Low-carbohydrate diets reduce consumption of most carbohydrates, including sugar. Depending upon the diet, you may be encouraged to choose healthy fats or maintain a moderate fat intake. Dairy products are typically included in a reduced carbohydrate eating plan, but which products depends on the diet. Lower-carbohydrate versions of dairy favorites, like ice cream and yogurt, are an option on some diets.
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Low- and Lower-Carbohydrate Diet Plans
Lower-carbohydrate diets range from plans that limit all carbohydrates to those that reduce or eliminate some carbohydrates. Some diets, like the Atkins Diet, allow unlimited fat, while others, including the Zone Diet or South Beach Diet, limit fat consumption. The dairy included in your diet depends on which low- or lower-carbohydrate plan you follow. If you are on the Zone or South Beach diet, low-fat dairy products are acceptable, but full-fat, low-carbohydrate products are not. The opposite is true on the Atkins Diet.
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and protein, providing an easy solution for meals or snacks on a low-carb diet. Skip sugar-sweetened yogurts and cut carbohydrates further by opting for unsweetened, plain Greek-style yogurt. Creamy low-fat or fat-free yogurt contains as few as 9 grams of carbohydrate and 22 grams of protein. Use yogurt in savory dishes or add a lower-carbohydrate fruit, like berries.
Diet-friendly ice creams, ranging from low-fat and low-calorie ice cream treats to those with all the fat and none of the sugar fill store shelves. Low-fat treats are often high in carbohydrates, even if the calorie count is reasonable. Low-carbohydrate ice cream typically replaces the sugar with sugar alcohols, like maltitol, but may use artificial sweeteners. These are full-fat and calorie ice creams, and not appropriate for many lower-carbohydrate diets, like the South Beach Diet or Zone Diet.
Low-carbohydrate products, including yogurt and ice cream, are typically sweetened with either artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols. Some low-carbohydrate eating plans embrace these foods, while others recommended avoiding them and choosing whole, unprocessed foods. Artificial sweeteners have no calories, and generally regarded as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sugar alcohols do contain calories, but are free of carbohydrates. Sugar alcohols may cause digestive upset.