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5 Carbs to Help LOSE FAT

Carbs get a bad wrap.

Here is the "carbs make you fat" thought process.

You eat carbs.  Insulin levels spike.  Because insulin makes you fat, you just added pounds of belly fat.

So maybe that’s a bit simplified, but I’ve read more than one article that can pretty much be summarized that way.

But is that REALLY true — do all carbs cause insulin to blow through the roof?  And subsequently that insulin immediately turn to belly fat?

Not so fast.

We touched briefly on insulin the other day — and how 1 simple spice (cinnamon) may help control insulin. 

But not all carbs are created equal.

In fact, there are some that may help you LOSE fat!

First thing to remember is carbs are your muscles (and brains) primary fuel source.  That means when you exercise, this is the main fuel source of working muscles.  In other words, the more you exercise, the more you’d need.  On the flipside, the less you move, the less you need. 

Unfortunately most people move very little — even if you do exercise regularly — 1 hour each day of exercise can still mean 23 other hours of little movement.  Typing quickly on a computer for 8+ hours doesn’t count as activity!

So therefore, most people don’t need a ton of carbohydrates.

That being said, what most people DO need is more quality carbs.  And these 5 insanely healthy carbohydrates may actually help you lose fat!

  1. White Beans.  A study published in 2007 showed how subjects using a white bean extract lost significantly more weight (8.7 lbs) than the group that didn’t (1.7 lbs).  Both groups had the same diet and exercise prescriptions outside of the white bean extract addition.  This is preliminary data, but in the meantime,  simply add white beans to the diet — they’re high in fiber, high in protein, and may actually prevent or delay digestion complex carbs.
  2. Barley.  This "super carb" — super because it’s so insanely healthy — is very slowly digested and is a good source of a particular fiber called beta-glucan.  Beta-glucan is partly responsible for the lipid lowering effects of foods like barley and oats.
  3. Chickpeas.  A study published in the 2008 Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that adults who incorporated chickpeas into their diets on a regular basis had improvements in blood sugar control and lipid profiles.  A favorite snack in the Mohr House is to drain a can of chickpeas, toss them with 1 tsp olive oil, add a pinch of salt and chili powder, then saute over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, tossing regularly.  Saute until slightly crisp.  Great, easy snack!
  4. (& 5).  Apples and pears.  Researchers published a study in the journal Appetite measuring the effects of adding 3 different foods to the diets of the overweight subjects — apples, pears, or oats.  Each group added 3 apples, 3 pears, or 3 oat cookies (each provided the same number of calories and fiber) to their daily diets for 10 weeks.  The differences among the foods was the energy density.  The apple and pear groups lost significantly more weight than the oat group. 

Mohr Results Bottom Line: Replace less healthy carbs with these healthy options — try the chick pea recipe above, maybe start each meal with an apple or pear, or maybe add a serving of white beans to a soup or salad instead of croutons or a side of bread.

Carbs are healthy.  When you choose the right ones. Of course these 5 aren’t the only healthy options — certainly veggies and other fruits are fantastic too — mix it up and as always, think fiber, not carbs.

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5 Responses to 5 Carbs to Help LOSE FAT

  1. Terri September 10, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    The last three posts revolving around carbs have been very interesting. The debate about carbohydrates is probably the most heated issue in nutrition…especially this year with the new USDA guidelines coming out telling us to eat less meat and more carb-rich protein sources. One side equates eating carbohydrates to belief in “man made religion,” while the other side views fat as the enemy (even limiting monounsaturated fat regardless of total calories) and tells us we need to eat more “healthy whole grains.”

    Pertaining specifically to insulin, there is a well known doctor in the low-carb community (who shall not be named) who advocates eating in such a way to keep blood sugar levels under 110 mg/dl (one hour postprandial). His belief is that levels higher than this increases the risk of heart attack, especially 140+ mg/dl, which would put relative risk at an increase of 30-60%. He has worked with many, many patients who have significantly improved their bloodwork (esp. with small LDL particles which are the most dangerous) on low carb diets. I think this is probably the biggest benefit of low-carb dieting–drastic improvement in bloodwork, not weight loss. Weight loss can be achieved on a simple calorie restricted diet that is followed correctly.

    Another argument against grains (whole or refined) and beans is the fact that they contain lectins. Although the lectins are mostly destroyed in cooking, some remain and they apparently can be very damaging to the intestinal tract (a theory as to why people get very gassy and bloated from these foods).

    It’s a very tiresome debate to follow, with both sides having legitimately good arguments. I definitely think draconian diets will prove unsuccessful in the long run, whether they are low-fat or low-carb. IMHO, we all need to follow diets that are realistic in terms of our food preferences and our lifestyles.

    • Chris and Kara Mohr September 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

      All great points, Terri!!! Thanks for the insight…

  2. Terri September 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Just curious…

    In the videos with Kara making spaghetti squash and Chris talking about the mushroom bun you guys talk about “earning your carbs” through exercise. Assuming one is at maintenance weight and didn’t exercise one day, do you advocate keeping calories the same, but at a lower percentage from carbs or doing a lower calorie day, cutting the calories through omitting carb rich foods? Thanks.

    • Chris and Kara Mohr September 13, 2010 at 7:27 am #

      Great questions, Terri — I would keep the carbs a bit lower on the non exercise days. Don’t take that to mean carbs are bad — the key is focusing on veggies, fruits, and some high fiber whole grains for all of your carbs. Of course calories matter too, so when you’re not expending a ton, you need less overall

  3. Santos Lerma July 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

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