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- Updated November 2021
Some of the biggest questions I get are about which carbs are best to eat when you want to lose weight?
What Foods Have Carbs?
Carbohydrates are found in foods like fruit, rice, corn, fruit, pasta, pizza, ice cream, you name it. You know, the delicious stuff. Unfortunately it seems that over time, carbs had gotten a bad rap, then came back from being vilified, then certain marketers convinced everyone that they’re bad again.
(BTW, my favorite program to break carbohydrate addiction is the 21 day sugar detox, which you can find here.)
So what’s the real truth about carb consumption in regards to losing weight?
Carbohydrates for Energy
Well, you have to realize that carbohydrates are what give you energy to do the things you’d like to do. Everything you do, from great metabolism boosters such as playing sports, exercising, walking down the street to the bus stop… even sitting here reading this article and thinking- to do it, your body uses carbohydrates as fuel.
Do Carbs Make You Fat?
The problem is when you over-fuel, or you simply eat and drink too many carbs each day– and over the course of time, those carb calories spill over into your fat stores- like exactly where you DON’T want to store them. The belly, sides of the lower back, butt, legs, back of arms.
Well, it’s actually not THAT simple. Essentially there’s a process in the body whereby once you take in more carbs than your body needs right now, your body has processes to tun that excess carbohydrate into body fat- hence it gets stored where you don’t want it to.
It doesn’t mean that carbs themselves are bad. It means that excess carb intake is bad. Normal carb diet intake is very beneficial, because it will allow you to do all those things like move around and think.
What Are Good Carbs?
Also, different carbs have different values to the body and bring with them different pro’s and con’s.
Like for instance, nutritional value and glycemic index issues. Case in point- carbs in banana, watermelon, avocado, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries- natural and unprocessed foods will have a beneficial effect in that that will provide vital vitamins and nutrients to your working body.
They also provide a nice amount of fiber, which helps to balance out the sugar that is contained in the food, and slows down your glycemic response.
Now lets switch gears over to the stuff that is tasty- but harmful. Carbs like in beer, wine, and vodka (alcohol carbs), and stuff like pancakes, pasta, bagels, pastries. These things are processed junk foods. They of course are delicious and very easy to eat, which means one thing- you’re more likely to eat a ton of them when you shouldn’t. The other issue is that they don’t contain much as far as nutritional value, since they’re processed.
So, no vitamins and minerals, and no fiber. Or, if there is, it’s in there in small amounts.
The fiber is one of the most important things to get in your diet, by the way. Fiber is natural broom, meaning it helps unclog the bowels for good movements. Fiber also is great for keeping your blood sugar stable, which in turn decreases your appetite. And what happens when you’re not ravenous to eat? Well, of course you will eat less total food. And when you eat less total food and less carbs? You lose weight.
Genius stuff here, huh?
Can You Eat Carbs at Night?
Carbohydrates at night are another hot topic these days.
It used to be thought that carbs before going to bed would only add to wait gain. Well, as I always say- it’s not the carbs that cause the weight gain. It’s the over-consumption of the carbs that makes you fat. So, don’t worry about having a small carbohydrate snack before going to bed. One of the cool effects of having some carbs before bed is that it tends to release a bit serotonin in your body, which calms the mind and body and prepares you for a great sleep.
And to add to that- did you know that if you have a great sleep, you are actually less hungry during the day, which will turn lead to less cravings for sugary foods?
Pretty cool right? So there’s really no black and white answer to this. You really need to figure out how to eat some carbs, but not overdo it.
Carbs Before a Workout?
Eating carbohydrates before, during, or after a workout is another hop topic these days. Well, the absolute best time to eat carbs- if you’re going to indulge a bit- is right before a grueling workout. Why is this the best time to consume them? Because carbs are the bodies first line of fuel for tough exercise. They’ll be burned first, so it’ll almost be like you didn’t eat them in the first place.
