Top 12 High Calorie Low Carb Foods That Can Help You Gain Lean Muscle
Why risk losing all the benefits from your strenuous workout with meals packed with high-carbohydrate diets when high calorie low carb foods can help you build lean muscle mass
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One of the best ways to supply your body with enough energy when you want to cut down on carbohydrates is to include many high calorie low carb foods in your diet.
Your body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen, part of which becomes energy for you to use.
You will require that energy to enable you to perform at your peak during your workouts. That energy will help you to build lean muscle and recover after your workout.
Unfortunately, many low-carb diets may not be able to supply your body with the energy it needs.
How do you get enough energy if you opt for low-carb diets?
One solution is to identify high calorie low carb foods and include many of them in your pre-workout and post-workout diets.
Why High Calorie Low Carb Foods?
On average, your body must store enough glycogen to fuel 90-180 minutes of endurance exercise.
The higher the intensity of your endurance exercise, the faster it will deplete the glycogen stores.
As a fitness enthusiast, your body requires more energy, most of which comes from carbohydrates, to enable you to go through strenuous workouts and exercises. A low-carb diet may mean not burning enough calories to supply you with enough energy.
This article will discuss some of the best high calorie low-carb foods to include in your diet to help you gain lean muscle.
Top High Calorie Low Carb Foods to Include in Your Diet
Diet, in general, contains proteins, fats, carbohydrates or carbs, minerals, and vitamins. A healthy diet contains all these components in different proportions.
Good nutrition is one of the keys to building lean muscle successfully. And eating the right foods at the right time is vital for boosting performance and maintaining good health.
Include some of these high calorie, low cab foods in your diet to help your body meet your energy requirements.
One of the best high calorie low carb foods for your diet is whole eggs.
Eggs have high protein content, and eating the whole egg together will give you the correct combination of protein, calories, and fat.
One interesting fact is the healthiest part of the egg is the yolk. According to a review in 2019, the egg yolk contains most of the nutrients in an egg.
A yolk contains over 90% of the calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamin, zinc, vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and pantothenic acid contained in the egg.
In addition, egg yolks have high antioxidant properties that can boost the body’s metabolism to help it burn more calories.
In addition, the egg yolk contains many fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K.
The egg yolk can also help build and balance the levels of amino acids.
Thus eating the whole egg will give you all the benefits of egg protein.
Free-range and organic eggs contain higher quantities of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and higher levels of all the nutrients and vitamins listed above.
Thus, free-range and organic eggs will give you better health benefits than caged eggs.
One good thing about whole eggs is you can eat them with any food at any time of the day.
While there were concerns in the past about the cholesterol levels in egg yolk, the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans do not put a cap on dietary cholesterol.
Avocados are some of the most popular high calorie low carb foods. They are also very versatile foods because you can combine them with everything, from salads to sandwiches to pasta dishes.
Avocados are high in a healthy fat called oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that can suppress your hunger pangs while ensuring you are getting the healthy fats your body needs.
It is also worth noting that avocados have high calorie levels, making them one of the best high calorie low fat foods for your diet.
Avocados are, are also full of many minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. In addition, avocados
- contain good levels of antioxidants.
- are sources of fiber.
- are very effective in helping the body maintain healthy hormone levels
- they can help you burn fat and therefore help you to lose weight quickly
- can help you develop and gain lean muscles, and
- can help reduce appetite levels by tricking your brain to make you feel full for longer periods.
Most, if not all, nuts contain high levels of healthy fat.
Nuts are high in fiber and are some of the best low carb high calorie foods that can supply your body with high energy levels.
They are very nutritious and have many health benefits. Various studies support the fact that eating nuts can help to
- improve the health of the brain,
- reduce the chances of getting some types of cancer,
- lower the possibility of developing cardiovascular or heart disease (1, 2), and
- boost your immunity levels to help you fight various diseases, including Type II diabetes. ( 3)
Nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, Brazil nuts, and almonds, contain very reasonable levels of the hormones and chemicals that can help the body burn fat.
Eating nuts can help suppress your hunger pangs, making you eat less.
They are good sources of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and protein.
Peanut butter might be the most popular healthy food in this category. But pecan butter, almond butter, macadamia butter, and cashew butter can all give you similar benefits, making them good high calorie low carb alternatives, especially for those with peanut allergies.
Olives and Olive Oil
These are very high in triglycerides which are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.
Olive oil has many health benefits. It can help protect you against the risk of cardiovascular diseases as it can help reduce cholesterol levels.
It can help with the prevention of atherosclerosis, which is a situation where fatty acids accumulate in and block the arteries (4)
It can also help raise HDL cholesterol levels which is good cholesterol. High levels of HDL can help reduce the chances of getting diseases related to the heart (5, 6, ).
Olive oil contains some of the highest levels of monounsaturated fats, dietary fat in cooking oils available in the food market. It has no cholesterol, no trans-fat, and low levels of saturated fat.
An article published by the Technical University of Munich noted olive oil is one of the few natural oils and fats that can create a feeling of satiety after eating. The study highlighted the role olive oil can play in any weight loss strategy.
According to USDA, olive oil contains high calorie levels (119) with no carbohydrates, making it one of the best high calorie low carb foods for your diet. Choose olive oil over other oils for cooking and frying. You can also use the high calorie low cab olive oil as toppings for snacks and salads as well.
Such seeds as flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds are rich in healthy fats that can lower cholesterol levels.
Flaxseeds, for example, is one of the best sources of lignans, which have high levels of antioxidant properties. That means they can help you burn more fat. In addition, they can help
- reduce cholesterol levels,
- reduce the risk of contracting various diseases relating to the heart (7),
- the body to fight many diseases, including some types of cancer (8, 9, 10), and,
- lower the blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension (7)
According to USDA, 10g of flaxseed contains high calorie levels (55) and low levels of carbohydrates, most of which (2.8g) is fiber, making it one of the best high calorie low carb foods.
