The human body works best with a diet that includes some carbohydrate.
Recently a Recommended Dietary Allowance for carbohydrate was set at a minimum
of 130 grams per day. This would represent 26% of the
calories in a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, which would still be considered a
low-carbohydrate diet, but would avoid the potential hazards of more restrictive
diets, including symptoms of ketosis (nausea, weakness, dehydration,
light-headedness, and irritability) and loss of body protein.
Certain dietary fats and their food sources are associated with good health
and reduction of disease risks. Foods high in unsaturated fats that are free of trans
fatty acids have been associated with protection from atherosclerosis, heart disease, insulin
resistance, and other health concerns. Examples of these foods
include olive oil, fatty fish, flaxseeds, and nuts. However, replacing
high-carbohydrate foods with these foods may increase calorie intake if portion
sizes are not kept moderate.
Certain sources of dietary protein are more healthful than others. Protein
foods containing significant amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol have been
associated with many diseases, including heart
attacks, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and gallstones; choosing low-fat and low-saturated-fat protein foods can minimize these risks. High meat intake, even of leaner cuts, may increase risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones. Well-done meat or meat that has been preserved with nitrites should be avoided, or kept to a minimum, due to
links with cancer. The most healthful choices for increasing protein intake are
fish and seafood, low- or nonfat dairy products, legumes (including soyfoods),
nuts, and seeds.
Even a low-carbohydrate diet should emphasize healthful carbohydrate sources.
Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables supply fiber and many important micronutrients. People with diabetes or insulin resistance may find that
choosing carbohydrate foods with a low-glycemic index improves their blood
sugar, blood cholesterol, and triglycerides; helps them better control their
weight; and improves symptoms associated with their health conditions.
Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta:
Dairy products and dairy substitutes:
- Nonfat milk and milk products
- Unsweetened nonfat yogurt
- Soy beverages
Fats and oils:
- Non-hydrogenated olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil
- Non-hydrogenated corn oil, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, pumpkin seed oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil,
Protein (meat, poultry,
fish, eggs, nuts, and beans):