Myth = It used to be fat that got the bad rap many years ago and now its carbohydrates taking the finger-pointing when to comes to our being overweight. When trying to lose weight, be mindful of the kinds of carbohydrates we are eating and of course, how much we are eating. That doesn’t mean we should ban all carbohydrates from our weight loss diet plan.
A good diet plan will include approximately 55% of all calories from carbohydrates, why? Well, our body needs glycogen (see previous post an “Natural Fruit Juices,”) for energy so we can move, think and exist, basically so we can function at our best. Glycogen comes primarily from the carbohydrates we consume.
The challenge is to eat just the right amount and type of carbohydrates to generate enough glycogen for a half day to a full day of energy. Glycogen gets stored in our liver and muscles with the excess glycogen being stored, you guessed it, as good old fat.
For men, it tends to be stored around our belly and for woman the fat is usually stored in the lower body, the hips. (Just a side note, one of the reasons women statistically live longer is the fact that their fat tends to get stored away from vital organs while men tend to store their fat in much nearer to them.)
So, what kinds of carbohydrates should we include in our diet plan, which ones do we need to consume in smaller quantities and which ones should we stay away from most of the time? Good question, I will try to explain.
Complex Carbohydrates with fiber eat in large quantities, 6 to 8 servings per day: Any of the green leafy and non-starchy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms etc are full of nutrients, low in calories and high in water content. These are your good friends when it comes to health and weight management, consume them as often as you like. Really, go for it! Typical Serving Size: 1 cup raw, 1/2 cup cooked.
Complex Carbohydrates, fruit eat in moderate quantities, 2 to 3 servings per day : Like vegetables, fruit is high in nutrients and low in calories, however, not as low as vegetables. I would suggest using them as part of a healthy snack, perhaps add some with your yogurt at breakfast time or as part of a protein shake. Beyond that, eating half a dozen apples and a couple of pints of strawberries a day is way too much energy, you will gain weight, trust me on that one.
One more thing, the sugar in real fruit is fructose, that is good stuff. The sugar in pop comes in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, that is the bad stuff. The body processes high-fructose corn syrup differently producing insulin spikes that can lead to weight gain. Typical Serving Size: 1 fruit or 1/2 cup.
Complex Carbohydrates, whole grains and natural starches eat in moderate to small quantities, 1 to 2 servings per day: Here is where serving sizes are important to follow, no, let’s say “obey.” These complex carbohydrates are an important source of energy and nutrition, are low in fat and high in fiber, however, are calorie dense. Whole grains include whole wheat, oats, rye, barley, spelt and quinoa. Starchy vegetables include potatoes, yams, beans, peas, legumes and brown rice. Typical Serving Size: 1 slice of bread, 1/2 bagel, 1/2 cup rice or quinoa, 1/2 cup cooked pasta or couscous, 3/4 cup of legumes, 1/2 cup potatoes or yams
Simple/Refined Carbohydrates, sugar,flour,high-fructose corn syrup eat in small quantities, better yet, avoid: So, these are the carbohydrates that the low-carb diet movement has lumped in with the rest of the good guys who provide quality energy, nutrition, fiber and water. You have most likely been told to stay away from food that is the color white, namely sugar and flour, add high-fructose corn syrup and you have the trifecta of “junk food.” Yes, empty calories, no nutrition, just calories. Approach these items with caution, especially when you are purchasing any processed foods. Typical Serving Size: 0/2 cup, zip, nada.
My Personal Common Sense Weight Loss Diet Plan Tip: Avoid or limit the high fat toppings such as butter, sour cream and mayonnaise when eating complex carbohydrates. A good fat like olive oil can help add flavor and oh, just 1 tablespoon please.
Action Step to a Successful Weight Loss Diet Plan: Eat grains and starchy vegetables on workout days. Plan to eat them 1 to 2 hours post workout when your body is craving glycogen and can process these carbs without any problem. Eating these densely nutritious complex carbohydrates will improve recovery.
And as always, feel free to reach out and suggest a myth to successful weight loss you may want clarified. I look forward to your feedback and words of wisdom.
Tuesday’s Myths/Facts Weight Loss Diets 4A: High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets are a healthy way to lose weight.
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