Healthy Low Carb Diets
to Fit Your Lifestyle
Healthy low carb diets come in all shapes and sizes!
Did you know there are many options when it comes to a low carb diet?
When most people think of a low carb diet they think of Atkins, South Beach, Keto, and Carnivore diets.
What's different is that healthy low carb diets do not restrict all of the simple or complex carbohydrates.
You can still eat a food as long as it falls into the low
glycemic range of 55 and under. However, you shouldn't go past 125 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Healthy low carb diets will have many benefits which include having a fit
body along with more food options. You can customize your own version of a healthy low carb diet to fit your own personal needs and goals.
Healthy Low Carb Diets
On healthy low carb diets, you can include any of these low glycemic food choices whenever you have grams of carbs to spare or go for the low carb alternatives.
You can use low glycemic flours to make a low glycemic pizza or you can use a low carb vegetable like cauliflower to make a delicious pizza crust for a low carb pizza.
Semolina Pasta - 35 to 55 Glycemic Index Score
Semolina flour is high in protein and gluten which makes it perfect for pasta making. Semolina pasta comes in a variety of shapes.
Semolina is a nutritious flour made from the endosperm of durum
wheat. One of the hardiest wheat varieties.
The endosperm is at the heart of this golden wheat kernel. It's known to contain many vitamins and minerals. A 1/2 cup serving of cooked egg semolina pasta will give you about 20 grams of total carbs.
You can replace white flour with Semolina flour (44 on glycemic index) to make your cookies, breads, cakes, pasta, and pizza crusts.
Low Carb Pasta Alternatives
Zoodles is a name for spiralized zucchini noodles which is a popular low carb pasta alternative - 1 cup serving of zoodles will give
you 5 grams of net carbs.
Spaghetti Squash is another great low carb alternative for grain pasta noodles - 1 cup serving of spaghetti squash will give you 5 grams of net carbs.
Shirataki Noodles, Miracle Noodles, and Konjac Noodles are some of the lowest in carb noodles - depending on the brand these noodles will contain 0 to 5 grams of carbs per serving.
Sliced Eggplant is great for moussaka and can be used as a lasagna pasta alternative - a 3.5 ounce serving of eggplant gives you about 9 grams of carbs.
Organic Corn Tortillas - 52 Glycemic Index Score
Corn tortillas are made from ground corn or maize. Corn tortillas can be used to make tacos or can be turned into tortilla chips.
Corn tortilla chips are relatively low in carbs and can be eaten (in moderation) on healthy low carb diets.
If you can stick to only eating 20 chips per meal, that's only about 22 grams of carbs.
So far I've only been able to find one brand of tortilla chip that's fried in an acceptable oil like coconut oil.
If you cannot find an organic tortilla chip that's cooked in a safe fat, you can buy organic sprouted corn tortillas at a good grocery store and cut the tortillas in 4's.
Then fry them in a safe fat like coconut oil, tallow, or lard.
Low Carb Chip Alternatives
Pork Rinds are the lowest carb chip alternative - there should be no carbs in a serving of pork rinds.
Flax Seed Crackers are a great low carb chip alternative - Flackers brand will give you 1 to 6 grams of net carbs (depending on flavor) per 8 cracker serving.
Sliced Cucumbers are a healthy low carb chip alternative - a 1 cup serving of sliced and peeled cucumbers will give you only 2 grams of net carbs.
Apples - 28 to 44 Glycemic Index Score
The type of apple, ripeness of the apple, and how it was grown will all affect its glycemic index score.
Most people are familiar with only a few types of apples like Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Gala, and Fuji. Shockingly, there are thousands of unknown apples that are grown in the world.
Have you ever had a Pink Pearl or Arkansas Black apple?
Then there's the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"!
One medium sized apple will contain approximately 25 grams of total carbs and 4 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber slows down the digestion of an apple and helps to prevent raising your blood sugar level too quickly.
What are Net Carbs?
You'll often see carbs represented on food labels as total carbohydrates. And to get the net carbs of a particular food item, you would minus the dietary fiber and sugar alcohols (if any) from the total carbohydrates of a food.
Net carbs will reflect the grams of carbohydrate that will significantly impact your blood sugar level.
Therefore, to get the net carbs of a medium sized apple you would minus the 4 grams of dietary fiber from 25 grams of total carbohydrates which gives you 21 grams of net carbs.
Low Carb Fruit Alternatives
Avocados is a versatile low carb fruit that's high in fat and often used as a dip or guacamole - 1 cup serving of raw pureed California avocados gives you 4 grams of net carbs.
