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A High-Protein, Low-Sugar Diet

author image Courtney Winston
Dr. Courtney Winston is a registered/licensed dietitian, certified diabetes educator and public health educator. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her doctoral degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center. Dr. Winston was recognized in 2012 with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Emerging Leader in Dietetics Award for the state of California.
A High-Protein, Low-Sugar Diet
Grilled fish, vegetables and rice are all a part of a high-protein, low-sugar diet. Photo Credit rusak/iStock/Getty Images

The high-protein, low-sugar diet is a diet that includes a variety of vegetables, proteins and complex carbohydrates to meet the nutritional needs of healthy, active adults. Before starting this diet, get medical clearance from your primary care doctor.

Who Should Follow a High-Protein, Low-Sugar Diet?

The high-protein, low-sugar diet is appropriate for most healthy adults who exercise regularly and who are trying to consume most of their carbohydrates from nutrient-dense foods. A high-protein diet should not be followed by anyone who has problems with her kidneys or has been told by her physician to limit her protein intake.

Defining a High-Protein Diet

Sedentary adults should aim for 0.4g of protein per pound of body weight, but some adults need more than this. Active adults who are trying to build muscle mass may need to follow a high-protein diet that includes 0.6 to 0.9g of protein per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 160 lbs. and want to follow a high-protein diet, you would need to eat 96 to 144g of protein per day.

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Reducing Your Sugar Intake

Sugar comes in a variety of dietary forms, so if you are trying to follow a low-sugar diet, there are several dietary sugars you have to limit. Sucrose, or common table sugar, is used as a sweetener in many desserts and sweets. High fructose corn syrup is also commonly used as a sweetener in sodas and other snack foods. Both sucrose and high fructose corn syrup should be eliminated on a low-sugar diet. Fructose, the sugar found in fresh fruit, and lactose, the sugar found in dairy products, are also considered to be sugars, but they do have substantial nutritional value. You will not have to eliminate these foods, but you will need to moderate your intake of them.


When attempting to increase your protein and reduce your sugar intake, you may find it challenging to get all of the nutrients you need. Most adults should take a multivitamin each day to ensure that they are meeting their nutritional needs, even though a well-balanced diet should already achieve this. If you are still worried that you need more protein in your diet, try protein supplement drinks or powders. Purchase the ones that are low in carbohydrates or added sugars.

Sample Menu

A high-protein, low-sugar breakfast could consist of scrambled egg substitute made with cheese, onions, tomatoes and peppers, whole-grain oatmeal with olive oil-based margarine and 1/2 cup mixed berries. For lunch, have a turkey sandwich made with two slices whole-grain bread, 3 oz. of lean turkey, cheese, sprouts, lettuce, tomato and avocado. Along with the sandwich, have 8 oz. of light yogurt, 1 oz. of almonds and walnuts and a low-carb protein drink. At dinner, eat 4 oz. baked salmon, 1 cup of brown rice, 1 cup of steamed vegetables and 1/2 cup of cottage cheese with fresh pineapple.

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