Isn’t that pretty awesome? It is for most people, but not everyone. Here’s why- some people tend to get even hungrier from it, or they will lose steam during the workout because they actually burn them off so fast that your body is searching for fuel.
So, what would be the thing to do? Well, you can stagger your carb intake.
What I mean by this is you’d have an apple or banana before the workout, and then mix up some Gatorade solution to drink about halfway into the workout. This way you are fueled up throughout and don’t hit the wall. There’s no worse feeling that when you run out of fuel- in a car- or in your body.
The next best time to eat carbs is right after your workout, along with some quality proteins. Why? Because eating carbs after a weight training workout- along with some whey protein, gives you the amino acids and insulin spike your body needs to quickly recuperate. When you recuperate quickly, you can workout again sooner than later.
Over the course of a year if you take two people, and one exercises 75 times a year and the other exercises 175 days a year, which one do you think is going to have the better body? I’d go with the 175 workouts per year any day. Just don’t over do it on those carbs!
What’s the Difference Between Carbs and Sugar?
Well, nothing really because carbs are sugar and sugar is carbs. They’re both fuel and structurally the same thing. Different foods provide it in different ways. For example, quinoa, sweet potatoes, apples, banana’s, asparagus, broccoli, beets, beans will give you long lasting energy for the day ahead- and whatever activities you plan on doing.
Bread, pasta, pizza, etc are all tasty foods but they’ll let you down quickly. far too many people worry about water retention from eating carbs. The thing is- they’re worried about a false thought. A gram of carbs holds 4 grams of water in the body. This is NOT body fat. This is simply water, so sometimes people will get the feeling- or see themselves in the mirror as fat, but it’s actually just water, which after a few hours will pass right out of you anyway. Don’t worry about that.
If you’re eating a good amount of protein, you also want to know that you’ll need to drink a lot of water to not get stopped up- so you can go freely. Also, you need water so that your joints feel good, and you don’t get dehydrated. Eating water-rich fruits and vegetables are a great way to get water too, things like celery have natural water in them, which means you don’t have to guzzle from the tap all day and night.
Solving the Cortisol Problem
Carbs are good for relieving stress. You’ve heard of cortisol- the stress hormone, right? Well, the mechanisms in your body use carbs to increase insulin, which in turn lowers your cortisol. Cortisol is released when physical and mental stress creeps in. Like the loss of a job, or death of a family member.
This is what causes stress- eating. Some people crave and eat more carbs and food when stressed, other stop eating completely. neither is a good choice- and remember it’s all choices.
Good decisions and bad decisions shape your destiny- and waistline.
Diabetes is another thing you need to looks out for. This disease is a bit out of my scope, but suffice it to say, you’ll want to keep moderate or lower carbs on your diet so you can hopefully avoid getting any issues like this. One of the cool things I’ve recently found out about is resistant starches, which are carbs that are indigestible to your body.
Reminds me of the saying- if a tree falls in the forest, did it make a noise? Well, if a carbs isn’t digested, is it still a carb?
Well, the experts can fight over that all they want. What I do know is that if the carb isn’t digested, it doesn’t count towards your calories for the day, and therefore is not going to make you fat. Another really cool trick is that the critters in your belly CAN eat the resistant starch– and they turn it into good stuff in your digestive system, which in turn helps you. The new stuff ends up eating the sugar for you- before you digest it! Pretty neat.
So are we done with the question of if carbs are bad for you? Are carbs the enemy?
Hopefully I’m clearing this up, but, I know you have a hunger for more info, and that’s what I’m here for. What about carbs after cardio? Well, depends on what the intensity of your cardio was. If you really went all-out and burned a ton of calories, it’s OK to have a nice helping of carbohydrates with your protein, but don’t overdo it.
The body doesn’t have the same demands after cardio as it does after weight training. The resistance tears at the muscle fibers and the protein and carb mix help heal and regenerate. Cardio doesn’t really break down the muscles too much, so it’s better to go easy on the post- meal entertainment.