Berries in general are low carb fruits that come with a lot of antioxidants and are great in low carb smoothies - 1/2 cup serving of raw strawberries contains 4 grams of net carbs.
Zucchini is a summer squash that is commonly used in low carb meals - 1 raw medium zucchini will contain 4 grams of net carbs.
Carisma Potatoes - 55 Glycemic Index Score
Carisma potatoes are a non-GMO potato that's farmed with traditional seeds and without the use of biotechnology.
The Carisma potato has a good taste and can be eaten boiled, mashed, or turned into a potato salad.
Apparently, it is a new type of potato that is "low carb" and will probably be in the grocery stores one day soon.
Supposedly, one medium Carisma potato will only contain 15 grams of carbohydrate.
I first heard about low glycemic potatoes when I was at a farm in Northern California a couple of years ago. They planted a low glycemic potato called Nicola.
Low Carb Potato Alternatives
Jicama is a root vegetable with a crisp juicy flesh that can be
eaten raw and can also be used to make mashed jicama or jicama fries - 1
cup serving of raw jicama is about 5 grams of net carbs.
Cauliflower is a popular low carb vegetable that can be turned into mashed cauliflower or latkes - 1 cup serving of raw cauliflower is about 3 grams of net carbs.
Rutabaga is a root vegetable that can be mashed or roasted to replace starchy potatoes - 1 cup serving of cubed rutabaga gives you 8 grams of net carbs.
Ezekiel Bread - 36 Glycemic Index Score
Ezekiel bread contains no flour and is made from sprouted grains, seeds, and legumes. This bread tastes great topped with butter, cream cheese, or avocado.
Sprouting increases the nutrients in Ezekiel bread and also reduces the impact of carbohydrates.
One slice of Ezekiel bread contains 14 to 15 grams of carbohydrate. It's a great bread for healthy low carb diets.
Ezekiel bread is usually found in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Sadly, most of the different types of Ezekiel bread will contain sprouted soy beans which is suppose to be toxic.
There is only one Ezekiel bread (7 sprouted grains) that I consider edible and you really should learn how to make your own Ezekiel bread.
Low Carb Bread Alternatives
Coconut Flour is my favorite low carb flour and you can use it to make low carb breads, muffins, pizza crusts, waffles, and pancakes - depending on the brand coconut flour will contain about 6 to 8 grams of net carbs per 1/4 cup serving.
Almond Flour is another popular keto and paleo low carb flour used to make anything from waffles to cakes - depending on the brand of almond flour will contain about 2 to 4 grams of net carbs per 1/4 cup serving.
Iceburg Lettuce is a refreshing and low carb alternative to replace those high carb buns - this type of crunchy lettuce gives you 1.6 grams of net carbs per 1 cup serving.
Cauliflower is a very versatile low carb vegetable that makes great low carb pizza crusts and bagels - 1 medium head of raw cauliflower is about 16 grams of net carbs.
Do You Know About Essential Sugars?
Yes, there is such a thing as essential sugars which is something the low carb community has turned a blind eye to sadly.
Although the good news is that about half of the essential sugars come from animal foods that you can consume on a healthy low carb diet.
Most people only consume about 2 or 3 of the essential sugars. Be aware that studies have shown that when all 8 of the essential sugars are consumed, you will be much healthier.
Learn more about the essential sugars by reading my Healthy Food Lover's Newsletter #009 The Sweet Truth.
What is Resistant Starch?
Sugars like glucose, fructose, and lactose are called simple sugars which can cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels.
Starches are complex sugars that are composed of several molecules of the simple sugar glucose which causes a less rapid rise.
Did you know that there are starches which are resistant to digestion?
They get broken down in the small intestine which leads to many health benefits!
Starch that can pass through your digestive tract unchanged that is resistant to digestion is called resistant starch.
Foods high in resistant starch are green bananas, potatoes, legumes, and whole grains.
This type of starch functions more like a soluble ferment-able fiber which comes with health benefits like improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, and reduced appetite.
Resistant starch can also feed the friendly bacteria and increase the production of short chain fatty acids like butyrate.
Unfortunately, resistant starch is destroyed during the cooking process.
Fortunately, you can recapture the resistant starch of cooked foods by letting them cool after cooking - preferably overnight.
Tips for Healthy Low Carb Diets
Foods with a low glycemic value of 55 and under are the preferred choice for healthy low carb diets.
These foods are more slowly digested and absorbed which results in a smaller rise in blood sugar levels.
