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Low-Carb Substitutes for High-Carb Food

Finding Foods with less Impact on Blood Sugar

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Updated April 10, 2014

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of changing our diets is giving up foods we've come to rely on as part of our regular eating routines. Here are some ideas for lower-carb substitutes for high-carb foods.

Bread

It's been called the "staff of life," and many people think they can't live without it. But really -- isn't it what goes ON the bread that is usually tasty? Why not just put the filling on a salad? No? Well, there are some alternatives, but you sometimes have to look pretty hard. They include:
  • Special low-carb breads (but read the labels carefully, and note carbohydrate counts)
  • Low-carb tortillas
  • High-fiber "crisp breads" such as GG Bran Crispbread
  • Flax meal bread recipe (very "hearty" bread)
  • I like to make my basic muffins in muffin-top pans or (harder-to-find) similar but deeper pans. I only use a tiny bit of sweetener. I can then split the muffins and toast, or use for sandwiches.
Also, there are breads which are less glycemic -- that is, they aren't converted to sugar as quickly in our bodies. These breads are usually very heavy, with pieces of grains in them, or are made from sprouted grains like in Ezekiel® bread. Basically, the finer the wheat is ground, the easier it will be for your body to convert it to sugar. Whole wheat breads made from finely ground flour raise blood sugar just as much as white bread.

More about Whole Wheat Bread on Low-Carb Diets

Pasta

Many alternatives for pasta are available, which are lower in carbohydrate. If you get 100% whole grain pasta and cook it al dente (still slightly firm, the way Italians do), the pasta will be less glycemic. A small serving of this will work on a moderate-carb diet. Note that as part of a meal in Italy, pasta portions are small.

Cereal

Cereals are usually processed so much that the carbohydrates are very glycemic. There are low-carb packaged cold cereals, but not many. A few high-fiber cereals are good bets, including:
  • All-Bran with Extra Fiber (check to make sure you're getting the right All-Bran)
  • Fiber One (not the flavored varieties such as honey)
  • Dixie Carb Counters Nutlettes (must mail order)
A few commercial low-carb cereals are on the market such as Flax Z Snax. You can also easily make them from:

Potatoes

Among whole unprocessed foods, potatoes have the distinction of shooting blood sugar up faster and farther than any other. The starch in potatoes is essentially long strings of glucose (as is most starch). Although there isn't a perfect substitute for potatoes, some other vegetables can work well: Also, there is a commercial product called Carb Counter Instant Mashers, which can be used like instant mashed potatoes. I like to mix it in with the cauliflower or celery root, and it has a lot of other uses as well.

Page Two: Substitutes for Rice, Crackers, Desserts, and More

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