List of Low Carb Foods For Weight Loss

List of Low Carb Foods For Weight Loss

Over the past several weeks I have been helping out an old friend with his attempts at a low carbohydrate diet. We have covered them on this site before but recent events have reignited my interest…

To cut a long story short – he was after a list of low carb foods for weight loss reasons but he was a little confused about the misinformation that his Google searches brought up.

I couldn’t really understand this at first so I ‘Googled’ the query myself…and I soon realized where the confusion was coming from…

One article will tell you this…then the next article will work the opposite way…then the NEXT article would say that the first two options were wrong…no wonder people get this (relatively simple) diet wrong so frequently.

To be honest with you, all the research actually got me interested in the health results…so I agreed to join my mate in his low carb journey to see where it ended up.

I also thought it would be a great way to make sure this article ROCKED! 🙂

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Why is Bread Bad For You?

Before we jump into the low carb foods section of this article I thought it was important that we looked into the reason behind so many turning towards this type of diet.

The truth of the matter is that white bread and refined grains DO NOT contain nutritious elements and many dietitians lean towards whole grains instead.

Why is Bread Bad For You?

But are the whole grain bread options really that much better for you????

Well apparently not!

Over the last few years grains, especially gluten grains like wheat, have been under intense scrutiny.

Many respected members of the health community now claim that bread and other sources of gluten grains are unnecessary at best and potentially harmful…

#1 High in Carbohydrates & Can Spike Blood Sugar Levels

So most of us on a diet reach for the whole grain bread options on supermarket shelves…but did you know that it isn’t made with actual ‘whole’ grains?

They are simply grains that have been super-smashed down into fine grain flour, making it a substance which is digested rapidly.

On top of this, the starches contained within these fine flour products are broken down quickly in the digestive tract.

This means that they finally enter our blood as glucose…which in turn causes a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin levels.

When our blood sugar levels shoot up this fast they tend to return just as fast!

And what does this mean?

Well, it means we are going to get hungry again shortly after eating.

#2 The Gluten Levels in Bread

A large majority of the breads available to us at supermarkets are made up of gluten grains. Gluten causes an immune response in the digestive tract of susceptible individuals.

Now this will effect different people in different ways but this gluten is known to cause digestive issues, pain, bloating, tiredness and other symptoms.

#3 Sugar & Other Nasties!

Most breads contain a high level of sugar and anti nutrients. These anti nutrients are nasty little blighters that manage to block the absorption of minerals like calcium, iron and zinc.

Sugar needs no introduction really – we all KNOW that it is not at all good for you!

#4 Looking For Essential Nutrients?

The nutrition content of most breads is extremely low – to be honest, most other food choices will contain a higher level of useful nutrients!

Not only is it low in nutrients compared to other ‘proper’ food options, it literally reduces the absorption of nutrients from other foods.

On top of this, the proteins that bread contain are pretty much useless to our body’s setup.

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Low Carb Food to Eat

I decided to include that section on ‘the bad side of bread’ above because this is the information that my friend stumbled upon…and decided to make a change!

To put it simply – he is on a ‘no bread and no potato’ diet (this diet also includes avoiding rice!).

But low carb diets are not as simple as this. It’s time to take a look at the foods you should be targeting and the foods you should be avoiding…

What You SHOULD be Eating…

  • Plenty of meat – it’s always best to go for grass-fed meats if at all possible. Lamb, beef, pork and chicken (chicken is always my favorite!).
  • Plenty of fish – it’s always best to go for wild-caught fish if at all possible. For example – salmon, trout or haddock.
  • Eggs – my favorite choice for a healthy breakfast! Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are the best.
  • A good selection of veggies – broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrot sticks make a great healthy snack and spinach is an awesome choice of side for your dinner!
  • Plenty of fruit – this goes without saying really but fruit should be a part of EVERY health-conscious diet! Go for apples, oranges, pears, blueberries and strawberries.
  • A selection of nuts and seeds – since starting on this low carb journey I’ve got well into the taste of sunflower seeds! You can also go for almonds, walnuts or peanuts (keep control of the peanuts though – they can be a bit naughty for a diet!).
  • High-Fat Dairy – cheese, (proper) butter, heavy cream or yogurt (NOT the low fat versions of yogurt).
  • Fats and Oils – coconut oil, REAL butter, lard, olive oil and cod fish liver oil.

The Foods You SHOULD be Avoiding…

  • Sugar – this list is actually way too long to fit on here, but most of us know what foods are considered high-sugar anyway…right? Stay away from soda drinks, smoothies and fruit juices, any sort of candy or ice cream!
  • Gluten Grains – wheat, spelt, barley and rye. Remember the Why is Bread Bad For You section above? Stay away from bread and pasta.
  • Trans Fats – stay away from hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
  • These specific oils – cottonseed, soybean, sunflower, grape seed, corn, safflower and canola oils.
  • Artificial Sweeteners – Try to avoid anything that contains Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Cyclamates and Acesulfame Potassium. As an alternative try using Stevia.
  • Low Fat and Diet-labeled products – some of these diet-based brands are not what they are cracked up to be! Try to avoid low fat dairy products along with diet cereals or crackers (etc.).
  • Supermarket processed foods – there’s a simple rule of thumb that goes along with this: if it was made in a factory then STAY AWAY FROM IT!

Low Carb Diet Tips

To most people it sounds like one MASSIVE diet and lifestyle change…but a low carb diet is really not that difficult to get into!

Sure, the first 24 hours were a bit of a bummer for me and I even felt a little faint…that’s where the seeds and nuts came into play!

What you drink also plays a BIG part in a successful low carb campaign! Stick to tea, coffee or water (I like that sparkling water you can get – cheap and cheerful!).