I know some guys that used to run an iron man or marathon and then dip into some pizza and Bud Light. Nothing wrong with that- because you’ve earned your carbs. If you haven’t earned them, don’t eat them. Another woman asked me the other day if there were carbs in bacon because she’d heard they make you fat.
Well, I got news for you. It’s the fat and high calorie content of bacon that’s making you fat. There’s no carbs in bacon. Unfortunately, one of my favorite foods is cereal- but more specifically, Apple Jacks. Delicious. But, they’re laden with sugar. I could eat apple jacks and bacon till the cows come home.
What’s the difference between brown rice and white rice? Well, there’s the germ- which is the outer hull on brown rice. Still plenty of carbs in it, but covered up by the shell. The benefit is your body takes longer to fight through the shell and digest it, but there’s some nutritional questions about whether that shell stops other nutrients from being absorbed.
Overall Nutrition Notes
Nutrition that helps you control your weight includes a number of foods you may not have thought about.
A healthy diet that assists you achieve and keep a healthy weight and enhance your blood LDL cholesterol and sugar levels ought to provide you with all the vitality your need without experiencing hunger up until the next meal.
Consuming foods with a balance of calories, vitamins and minerals can help supply the body with the fuel it requires to function while steering clear of fat gain.
Maintaining Your Ideal Weight
Maintaining ideal weight demands eating moderate servings of sensible foods from all the food categories and engaging in modest daily exercise.
The advantages to your health and fitness and healthy outlook will change drastically and you will see how your skin problems, acne, and inflammations will disappear as you steer clear of the bad eating habits and refuel your system with all the nutritional requirements and minerals from this body cleansing diet.
These healthy eating resources will assist you to meet nutrition strategies for any age and stage of life, regardless if you are trying to plan dishes for home and at work, are serving your family, or working to make lifestyle alternatives to prevent chronic disease.
Consuming a vegetable-rich diet which includes poultry, meat or chicken can help to eliminate your risk of becoming obese or overweight and lessen the chance you’ll develop heart diseases and Type 2 diabetes. I believe if you eat a comprehensive, and healthy diet of only whole foods, and no junk foods, fried foods or factory created foods such as trans fats, you will get enough omega-6 and omega-3 in an appropriate ratio to allow your body to produce all the derivatives, just as people have been doing for countless years before fish oil supplements came to be.
Maintaining a healthy diet can help reduce people’s threat for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, and a few kinds of cancer, as well as help them keep a healthy body weight. Some people who have excessive weight but are borderline healthy should be able to tip the balance with some calorie and workout but that is not really dealing with what is broken in your body or if they are consuming a lot of unhealthy food.
Veggies and Fruits
You’ll eat less calories and avoid the chemical preservatives, added sugar, and bad fats of packaged and takeout foods that can cause you to feel tired, bloated, and irritable, and exacerbate the signs of depression, stress, and anxiety. A moderate diet can be demonstrated by eating a little less food in general; less of unhealthy ingredients specifically, including refined sugar and saturated fats; and more of healthy and low-calorie items like veggies and fruits.
Moreover, you should consume less food with additional sugar, calories, and bad fats. Men and women age 40 and over who say they eat well most of the time are twice as likely as those who rarely eat a nutritious diet to rate their mental sharpness as outstanding.
Maintain a healthy weight by consuming roughly the same volume of calories that the body is using.
Eating Small Meals
It can be done by limiting calories every day or eating two lower calorie days a week (you determine your weekly deficit on those two days and can eat more on the other five). Remarkably, the very act of eating several small meals a day may itself result in insulin resistance and problematically high blood sugar levels.
Like protein, fat is regarded as nutritionally vital because certain fatty acids (linoleic acid & alpha-linolenic acid) can’t be adequately produced by your system for survival, and thus you must satisfy your needs by eating unhealthy fats. These food types are fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, seeds and nuts, lean proteins, beans and lentils and healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and seafood.
