein Sources
Alongside meat, fish should be your next port of call for protein. Include a mix of oily and non-oily fish. Oily fish is higher in fat, but it contains the heart-healthy omega-3 fats that can help fight heart disease. Next up are dairy products, such as cottage cheese and low-sugar Greek yogurt. These can give you a welcome break from all that animal flesh and are a more convenient, slightly sweeter low-carb, high-protein snack. Eggs are a good choice, too, as are soy products. If you're struggling on your protein, you could include a protein supplement such as whey, casein or brown rice protein powder, advises nutritionist Nanci Guest in "Oxygen." Always check with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet.
Foods such as pasta, rice and bananas are probably off your menu, so look to replace your starchy carbs with salad, vegetables and lower-carb fruits, such as berries. You should still aim to include around 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories, which is around 24 grams on a 1,700-calorie diet. Vegetables can be perfect for this. Broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, carrots, kale and cabbage are perfect for packing in the fiber without going crazy on carbs. A low-carb diet can still contain anywhere from 50 to 100 grams of carbs, reports MayoClinic.com, so there may be some room there for you to squeeze in the odd bowl of oats or sneaky serving of potatoes, provided you stay within your carb allowance.
Low-carb, high-protein diets aren't all about plowing your way through a big steak every day. They can be healthy, easy to prepare, simple to follow and suitable for the whole family. Just look to replace starches with vegetables and include a lean source of protein at every meal. Other low-carb, high-protein options include nuts, seeds, nut butters and low-fat cheese. Include a wide variety of foods to ensure a good intake of vitamins and minerals.
- UnitedHealthcare: Do High Protein Diets Cause Weight Loss?
- MayoClinic.com: How Meat and Poultry Fit in Your Healthy Diet
- American Heart Association: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Oxygen: Protein Powders: Which One Is for You?
- Harvard School of Public Health: Daily Fiber Requirements
- MayoClinic.com: Low-Carb Diet: Could it Help You Lose Weight?
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.