Though there are many variations on high-protein, low-carb diets, the basic tenets are usually the same: Skip pastas, breads and sugars and replace them with fish, meats, veggies and more in order to feel full, retain energy and shed pounds. According to Harvard Health, the major advantage of a low-carb/high-protein diet is that it “eliminates, or at least severely restricts, refined carbohydrates.” Refined carbs are those pesky “bad” carbs responsible for erratic blood sugar levels — which makes this diet a good one if you’re trying to manage your insulin levels or just want to skip the daily sugar spikes.
These refined carbs are replaced with protein-rich meals that, paradoxically, help many people lose weight — something that flies in the face of previous years’ conventional wisdom about low-fat foods being the key to weight loss.
“Harvard-based research has suggested that satiety (satisfaction) is a key factor in successful weight loss,” Harvard’s website reads. “Most people experience less satisfaction when eating a low-fat meal, so we tend to overeat on low-fat/high-carbohydrate diets. That makes it really hard to keep the calories (and weight) down.”
Nonetheless, it matters where that “high-protein” intake is coming from. According to CalorieSecrets, “When embarking on a high protein diet, it is important to obtain your protein from healthy sources. Some high protein diets, most notably the Atkins diet, promote a diet that is high in protein and low in carbs, but also very high in saturated fat.” Which, obviously, cannot be part of a healthy diet.
If you’re thinking of embarking on a high-protein, low-carb diet, look for quality sources of protein like eggs, fish and lean meat. Here’s a sample menu of what works (while steering clear of any prepackaged or processed “low-carb” foods).
Longing for your breakfast burrito? A low-carb omelet might be the alternative you’re looking for.
If breaking up with your favorite breakfast has been hard, check out this super-simple recipe for pancakes that are packed with protein, not carbs.
Because of its naturally lean profile, salmon is a great cornerstone for low-carb, high-protein eating.
This genius recipe combines protein-rich beans and quinoa, making it an easy lunchtime salad that leaves you feeling full and well-fed.
Carb-Cutting Avocado Zoodles: Zucchini noodles are another major trick for easily transitioning to a low-carb diet. Here’s a favorite recipe to try — we recommend adding some chicken for a protein boost.
Leafy greens and low-carb, low-cal shrimp are a nutritious way to try that delicious Buffalo flavor.