The glycemic index of a food or meal can be further influenced by its nutrient content, the structure of its starch, and how it was prepared.
What's the glycemic index of your bowl of oatmeal?
Steel cut oats will have a glycemic index score of 55.
Rolled oats is a more processed grain that will have a glycemic index score of 58.
Fermenting oats for a day or two before cooking them to make an oatmeal porridge will slightly lower its glycemic index score.
In general, the more processed the food and the longer the food is cooked - the faster sugar will be digested and absorbed into your body.
For example, pasta cooked until al dente will have a lower glycemic index score than pasta cooked until really soft.
Al dente means cooked until tender, but still firm.
However, the rate at which a food that contains carbohydrate will raise your blood sugar level will depend on many factors.......
Glycemic Index Number
Type of Sugar it Contains
Its Nutrient Composition
How it Was Prepared
Amount of Fat in the Meal
The Amount Consumed
It's important to know that the glycemic index rating system does not take into consideration the amount of food that is eaten.
Therefore, the glycemic load or GL rating system was created. The GL is a measure of the type and the quantity of the carbohydrates you decide to eat.
Glycemic Load Rating
The GL rating will take into account the glycemic index of a food and the grams per serving. And it's recommended that you keep your GL for the day under 100.
(GL) Glycemic Load = (the Glycemic Index of a Food x the Amount of Carbs in the Food) divided by 100
If you feel like eating a low glycemic starch with healthy low carb diets, pick one that also has a low glycemic load.
For example to find the GL for 1 slice of Ezekiel bread - (Glycemic index of 36 x 15 carbs in 1 slice) divided by 100 = 5.
Also, be sure to include enough fat with your starchy meal. Fat helps to keep one satiated and slows the digestion of carbs.
Also, acids like lemon juice can help to lower the glycemic index of foods that contain carbohydrates.
Be sure to include the foods on the very low to zero end of the glycemic index scale, so that you are not "hangry" all of the time.
This will also prevent you from binge eating.
Zero carb foods are wild caught seafood, pastured meats, healthy fats, and pastured eggs.
You can include these low carb meals to help keep your blood sugar more stable and your appetite in check.
Low Carb Recipes
Lamb Kebabs are quick and simple to cook on your grill.
Just be sure to use lower carb vegetables with the marinated meat.
Baba Ganoush - is a popular Middle Eastern dip.
And you can use this dip as a side for your kebabs or use it as a low carb dip.
Great Steak Recipes - Great steak recipes come from finding the perfect cut of meat.
Then learning how to properly cook that meat.
Cioppino - Cioppino is an Italian influenced soup that uses many types of fresh seafood.
However, this fish stew was actually invented by fishermen in San Francisco.
On healthy low carb diets, you can include a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as your
favorite legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains.
You can also include pastured dairy foods to create well balanced
healthy low carb diet.
Strict Low Carb Diets
Versus Healthy Low Carb Diets
Strict low carb diets include the Atkins, Carnivore, and Ketogenic diet. These low carb diets mainly focus on upping fat and protein calories.
The amount of carbohydrates allowed will vary depending on the specific low
Usually it's between 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. Which means that you really have to count your carbs.
On healthy low carb diets, you get to choose how many carbs you want to consume in a day as long as you don't go past 125 grams of carbs (125 net or total carbs is up to you).
Both diets will strive to keep a stable blood sugar level.
Stricter low carb diets aim to reduce carbohydrate intake while increasing fats and proteins.
This protocol has the benefit of reducing a person's weight quickly without feeling too deprived.
I do think that strict low carb diets can have a beneficial effect to fix certain metabolic problems, at least for the short term.
However, it's the long term that will create problems for most people and many will probably want to look into healthy low carb diets.
Unfortunately, there are nutritious healthy low carb foods that often get
replaced by trendy junk foods on many of the low carb diets.
That being said, I do not recommend strict low carb diets for pregnant women or for growing children!
Also, any diet that is too restrictive almost always backfires - eventually.
Properly balanced healthy low carb diets will work better in the long run because it includes healthy low glycemic foods.
And then you won't have to feel so deprived! I think a well rounded diet is best and it's okay to consume nutritious healthy low carb foods.
The glycemic index score for milk is 27 and there are about 11 grams of carbs in a cup of whole milk. You can also make probiotic rich foods like yogurt or kefir from raw milk on healthy low carb diets.
I do believe that a glass of 100% grass fed raw milk which comes with essential sugars, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and vital enzymes is much healthier than a scoop of processed protein powder!
Go to High Carbohydrate Foods
Return to Low Glycemic Foods