You can grind flaxseed and add it to yogurt, smoothies, and beverages
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring, and trout, are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They have high nutritional values, contain high calories, and have no carbs.
According to USDA, salmon contains high calorie levels (121) and no carbohydrates, making it (and other fatty fish) one of the best high calorie low carb foods for your diet.
Milk has very high nutritional value and offers many benefits to those not sensitive to lactose or not allergic to milk protein.
Milk is a good source of calcium and has high calorie (122) and low-carb levels, making it one of the must-have high calorie low carb foods for your diet.
You can get milk with different fat content, making it possible to go for a version to match your fitness goals.
Milk is a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains many minerals and vitamins, including calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and riboflavin.
Taking milk as part of your diet will give many benefits, including
- strong bones and muscles
- improved bone density which can help prevent osteoporosis (10)
- Low hypertension risk and low blood pressure (11)
- help reduce the risk of some types of cancer (12)
You can enjoy milk on its own or add some to hot beverages such as tea, coffee, and cocoa, use it to make yogurt, or as a base for sauces and gravy.
Yogurt is a combination of milk with live bacteria. It is also one of the most well-known fermented and probiotic dairy products with many health benefits.
The USDA estimates yogurt has many nutritional benefits, with Greek yogurt, in particular, having high calorie values (92) and low carbohydrates. Most of the carbohydrates in yogurt are sugar, which means you can reduce the level of carbohydrates by opting for a low-fat version.
Aside from being one of the best high calorie low carb foods to include in your diet, Greek yogurt contains good levels of protein, minerals, and vitamins, including magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, choline, and calcium.
Having yogurt quite often will boost your bone health and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis (13)
Varieties of Green yogurt that contain probiotics can
- help improve gut health.
- help you to attain a healthy bacterial balance (14 )
- help those doing strength training and weight lifting to build muscle mass (15)
- help reduce the risk of high blood pressure (16), and
- help reduce the risk of Type II diabetes. (17)
You can eat yogurt directly from its container, or pair it with cake, bread, or fresh fruits. You can also use it for smoothies or as a topping for chili or tacos.
Butter made from organic grass-fed cows is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K2 (18).
The USDA estimates butter without salt contains good calorie levels (102) (19) and no Carbohydrates, making butter one of the best high calorie low-fat foods to eat.
It is also a good source of the medium-chain fatty acids found in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs can help boost your mental faculties and help your body burn more calories.
Organic butter is another good source of conjugated linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated omega-6 healthy fatty acid, which can help build strong, healthy muscles and support heart health (20).
The healthy fats in grass-fed organic butter can also help suppress appetite and help control the levels of blood sugar.
Chicken is one of the best high calorie low carb foods for your post-workout recovery meal.
The USDA estimates chicken thigh contains 135 calories and no carbohydrates, while the wing contains 216 calories and no carbs. The calorie levels depend on which part of the chicken.
High-protein foods, such as chicken, have many health benefits. Such benefits include:
- boosting the health of your bones (21)
- promoting muscle growth, especially for weight lifters and those doing strength training (22)
- maintaining lean muscle mass
- helping to maintain cognitive health as we grow older
- helping to boost cardiovascular health
- helping to reduce the risk of thyroid diseases
You can boil, roast, fry, and broil chicken, though frying will add extra fat and calories.
Lean Red Meat
Opting for lean red meat, such as lean beef, can help cut the risk of chronic diseases and keep your saturated fat consumption within guidelines.
The USDA estimates beef contains 217 calories and no carbohydrates.
Lean beef is a good source of protein, and low levels of fat, minerals, and vitamins, including vitamins B6 and B12, selenium, zinc, niacin, and phosphorus.
As one of the best high calorie low fat foods, beef can
- help maintain and preserve muscle mass, and help reduce the risk of sarcopenia in the elderly (23)
- help boost your performance during your workout (24)
- help reduce the risk of anemia, which can cause weakness and tiredness (25)
You can prepare meat for consumption by boiling, steaming, and stewing.
It is, however, worth noting that high consumption of overcooked meat can increase the risk of some cancers (26). Thus it is advisable to reduce the consumption of red meat to reasonable quantities
Tofu, made from soybeans, is a plant-based food high in protein but has low levels of fat, carbohydrates, and sodium.
Many use tofu as a substitute for meat. It is gluten-free, dairy-free, and cholesterol-free. Thus it is suitable for vegans or those with special diets.
You can get tofu in different textures. While the softer texture has few calories, USDA estimates firm tofu contains 181 calories, making it one of the best high calorie low carb foods.
Firm tofu is a good source of many minerals and vitamins, including calcium, manganese, selenium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Adding tofu to your diet will give you many soybean benefits, including
- reduces hot flashes during menopause (27)
- Preventing certain types of cancer, including prostate and breast cancer (28)
- reducing the risk of heart disease in both men and women (29),
- help slow down bone loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis (30)
Final words from LiveLIfe
You need to support your exercises and workouts nutritious and healthy diet. That will help you get the most out of your fitness training.
Why risk losing all the benefits from your strenuous workout with pre-workout foods and post-workout meals packed with high-carbohydrate diets when high calorie low carb foods can help you build lean muscle mass and boost your performance and general health?
High calorie low carb foods will not only help you lose weight, but they will also help supply your body with the fuel it needs before, during, and after your workout. But they are not exclusive.
Combine them with other sources of protein, fiber, and other dietary supplements to help you to achieve your goals and improve your health and lifestyle.