Although fiber is a carbohydrate, it travels through the body mainly undigested, does not increase blood glucose and -- similar to protein -- may even improve insulin sensitivity and secretion. A diet lower in carbohydrates and high in protein and fiber can be benefit diabetics desiring to lose weight, but truly anyone may find it helpful. Because there is little research regarding its long-term safety, however, don't follow the diet for no longer than a year.
Some of the food items that you should focus on while following a low-carbohydrate diet include lean meats and poultry like skinless chicken breast or lean ground beef; seafood, such as salmon; and eggs and dairy products. Nonstarchy vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, broccoli and leafy greens like spinach, will also provide plenty of fiber while containing few carbohydrates. Vegetarians should also consume plenty of nonstarchy vegetables, but their protein sources may mainly come from nuts, seeds, tofu, soy products and meat substitutes.
Low-fat cottage cheese does not contain fiber, but just 1/2 cup has about 15 grams of protein and goes well with fiber-rich fruits and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds for a qualifying breakfast. It should be noted that although fruits are high in fiber and other nutrients, they are also higher in carbohydrates and may need to be limited. Eggs are another good breakfast option, with each providing 6 grams of protein, and can be complemented by nonstarchy, high-fiber vegetables like bell peppers and kale in an egg scramble or omelet.
Soybeans and edamame are the lowest carbohydrate bean options, and they offer 8 grams each of protein and carbohydrates, with 4 grams as dietary fiber, in 1/2 cup. Edamame and many other soy products could be consumed with a nonstarchy vegetable side like cucumbers or broccoli, or they can be thrown together in a green salad for a nutritious lunch. You could also pair other high-protein foods like seafood or lunch meats, such as lean turkey breast or roast beef, with vegetables for a protein- and fiber-packed, low-carbohydrate lunch.
You could combine skinless chicken breast, containing 26 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving, with broth and fiber-rich celery, onions and carrots to make a satisfying soup for supper. An additional supper option would be broiled salmon, containing 21 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving, accompanied by a side of veggies topped with a little shredded cheddar. There are 7 grams of protein in cheddar cheese, but it is also high in fat and cholesterol, so keep that under consideration.
Nuts and seeds are tasty snacks for this diet. One ounce of almonds or 1/4 cup of sunflower seed kernels contains around 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of which are fiber. You could pair a protein-rich cheese or lunch meat with a side of carrot or celery sticks for another qualifying snack. For something more dessertlike, try mixing 1/2 cup each of raspberries and part-skim ricotta cheese. It will deliver about 13 grams of carbohydrates, but that is much less than many other desserts, and it boasts 4 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein.
- Diabetes Care: Nutrition Recommendations and Interventions for Diabetes: A Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association
- Today's Dietitian: Low-Carb Diets -- Research Shows They May Be More Beneficial Than Other Dietary Patterns
- USDA SuperTracker: Food-A-Pedia
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Release 27
- MayoClinic.org: Low-Carb Diet -- Can It Help You Lose Weight?
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Nutrient Lists -- Nutrients: Fiber; Food Groups: Vegetables and Vegetable Products
- Atkins: Low Carb Food Lists