5 Good Carbs for Weight LossArticle posted in: Nutrition
While carbs often get a lot of bad press in the diet and weight loss world, it’s rarely emphasized that carbohydrates are an essential part of our diets that can be beneficial in the right forms. Healthy carbs are a necessary part of nutrition because they provide our bodies with energy.
On the South Beach Diet weight loss phase, you’ll limit your intake of carbs. However, you can still enjoy some of these good carbs as long as they fit into your daily net carb limit of 50 grams or less. When you enter the weight maintenance phase, you have the option to add in more good carbs to your meal plan.
Good vs. Bad Carbs
Carbohydrates are one of three main macronutrients in our diets and can be placed in categories of either fiber, sugars or starches. Good carbs are often associated with the words “simple” and “whole,” while bad carbs are described as “complex” or “refined.”
According to JAMA Internal Medicine, good carbs are unrefined and keep their natural nutrients intact throughout processing to provide the body with pure forms of energy. Many good carbs are found in fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts–all of which are beneficial to diet, weight loss and healthy living.
Complex carbohydrates are bad for us because they are refined, meaning they go through a manufacturing process where they are stripped of their natural fiber, nutrients and vitamins, turning into empty calories. Bad carbs end up in sugary drinks, candy, chips, cakes and other bio-generated junk foods.
According to Healthline, carbs are not necessarily the root cause of weight gain but, rather, the over-processed junk foods in which complex carbs are commonly found such as cookies, fries and fruit juices. There are many types of healthy, whole grain carbs you can eat to increase your fullness and energy after a meal. Read below to learn more about the good carbs you can eat on a regular basis to help you lose weight and live an overall healthier lifestyle!
Stock up on these five good carbs for weight loss:
1. Brown rice
One of the healthiest types of rice, brown rice contains high nutritional content and is considered a whole grain that’s packed with fiber to promote fullness, healthy digestion and weight loss. According to Live Science, brown rice is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, folic acid, iron, magnesium and selenium. This is one smart carb you should have in your diet regularly, especially to replace white rice, which is highly refined and stripped of most of its fiber and nutrients. When looking to make a delicious stir-fry, salad, Mexican rice bowl or meat side, try using brown rice to reap the many nutritional benefits and add a healthy carb to your diet plan that will help you stay full and fight cravings.
2. Whole grain bread
Bread, in general, has a bad reputation, which causes many people to forgo sandwiches and favor wraps. We know it’s not about the size of the carbohydrate but how it’s prepared that matters. So if you’d like to enjoy a real sandwich or avocado toast every now and then, you should go right ahead and grab a loaf of whole grain bread. If you want to take it a step further and enhance your health, choose a whole grain bread made with other beneficial carbs such as flaxseed, barley, millet or oats! According to the Dairy Council of California, whole grains provide the body with a rich source of minerals such as iron, magnesium and selenium as well as B vitamins, which will help your body use the energy from protein instead of turning it into fat. Whole grains are recommended for weight loss because they fill you up with fewer calories, leaving you feeling more satisfied after a meal and unlikely to go for seconds. Include servings of whole grain bread, bagels and English muffins in your diet, and enjoy eating bread in a healthy way!
A healthy whole grain, quinoa, is full of fiber and protein–both important for weight loss. According to Healthline, quinoa contains eight grams of protein in just one cup, which will boost your metabolism and give you energy throughout the day. One cup of quinoa also contains five grams of fiber that will work to keep you feeling fuller for longer to help you avoid temptations. Along with high fiber and protein content, quinoa also boasts a rare and highly beneficial nutrient profile containing magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various antioxidants. According to the journal Nutrition, quinoa is also great for people with sensitive stomachs because it is non-GMO, gluten-free and often, grown organically. Enjoy quinoa as you would any other grain and try preparing it in delicious sweet and savory dishes from breakfast bowls and salads to sides for meat and seafood.
Another gluten-free whole grain, oats are a nutrient-dense and versatile food that can help you lose inches from your waistline. There are even people who use an “oatmeal diet” to shed pounds, due to the rich fiber and protein content oats have to offer. According to Healthline, one-half cup of dry oats contains a whopping 13 grams of protein and eight grams of fiber to help you fill up and benefit your weight loss. The specific type of soluble fiber found in oats called Beta-Glucan helps slow digestion, maintain blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol and increase satiety–all of which promote weight healthy loss. Oats are a tasty, and highly nutritious grain that can be incorporated into a well-balanced breakfast or easily turned into a tasty snack or side with yogurt, smoothies and more!
Hummus is a super nutritious food full of plant-based protein that can help you lose weight due to its low calories and high fiber and protein content. A delicious Mediterranean spread, hummus is made from chickpeas, a good carb, and contains almost eight grams of protein and six grams of fiber per serving. This dense fiber content will aid digestion and increase your healthy gut bacteria. Hummus is also gluten and dairy-free so anyone can eat it to enhance weight loss effects regardless of diet food restrictions. One study from the Journal of Nutrition & Food Science discovered that people who regularly ate chickpeas and hummus had a higher nutrient intake, lower BMI, smaller waist and less risk for obesity. Hummus can be prepared with other good carbs such as seeds, nuts and legumes and can be added to salads or meat dishes. This smooth and filling Greek dip can also be paired with all types of fresh crispy veggies or whole grain pita. Eating carrots or celery with a healthy hummus spread can even reduce your cravings for potato chips and similar snacks!