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Last Updated on May 6, 2022

Are Carbs Good For Weight Loss?

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Are Carbs Good For Weight Loss?

Myth: If you’re trying to lose weight, you have to deprive yourself of the foods you love and feel hungry all the time.

Fact: You can lose weight AND feel full, satisfied, and enjoy what you eat.

You’re probably familiar with the terms “good carbs” and “bad carbs.” But you might find yourself avoiding them altogether just in case. You could be missing out on tasty food and losing weight faster and keeping it off!

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You can and should eat carbs in your diet to lose weight. Some carbohydrates can actually speed up weight-loss. Here’s a breakdown of what’s what as far as our all-time food frenemy: carbs.

Your body needs sugar for energy, and it gets a lot of sugar from carbohydrates. But the kind of sugar determines whether it helps or hurts your weight-loss goals.

Why does the type of carbs you’re eating make a difference in weight-loss?

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Types of Carbodydrates

There are 3 types of carbohydrates – simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, and fibrous carbohydrates.[1]

  1. Simple carbohydrates (sugar, honey, fruit, many breads) – These are the most common in typical diets. The carbohydrate is made up of 1-2 sugar molecules. They break down quickly in your bloodstream.
  2. Complex carbohydrates (rice, oatmeal, pasta, breads) – These carbohydrates are also made up of sugar molecules, but are strung together to form longer, more complex chains. Many of these carbohydrates are refined – such as white bread, white rice, white flour, sugary cereals – and take on the properties of a simple carbohydrate, braking down quickly. Unrefined complex carbohydrates are the most preferable in this group though they still get broken down into sugar much faster than complex fibrous carbohydrates.
  3. Complex fibrous carbohydrates (beans, lentils, vegetables) – These carbohydrates are low in calories and full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fiber is indigestible which means that much of the food passes right through your body and is not absorbed. This is helpful in keeping your digestive process running clean and healthy and doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels, or trigger as much insulin production. It’s a lot easier on your whole system.

How Carbohydrates/Sugars Turn Into Fat

When carbohydrates are quickly broken down into sugars (like #1 and #2), your pancreas releases insulin to bring you blood sugar back down, primarily by converting excess sugar into stored fat. It does this especially when your body has too much, particularly simple, sugar to balance you out.

Why you feel hungry soon after eating simple carbohydrates/sugar

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Due to the rapid increase and then the rapid decrease in sugar, you feel fatigued, light-headed, irritable, and lethargic. Your body has been scrambling to make sure you’re in balance and it’s wiped out! Ironically, we become hungry again shortly after, since the energy has been taken out of our bloodstream even though we have consumed enough calories. It essentially doesn’t satisfy that initial need for energy in the first place and so we are more prone to overeating.

Complex fibrous carbohydrates accelerate weight loss by

  •    Not converting to fat as quickly
  •    Stabilizing your blood sugar levels for longer.
  •    Satisfying you sooner with fewer calories, being a low energy density food.[2]

Strictly limiting your carb intake can actually be stressful for the body and contribute to adrenal fatigue.[3] But it’s important to select carbs that will benefit your body the most, not overwhelm it with more sugar than it was meant to deal with.

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Eating a balanced amount of the right carbs could give you just the boost you’ve been looking for in your weight-loss. Plus, you get to enjoy a wider selection of tastes and textures!

A spoonful of lentils makes the scale numbers go down– in the most delightful way.

Featured photo credit: Stephanie Harvey via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] MediumPlus: Carbohydrates
[2] Mayo Clinic: Weight Loss
[3] Chris Kresser: Is a Low-Carb Diet Ruining Your Health?

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