Carbohydrates have gotten a rotten reputation over the years for being the number one culprit behind weight gain. There are many diets such at the Atkins diet, keto diet and so on that are very strict about limiting your intake of carbs.
But are carbs really to blame and will cutting them out help you to lose weight?
The answer is an unequivocal YES! But before throwing out the baby with the bathwater, it’s imperative to understand that not all carbs are made equal, and that your body does require carbohydrates to function in a healthy way. It’s an essential macronutrient.
What really matters is that you discern the good carbs from the bad. Most vegetables and fruits are good carbs, though you might want to avoid white potatoes. Bad carbs are white bread, pasta, white rice, cookies, and so on.
When you consume a bad carb, your body is able to quickly transform that carb into sugar and cause a blood sugar spike in your body. Your body then releases insulin to manage the sugar and over time, the excess glucose is stored as fat.
Good carbs like vegetables are digested slowly and the fiber helps to flush out fat. You cannot gain weight from eating boiled or steamed vegetables. If you’re sautéing the veggies with olive oil or butter, you might want to keep track of the calories, but if you’re eating them without sauces or flavoring, you can eat as much as you want.
Initially, when you’re trying to wean yourself off the bad carbs, it can seem like a Herculean task. The biggest mistake to make will be to cut them all out at once. That’s like asking a drug addict to go cold turkey.
You’ll face very strong food cravings and will most probably end up binge eating in the middle of the night, or if you cave in during the day, you’ll gorge yourself and eat more than you normally would have. This is a very common scenario.
The best way to cut your carbs will be to slowly reduce your portion sizes. You can start by eating 25 percent less carbs every day and replace it with vegetables. The following week aim for a 40 percent reduction and so on until you barely eat any of the bad carbs and only stick to the good ones.
The same applies to snacks and processed foods that you indulge in. If you love chocolate, just eat half a bar and keep the rest for the next day. The same for ice cream, pizza, cookies, doughnuts or whatever other indulgence that your sweet tooth fancies. The goal is to always reduce consumption gradually, instead of elimination overnight.
If you’re highly addicted to carbs, this will be your biggest challenge when it comes to losing weight. On your cheat days or cheat meals, you may indulge in the bad carbs, but exercise restraint.
If you find that one cheat meal or cheat day makes you struggle to stick with your diet on normal days, you should not indulge in the cheat days/meals. Your body is treating the carbs like a quick fix drug and that’s like giving a drug addict just a small hit.
You can’t quit the addiction if you keep giving in. So, it’s best to see how your body reacts and tailor your carb intake accordingly. Watching your carbs like a hawk will make all the difference in your weight loss journey.
This is one of the most crucial areas that determine if you’ll succeed or fail. Stay on track.