Can you eat carbs and still lose weight?

March 26, 2011 · 2 comments

This is a guest post by Debbie Morgan.

As we transition into the spring, one thing that is on many people’s minds is losing a few of the pounds that they picked up in the winter months, and getting into “bathing suit shape.” Hopefully, that New Year’s resolution of eating right and going to the gym has started to yield some results! But, when sticking to a diet, it’s important to really understand why you choose certain foods, and understand which foods to avoid completely.

If there is one type of food that has caused a great amount of confusion to dieters, it’s carbohydrates. We’ve seen “no carb” or “low carb” diets come and go, and this has given carbohydrates, as a whole, a negative perception. You may have thought that cutting carbohydrates out of your diet completely was the only surefire way to lose weight. Well, it’s certainly not! It’s all about choosing the “right” types of carbohydrates, in the right portion size, and at the right time of day.

The following will review what some of you may already know, and may include some information for those just getting started with putting together a healthy diet.

The Different Types Of Carbs

If you’re consuming overly processed carbohydrates that have an ingredient list longer than a 7-year old’s wish list for Christmas, you are going to be in for some trouble.

So, which are the best carbohydrate choices to be consuming?

The trick here is to remember the “single ingredient” rule. If a particular carbohydrate in question has just one ingredient listed on the label (or, preferably, doesn’t even have a label at all, since it doesn’t come in a package), those are the ones you want to choose.

Examples of this include:

Brown rice
Sweet potatoes
Pinto beans
Navy beans
Kidney beans
Lima beans

Other vegetables can definitely also be included here and will make for healthy additions to your daily diet; however, these are the ones that tend to pack in the most powerful nutritional punch.

Given that vegetables are so low in calories, you’re going to find that you can add virtually unlimited amounts of them to your meal plans (provided they are not cooked in high-calorie sauces or condiments) without having any impact on your fat loss success.

Vegetables are also very high in total fiber content, which will further help to boost the feeling of fullness that you get from your diet, so that’s another big reason to add them to each meal and snack you eat. The more vegetables you eat, the less hungry you’ll be, and the fewer calories you will consume. All in all, having plenty of vegetables in your fat loss diet program is a win-win situation.

When choosing breads, it’s important to choose whole grains. Many delis and bagel cafes often whole grain choices.

When to eat Carbohydrates

Now that we’ve discussed sources, the next step is adding the carbohydrates to your diet plan. For the absolute best results, you should be aiming to include the more complex carbohydrate sources (all those listed above apart from fruit and vegetables) before or after the workout sessions, or in the meals that come immediately afterwards.

This is when your body is more likely to put those carbohydrates to good use by directing them towards the muscle tissues. If you choose to eat them at later stages in the day when you’re more inactive, you just don’t have that need for immediate fuel; therefore, there is a higher chance that they may get converted into body fat stores.

The meals later on in the day should be mostly focused around your protein sources, along with vegetable based carbohydrates, with the odd piece of fruit added in, if you require a sweet treat to satisfy a craving.

For more diet and exercise tips, you can visit our health and wellness blog, which has a great article on how to make the most of your weight loss diet plan - just in time for summer.

I hope this information helps you take another small step toward fulfilling your diet and weight loss goals! Also, you can download our Free Health and Wellness eBook that I wrote.

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Steven B. March 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Very sensible advice. I never bought into the “no carb” or “low carb” diets because it never made sense to me that potatoes or oats are bad for you.

I’m pleased to see you have quinoa listed. My wife and I eat quinoa regularly and it’s excellent. We prepare it in our rice steamer and it takes about as long to prepare quinoa as steaming rice. It has a very nice texture, mixes very nicely with sauces, makes great casseroles, and is a carb high in protein.

I’m glad people are writing and bring attention to carbs being okay - it’s just the right type of carbs. I had a roomate who did the Atkins diet, and yes he lost weight, but he ate bacon, hamburgers without the buns, and tons of processed cheese. He lost weight, but wasn’t healthier. I found it quite instructive watching that diet in process. It certainly isn’t a long-term eating lifestyle for me.

TroyP March 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm

We have been going through The Carb Lover’s Diet book. We’ve tried several of the recipes and they have been great.

The key was understanding the different types of carbohydrates and how they affect the body.

I’ve been making brown rice and beans for office lunches, as well as some sweat potato hash browns for breakfasts.

Great info!

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