Are All Carbs Bad For You?
To start with, what are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are complex sugars. Sugar is the important word here. When you eat sugars, your blood sugar level rises and your pancreas starts secreting insulin (anabolic hormone that helps you to store fat). At the same time the production of glucagon (canabolic hormone that helps you to burn fat) shuts down, thus preventing you from weight loss. That is why there is an old saying “you can’t out train your diet”. And that is why sumo wrestlers look the way they do, even though they train for six or more hours per day.
So, are all the carbs bad for weight loss? Well, not exactly. There are two important elements – glycemic index and glycemic load, speed of breaking down the carbs and total amount of carbs consumed. Let’s compare white rice with wild rice. White rice is easy to digest (high glycemic index) and will raise your blood sugar much faster thus spiking your insulin production. Great for professional athlete and their performance, but not so much if your goal is to lose weight because once your insulin goes up, you cannot burn your body fat. Wild rice, on the other hand, has about three times more fiber and takes much longer to digest (low glycemic index). That helps your body keep the insulin levels low and you will feel full longer. Just keep in mind to keep the portions smaller. If you eat a big bowl of wild rice with beans and chicken, you will have too much of total carbs and calories in your meal and that is not good for weight loss.
So, what type of carbs should you eat on your weight loss program? Get most of your carbs from dark green leafy vegetables in the form of raw salads. Stick with wild rice, barley and quinoa for your grains. Choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes. Stay away from anything refined, including so called healthy snacks like granola bars and nut bars. Limit the amount of fruits you eat. Stay away from soft drinks and alcohol. Buy raw, organic, whole foods from local farms, if you can, and watch the size of your meals.
All in all, carbohydrates provide nutrients, and therefore, should be included in a healthy diet even when you are trying to lose weight. But you must watch your portion sizes and choose the carbs low in calories and sugars.