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‘The true secret to a long and healthy life is to enjoy a lot of carbohydrates.’ Does this statement shock you? You really shouldn’t be so surprised! Despite everything you have heard about carbohydrates in the past, especially if you followed a keto or a low-carb diet, the truth is that you should be eating more of them, not less.
Indeed, the best way to enjoy good health is to increase your intake of good, complex carbohydrates while avoiding bad, simple carbs – ask any registered dietitians. Just so can you eat carbs and lose weight, while maintaining a healthy metabolism?
You Can Eat Carbs AND Still Lose Weight
There are many complex carbohydrates that you can enjoy, such as unpasteurized dairy products, fresh fruits, non-gluten grains, nuts and legumes, and non-starchy veggies like sweet potatoes. In contrast, unhealthy carbohydrates include carbonated drinks, sugar, processed foods, refined grains, and anything that contains a lot of starchy vegetables like white potatoes.
If you don’t make a conscious effort to eat fewer carbs and more good ones, your weight loss will go in a downward direction. How do I know? The most successful dieters that are out there eating low-carb (5% of calories) always have ongoing fat loss issues when they gain back weight with their carb-restricted diet…that is until they change their lifestyle again!
Contrary to popular belief, low-carb dieting causes fat loss only when calories are drastically reduced. Normally people lose weight because they eat fewer calories than their body burns; if that was the case then low-carb weight loss probably would not be possible at all! The reason that low-carb diets work so well is because of ketosis and even more importantly its plateaus (stopping hunger) which allows you to maintain significant energy levels well past when calories are low to control weight.
Studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets can be effective for weight loss in obese and overweight people, as well as those with or at risk for cardiometabolic diseases. However, research also suggests that a moderately low-carbohydrate diet can help the heart if protein and fat selections come from healthy sources. Over 20 studies have compared low-carb and low-fat diets, with low-carb diets consistently leading to better results for weight loss and common risk factors.
You can eliminate bad carbs from your diet and add more good carbs with only three steps, so how can you eat carbs and lose weight?
Here’s How Can You Eat Carbs and Lose Weight
1. Find your way by following the Glycemic Index (GI)
The Glycemic Index categorizes foods according to how they affect your blood sugar levels. The quick conversion of high GI foods, like short-grained white rice and white bread, into blood glucose can cause your levels of blood sugar to spike rapidly.
On the other hand, the gradual digestion of low-GI foods, like brown rice, results in a steadier blood glucose level. You can find printable GI indexes online that can help you choose your meals wisely. Keep a handy printable GI index with you to reference before eating any carbs.
2. Consume more fiber
A carbohydrate’s fiber content is an important measure of whether it’s “good” or “bad,” and fiber has numerous benefits for our bodies:
- It slows down our digestion, pulls fluid and toxins out of the body & lowers blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
- Foods high in fiber tend to lower our glycemic index which makes sense as they are digested slower leading to a milder rise in glucose and other nutrients that serve a health benefit such as serotonin.
- Fiber can promote feelings of well-being along with lowering appetite by slowing the absorption of nutrients from food consumed over time, allowing you enough time for digestion, gas, and fatigue to build up between meals.
- It will also prevent constipation and, in some cases colon cancer. American Cancer Society statistics indicate that 71,000 men and 64,000 women are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year.
Incorporate more fiber into your diet. A healthy diet includes vegetables, fruits, and beans – all high in fiber.
Also, eat more whole grains. Whole grain foods contain dietary fiber, are naturally low in fat and cholesterol as well as high in nutrients (like B vitamins). They keep blood sugar levels steady by not elevating them so rapidly, which causes the body to burn any excess carbs that can’t be stored through the meal or snack. For instance, whole wheat bread is higher in fiber than brown rice at 4 grams per slice vs 2 grams of carbohydrate.
