When it comes down to whether or not carbohydrates make you fat, most people around me enter a heated debate.
But how much truth does this statement hold?
Well, let’s find out.
Dr. Atkins’s followers chanting that carbs are bad for you is old news.
At the time of launch, they wanted to come out with a fresh perspective on weight loss.
And they chose to go with: “hey, carbs are bad for you.”
However, they’ve left out a very important aspect.
Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are macronutrients, and alongside micronutrients, they represent the building blocks of nutrition.
And cutting out carbohydrates from your diet could lead to a grave deficiency in certain nutrients (such as calcium, iron and B vitamins).
But now, more and more people are coming into the spotlight to clear this whole thing out.
Dietitian Sian Porter says:
“Carbohydrates are such a broad category and people need to know that not all carbs are the same and it is the type, quality and quantity of carbohydrate in our diet that is important. There is strong evidence that fiber, found in wholegrain versions of starchy carbs for example, is good for our health.”
So, your body was actually designed to use carbohydrates in large amounts to function properly.
And considering that they are part of a healthy and balanced diet – that pretty much makes them essential to your health.
There are three types of carbs out there: sugar, starch & fiber.
Granted, some carbs, like sugar, are actually bad for you. Yet, others can actually help you lose weight.
Because you see, carbs are rich in nutrients such as fiber, calcium, iron and B vitamins. And they are the ones that can help raise your body’s levels of energy.
Plus, eating carbs rich in fiber helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
I’ve listed here just a few, yet their benefits are countless.
But still, do carbs make you fat?
The answer is no.
- Carbohydrate contains fewer calories than fat (gram for gram).
- Foods rich in starch are a great source of fiber – which makes them essential to a weight loss plan.
- Switching from fatty, sugary foods to high-fiber starchy foods will help you consume less calories – because you’ll feel full faster.
- Burning less calories than you consume – no matter if they’re proteins or fats – will still make you gain weight.
So cutting out calories only to later replace them with the same number of calories from other foods won’t actually help you lose weight.
So while you should cut out on sugar, particularly added sugars (like table or refined sugar), starchy foods, such as cereals, bread, rice, pasta and potatoes fill you up faster, provide you with plenty of energy and keep you going throughout the day.
As far as fiber carbs go… well, they have a number of health benefits:
- partly soluble fiber (found in apples, carrots, potatoes, oats and pulses) actually helps reduce the fat in your bloodstream
- insoluble fiber, that your body cannot digest and which can be found in potato skins, wholegrain bread, breakfast cereals, brown rice, and wholewheat pasta – helps move other food and waste products through the gut more easily (plus it relieves constipation)
- not only they keep your bowels healthy, but they can also make you feel full faster, and you’ll also eat less. So every time you’re trying to lose a couple pounds, adding some fiber to your diet will be like fitting a glove on hand.
So carbs in the form of fiber are good for you, yet we’re consuming on average less than 15g/day – with women consuming 10 grams less and men consuming 23 grams less than the recommended amount.
And these numbers are alarmingly low.
So what can you do to increase your fiber intake?
Try consuming more of the following:
- broccoli (5.1 grams per cup, boiled)
- Brussels sprouts (4.1 grams per cup, boiled)
- raspberries (8 grams per cup, raw)
- blackberries (7.6 grams per cup, raw)
- bran flakes (7 grams per cup, raw)
- one artichoke (10.3 grams per medium vegetable)
- one pear (5.5 grams per medium fruit, raw)
- avocadoes (6.7 grams per half, raw)
To increase your fiber intake even more, you can try adding two tablespoons of flaxseeds (contain 3.8 grams of fiber) or one tablespoon of chia seeds (5.5 grams of fiber) to your yoghurt, smoothie, oatmeal, etc.
Also try adding foods rich in starchy fiber (energy benefits) to your diet, like:
- peas (8.8 grams per cup, cooked)
- split peas (16.3 grams per cup, cooked)
- black peas (5 grams per cup, cooked)
- lima peas (13.2 grams per cup, cooked)
- lentils (15.6 grams / one cup)
- whole-wheat Pasta (6.3 grams per cup, cooked)
- oatmeal (4 grams per cup, cooked)
- 1 sweet potato (3.9 grams of fiber-you should also eat the skin, since it contains even more fiber)
- corn (4.5 grams of fiber per cup of kernels)
- brown rice (3.5 grams /one cup )
- quinoa (5 grams of per one cup)
- wild rice (10 grams per one cup)
- barley (one cup or 184 grams contains 32 grams of fiber)
Oh, and before I forget: here’s a great tip for you.
Whenever you feel like consuming something sweet, then you are free to eat fruits or drink fruit juices, honey, and even sugary vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, beets, onions, green peas, sweet corn, peas, canned pumpkin, winter squash, rutabagas, carrots, and tomatoes.
So, given all this medically proved information, carbohydrates can actually help you lose weight – instead of making you put on fat.
So what are your thoughts on the topic?
I’m looking forward to reading your replies, so please hit the “thumbs up” button below and let me know your views.
To your health!