If you are interested in health or weight loss, you really should be interested in carbs (this article is part of my guide “What Are Carbs ? A Beginner’s Carbs Guide“) . There is no need to eliminate carbs completely from your diet but it’s important to know the difference between good carbs, bad carbs, foods that are high in carbs and foods that are low in carbs.
Why all this carb info? Because changing the amount and type of carbs you eat can help you lose weight!
Many high carb foods are also high in calories and that means, if you eat a lot of them, you’ll either gain weight or struggle to lose weight. Most carbs, good and bad, are low in fat so many people (me included!) sometimes make the mistake of thinking all carbs are good.
In fact, the Food Pyramid, the standard diet that almost all governments around the world recommend, is based on carbs; around 45-60% of your calories should come from carbs they say.
The trouble is, high carb diets are GREAT if you are very active but most people aren’t. We spend our days sat at desks, driving cars, using computers, and being mostly sedentary. Carbs provide quick energy and if you aren’t using them to fuel physical activity, excess carbs will quickly and easily be converted and stored as fat.
Even if you exercise three or more times a week, you are still probably sedentary the rest of the time which is why almost everyone who wants to lose weight will do well on a lower, smarter carb diet plan.
Not all carbs are bad; that’s a fact. Some carbs are actually pretty healthy. But even healthy high carb foods could interfere with weight loss simply because they contain a lot of calories.
So what makes a healthy high carb food?
Healthy carbs are mostly unrefined. That means they are in very close to their natural state. Being unprocessed, they are naturally high in fiber. Fiber is essential to your health and makes weight loss much easier.
Fiber is calorie-free, digests slowly, and stays in your stomach for a long time which means it makes you feel fuller for longer. Any carb that contains a lot of fiber is probably going to be a good carb.
Good carbs are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are important for your health and without an abundant supply of these micronutrients, your body will not function as well as it should. Everyone knows that vitamin C is important for keeping your immune system working; every other vitamin and mineral has an equally important job too.
Here are some examples of health and unhealthy high carb foods so you can start to learn the difference. While it makes sense to cut back on carbs in general, if you choose to eat carbs – before or after a workout to give you energy for example – you should generally choose the healthy ones. If you find it hard to recall which ones are which, just remember that in most cases, the “white” foods are usually the least healthy…
|Unhealthy high carb foods||Healthy high carb foods|
|White bread||Wholemeal bread|
|White rice||Wild rice|
|White potatoes||Sweet potatoes and yams|
|White pasta||Wholemeal pasta|
|Processed TV dinners||Most vegetables|
|Most breakfast cereals||Oatmeal|
|Cookies and cakes||Fruit|
|Sugary drinks, candy, and sweets||Sugar-free dark chocolate|
If you are active, you need at least some carbs in your diet to give you energy whereas the less active you are, the fewer carbs you need. Whether you need a lot or a few carbs, you definitely need to eat more of the healthy carbs and fewer unhealthy carbs. Choose your carbs wisely and you’ll find losing or maintaining your weight much easier.