Great Products for a Low-Carb Diet

Great Products for a Low-Carb Diet

There is no doubt that the best low-carb foods are easy to be found -- just check the perimeter of any supermarket. The meats, produce, and dairy sections yield most of the foods we eat on a day-to-day basis. Add some oils, spices and a few nuts and you're all set for the vast majority of low-carb fare. However, we can bring a greater variety of foods to our diets with a few "extras." Check these out, and then share your own ideas with others.

Liquid Sucralose

EZ-Sweetz Liquid Sucralose
EZ-Sweetz Liquid Sucralose. Photo Courtesy Sweet Solutions Corps

I think it's great when people cut additives, including sugar substitutes, out of their diets. However, I'm someone who will use moderate amounts from time to time. The main problem with most artificial sweeteners is that they are often packaged with sugar-containing powders and the powdered kind often has an objectionable aftertaste. I have found that the "cleanest" source of artificial sweeteners, which avoids both of these problems, is liquid forms of sucralose, the main ingredient in Splenda brand sweeteners. More Thoughts on Artificial Sweeteners.

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Flax Seed Meal

Brown and Golden Flax Seeds
Brown and Golden Flax Seeds. Photo © Emily Dolson

Mix it in yogurt or make it into an instant hot cereal. Make muffins or bread out of it. Not many days go by when I don't have flax meal in some form. It's packed with fiber and nutrients, with almost no carbohydrate. This page will tell you all about flax seeds. Or go right to ways to use flax seeds and lots of recipes.

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Shirataki Noodles

Tofu Shirataki Noodles
Image Courtesy House Foods America

Shirataki (also called konjac) noodles were originally developed in Asia, but they have recently come to the attention of people around the world. Because these noodles are almost totally a beneficial type of fiber, they have almost no usable carbohydrate. Another low-carb noodle is the tofu noodle available in Asian grocery stores.

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Easy Sugar-Free Fudge
Easy Sugar-Free Fudge. Laura Dolson

Erythritol is the other sugar substitute I find myself using quite a bit, mainly because I find that sugar alcohols are helpful in producing good-tasting recipes using unsweetened chocolate, and erythritol is the one with almost no impact on blood sugar. For example, the no-cook fudge pictured here can be easily mixed up with a few ingredients, including powdered erythritol. Just make sure it's the powdered kind, NOT granulated.

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Almond Meal/Almond Flour

Almond Meal Muffins
Almond Meal Muffins. Photo © Laura Dolson

Make muffins, pancakes, coffee cake, and other cakes and quick breads with almond meal. What is almond meal or almond flour? It's simply ground up almonds, which are very healthy and have lots of nutrients.

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Quest Protein Bars

Quest Nutrition

Quest bars are sweetened primarily with natural ingredients, with a very small amount of sucralose. They taste really good, and the manufacturers offer two free bars so you can try them for yourself. With 20 grams of protein per bar, and only 4 or 5 grams of net carbs (depending on flavor), they have a minimal impact on blood glucose.

ChocoPerfection Bars

ChocoPerfection Bars
ChocoPerfection Bars. LowCarb Specialties, Inc.

True, I have a lot of good low-carb chocolate recipes. But sometimes I'll admit it's nice to have a good chocolate bar that someone else made! This one of the few commercial chocolate treats sweetened with erythritol instead of that nasty maltitol that raises blood sugar and can cause nasty intestinal side effects to boot. If you like a raspberry/chocolate combination, I also recommend Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Bars, also made by ChocoPerfection.

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Mt. Olive Sweet Pickles and Pickle Relish

Sugar-Free Pickle Relish
Mt. Olive

I love having a jar of sugar-free pickle relish in the refrigerator. I can quickly mix up tartar sauce or thousand island dressing, or add it to deviled eggs, cauliflower "potato" salad, tuna salad, salmon salad -- you get the idea. It adds that spark that livens up many foods made with mayonnaise by balancing out the richness.

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Dixie Carb Counters Instant Mashers

Instant Mashers
Dixie Diner, Inc.

This high-fiber product can be a real asset in the low-carb kitchen. Yes, I guess it can be used as a substitute for potatoes, but I think it really shines as a binder (crab cakes, salmon cakes, latkes), a coating for frying fish, and improving the texture of mashed cauliflower and cauliflower "potato" salad.

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Chia Seeds

chia seeds
Gabriela Ruellan

Chia seeds are a new food to me, but I'm having fun with them. They are loaded with fiber and healthy fats. When mixed with one part seeds to two parts boiling water and one part coconut milk, plus a dash of cinnamon, sweetener, and salt, they make a sort of a rice-pudding-like concoction.

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Atkins Advantage Bars

Atkins Advantage Bars
Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

A lot of brands of supposedly "low-carb" bars are on the market, but there are problems with most of them, either the presence of maltitol or a fair amount of sugars. As an example, I have a friend who takes insulin. She carries one brand (Luna bars) which is labeled as "low-glycemic" while she's exercising in case her sugar drops too low. She finds this "low-glycemic bar" is very effective in raising blood glucose!

Although some Advantage Bars have maltitol (read labels carefully), many of them do not, nor are they loaded with sugar. There are times, such as when traveling, when I find that these bars can come in handy.

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Honorable Mention

Honorable mentions: coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened soy milk, coconut flour, sugar-free ketchup, Da Vinci sugar-free syrups and black soy beans.

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