Carb Counter
Carb Counter
Finfish and Shellfish

Fish and Shellfish

Fish and shellfish are excellent choices for anyone watching their carbs. This is because these food items have zero carbohydrate content unless it has been added in the cooking process. Therefore, the carb content will clearly depend on the cooking method and recipe used. The best preparation methods for keeping fish and shellfish low carb include grilling, roasting and poaching.

Generally speaking, fish is an excellent source of protein and some varieties provide an abundant source of essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6. Because of this, everyone could benefit by replacing red meat with fish or shellfish a couple of times a week. It’s interesting to note also that fish can provide similar amounts of protein with few calories compared to other meats. This means that fish dishes are also a good choice when you are watching calories.

Diabetics tend to have low HDL levels and high triglycerides, exactly the opposite of what they should be for health. The consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can actually raise HDL and lower triglyceride levels providing improved cardiovascular health. Similarly, low-carb dieters can also benefit from the heart-healthy eating the fish can provide. Fish with the highest levels of beneficial fatty acids include salmon, trout, mackerel, and albacore tuna.

However, it is important to reiterate the impact that the cooking process has on the health benefits of eating fish. You cannot put away three meals of fish and chips every week and expect to improve your health. Stick to non-fried fish recipes for the optimum benefit. And be sure to pair your fish with tasty low carb vegetables - skip the rice and potatoes.

Another cautionary note is in order for pregnant women. If you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant, you should limit your fish and shellfish intake to 12 ounces per week due to the possibility that mercury levels found in fish could be harmful to the fetus.

The naturally high protein levels found in fish, coupled with naturally low carbohydrate levels, make fish and shellfish an almost perfect food for diabetics and low-carb dieters. By sticking to recipes that don’t involve breading and frying, not only will blood sugar be easier to control, cardiovascular health can be improved as well.

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