9 high protein, low carb foods

It can be argued that protein is the most important macro-nutrient that the body requires. Protein boosts metabolism, maintains & builds muscle mass and is also highly filling. Whether you are trying to lose or gain weight, it is important to eat enough protein.

There are numerous protein rich foods that you can include in your diet, but not all of them have the same carbohydrate content. This article will focus on foods that are high in protein but low in carbs.

1. Chicken and turkey breast

27 g of protein and 0 g of carbohydrate per 1/2 (86 g) cooked chicken breast

Chicken and turkey breasts contain almost no carbohydrate but are very high in protein. They also contain very little fat. This makes them an excellent food to add to your diet if you want to boost your protein intake.

Animal based protein rich foods provide the body with all 9 essential amino acids, which are the ones that it is not able to produce. This makes them complete protein sources.

Chicken and turkey breasts can be prepared in a number of ways. A popular & delicious method is to soak them in a marinade for a few hours and then grill them in the oven.

2. Pork, beef, lamb and bison

22 g of protein and 0 g of carbohydrate per 3 oz (85 g) cooked pork tenderloin

Like white meat, red meat is also high in protein and contains no carbohydrate. However it also contains quite a bit of fat & cholesterol, so your best option is to choose lean cuts.

Grilling, broiling, baking and stir frying are some healthy ways to cook red meat. It can be used to prepare burger patties or ground up and included in many different recipes.

Processed red meat like hot dogs and salami should not be eaten in large amounts because they can cause a number of health problems.

3. Fish

39 g of protein and 0 g of carbohydrate per 1/2 fillet (178 g) of cooked salmon

All types of fish are excellent sources of protein. This includes fatty and non-fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, tilapia and haddock.

Fish is also one of the healthiest foods that you can eat. It is a source of iodine and vitamin D, two nutrients that many people don’t get enough of. The consumption of fish improves heart health, boosts brain function and may improve sleep quality.

Whenever possible, opt for wild-caught over farmed fish. The former is slightly more expensive, but is less likely to contain pollutants and is often more nutritious.

4. Shellfish

18 g of protein and 0 g of carbohydrate per 3 0z (85 g) of cooked shrimp

Crustaceans and mollusks such as shrimp, crab, mussels, lobster, clams and scallops are referred to as shellfish. Like ordinary fish and meat, shellfish is very high in protein and contains no carbohydrate. Shellfish is also a great source of nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, iodine & selenium, whilst being fairly low in calories.

It is important to note that shellfish is one of the most common food allergens so some people may not be able to tolerate it well. In that case, stick to other protein sources.

5. Eggs

6 g of protein and 0.4 g of carbohydrate per 1 large (50 g) egg

Eggs are a cheap and delicious source of protein. Egg whites are pretty much made up of protein entirely, whereas egg yolks contain both protein and fat. The yolk also contains lots of nutrients.

The cholesterol content of eggs is a controversial subject. Some experts suggest that egg yolk consumption should be limited to a few times a week, whereas others say it is fine to have 3 whole eggs a day.

Your best option would be to speak to your doctor so that he or she can advise you on how many whole eggs you should be eating. If you are concerned about cholesterol, stick to egg whites.

Because of their versatility, eggs can be prepared in many different ways. These include boiling, poaching, scrambling and frying.

6. Cheese

23 g of protein and 7 g of carbohydrate per 1 cup (210 g) of creamed cottage cheese

Because cheese is made from milk, it is high in protein. Some examples of protein rich cheeses include cottage, mozzarella and ricotta. Cheese contains a large amount of casein, a protein that provides the body with a slow and steady flow of amino acids. This is one of the reasons why cottage cheese is very popular among athletes and body builders, who tend to eat it before going to bed.

Whilst cheese does have significant amounts of protein, it also contains large amounts of sodium. For this reason, cheese should be eaten in moderation; the over-consumption of sodium can lead to blood pressure issues and water retention. Always read nutrition labels before purchasing cheese so that you know exactly what is in it.

7. Yogurt

18 g of protein and 7 g of carbohydrate per 170 g of no fat Greek yogurt

Like cheese, yogurt is another dairy product with lots of protein in it. Greek yogurt contains more protein than ordinary yogurt, and is made by straining ordinary yogurt through a filter.

Yogurt is a good source of calcium and phosphorus, which the body needs for tooth and bone health. Some varieties of yogurt also provide probiotics which improve digestion and immunity.

Yogurt is a convenient snack to have and can be eaten on its own, with fruit, with cereal or used as an ingredient in smoothies.

8. Whey protein

20 g of protein and 5 g of carbohydrate per 1 scoop (28 g) of whey protein powder

Supplementing with whey protein is a quick & convenient way to increase your protein intake. For this reason, it is very popular among gym goers and athletes. It promotes muscle growth, is filling and also has a number of health benefits. It is also a complete protein source that provides all 9 essential amino acids.

There are lots of brands that manufacture whey protein, in a variety of flavours. For this reason, the carbohydrate content can vary from brand to brand. When purchasing whey protein, look at the nutrition label to ensure it is low in carbs.

Whey can be drunk on its own (mixed with water), used in meal replacement shakes or even incorporated into certain recipes.

9. Tofu

20 g of protein and 4 g of carbohydrate per 1 cup (126 g) of tofu

Some people love tofu and can’t get enough of it. Others feel that it harms the body and try to avoid it at all costs. This makes tofu a topic of great debate.

Tofu is made from soy milk that has been pressed into solid white blocks. The production process is quite similar to that of cheese. It is a complete protein, and also provides the body with calcium, iron, manganese and copper

Studies seem to suggest that for most people, the consumption of tofu is perfectly fine. In fact, it may be beneficial for heart, bone, brain and skin health.

Tofu on its own is very bland, but it absorbs the flavours from other ingredients very well.

Conclusion

There are a number of high protein and low carbohydrate foods available for both meat and non-meat eaters.

Low carb diets can be very effective when trying to lose weight and may bring with them a number of health benefits. It is important to keep in mind however that low carb does not mean no carb.

If you are going to be following a carbohydrate restricted diet, eat the foods mentioned above with plenty of vegetables. They contain a lot of fiber and have a low net carbohydrate content. It is important to get at least 3 servings of vegetables per day. You can also include low carbohydrate fruits in your diet as well.

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