We have all heard about no-carb diets, low-carb diets, good carbs and bad carbs, but the information is often laid out as a way to sell a diet plan and may end up being a lot more confusing than informative. What we should be looking at is healthy carbs for weight loss, which is a lot more sustainable and makes a lot more sense than many of the fad diets on the market.
What Are Carbohydrates and Why Do We Need Them?
Carbohydrates are all the foods our bodies use to make glucose, the main energy source for our system. These are generally found in breads, pasta, fruit, vegetables, and dairy products. Glucose is used by the body or stored as fat if not needed right away and used later. We need glucose to fuel everything our body does.
What Are the Types of Carbohydrates?
Simple carbohydrates or sugars are glucose, galactose, and fructose, which are monosaccharides. When two molecules of monosaccharides join, they are called disaccharides. Sucrose (table sugar) is made up of fructose and glucose, while lactose (milk sugar) is made of galactose and glucose joined up. Then you have complex carbohydrates such as starches which are polysaccharides and are made up of long chains of glucose. These are broken down for energy, though some starches break down slower than others.
Fiber is found in the cellulose of plants and is a carb that doesn’t get broken down the same as other carbs. Oligo-saccharides fall between starch and sugar and are fermentable combinations of sugars that work positively on our digestive system and are considered to be probiotics.
What Are Good Quality and Bad Quality Carbs?
Bad carbs or low-quality carbs are those generally found in processed foods which usually contain added sodium, fats, sugars, and preservatives. Many of these are artificially fortified instead of containing natural vitamins and minerals. These include foods such as baked goods, sweetened beverages, white bread and many other products.
When looking at healthy carbs for weight loss, you should rather consider naturally occurring carbohydrates found in vegetarian foods, as these aren’t broken down as easily and they also contain natural sources of minerals and vitamins. These include legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Your daily recommended intake should be adjusted for your gender, age, and level of physical fitness, as well as height and weight. This can range from 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates per day as part of a balanced diet. Your body also requires proteins and fats for adequate energy daily.
Weight Loss and Low Carb Diets
Taking in fewer carbs will result in weight loss, especially as you lose water weight, as stored carbs are broken down. This means you need to get energy elsewhere and people usually turn to diets high in protein or fats such as the Ketone and Atkins diets.
These types of diets can lead to high cholesterol, kidney problems including kidney stones, as well as osteoporosis over time. You may also experience headaches, bad breath, and tiredness. It is also not sustainable, and most people give up on these types of diets. Once they go back to eating as they were before, the weight is gained again, and sometimes more.
What Is the Solution?
The best and most sustainable type of diet is actually more a change in lifestyle. Eliminate foods such as candies, cookies, soda, cakes, sweets and other processed and snack type foods. Instead, move to a diet that is high in natural fiber and good carbs from natural sources. Avoid excess amounts of bread and pasta, or change to whole wheat bread and pasta instead. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Improving your overall fitness and exercising with the help of a quality exercise program like FITin56 will offer a much better way of getting rid of excess weight and keeping it off long term. Reduce the bad carbs slowly but surely, replacing them with healthy carbs for weight loss such as whole grains. Although the weight loss may be a little slower, it is more sustainable.
The whole way to look at eating healthy carbs for weight loss is by doing it as part of a lifestyle change. Slowly decrease the carbohydrates that are high on the glycemic index (processed foods) and replace with low glycemic foods (more natural foods) and increase fiber intake, while starting a fitness program like FITin56. This way, you will be able to approach weight loss in a sustainable way, lose excess weight, and keep it off.