Unless you’ve been on another plant the past 20+ years, you’ve probably heard how “bad” carbs are for you; especially if you want to lose weight!
But I ask you….why are so many people hating on carbs anway?
Starchy carbs get so much attention when it comes to nutrition conversations because they are the biggest double-edged sword our bodies deal with. On one hand, all of our energy in your body comes from glucose molecules (carbs in their basic sugar form). On the other, our bodies weren’t designed to be surrounded by so many readily available carbs.
So when your body does get an onslaught of starchy carbs (usually from indulgent foods or simple carbs found in anything baked with flour), it handles them by releasing insulin. Insulin is responsible for a lot of important functions in the body, but is also a storage hormone. So instead of signaling our body to burn fat, your body gets the signal to store fat whenever you eat a lot of starchy carbs.
This is why you can expect to make the biggest dent in your weight loss if you begin to control starchy carbs with every meal.
Where are Carbs Found?
Carbs are found in a lot of different foods but in general you can view them in this distinction:
FIBROUS VS. STARCHY
Fibrous Carb Rich Foods that Help with Fat Loss:
- Raw or lightly cooked vegetables
- Beans and legumes
- Some fruits (mostly berries)
Starchy Carbs that Work Against Fat Loss:
- All candies, jelly and jams
- Sodas, fruit juices, fruit drinks
- Pudding, custards and other sweets
- Processed refined grains like flour or white rice
- Bread and pasta made with any refined flour
- Cakes, cookies and other sweet bakery products
What Do We Mean by “Controlling” Starchy Carbs?
First, notice that the emphasis is not on eliminating carbs but rather, on controlling them. Our brains tend to be resistant to restriction, so we want to add the right foods to crowd out the foods that aren’t serving our interests.
In addition, “controlling” carbs also acknowledges that it’s not realistic to avoid all of the foods in the “Against Fat Loss” carb lists. Everyone likes to indulge, so let’s learn how to enjoy those foods without affecting your waist line.
In this context you, can think of carb control as substitutional. The goal is to substitute as many of the “against fat loss” carbs with “help with fat loss” carbs.
So in order to achieve the above, you will be required to practice one (or both) of these strategies throughout your day to control carbs:
Substitute the carbs not working for you with more quality carbs
- Fill more of your plate with protein or crowd it out with more veggies (as they are technically a carb as well)
- Shift from more processed foods to less processed foods
- Shift from breads and white rice to Ezekiel bread and brown rice
- Swap pastas for quinoa
- Potatoes to sweet potatoes (or any root vegetable)
Eat your “Against Fat Loss” carbs after a workout
The workouts I design are created to drain your muscles of as much sugar as possible. Thus, right after a workout, your body is keener on storing any incoming sugars (i.e. carbs) into your muscles instead of into fat. Cool eh? So if you still wish to indulge in pastas, pizzas, breads, sweets etc. feel free to do so but try and do them after your workouts. You can even think of it as a way of “earning your indulgence carbs.” This should not be done daily, however. But a few times per week is ok. 🙂
And don’t forget your portions!
Remember the hand-portion tool? It’s an easy and great way to measure portions without overthinking it.
Just use a handful of carb dense foods for your meals.
I hope this gives you a better understanding of what carbs truly are and how they work in the body!
Have questions? Ask away!!