Low-Carb Nation
Chester J. Zelasko, Ph.D. | March 9, 2004

No matter where you go today, a low-carbohydrate lifestyle is the main topic. It's talked about in advertisements for low-carb beers, commercials for low-carb choices in restaurants, websites galore, and even a new store dedicated to low-carb foods called Low-Carb Warehouse. There hasn't been this much hype over a special category of food since the low-fat craze of 20 years ago. Is this good?

The American Heart Association and the American College of Preventive Medicine both held national conferences recently. Some of the sessions most attended were the ones discussing the low-carb phenomenon. At the Preventive Medicine 2004 conference, researchers expressed concerns that with the emphasis on low-carbohydrate intake, consumers were not paying attention to the rest of the calories they were taking in--especially those from fat (1). While the debate over the best diet rages on, there is no doubt that regardless of the source, a calorie is still a calorie: eat too many and you won't lose weight; you might even gain weight.

The concern over the total caloric intake seemed to be confirmed in a presentation at the American Heart Association Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention (2). Researchers at the Mayo Clinic presented data that fat and cholesterol intake has increased while intake of fruits and vegetables has decreased in the past five years among Minnesota residents. They speculate that this is reflective of the nation as a whole, and I would agree with their assessment.

Better Life Unlimited is committed to giving you an optimal approach for your health, and any eating plan that increases fat consumption and skimps on fruits and vegetables isn't optimal. But if you're using a low-carb approach to losing weight, you should choose the healthiest low-carb foods available from natural foods. A list of the Top 25 Low-Carb Foods is found after the references below.

References:

  1. Snetselaar L. et al. Special Diets in Weight Management: Do They Work? Preventive Medicine National Convention. February 2004.
  2. Kottke TE at al. CardioVision 2020: Program Awareness and Self-Reported Behavior Change After Four Years of Intervention. American Heart Association 44th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. March 2004.


The Top 25 Low-Carb Foods


This food list contains the healthiest low-carbohydrate foods as determined by:

  • Saturated fat content in meats
  • Fiber and phytonutrient content in vegetables and fruit
  • The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated content of the fat choices
Be sure to pay attention to the serving size--low-carb doesn't mean you get to eat as much as you want. Cooked foods are steamed, broiled, or roasted, with visible fat trimmed away and skin removed from the meats. The grams of fiber were not deducted from total grams of carbohydrates as they are in some nutrition labels.


Food Category Carbs (grams) Fat Serving Size
Broccoli Vegetable 6 0 1 cup chopped
Green Beans Vegetable 7 0 ¾ cup
Carrots Vegetable 5 0 7.5-inch carrot
Spinach (Raw) Vegetable 3 0 3 cups chopped
Romaine Lettuce Vegetable 3 0 3 cups chopped
Tomatoes (Cherry) Vegetable 6 0 1 cup
Apricots Fruit 8 0 2 medium fruits
Blackberries Fruit 7 0 ½ cup
Grapes Fruit 8 0 ½ cup
Cantaloupe Fruit 9 0 ¾ cup chopped
Orange Fruit 9 0 ½ medium fruit
Peach Fruit 9 0 1 medium fruit
Turkey Breast Protein 0 1 3 oz..
Chicken Breast Protein 0 4 3 oz.
Pork (Center Cut Loin) Protein 0 7 3 oz.
Beef (Top Round) Protein 0 5 3 oz.
Beef (Flank Steak) Protein 0 8 3 oz.
Tuna Steak Protein 0 5 3 oz.
Salmon Steak Protein 0 7 3 oz.
Egg Whites Protein 0 0 3 whites
Soybeans (Cooked) Protein 8 8 ½ cup
Almonds Fat 5 15 1 oz.
Walnuts (Halves) Fat 4 18 1 oz.
Olive Oil Fat 0 14 1 tablespoon
Safflower Oil (High Oleic) Fat 0 14 1 tablespoon
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