What Is a Vegan Low-Carb Diet?

Lainie Petersen

A vegan low-carb diet is both free of animal products and low in carbohydrates. Vegans who adhere to a low-carb diet must strictly limit their intake of grains and high-carb fruits, legumes, and vegetables, which are often staples in traditional vegan diets. While adhering to a vegan low-carb diet, an individual must take care to get protein from nuts and lower-carbohydrate legumes. Fats are generally not restricted, so those who adopt this diet are generally free to consume vegetable and nut oils. Although sugars are discouraged on this diet, many vegans find that they can enjoy low-sugar fruits, such as strawberries, as well as dark chocolate and some sweet treats.

Potatoes have carbohydrates.
Potatoes have carbohydrates.

When many people think of low-carb diets, they often think of a diet high in animal products, such as bacon, cheese, and eggs. While it is true that one of the most significant appeals of a low-carb diet is that it allows dieters to eat meat and butter, not everybody who can benefit from a low-carb diet wants to consume animal products. Vegans, for example, consume no animal products, which means that they eliminate not only meet, but dairy, eggs, and even honey from their diet. For low-carb vegans, the trick is to discover which vegan-friendly foods contain the lowest amounts of carbohydrate. In many cases, they find that they can enjoy a wide variety of vegetables and some fruits and use both nuts and some legumes as stand-ins for both breads and protein sources.

Nut flours can be eaten as an alternative to high-carb grain-based flours.
Nut flours can be eaten as an alternative to high-carb grain-based flours.

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Nuts and nut products can be a cornerstone of a vegan low-carb diet. Unsweetened nut milks, such as almond milk, are low in carbohydrate and can be used as a beverage as well as a cooking ingredient. Nut oils can be used in salad dressings, and nut flours are a low-carb alternative to grain-based flours. Similarly, low-carbohydrate legumes, such as soybeans, can be used to make meat substitutes as well as beverages and condiments.

As low-carb diets do not restrict the consumption of fats and oils, the vegan low-carb diet permits vegans to use reasonable amounts of oil and other non-animal fats in preparing vegetables, proteins, and baked goods. This lack of restriction on fats can make a huge difference in a vegan's ability to enjoy what may in many cases be a very limited diet. A drawback of this kind of diet is that many prepared vegan foods are often high in carbohydrates in the form of starches and sugars. As such, vegans on reduced-carb diets may be required to prepare most of their own food rather than relying on the offerings of vegan specialty stores and restaurants.

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