Are Carbohydrates Bad for Weight Loss?

Carbohydrates often get a bad rep for causing you to put on weight, the fact is, however, that there are different kinds of carbohydrates – and not all of them are bad. The main reason why carbohydrates have been black listed in many diets is because of the ways we eat them. Pasta in itself isn't that bad, but smothering it in creamy Carbonara sauce is another story. Similarly, bread can be quite nutritious, but the thick layer of butter on top is not great for the waist line!

Ultimately, weight loss is about calories in versus calories out. If you are burning more calories than you are consuming then your body is forced to delve into its fat stores for energy, therefore allowing you to lose weight. So taking this into consideration, it doesn't actually matter so much where these calories are coming from. But in terms of nutrition and ease of weight loss there are some factors to consider.

bread basket Carbohydrates are placed into two groups – complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. In terms of weight loss the important thing to remember is that complex carbohydrates take a lot longer to digest, therefore giving you steady energy levels and minimizing insulin response – this is a good thing! And simple carbohydrates are digested easily, giving you a quick energy hit and causing a large insulin response – this is a not so good thing!

A general rule of thumb is to consume all foods as close to their natural state as possible. In terms of carbohydrates that means wholemeal varieties rather than refined and processed options.

Some examples of complex carbohydrates are:
Brown Rice
Wholemeal or multi-grain breads
Legumes, beans and pulses
Fibrous vegetables
Soy Products

Some examples of simple carbohydrates are:
Corn syrup 
Fruit Juice
White flour products
White rice
Most packaged/processed cereals

In order to have steady energy levels and avoid sugar cravings it is important to steer clear of simple carbohydrates as much as possible. If you do have to eat them, however, it is possible to decrease the negative effect on your insulin levels by combining them with a protein rich food as this slows down the digestion process.

Creating a calorie deficit through diet and exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. The better the nutritional value of the foods you are consuming the better your body will function in general, which will give you a healthier, more balanced approach to weight loss.

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