Domestically grown whole grains include wheat, brown rice, oats & their variants (barley, rye). Less digestible but still satiating are amaranth & quinoa. Also, non-dairy sources of fiber are nuts/seeds such as flax seeds or chia seeds which need an acidic stomach to breakdown properly meaning that they may not be the perfect choice for some people.
3. Start reading labels
Among the best ways to prevent unhealthy foods and make sure you consume more fiber would be to cautiously read the labels of the food products you purchase. Three things to take particular note of are:
- Total Carbohydrates – this gives you the overall amount of carbs in the food, per serving. Often, gram of “fiber”, gram of “sugars” and gram of “other carbs” add up to the gram of “total carbohydrates” on the label.
- Dietary Fiber – this pertains to the total quantity of fiber in the food, each serving.
- Sugars – this gives you the total amount of carbs from sugar from the food, from all sources – natural sources like lactose and fructose as well as added sugars like high-fructose corn syrup.
By reading the nutrition labels of food products, you can make sure to consume more fiber-rich whole-grain foods while still losing weight. These foods are low in fat and cholesterol as well as high in nutrients (like B vitamins), which keep blood sugar levels steady. Remember, whole grain bread is even higher in fiber than brown rice at 4 grams per slice versus 2 grams of carbs.
Is this for you?
Restrictive low-carb diets are often high-fat. Saturated fats shouldn’t count for more than 5-6% of your daily calorie intake. You should eat more avocados, olives, and almonds, all of which are high in healthy fats.
Your triglyceride and HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels will probably improve on the keto diet (and other, less stringent low-carb diets, such as Atkins and Paleo). But you may also notice an increase in LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), which can, unfortunately, contribute to heart disease.
How Many Carbs Can You Eat And Lose Weight?
Determining an individual’s carbohydrate needs involves careful consideration of factors such as body type, activity level, and weight loss goals. People with a higher percentage of body fat and lower muscle mass may have different carbohydrate requirements than individuals with a higher muscle mass. Additionally, a person’s level of physical activity will determine the amount of carb intake they require to fuel their workouts.
While carbohydrates are a critical source of energy for the body, it’s essential to balance carb intake with protein and fat intake. Eating too many carbohydrates and too little protein and fat can lead to blood sugar spikes, cravings, and overeating, which can ultimately hinder weight loss efforts. On the other hand, consuming too little carbohydrates can lead to fatigue, weakness, and poor athletic performance. By including a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in each meal, individuals can maintain stable blood sugar levels, support weight loss, and maintain their overall health.
Finally, weight loss goals can also impact carbohydrate needs, as a person aiming to lose a significant amount of weight may need to reduce their carbohydrate intake to achieve their goals. Therefore, understanding and personalizing carbohydrate intake to individual needs is an essential component of any successful weight loss plan.
What carbs should you avoid to lose weight?
Cutting back on simple carbs like white bread and grains, which are high in sugar and calories, is the key if you plan to lose weight. Vegetables, beans, and healthy fats are great sources of carbohydrates if you still feel the need to consume them.
Candies, soft drinks, soda, and other processed foods like potato chips are high in simple carbs, which are rapidly absorbed by the body and can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels. Also, since fiber and nutrients are removed from refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and white rice, they are digested and absorbed rapidly, leading to cravings and overeating, and making it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Can you eat carbs and lose weight for real?
Your diet has been less than ideal in the past and you’ve accumulated excess fat which you’d like to get rid of? Finally, a groundbreaking strategy that’s proving successful for dieters of all types is here! There’s something you should know if you’ve dieted before without success, or if you managed to lose weight but then regained it all and more.
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT FOR THIS FAILURE!
The real issue with today’s popular fad diets is that they don’t address your hormonal balance, which is likely keeping you from dieting success. There is a good chance that if you are like most people, you diet, you count calories, and you work out regularly. However, this often doesn’t work, and you feel frustrated.
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About the Author
Adrian Kutnik is the Founder and Managing Editor at LiveHealthyandwell.com
Its purpose is to gather and share relevant information about how we can live a healthy lifestyle in today's environment.
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