Limiting your carbs on a low-carbohydrate diet means you're going to be eating more fat. While bacon and butter are low in carbs and high in fat, they don't always make the healthiest choices on any diet plan, including low-carb. Having a list of healthier low-carb, high-fat foods can help you lose the weight and get the nutrients you need for overall better health.
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Carb-Free Fatty Fish
Get more fat in your diet without any carbs with fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines. A 3-ounce portion of cooked tuna or salmon has 5 to 7 grams of fat, and a small can of sardines has 11 grams of fat. These fish are rich in essential omega- 3 fats. The American Heart Association recommends you eat two servings of these fish twice a week for heart health. Omega-3s reduce inflammation, and upping the amount in your diet may lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Other no-carb fatty fish include mackerel, herring and halibut. Don't limit these to your lunch or dinner. Add them to your crustless frittata or omelet or serve them with low-carb veggies for an unconventional and healthy low-carb breakfast.
Healthy Vegetable Oils
Like fatty fish, vegetable oils are also carb-free and high in fat. One teaspoon of olive, safflower or soy oil has 5 grams of fat. These oils are also filled with healthy unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Unsaturated fats may lower cholesterol levels if you use them instead of saturated fats, which are the fats found in butter and bacon. Use these oils to saute low-carb veggies or meats. They also make a good base for a homemade low-carb salad dressing. Shake up olive oil with red wine vinegar, garlic, basil, salt and pepper for an easy carb-free dressing.
Unlike fatty fish and oil, nuts aren't carb-free, but they're high in fat and low in "net" carbs, or digestible carbs -- that is, total carbs minus fiber. Many of the popular low-carb diet plans use net carbs for counting because foods low in net carbs, like nuts, don't hinder weight loss. One ounce of pecans, walnuts or almonds has 1 to 3 grams of net carbs and 13 to 20 grams of fat. The fats in nuts are also the good-for-you unsaturated fats. In fact, walnuts are rich in omega-3 fats and make a good alternative to getting more of these heart-healthy fats in your diet if you're not a big fan of fish. These nuts make good snacks in between meals. You can also add them to your low-carb morning shake or a lunchtime salad, or toss with some of your favorite roasted low-carb veggies.
About That Butter and Bacon
While a low-carb diet can help you lose weight, it also seems to raise LDL cholesterol levels, according to a 2016 meta-analysis study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. LDL cholesterol is known as the "bad" cholesterol because it contributes to the hardening of arteries. Saturated fat increases LDL cholesterol. While bacon and butter aren't restricted on a low-carb diet, as foods high in saturated fat, they may play a role in the increase in LDL cholesterol in people following a low-carb diet.
Other foods high in saturated fats while low in carbs include fatty red meat, chicken and turkey skin, and cheese. Eat more of the low-carb foods high in healthy fats to lose weight and keep your heart in good health.
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Salmon, Tuna, Sardines
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Olive Oil, Soy Oil, Safflower Oil
- British Journal of Nutrition: Effects of Low-carbohydrate Diets V. Low-fat Diets on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials
- American Heart Association: Good vs. Bad Cholesterol
- Atkins: What Are net Carbs