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Are low-carb diets good for you?
No, they are not. Carbs are vital to your health because every cell in your body uses them as fuel. Did you know that your brain uses only carbs for energy?!
Not too long ago, low-carb diets were the craze. They promised greater health and quick weight loss. Even now, many still falsely believe that carbs “make you fat.” Yes, eating too many carbs will make you fat, but so will eating too much fat, protein or guzzling too much alcohol.
What do bad carbs do you your body?
You need to understand that not all carbs are created equally. Of course, there are good carbs and bad carbs. First, let’s zero in on the bad, unhealthy carbs (simple carbs) such as refined grains (white bread and white rice) and sugar. To lose weight, you’ll need to reduce your consumption of these kinds of carbs because not only are they calorically dense, but they are also nutritionally inferior to the whole-grain varieties. If you eat too much sugar or refined grains, you are setting yourself up for a vicious cycle. Let me explain. Eating too much sugar or refined grains will cause a sharp peak in blood sugar followed by a sugar “crash.” Sugar crashes cause moodiness, decreased energy, fatigue, weakness, followed by cravings and severe hunger pangs. Once this occurs, you continue to eat, consuming more sugar– causing a vicious cycle that will repeat itself over and over.
Needless to say, an over-consumption of sugar and other highly refined carbohydrates has been associated with higher incidences of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even breast cancer. According to the World Health Organization, sugars and other simple carbohydrates are a leading factor in the worldwide obesity epidemic.
Examples of foods with bad carbs (simple carbohydrates):
Alcohol, candy, corn syrup, fruit juice, table sugar, all foods made with white flour (cake, white bread, pasta, soft drinks such as Coke®, Pepsi®, Mountain Dew®, white rice, and most packaged cereals to new a few.
If you cannot lose weight or just embarking on your weight loss journey, eliminate simple sugars and carbohydrates from your diet. Once you’ve reached your goal weight, little bites wouldn’t hurt. For example, on special occasions, I will have a piece (a small sliver) of cake, which is really a couple of bites and I’m satisfied with that.
To avoid these type of carbs, study your food labels and avoid foods or drinks that contain ingredients such as sugar, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, white or “wheat” flour, because they contain simple carbohydrates. It’s important to note that if these ingredients are located in the beginning of the list, then may contain mostly simple carbohydrates, and should be avoided.
What are good carbs?
Now let’s talk about good carbs, which can be categorized into two different groups. The first group includes vegetables, which you can eat as much as you like. The second group of good carbs includes complex carbs and starches. This includes brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, potatoes, corn, and other grains. Even though this second group of carbs is categorized as good, you still have to limit your intake because they’re more calorically dense, especially when prepared with fat (like butter or cream i.e. butter-filled baked potato). These complex carbohydrates are crucial and should not be eliminated from your diet. They supply specific nutrients that help maintain a steady level of glucose, which happens to be the body’s favorite source of fuel. It’s important to note that milk and fruit are also full of healthy carbs but contain lactose (milk sugar). To lose weight, eat two or three daily servings of these.
Examples of good carbs, complex carbs, starches & lactose:
Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, brown rice, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, dill pickles, dried apricots, eggplant, garbanzo beans, grapefruit, kidney beans, lentils, lettuce, multi-grain bread, museli, navy beans, oat bran bread, oatmeal, oat bran, onions, okra, oranges, pears, plums, prunes, pinto beans, potatoes, radishes, skim milk, spinach, split peas, soy milk, soybeans, strawberries, tomatoes, turnip greens, water cress, whole barley, whole meal spelt bread wild rice, yams, yogurt, low fat, zucchini
How many daily servings of carbs can I eat and lose weight?
The healthy way to lose weight and improve your nutrition is to eat the appropriate amount of good carbohydrates.
For men trying to lose weight, eat six or seven daily servings. For women, eat no more than five or six daily servings.
With that said, check the nutritional label of your food product to ascertain what constitutes a single serving.
In closing, eating sensible low carb meals, not following harsh, popular low-carb diets, is the best way to lose weight naturally. If you want to know how to lose weight, follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a slimmer, healthier you!