What does it actually mean when people say, “I’ve cut out carbs”? When asked to elaborate it usually means they are staying away from sweets, sodas, breads and “anything white.” In this multiple-post series, I will talk about whether I think cutting out carbs actually works for weight loss.
Before we can even cut anything out, we need to know what carbs actually are and how our body processes and uses them. Carbs, or carbohydrates, are one of the three macronutrients found in food and drink. They serve as the body’s primary energy source, yes primary. There are different types of carbs, which we will get into later, and are broken down a little differently by our digestion system. Long story short, CARBS ARE NOT BAD FOR YOU. I whole-hearted believe that you can still lose weight and reach your goals and still eat the “white stuff”.
Like I said, there are different kinds of carbs and are actually very beneficial for weight loss. Let’s outline them:
- Starches – These are the carbohydrates that are a little more difficult for our bodies to break down, also known as complex carbohydrates.
- Sugars – These carbs are quickly digestible and more readily available for our bodies to use after ingestion that starches. They are also known as simple carbohydrates.
- Fiber – Found in both starchy and “sugary” foods, fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is indigestible by humans.
So when it comes to cutting out carbs, I always advise them to be more specific in the type of carbs they want to reduce. As I said earlier, some carbs will help weight loss if eaten correctly (amount and timing)…it really just depends on the food item you choose. So let’s look at some common foods that fall into each of these carbohydrate types.
Anything on that list surprise you? Next time you’re at the grocery store take a look at the ingredients label and see how many types of carbs you can spot! With that being said, not all carbs are “bad”. In fact, I myself do not label foods as good or bad. I look at them more on a beneficial scale. When it comes to filling your day with the right kind of carbs, I will give you three main take-aways.
- The higher the fiber, the better (per serving)
- Always choose whole-wheat over white or enriched
- Choose fruits with skin (more fiber) and veggies that are green (tend to have more fiber)