What foods are high in protein but low in carbs? – Medical News Today

Low carb, high protein diets restrict people’s consumption of carbohydrates, such as bread, while promoting a higher-than-usual consumption of proteins, such as lean meats. This type of eating plan may be beneficial for weight loss and muscle building, but it may also carry a few health risks.
Protein, carbohydrates, and fats are macronutrients. These nutrients are necessary in large quantities to provide a person with energy and keep them healthy.
It is important for a person to have a balanced diet and consume sufficient amounts of each macronutrient. However, if a person is looking to lose weight or alter their body composition, they may wish to adjust the balance of their macronutrients and consume more protein while reducing their carbohydrate intake.
In this article, we discuss the roles of carbohydrates and protein in the diet. We also explain what foods are high in protein and low in carbs and suggest a meal plan that people can try.
Along with fat, protein and carbohydrates make up the three macronutrients present in food.
Protein is a major component of the skin, muscle, bone, organs, hair, and nails. Dietary protein is important for preventing lean body mass loss, promoting growth and repair of the body, and generally maintaining good health. Dietary protein may come from animal sources or plant-based foods.
Carbohydrates act as the body’s main energy source and can be either simple or complex. These types of carbohydrates differ in chemical structure and the speed at which the body absorbs them. Simple carbohydrates contain one or two sugar molecules, and the body absorbs them more quickly than complex carbohydrates, which have a longer molecular chain.
Dietary guidelines suggest the following carbohydrate and protein intake for male and female adults:
To follow a low carbohydrate, high protein diet, a person would need to drop their carb intake to about 26% of their total calories. The definition of a high protein intake varies among sources, but one study trialing a high protein diet defined it as 30% of a person’s total calorie intake.
A low carb, high protein diet may offer several benefits, including:
Adopting a low carb, high protein diet may pose certain risks. For example, a diet that is high in protein can put acid load on the kidneys, which may increase a person’s risk of developing kidney disease.
An older review suggests that the long-term consumption of a high protein diet may also contribute to the following health issues:
A 2018 study notes that the type of protein that a person consumes on a low carb, high protein diet may affect mortality. Low carb diets that incorporate protein and fat from meats, such as chicken, pose a higher mortality risk than plant-based proteins and fats.
A person should consider consulting their doctor before making any radical dietary changes. They may also wish to work with a dietitian to create an eating plan.
People following a low carb, high protein diet can include the following foods in their meals:
Learn more about foods that are high in protein.
People who are trying to limit their carbohydrate intake may wish to avoid the following types of foods:
A person can also increase the amount of protein in their diet by taking supplements, although it is advisable to discuss this with a doctor first. Protein supplements include:
Below is an example of a low carb, high protein meal plan:
Protein and carbohydrates are important macronutrients that provide the body with energy and support good health. A diet that is low in carbs but high in protein may help facilitate weight loss and improve body composition.
However, this eating plan can negatively affect the liver and kidneys, and more research is necessary to understand its long-term effects on health. A person should consult a doctor before making drastic changes to their diet.
Last medically reviewed on June 2, 2021
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