Eating too many highly processed and refined carbs such as white bread and sugary concoctions not only limits your nutrient intake but may also lead to weight gain, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. While limiting your carb intake may improve health and promote weight loss, not all carbs are bad, and the key to good health is balance. Including nutrient-rich carbs, such as whole grains, fruits and veggies, along with your low-carb, low-sugar foods can help create that balance for better health. Consult you doctor to discuss diet and health before making changes to how you eat.
Many protein foods are naturally carb- and sugar-free. But not all protein foods make good choices. Some are high in fat and saturated fat, such as bacon and cheese. Try to include healthier protein options, such as lean red meat, white-meat poultry, seafood, eggs, tofu and low-fat cheese.
Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils, are also a nutritious source of protein and make a healthy addition to any diet plan. And while they are a source of carbs, they are still free of added sugar, fat-free and rich in nutrients that promote health, such as fiber, iron and zinc.
Broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, kale, peppers, carrots, spinach and cucumbers are nonstarchy vegetables and healthy low-carb, low-sugar foods to include in your diet plan. These veggies are also low in calories, naturally fat-free and full of vital health-promoting nutrients, including vitamins A and C, potassium, folate and magnesium.
It's important to include a variety of foods from this group to help vary your nutrient intake, says the publication Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.
The Right Fats
Fats are also naturally carb- and sugar-free, but not all fats make healthy choices. Most of your fat intake should be high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, so that means more oils. Good choices include olive oil, safflower oil and peanut oil.
In addition to the oil, foods high in these healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds and avocados, also make good additions to your low-carb, low-sugar diet plan.
It's important to include a few healthy carbs in your low-carb, low-sugar diet plan to up your intake of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. That means whole grains, starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and winter squash, fruit, milk and yogurt.
While fruit is a source of sugar, you also get fiber, vitamins and minerals, which increases its nutritional value. The natural sugar in a piece of fruit doesn't count as added sugar -- the "empty calories" you want to avoid.
Like fruit, milk and yogurt are also a source of sugar, but they provide health-promoting nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
A healthy breakfast on your low-carb, low-sugar diet might include two eggs scrambled in 1 teaspoon of olive oil with 1/2 cup of peppers and onions and served with a container of low-fat yogurt and 12 almonds. Substitute 1 cup of soft tofu for the eggs for a nonmeat tofu scramble. This meal contains contains 430 calories, 17 grams of carbs and 24 grams of protein.
At lunch, try 2 cups of mixed greens topped with 4 ounces of grilled salmon, 12 cashews, the fruit of two tangerines and 2 tablespoons of balsamic dressing, served with 1 ounce of low-fat cheddar cheese. This meal contains 585 calories, 25 grams of carbs and 39 grams of protein.
For dinner, stir-fry 1 cup of cubed firm tofu with 3 cups of mixed nonstarchy vegetables and 12 peanuts in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and low-sodium soy sauce, and serve it with 2/3 cup of brown rice. This meal contains 610 calories, 45 grams of carbs and 26 grams of protein.