You are also going to feel like a snack every now and again…and traditional snacks are rammed full of carbohydrates!

So if you feel the need to snack between meals, try some fruit, a bit of (full fat NOT low fat) yogurt, carrots, nuts, seeds or my favorite…cheese and olives!

Just remember that overdoing it on the cheese or nuts may well hamper your weight loss efforts! 🙂

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7 Low Carb Flour Alternatives

7 Low Carb Flour Alternatives

Over the past several years, low carb diets like Paleo, South Beach and Atkin’s have become increasingly popular for fast, effective weight loss. However, they can also come with their fair share of cravings for carb-rich goodies like cake, cookies, bars and bagels.

But great news: if you’re on a low carb diet, you don’t have to give up your beloved baked goods. Instead, check out some of these low carb flour alternatives…

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7 Low Carb Substitutes For Flour

1) Protein Powder

Protein powder contains a special emulsifier which helps it absorb liquid ingredients, so it can be substituted for flour on a nearly 1:1 ratio. It’s an excellent way to cut carbs, increase protein… and it tastes good too!

From plain vanilla to malted milk chocolate all the way through salted caramel, protein powder comes in a variety of delicious flavors. Since flour isn’t typically flavored, substituting protein powder can really kick your recipes up a notch.

If you don’t want to modify the taste of your recipes, you can always buy plain, unflavored protein powder instead.

2) Coconut Flour

One of the most commonly used low carb substitutes for flour, coconut flour is sugar-free, fiber-rich and high in protein. The protein helps your body build and repair muscles while the fiber keeps you feeling full longer, thus reducing the urge to overeat.

The fiber also helps coconut flour absorb more liquid than almost any other flour alternative. For this reason, you only need about 1/3 the amount of coconut flour that you would typically use in any recipe.

Coconuts

Don’t like the taste of coconut? Don’t worry… unlike coconuts flakes, coconut flour doesn’t actually taste anything like coconut. Once it’s added to a recipe, any the coconut taste is quickly masked by other flavors.

3) Almond Flour

Almond flour is another amazing low carb flour substitute. It’s higher in fat than protein powder or coconut flour, but this will help increase the moisture content of your baked goods for a richer flavor and a tender texture. The flour is made from finely ground almonds, so there is a slight nutty taste to it.

4) Flaxseed Meal

Like almond flour, flaxseed meal also has a bit of a nutty taste to it. It’s also high in fat – however, it’s an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid, healthy fats which help promote heart and eye health.

While low in carbs and rich in healthy fats, flaxseed meal can be used to supplement any recipe – but it cannot be perfectly substituted for flour.

Instead, you can use flaxseed meal to reduce the amount of flour needed for each recipe. To swap out some flour for flaxseed, mix about 1 tbsp. of flaxseed meal with 4 tbsp. of water. This mixture will replace about ÂĽ cup of flour, which will shave around 24 carbs off of each recipe.

5) Sunflower Seed Flour

While sunflower seed flour makes a great low-carb alternative to regular flour, it’s also a wonderful substitute for almond flour.

Although almond flour is highly regarded as the go-to low-carb alternative to flour, it’s simply not an option for those who have nut allergies. It’s also incredibly pricey – with a 5 lb. bag of almond flour costing upwards of $30.

Sunflower Seeds

You can make your own sunflower seed flour at home for about half the price of almond flour! Just pick up some whole hulled sunflower seeds that have not been roasted at your local grocery store. Put two cups of the seeds in a blender and then blend on a high setting until it becomes a finely milled powder.

6) Hazelnut Meal

Hazelnut meal is another low-carb substitute for flour. Again, it is similar to almond flour because it is made from ground nuts. However, hazelnut has a richer, more decadent taste. For this reason, it’s a popular additive to chocolate treats like pancakes, brownies, homemade granola and more.

7) Cricket Flour

Cricket flour is made from… you guessed it: finely ground crickets! It might sound strange, but the melodic insects are actually quite nutritious and have been consumed regularly in other parts of the world for centuries.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization reports that crickets are low in carbs but high in protein, healthy fats and essential amino acids. You’ll find about 12.9 grams of protein per 100 grams of ground crickets, which is about half the amount found in more popular forms of animal protein such as chicken and beef.

Although crickets have been eaten for quite some time now, cricket flour for baking is still relatively new. For this reason, it might not be on shelves at your local grocer or neighborhood health food store just. If you want to try out cricket flour, you’ll have to buy it online through a major retailer like Amazon.

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Which Flour Alternative is The Best?

So which of these low carb flour substitutes should you choose? That all depends on your preferences! Here are four common factors people use to pick their perfect flour alternative:

– Price

At around $0.33 per pound, traditional flour is pretty cheap. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for any low carb substitutes. Almond flour is one of the most expensive – but hazelnut meal, coconut flour and the others aren’t much cheaper.

If you’re baking on a budget, try grounding your own sunflower seed flour at home. If you can afford to buy in bulk, protein powder usually works out to be less expensive per serving.

– Availability

If you’re ready to cook right now, pick a low-carb flour substitute that’s readily available. Almond flour and coconut flour can usually be found at most large grocers or health food chains. However, if you have a vitamin shop or sporting goods store near you, you can also usually find different varieties of protein powder pretty easily.

– Nutritional Content

Besides being low in carbs, what’s important to you? If you want to keep your diet low in fat, avoid the nut flours and pick protein powder or sunflower seed flower instead. If you want to increase your protein, the obvious choice should be protein powder – but cricket flour is also a good alternative.

– Flavor

Flavor is another important factor when it comes to deciding between low carb flour alternatives. For recipes that taste pretty much the same as regular flour, opt for coconut flour or unflavored protein powder. If you want a richer, fuller flavor, select almond flour or hazelnut meal.

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