Advertisement

The benefits of high-protein, low carb foods

The benefits of high-protein, low carb foods
Getty Images

High-protein, low-carb foods have become popular, thanks to trendy diets like ketogenic, paleo and Atkin’s. And the reason why this type of diet – eating foods higher in one macronutrient and lower in another – works for some people comes down to the fullness factor.

“Typically, protein-rich foods take longer to digest,” says Kristen Smith, a registered dietitian. “So increasing your consumption of protein-rich foods, increases satiety and can, therefore, aid in weight-loss because you can become more satisfied by eating less food.” Also, by eating fewer carbs, your body can learn to burn more fat as fuel, while excessive carb intake can cause your body to store more fat, Smith explains.

Research also shows that a low-carb diet can help increase your daily energy expenditure (or calories burned) when looking to maintain weight loss. And studies back up the fact that eating plans high in protein can increase satiety and help control the number on the scale.

But two important caveats come up when you turn mostly to high-protein, low-carb foods. For starters, you still need to pay attention to saturated fat – too much is bad for heart health – and those with kidney disease should probably avoid this plan, Smith says.

Also, without many carbs in your diet, you might start craving ingredients like pasta, bread and potatoes. “If you follow a diet and it provides results but leaves you feeling unsatisfied or craving more, then it might not be the diet for you,” says Angel Planells, a registered dietitian and nutritionist. In other words, make sure you stick to a diet plan that works for you, featuring foods that leave you satisfied, not deprived. For specific ingredient suggestions, we rounded up the high-protein, low-carb foods to add to your meal plan, according to Planells and Smith.

Eggs

Eggs
Getty Images

Serving size: 1 large hardboiled or scramble

6 g protein; <1 g carbs

Not just a breakfast food, hardboiled eggs taste great on salads or as a stand-alone snack. Both Smith and Planells recommend it as a top food to choose.

Here are 10 mistakes you might be making with eggs.

Chicken breast

Chicken breast
Getty Images

Serving size: 85 grams

20 g protein; 0 g carbs

An easy addition to salads, grain bowls or as a main meal, chicken breast will fill you up thanks to that high-protein content. Aim to keep portions the size of your fist to get your fill and use healthier cooking methods (baked, roasted, grilled, etc.) versus frying.

Make sure you’re aware of these 12 tricks that make cheap meat taste expensive.

Ground turkey

Ground turkey
Getty Images

Serving size: 85 grams

23 g protein; 0 g carbs

Another poultry product packed with protein, ground turkey offers a lean alternative to many red meats. Plus, you can put it in tacos, breakfast hash or turn it into healthy burgers.

Make sure you stop demonising these 14 ‘bad’ foods.

Lean beef

Lean beef
Getty Images

Serving size: 85 grams

25-30 g protein; 0 g carbs

Look for cuts with less fat, like sirloin or top round roast, says Smith. This cuts down on the saturated fat while keeping protein high.

Find out what 50 things your doctor wishes you knew about losing weight.

Canned tuna

Canned tuna
Getty Images

Serving size: 85 grams

20 g protein; 0 g carbs

A super convenient source of protein, because there’s no cook time! Opt for tuna canned in water and you get all of the protein, without all of the fat from oil. In just 85 grams, you’ll find less than three grams of fat.

Advertisement

Greek yoghurt

Greek yoghurt
Getty Images

Serving size: 1 container (about 200 grams)

20 g protein; 8 g carbs

It’s best to go for a plain flavour than those filled with fruit (aka sugar), as that will cause the carb content to skyrocket. Add your own seasonings, like cinnamon or a dash of almond butter.

You thought these 14 foods were dairy-free, but they aren’t.

Peanuts

Peanuts
Getty Images

Serving size: ¼ cup

9 g protein; 6 g carbs

Toss peanuts in a trail mix or eat them right out of the shell, just make sure you check the sodium on the label. The same goes for peanut butter – look for labels with no sugar, salt or oil added, Smith says.

These 8 weight-loss challenges only take 30 days.

Broccoli

Broccoli
Getty Images

Serving size: 1 cup

3 g protein; 6 g carbs

If you’re looking for a veggie that offers a few more grams of protein than others, this green will do the trick, says Planells. While it is higher in carbs, it’s important to eat non-starchy greens, so keep it on your list of go-to foods when going high-protein, low-carb.

This is what happens to your body when you drink tea every day.

String cheese

String cheese
Getty Images

Serving size: 1 package (typically 24 g)

7 g protein; 1 g carbs

Grab a stick of mozzarella as a protein pick-me-up when you’re on the move – it’s the perfect savoury snack, says Smith. The hit of fat content will help keep you full, too.

These 7 foods aren’t as healthy as you thought. 

Never miss a deal again - sign up now!

Connect with us: