Low-carbohydrate foods can be an important part of a balanced, healthy diet. If you plan to begin the Atkins diet or another low-carb diet, talk over your plans with your doctor or a nutritionist so he can help you work out an appropriate diet. Keep in mind that a low-carb food is not necessarily a healthful food, so check all nutrition labels carefully and work to achieve a healthy balance in what you eat.
Most full-fat dairy products have no carbohydrates or only a small amount of carbohydrates. While these products do provide a lot of protein and many essential vitamins and minerals, they are high in fat and should be eaten in moderation along with a variety of balanced, whole foods. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that people "go low-fat or fat-free" when it comes to dairy products, although those products do contain more carbohydrates than full-fat versions. Low- or no-carb dairy products that can be healthy parts of a low-carb diet include eggs, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt and frozen yogurt.
The Atkins diet and other low-carb diets often rely heavily on meat as a high-protein staple in the diet. There are many advantages to choosing a diet that includes meat, as protein is vital to building muscle, helping the body store energy, and maintaining and repairing cell tissues.
Many meats contain high levels of cholesterol, so a meat-heavy diet is not a good choice for people who already have high cholesterol. FamilyDoctor.org points out that "Low-carb diets usually do not raise cholesterol levels in most people" but also cautions that "Not enough research has been done to determine whether low-carb diets are safe." When including meat in your diet, choose lean cuts of beef, poultry, lamb, venison and other meats.
Whole foods such as raw fruits and vegetables should be a key portion of most people's diets, as recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fruits are high in carbohydrates and are not often included as a central part of low-carb diets, but many vegetables are low-carb and provide the vitamins and minerals that meat and dairy products lack. The CDC encourages people to include vegetables in a healthy eating plan. Avocados, broccoli, celery, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peppers, spinach and squash are all low in carbohydrates and can be included in a healthy diet.