Choosing high protein, low refined carbohydrate foods is a good idea, not only for those with diabetes, obesity or metabolic syndrome, but for everyone in general.
A low carbohydrate diet will help keep blood sugar stable, thus helping you to keep excess weight off. And, we’re talking specifically about that dangerous belly fat that wreaks havoc with your health and can promote disease.
The good news is, low carb eating also burns fat faster than high carb eating. This is especially so if those carbs are bad quality, the likes of refined grains and free sugars.
This list of low carbohydrate fat burning foods will help you to understand the difference between high quality fat burning foods, versus low quality fat promoting foods.
Low Quality, FAT PROMOTING Foods List
- Anything containing refined sugars such as cakes, biscuits, pastries, sweets and confectionery.
- Anything deep-fried, such as fish, chips, most junk foods and fries.
- Fatty, processed meats.
- Fats and oils such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarines, canola oil, corn oil, soy bean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and cottonseed oil.
- Wheat and other gluten containing products. Many people are intolerant or feel bloated on various grains or gluten products. You will often find you start to lose weight, feel healthier and have more energy when you cut them down, or ideally cut them out completely. Ideal alternatives to these would be corn, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, quinoa and brown rice.
- Refined flour products such as white pasta, white bread or white rice.
These above foods will hinder your weight loss efforts, and make you feel and look crappy, and who needs the stress of that on top of everything else in life? By swapping these foods for healthier versions you will not only be adding years to your life, but life to your years as the famous saying goes.
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
A low carb diet is not necessarily the same as a ketogenic diet, which actually forbids ALL carbohydrates. This kind of diet is not necessary, potentially dangerous and way too strict. It also won’t put you in the best of moods, especially if you want the energy for exercise and living a full life.
However, some people this can work for depending on their reasons for doing it, how their body reacts, and for other reasons. You may be asked to eat a low carb diet if you have diabetes or are clinically obese. This will be something for your Doctor to recommend.
A totally carb free diet doesn’t work for everyone. It can make you feel depressed, lethargic and generally not very happy. After all, your brain needs carbs for FUEL!
The whole foods plant based diet is better for health!
The best way of eating for health (and which is recommended by all Plant Based Doctors) is the low GI, plant based diet. This way of eating will give you copious amounts of nutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and fibre – all of which are perfect for vitality and energy.
And some of the biggest recent studies are proving that the ketogenic diet is not healthy long term. This is due to its high consumption of animal proteins and fats, and low consumption of fibre and key nutrients found in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains.
How To Eat A Low Carb diet
A low carbohydrate diet, on the other hand, will mean eating less starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, butternut squash, corn, peas, beetroot and yams. Also, grains such as wheat, rye, millet, amaranth, spelt and oats are all high carb. But, the worst offender that you should absolutely steer clear of on a low carb diet is of course the demon that is free SUGARS!
Free sugars, or fast sugars as they are otherwise known, are the kind found in junk foods. But, the so called ‘healthier’ free sugars like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar and brown rice syrup are ALL high carb too. Therefore, these also need to be eaten in moderation on the low carbohydrate diet.
What are good carbs that burn fat?
However, having said this about the different types of carbs, you should always eat your wholegrain and complex carbs such as wholegrains, lentils, pulses, quinoa, buckwheat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. These are carbs in their ‘whole’ form and the body does not have a fast insulin response to them which is the driver of disease and weight gain.
Eating 2-3 portions a day of complex carbs with your high protein diet will help keep your body to torch fat fast. This is the HEALTHIEST way to do things that works.
How Do You Burn Fat On A Low Carb Diet?
For faster weight loss or to keep blood sugar stable, eat 2-3 portions a day of the whole foods carbs. The rest of your diet should be high protein foods with some healthy, whole fats.
So, unless you have been told differently by your Doctor, we would, how suggest that you should eat some starchy vegetables, fruits, pulses, and wholegrains in moderation. It will still keep you low carb (and your body in fat burning mode) at 1-2 portions a day, but that’s good as this is not a ketogenic diet (you’ll need more complex carbs if you are in training, or exercising a lot).
Don’t forget, exercise will not only help you to maintain your weight loss, but the release of those good feeling hormones that it is guaranteed with a good workout will also keep you happy.
Complex Carbs List
- Wholegrain such as quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, brown pasta, brown bread, pearl barley, oats, spelt, amaranth and freekeh.
- Sweet potatoes in skins
- White potatoes in skins only
- Oatmeal and oats
- Whole fruits (not juices)
What Are The Highest Sugar Fruits?
To keep your carbs to a minimum for weight loss, you should go for the lower carb fruits where possible. Higher carb should be eaten too, but in moderation and before exercise so you use their sugars for energy.
High Sugar Fruits (high carb)
- Dried fruits
Medium Sugar Fruits (medium carb)
- Cantaloupe melon
- Oranges of all kinds
- Honeydew melon
Low Sugar Fruits (low carb)
As the plant foods to this list are nutrient dense and full of antioxidants. Antioxidants in foods are vital for anti aging. They also lower your risks of many modern day diseases, boost energy and vitality, strengthen the immune system and detoxify your system. They’ll make you look and feel a million bucks in the process.
