Low Carb

What is the Most Filling Food You Can Eat on a Low Carb Diet?

Max Carmody, MSc

Some of the most filling foods you can eat on a low carb diet are eggs, legumes, and nuts.

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates (carbs) are a type of macronutrient. Macronutrients are the nutrients that we need in larger quantities that provide us with energy. The other macronutrients are fat and protein. Carbs are starches, sugar, and fiber. Your body turns them into glucose to give you the energy to function. The digestive system breaks down carbs into into glucose, or blood sugar, and then your bloodstream absorbs glucose and uses it as the energy to fuel your body. Carbohydrates can be found in things like grain, fruits, and dairy in large amounts. There are actually different types of carbs. Two of the main types are simple carbs, and complex carbs. Both types of carbs provide your body with energy. Simple carbs provide short bursts of energy. Complex carbs will take longer for your body to break down. Typically, complex carbs are considered to be healthier than simple carbs, although this depends.

Low Carb Diet

A low carb diet, as the name implies, involves consuming fewer carbs. Generally, on a low carb diet you are eating under 130 grams of carbs a day. However, on some specific types of low carb diets, like the keto diet, you may be eating as few as 50, or even down to 20 grams of carbs per day. Because you are eating fewer carbs, on a low carb diet you typically make up for it with fat or protein. There is not one single type of low carb diet, but rather, many different types.

Protein is More Filling than Carbs

Actually, protein tends to be more filling than carbs are. Low carb diets tend to be very filling in general, much more so than calorie counting. Several studies have shown that high protein foods and meals are more satiating than high carb or high fat meals. Protein plays a key role in regulating our hunger hormones, especially ghrelin, which triggers hunger pangs. Protein is quite effective at reducing the levels of ghrelin after a meal. Ghrelin is a hormone responsible for increasing appetite, so suppressing ghrelin helps people to eat less and feel more satisfied between the meals. If you would like to read an article about exactly how much protein you should be eating on a low carb diet, you can find an article here that I wrote on the topic.


I love eggs. They form such a staple of my diet. I eat them almost every single morning for breakfast. I usually like to add some chipotle also to spice them up, or at least some hot sauce. I eat them for my entire breakfast, maybe with a few berries, sometimes as early as 7 am, and I am generally filled up until about noon. I used to eat cereal for breakfast, and I was always starving by 10 am or so. One study “gave participants a lunch of omelet, jacket potato, or a chicken sandwich. Those who had consumed the omelet had greater satiety than those eating the carbohydrate meal 4 hours later, leading to the conclusion that an omelet meal at lunchtime may reduce calorie consumption between meals.

In addition to being super filling, eggs also have great health benefits. Eggs are something of a superfood. They have 13 essential vitamins and minerals, with necessary omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Eggs are widely considered to be a source of valuable protein. In a single egg there are about 6.3 grams of protein. The advantage of the protein in eggs is that eggs have all 9 essential amino acids, in sufficient amounts, to support muscle growth, recovery, and maintenance. Eggs are one great way to stay full without bread on a low carb diet. If you would like to read about more foods that you can use to stay full without bread on a low carb diet, you can find an article here that I wrote about that.

Legumes and Beans

On some types of low carb diets, such as one that my mom was doing called the “diet of hope” that I started doing as well, you don’t consume beans. However on others, especially less stringent ones, beans are perfectly fine. Legumes like beans, and others as well such as peas, lentils, and peanuts, have a great nutritional profile. They have plenty of fiber and plant based protein, but they have relatively low energy density. This results in them being very filling. In one article, 9 randomized trials were reviewed that studied post-meal fullness from pulses, a part of the legume family. It was found that participants felt 31% more full from eating pulses compared with eating a meal of pasta and bread.

Legumes have plenty of benefits. They are similar to meat in the amount of nutrients that they contain, however with lower iron levels and no saturated fats. There is plenty of protein in them, and it makes them a good option in place of meat and dairy products. It is very common for vegetarians to substitute legumes for meat. Legumes are a great source of fiber. They are packed with nutrients. They are relatively low in calories, but the fiber and protein will make you feel full. Eating more legumes can help you to lower both blood sugar and blood pressure. They contain antioxidants to prevent cell damage and fight disease and aging. Their fiber and other nutrients help the digestive system and may even help to prevent digestive cancers.


Nuts are another filling food that you can eat on a low carb diet. There are certain types of nuts that have a very dear place in my heart. I am especially fond of macadamia nuts, and walnuts. I find them both to be so rich. Some studies have found that almonds are an effective snack for suppressing appetite without resulting in weight gain, or an increase in the overall number of calories consumed per day. The participants ate around 34 almonds in these studies. Another study found that walnut consumption increases satiety but has no effect on insulin resistance or the metabolic profile over a four day period. 

Similar to the other foods we talked about, nuts also have lots of health benefits. They have “good” fats that may lower your LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The majority of nuts also have heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, this may prevent plaque buildup in arteries. In one review, people who ate the most nuts reduced their risk of coronary heart disease by 25% compared to people who ate fewer nuts.

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