This is part 3 of my Weight Watching tip series, and today we will be talking about everyone’s favourite comfort food, carbs!
We all love our carbohydrates, the bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fries, croissants, cakes, cookies there is starchy grains all around us. In many cultures carbohydrates are a staple and always present at the dinner, lunch and breakfast tables.
In my South Asian culture, it is not unusual for people to have bread or parathas (thick flat bread) for breakfast, followed by curry and roti for lunch and dinner may look like a rice dish and some vegetables. Similarly, we know Italians love their pasta, the Brits their potatoes and pies, the Thais their rice etc. The American version is now universal, it is very hard to find a meal that doesn’t have starch be it cereal, pizza, burgers, wraps, grilled cheese etc. We are overdoing the starchy grains which within the Macro nutrient group comes under Carbohydrates. Though carbohydrates can be found in many fruits, vegetables, pulses etc. it’s the starchy ones with a heavy Carbohydrate profile that are my focus for today.
So, you ask what’s wrong with them? The simple answer is ‘a lot’!
At the tip of the iceberg consuming these carbohydrates in every meal past the age of 25 will increase the chances of the following:
- Weight gain
- Increased abdominal fat
- Probability of developing Type-2 Diabetes, especially if this type of diet is accompanied by lots of refined sugar in the form of desserts, pop, alcohol, candy and so on
- Low energy due to blood sugar spikes
Whilst complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat, oats, quinoa etc. are better then the refined versions found in white bread/pasta, cereals, cookies etc., they can still contribute to the above when eaten in every meal and/or consumed throughout the day.
Carbohydrates turn into sugar in the body, so their consumption should be monitored especially where lifestyles are sedentary or low activity. This heavy carbohydrate consumption has a direct impact on energy as energy levels are constantly rising and crashing due to blood sugar imbalances. It also impacts weight management as a diet low in carbohydrates will almost always result in lower weight.
So, if you want increased energy and better weight reduce these starches by more than half, here are some examples:
At breakfast replace a bowl of cereal or bread with a protein packed smoothie or 2 eggs or a tofu scramble.
For lunch enjoy a large salad with chicken/eggs/nuts/seeds etc. and a small amount of full fat dressing (the fat will keep you full and no it will not make you fat- that’s a whole other story for another day).
At dinner enjoy salmon with sautéed vegetables or stir-fry tempeh or grilled chicken with roasted veggies.
If you need a snack skip the candy, doughnut, sugar laden granola bars for: a piece of fruit, a handful of macadamia nuts, celery and hummus- get the picture?
Do this gradually if you like, maybe start with eliminating starches from one meal in week1, then add the 2nd meal in week 2, then 3rd in week 3.
Try it for 1 month and see how you feel, I bet you your energy levels will stay balanced throughout the day just like mine did when I made the switch and you will most likely lose some weight too!
And don’t worry about meeting your daily carbohydrate needs, there are plenty in nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits and many sources of protein so you will not be deficient.
Cheers to high energy!
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