Keeping Up With Calcium on a Low Carb Diet



Keeping Up With Calcium on a Low-Carb Diet

There are many ways you can get the proper amount of calcium if you're on a low-carb diet. Find out the best food sources besides dairy products to protect bone health.

By Madeline R. Vann, MPH

Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

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A low-carbohydrate diet can be a challenge to follow at first, and you might have found that an easy way to cut carbs is to cut dairy products. Unfortunately, although this might help you stick to a certain carb limit, it could also mean that you’re not getting enough calcium to meet the suggested daily requirement for good health.

One of the best dietary sources of calcium is milk, but dairy can pose a problem for people who are committed to their low-carb diet. “Low-carb people aren’t drinking milk because there are too many carbs in it,” explains dietitian Donna L. Weihofen, RD, MS, a nutritionist at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison.

Other commonly recommended sources of calcium, such as fortified cereals and juices, also are unfriendly to the low-carb diet as they are almost all carbohydrates. So, what’s a low-carb dieter to do? Fortunately there are many options — including a little bit of the gold standard itself, milk.

Why Calcium Counts

First, understand why calcium is one of those nutrients you can’t afford to skimp on:

  • Calcium is essential to your body’s health.Your body needs calcium every day to run its various systems (heart, nerves, hormones) correctly and will borrow it from your bones if you don’t eat enough.
  • Calcium helps maintain bone strength.You reach your peak bone mass in your 20s, after which your body stops aggressively building bones and enters a maintenance phase. Consuming enough calcium every day (and doing other bone healthy things like weight-bearing exercise) helps keep your bones strong.
  • Dietary calcium may help you lose weight and keep it off.Several studies have shown a diet that includes foods rich in calcium may help with weight lossandhelp keep you from gaining the weight back.

Low-Carb Sources of Calcium

Healthy adults need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily up to age 50, and 1,200 mg after that. Keep in mind that one 8-ounce glass of milk has only 11 carb grams, yet delivers about 300 mg of calcium — and can easily fit into a low-carb diet. To get the rest of your calcium needs, add these low-carb foods that offer an equivalent amount of calcium to your menus:

  • Canned fish with bones, like salmon and sardines, 3 to 4 ounces
  • Hard cheese, like Swiss and cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 ounces
  • Dark leafy greens, like spinach, kale and turnip greens, 1 1/2 cups cooked
  • Calcium-fortified, unsweetened soy drinks (check labels, as calcium varies by brand)
  • Broccoli, 2 ¼ cups cooked

In general, you can determine how much calcium is in a packaged food by looking at the daily value percentage and adding a zero. If the label says it has 10 percent of your daily calcium, you know that is 100 mg.

Although dietary sources of calcium are generally recommended as the best way to get calcium, taking a supplement to make up the difference is also an option. Talk to your doctor about the best one for you.

Calcium is an important consideration in the construction of a low-carb diet — fortunately you have many options for meeting your body’s calcium needs.






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Date: 10.12.2018, 16:20 / Views: 55145