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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- (& 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.