Almost all type 2 diabetics have to exchange out their grains and sugars for various other foods, such as protein, green vegetables, and healthy types of fat. High fasting insulin levels, coupled with eating a diet high in refined food and too much protein, often lead to insulin resistance.
The goal of this is to eventually significantly limit your consumption of net carbs to under 40 to 50 grams per day and substitute them with healthful fats, as this will transition your system into primarily burning fat for energy and drastically reduce your risk for many chronic diseases.
Eating a wholesome, well-balanced diet means consuming food from a variety of food groups to get the vitality and nutrients that your body needs. When you work out, you are increasing your body’s weight loss process.
It’s a huge step in the proper direction towards healthy eating, and you will are apt to have more success with losing the correct of weight when coupled with weight training – burning fat and maintaining your muscle.
Concentrate on eating meals with LOW glycemic loads throughout the day, and only eat carbs with HIGH glycemic loads immediately before a workout- they’ll be burned immediately as fuel- or directly AFTER a workout in conjunction with protein- they’ll get accustomed to refill your muscle’s fuel stores as opposed to stored as fat. So, if you would like to kick start your weight loss journey with healthy eating, start by swapping out processed refined carbohydrates for more natural foods.
Dietary fats are considered one of the most controversial macro-nutrients in your diet; long story short: healthy fats are utterly essential to your body and should make up a moderate percentage of your daily calories. Things like avocados, walnuts, olive oil, and almond butter are great resources for healthy fat (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated).
If you take this position on saturated fat (personally, I do), then full fat milk, coconut milk, and fatty cuts of meat offers you sources of saturated fat. The greatest results typically seem associated with diets that combine high quantities of vegetables with healthy protein sources, which can include fish, eggs, and various meats.
- If your eating plan does not have folate or vitamin B-12, consuming foods rich in these vitamins and minerals might enhance your blood oxygen levels.
- Saturated fats found in beef, pork, butter and many processed snack foods, are unfavorable to a nutritious diet.
- The easiest method to stabilize blood sugar is to eat lots of high quality animal fats, rich in cholesterol, saturated fats, essential fatty acids and the fat soluble vitamins A,D,E, & K that keep your hormones, adrenals, thyroid, and brain healthy.
- Typically, a heart-healthy diet should concentrate on whole grains, healthy fats, lean sources of protein, and a spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
- Our forefathers were eating food that’s been scientifically proven to help folks lose and sustain a proper weight in the long run.
- Surplus calories from drinks and foods loaded with free sugars also bring about unhealthy weight gain, be responsible for overweight and obesity.
Low Carb Weight Loss Diet
Focus on eating the suggested daily quantity of at least five servings of vegetables and fruit and it will effortlessly fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. Eating meals high in dietary fiber (grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans) will help you stay regular minimizing your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
- After you fast for the majority of of the day and eat at just one time, you’re putting yourself in danger of problems that range from raised glucose levels to long-term obesity.
- It’s possible for an eating plan to incorporate periodic small servings of goodies, but taking in several cups of ice cream every single day doesn’t fit into a healthy diet plan.
- Eating a number of foods is a firm foundation, but there’s also plenty of healthy eating plans that leave out or heavily favor certain kinds of foods.
- Studies suggest that eating about 8 ounces of fish with omega-3 fatty acids per week can help you lose weight and decrease your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
- A few foods that are officially fruits – olives, pumpkin and avocados – have less than 5 grams of net carbs per portion and make healthy inclusions in your weight loss plan.
- When your plan to lose weight includes depriving yourself, you are more prone to skipping meals and then over indulging on convenient or junk food to eat.
- Seek out the terms “grass finished” or “100% grass-fed” to ensure the meat you consume has the right ratio of healthy fats in addition to higher amounts of vitamins.
If you adhere to these rules more often than not but sometimes crave a fast food fix, a small serving of chicken wings or a cookie, do it. Taking pleasure in your food by adding carbs isn’t an exception to an effective weight loss diet – it’s a vital part.