Many people think that eating the right foods and getting plenty of sleep are the key ingredients to weight loss. While those two factors undoubtedly help, there is evidence that suggests otherwise.
In the right circumstances, eating carbs, particularly those from sweeteners like sugar, can actually aid weight loss. If you’re not sure whether carbs are necessary for weight loss, let’s have a look at the evidence.
Carbs and Weight Loss
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, you’re probably aware that cutting back on the foods you consume and getting plenty of sleep are two of the most effective ways of achieving your desired weight. It’s also well-established that the hormonal milieu within your body plays a crucial role in determining how much weight you’ll actually be able to shed. Getting your body’s hormones in the right balance can help you to lose more weight than you would otherwise be able to.
The role that carbs play in hormone balance has been a topic of much controversy over the years. While it’s generally considered to be beneficial, there is evidence that suggests otherwise. Specifically, whether carbs are necessary for weight loss depends on the type of carbs that you consume and whether you’re actually carbohydrate-restricted or carbohydrate-free when dieting. (1) As you’ll see below, some types of carbs can actually hinder weight loss whereas others can aid it. This makes it important to understand which carbs you should be consuming and when.
Types Of Carbs
When you’re dieting, you typically want to limit the amount of carbohydrates that you eat. There are several different types of carbs that you can consume and each of them plays a different role in your body’s overall hormonal balance. Some are better than others when it comes to assisting with weight loss.
The two primary types of carbs that you need to concern yourself with are complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. (2) Complex carbohydrates, which are found in foods like whole wheat pasta and brown rice, give your body more energy than simple carbohydrates because they take longer to process. (3) This is important when you’re trying to lose weight because it means you’ll be using up more calories than you’re burning. If you want to lose weight, you should be avoiding simple carbohydrates as much as possible and consuming more complex carbohydrates.
Now, it’s important to note that not all complex carbohydrates are created equal. Some are more beneficial to your body than others. For instance, potatoes are a complex carbohydrate but they contain a lot of nutrients and minerals. Eating them may actually make you feel fuller than you would if you ate a bowl of oatmeal, which is also a complex carbohydrate. That being said, if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, you should be avoiding carbohydrates with added sugar, such as cakes, cookies, and other desserts. You should also be avoiding white potatoes and rice as these are the types of carbohydrates that tend to increase your insulin levels, which can result in weight gain. (4) (5) (6)
When Should You Eat Carbs?
Now, you might be wondering when it is best to eat carbs. After a hard day of working out, you should certainly eat something to restore your energy but you shouldn’t necessarily eat carbs right away. If your body is lacking carbohydrates, it will start to crave them and it won’t be able to function normally. This is why you should ease into your carbohydrate intake after a hard day of working out so that your body has time to adjust. (7) (8) Having them shortly before or after you workout can also aid in muscle recovery and building. (9) So, if you’re looking to shed some weight, you should avoid eating carbs right before your workout and you should eat them shortly afterwards. (10) Doing this can help to ensure that you’ll get the most out of your workout and it can also help to increase your endurance during your time on the treadmill or the Stairs Master.
When it comes to losing weight, some foods are more effective at helping you to shed those extra pounds than others. According to research, foods that are high in carbohydrates and proteins tend to be the most effective at triggering weight loss. (11) This is because when your body senses that it is running low on these nutrients, it will begin to reduce what you eat and increase energy expenditure. (12) If you’re not sure where to start, here are some great places to find lean proteins and complex carbohydrates:
- White fish, like cod, haddock, or halibut
- Beans, like lentils or black beans
- Chickpeas, black-speckled lentils
- Brown rice
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash
- Buckwheat noodles, spaghetti, or couscous
- Winter squashes, like acorn or pumpkin
The key take-away point from this article is that not all carbs are created equal when it comes to weight loss. Some types of carbohydrates can hinder weight loss while others can actually help with it. This means that you need to determine which types of carbs you should be eating and when. You should also be sure to avoid eating simple carbohydrates and instead, focus on eating complex carbohydrates, such as those found in the list above. Eat these foods daily and you’ll be on your way to a healthier and thinner you in no time!