The Best Carbs for Weight Loss

Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD, is the James Beard award-winning lead dietitian on the Cooking Light Diet.

Watch the video to see which carbs to add to your diet and a few strategies that will shift your carbohydrate intake to higher quality.

High-carb, low-carb, no-carb… what’s best when it comes to weight loss?

Carbohydrates are an area where there is lots of confusion. And a lot of people feel like they have to drastically cut them out in order to lose weight.

But research actually says that carbohydrates can be part of a healthy diet.

The key is choosing high-quality carbohydrates, because those can make a big difference on appetite, satiety, and cravings.

The reason that many people associate carbohydrates with weight gain is because most American’s carbohydrate intake is pretty out of balance.

Breads, grains, rice – these are foods that we typically associate as carbohydrate food. And they vary in quality depending on if they are whole grain, refined, have added sugars or added fats.

Then foods with added sugars – sodas, cookies, desserts – these foods are also ones we associate with adding a lot carbohydrate to our diet.

But what we tend to forget is that foods like vegetables, beans and peas, dairy products, and fruits are great sources of carbohydrates. This is where the majority of our carbohydrates each day should come from.

But back to that imbalance. Americans typically way overconsume refined grains and snack foods made with refined grains as well as food and drink with added sugar.

But what we way under consume are beans, peas, and vegetables. Not only are these foods higher in nutrients and fiber but they have a slower glycemic response, which is going to leave you feeling full and content longer.

“I would recommend the Cooking Light Diet to anybody that wants to lose weight or eat healthy because you don’t deprive yourself. You don’t feel deprived at all, you’re eating delicious food, you’re eating what you want, you’re eating very healthy versions. I no longer feel guilty eating certain foods.”

So how do you shift your balance to higher-quality carbs? I’ve got two tips.

My first tip is to find a carbohydrate meal that you can substitute with fruits or vegetables. For example, if you typically eat a sandwich for lunch, have a large salad with a protein on top. Or that bowl of spaghetti, why not have it over spaghetti squash?

Tip number two is to watch to see how different carbs make you feel. I’ve learned that there are carbohydrates that set me up for success because they leave me feeling full and content. But then there are other carbohydrates where I’m left still feeling hungry. Plus, they are a lot harder to control my portion size of.

These two tips will help you shift your carbohydrate toward more high-quality.

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