The low-carb way of eating is very popular.
One of the best things about it is that people usually don't need to count calories to lose weight.
As long as carbs are kept low, appetite tends to go down.
This causes people to automatically restrict calories without having to consciously regulate their food intake.
Interestingly, there are numerous incredibly satisfying, low-carb-friendly foods that most people would only consider an occasional indulgence.
These foods can be eaten regularly on a low-carb diet until fullness while still reaping all of the metabolic benefits.
Some of these foods are even very healthy, at least in the context of a low-carb diet — though adding them on top of a high-carb diet could be a problem.
Here are 6 indulgent foods that are low-carb/keto friendly.
Butter used to be a dietary staple.
Then it was demonized for being high in saturated fat and people started eating margarine instead.
However, butter has been making a comeback as a health food, especially among low-carbers.
Also keep in mind that butter should be eaten with a meal, not as the meal. Replacing breakfast with butter in your coffee is probably not a good idea.
Calorie breakdown: 99% fat, 1% protein (6).
Other high-fat dairy foods like cheese (fat and protein) and heavy cream (mostly fat) are also perfect on a low-carb diet.
It's a mistake to assume that low-carb diets are all about meat and fat.
Besides all the vegetables, there are plenty of other plant foods that can be eaten on this diet.
One great example is nuts, including almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts and various others.
Nuts are incredibly nutritious, loaded with healthy fats and important nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium.
Numerous studies show that people who eat nuts are at a lower risk of various diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes (, , , 10).
Nut butters can also be eaten, as long as they’re only made with nuts and salt and not filled with processed vegetable oils or sugar.
The only problem with nut butters (and sometimes the nuts themselves) is that they're so energy dense and tasty that it can be easy to eat excessive amounts.
Dark chocolate is a superfood.
It’s loaded with nutrients, fiber and powerful antioxidants.
In fact, it has an even higher antioxidant activity than blueberries ().
Studies show that chocolate leads to very impressive benefits for heart health.
It can lower blood pressure, raise “good” HDL cholesterol, protect “bad” LDL from oxidation and reduce insulin resistance (, , ).
One study even showed that people who eat chocolate more than five times a week have up to a 57% lower risk of heart disease ().
Chocolate often contains some sugar, but if you choose one with a high cocoa content (70-85%), the amount will be minimal and most of the calories will be from fat.
Calorie breakdown: 64% fat, 5% protein, 31% carb. A 1-ounce (28-gram) piece may contain about 10 net carbs, depending on the brand (17).
Pork rinds, which are basically fried pork skin, are delicious.
They’re high in protein, but of a different nature than the protein in muscle meats.
Some paleo dieters have argued that eating too much muscle meat can make people deficient in the amino acid glycine.
This amino acid is found in high amounts in other parts of the animal, including the organ meats and gelatinous cuts like tendons and skin.
Pork rinds happen to be very high in glycine. However, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence supporting this theory.
Pork rinds are also high in monounsaturated oleic acid, the same fatty acid that is found in abundance in olive oil.
Calorie breakdown: 52% fat, 48% protein, no carbs (18).
Avocados are another extremely healthy, low-carb plant food.
They’re technically a fruit and happen to be very high in certain nutrients, especially fiber and potassium.
Over 60% of its fats are monounsaturated, with small amounts of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Avocados also appear to be beneficial for metabolism and heart health, which is unsurprising given their impressive nutrient content.
One study in people with high cholesterol found that following an avocado-enriched diet for a week lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides by 22%, while raising “good” HDL by 11% ().
Calorie breakdown: 77% fat, 4% protein, 19% carbs. Most of the carbs in avocados are fiber (20).
Bacon is often referred to as "meat candy."
This is unsurprising, considering how incredibly delicious it is.
Bacon has been demonized for being high in saturated fat, as well as for being a processed meat and usually fried.
However, most people don't realize that the majority of bacon fat — about two-thirds — is unsaturated.
That being said, most store-bought bacon is processed meat, which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases (, , ).
For this reason, it’s important to find quality, unprocessed bacon, preferably from pasture-raised pigs. Getting bacon that is truly nitrate/nitrite-free is best.
Although bacon — or any other processed meat — is by no means a health food, people often add it to their low-carb diet plans.
Calorie breakdown: 70% fat, 29% protein, 1% carbs (24).
Keep in mind that if you eat too much of these incredibly delicious foods — especially nut butters — they can prevent you from losing weight.
The majority of foods on a low-carb diet should be unprocessed, whole foods like meats, fish, eggs, various vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and maybe even some fruit.
But you can still eat many indulgent foods while enjoying the amazing metabolic benefits of a low-carb/ketogenic diet.