Fat Burning Foods
The fat burning foods on the list below are also low GI. This means their sugars are released into the bloodstream slowly, giving you sustained energy over a period of time (so less snacking and sugar cravings). They will also help you to burn stomach fat much more efficiently.
These specific foods to help burn fat should be incorporated into your diet wherever possible for best results. But, don’t forget, as is the case with ALL foods, you need to eat everything in moderation and add them into your total day’s calories.
The list below goes in order from the lowest carbohydrate food to the highest and gives amounts per 100 grams. Note that not all nuts and seeds are on the list for the simple reason that some of them are actually high in carbs and should be eaten sparingly, These are nuts such as cashews, chestnuts, pistachios and sunflower seeds.
You can use numbers 15-20 on this list as part of your 1-3 carb portions per day on the low carb diet. But, remember you will need more if you’re doing a lot of exercise or training.
You can also use pulses and lentils instead of pastas, rice and grains. Be aware they are higher carbohydrate value than anything on this list, but still lower carb than your ordinary low GI carbs.
Low Carbs List
- Oils of all kinds 0g
- Soy/Tempeh/Tofu 1.9g
- Brazil Nuts 4g
- Pecans 4g
- Pumpkin seeds 5g
- Macadamia Nuts 5g
- Olives 6g
- Walnuts 7g
- Peanuts 7g
- Hazelnuts 7g
- Pine Nuts 7g
- Chia seeds 7g
- Avocados 9g
- Almonds 10g
- Butternut Squash 12g
- Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cacao) 13g
- Green Peas 14g
- White Potatoes 17g
- Sweet Potatoes 20g
- Cooked Quinoa 21g
Should I Use Protein Powders On A Low Carb Diet?
Protein powders have not been put on the above list because they often come in at different carbohydrate values, depending on the type and brand. But, they can play an integral role in a low carb diet, due to them being filling and low GI.
Protein powders usually come in at either zero or very low carb and can be used as actual meal replacements. They are especially good in you want to boost your metabolism to burn fat fat more efficiently. Or, if you’re in training and want to cut fat and build muscle then you may wish to use a protein supplement.
You should always choose a good quality protein powder if you wish to see maximum results from your training. We do not necessarily recommend protein powder supplements unless you are in a fitness plan otherwise. This is because you should be getting all the protein you need form your high protein, plant foods anyway.
Unlikely High Carb foods
You may find this list has some very interesting facts that you haven’t realised when it comes to carbohydrates in foods. For instance, white potatoes come in at 17g carbs, versus cashew nuts that are actually a whopping 30g carbs. Who would have ever guessed that potatoes actually contain almost half the carbs as a nut?
The difference between them (and this is where it can get a bit complicated) is that cashews are actually low GI due to their high fat and protein content. Therefore, they are considered healthier in that respect than the white potatoes that have very little fat and protein.
The presence of fat and protein in a food will slow down the sugar release into the bloodstream of the sugars. To understand this in more detail then please learn more here about low glycemic foods. It will open your eyes to how a low GI diet, combined with the low carbohydrate diet is one of the best long term, sustainable weight loss strategies there is.
What Is A Low GI Diet?
A low GI diet is different to a low carb diet in the respect that it focuses more on how quickly carbohydrates in a food hit the bloodstream. Too fast and you will have a much bigger insulin response to clear those sugars out of the blood.
This is not good in terms of weight loss because those sugars are usually stored as fat (the dangerous belly fat kind). This is why low GI foods are much healthier for long term health.
Pretty much everything on the above list is considered low GI. These foods all contain the other elements of fat and protein, apart from the latter part (numbers 15-20), and the white potatoes especially.
This is where correct food combining comes into play. If for example, if you ate mashed white potatoes alone, then they would be extremely high GI and would therefore encourage fat storage. But, if you eat them combined with other foods that contain fats and protein, this would then lower the GI of the potatoes and in fact the whole meal.
Correct Food Combining With Carbs, Fats & Proteins
The perfect food combinations of fats, carbs and proteins in ALL of your meals and snacks will keep you satiated and your blood sugar stable. Go very easy on the fats and high sugar fruits if weight loss is your goal. Make sure when you do eat them, they are healthy, good quality and combined with the other macro groups.
This should be easy to do when you understand the 3 macro nutrient food groups of fat, carbohydrates and protein. Find a list here, or check below.
Here is a list of your macros. Don’t forget a lot of them overlap each other and contain 2 or 3 macros in the one food, so therefore have been added to more than one food group.
- All kinds of oils
- Dried Fruits
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, squash, parsnips, carrots
Low carb eating is about moderation. You don’t want to swing into full on keto and you don’t want to eat too many high carb foods.
Make your diet a balance of mostly low carb foods form the lists with 2-3 portions daily of the complex carbs list. Complex carbs would be the high to medium sugar fruits too.
This will keep your body healthy and is sustainable long term.