Choose “Clean” Proteins When on a Low-Carb Diet

A healthy low-carb diet can and should include plenty of low-glycemic plant foods (non-starchy vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds). That being said, following a low-carb diet still means eating large amounts of protein and the fats that come with them. So you need to make sure you get your protein from high-quality sources.

High-quality proteins are:

1. Non-Toxic. Toxins from the environment can accumulate in the fat and tissues of animals and fish. Mercury in fish, for example. Or chemicals from pesticide-treated grain fed to animals.

To avoid consuming too much mercury, eat smaller fish – tilapia, cod, and sardines vs. shark and swordfish. Since toxins tend to accumulate in the fat, eat the leanest cuts of meat possible. And choose organic meats, which ensure the animals were fed only non-pesticide-treated feed.

2. Raised on a Healthy Diet. The meats you eat should be from animals raised on their natural food source. Free-range chickens, for example, are usually fed some grains. But they are also allowed to roam around and peck in the ground for insects and worms, which is what they do when allowed to feed naturally. And the natural diet for cattle includes plenty of grazing in grass.

The more an animal can feed on its natural foods, the richer the nutrient content will be in the meat. Grass-fed beef is not only much leaner than grain-fed beef, it also contains a significant amount of omega 3 fats.

3. Free of Hormones. Selecting organically raised beef or dairy products ensures the animal was raised without growth hormones. Protein from growth-hormone-treated animals may increase your risk of breast cancer, may be linked to early puberty in children, and may be linked to lowered sperm counts in men.

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