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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Best Diet Ever: Minimize processed carbohydrates

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Oh no, I can see the forces of carb-loving and carb-hating evil gathering in the distance. Do carbs make you fat or are they the body's most important energy source? Well, which is it!? I've always been a proponent of the theory that a calorie is a calorie and that all weight loss is dependent on calories in vs. calories out. That opinion is based on my personal experience of losing 60 pounds and maintaining that loss by doing lots of exercise and maintaining a calorie deficit with no regard to changing the foods that I eat, only eating less of them.

Having said that, studies done by Harvard Medical School, and more recently The University of Pennsylvania, have found that a certain percentage of people respond better to a low carb approach to eating. The high responders to the low carb diets are people who have metabolic syndrome, Type II diabetes, and hyperinsulinemia. I'll have a post with more information on this topic in the near future. What I can say is that from a nutrition perspective, highly processed, refined carbohydrates like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, and white rice are all empty calories. Save your allotment of daily calories for more nutritious fare by getting your carbs from fruits, vegetables, and a small amount of whole grains.

If you are a potato eater, try sweet potatoes, as they are a more nutrient dense choice than a regular potato, and in my not so humble opinion, much tastier, plus they have the added benefit of being an antioxidant-rich food. My family eats rice several nights a week and we love short, sweet, brown rice. That's what it's called. It has a slightly nutty texture that really adds to a meal. If you cook with white flour, try mixing it 50:50 with whole wheat flour until you become accustomed to the whole wheat taste, with the goal of eventually going to all whole wheat.

Have you ever tried cutting down on carbs? If so, how difficult was it and how long have you stuck with it?

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4 comments:

Joey said...

I love to eat carbs. But no one else in my family likes whole wheat or sweet potatos. I am just going to keep controlling calories.

But, I will utilize these tips when cooking for myself.

Fit Club Scott said...

If you can't control what carbs you eat, another strategy is to try and control when you eat them.

The best times to consume carbohydrates are for breakfast and after a workout or cardio session. After basically fasting all night and post-workout, carbs go to replenish glycogen stores in your muscles and liver. Take advantage of this mechanism to enjoy some carbs when they are least likely to be stored as fat.

S William said...

That's my diet. Low processed carbs. I eat brown rice farina, oatmeal, fruit, quinoa, and veggies. That's my carbs. Period.

Fit Club Scott said...

Those are great carb choices. I'm surprised to see quinoa. It's a great carb choice...very high in protein. Too bad it's only available in health food-type stores...at least that's the case in Albuquerque.