Not all carbs are created equal. Some cause weight gain while others flood your body with the nutrients it needs to keep your metabolism running strong. In this post, we’ll rank carbs from worst to best, so you can make the right choices for weight loss.
Best Carbs For Weight Loss – At-A-Glance
- The worst carb is sugar because it takes virtually no work for your body to digest it and absorb it right into your blood.
- If weight loss is the goal, processed and refined foods hold little value because they are still highly refined.
- Starchy carbs that have not been refined contain vitamins and minerals that benefit your body, but the starch in these foods may hold you back from your weight loss goals.
- Non-starchy vegetables are naturally low in carbohydrates and have a high fiber-to-carb ratio, so there is little chance of a blood sugar or insulin spike.
How to Pick the Best Carbs for Weight Loss [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- A ranking of carbs from worst to best.
- What certain types of carbs do to your body.
- Advice for maximum success!
The Worst Carb: Sugar
The carb that will never help with weight loss is sugar. Sugar is refined from a plant like sugar cane. Table sugar, obviously, no longer looks anything like a plant.
Sugar stays on a shelf in your pantry for years without going bad. That is because any natural component of the plant that tends to rot is removed during the processing. Unfortunately, those perishable components are the ones that contain vitamins and minerals.
Not only is sugar void of micronutrients, it is also ground down to its simplest form. This means it takes virtually no work for your body to digest it and absorb it right into your blood. When you eat sugar, your blood sugar spikes, which spikes the fat-storing hormone, insulin. Long story short, sugar is a great food for making fat.
Poor Carbs: Refined and Processed Carbs
What if the sugar is mixed with other things like flour, oil, or maybe an egg to make bread, pasta, or crackers?
Some of those foods have visible evidence of healthy ingredients. What if pasta, for example, has a green color because it includes spinach? Are they better choices?
You can argue that because there are whole grains present, it takes longer for your body to break down the food. If weight loss is the goal, however, these processed foods hold little value because they are still highly refined. It is the refining process that makes the food lose value.
Also, use caution with healthy flours such as coconut flour and almond flour. Do they have more value than white flour? Probably, but if you are using these items to keep sweet desserts in your diet, you will find it challenging to lose weight.
Getting Better: Starchy Carbs
Sugar and refined carbs have little value, but when a carb-containing food is in its whole state, it provides your body with beneficial nutrients.
For instance, when comparing carbs, we take a step up with starchy carbs that have not been refined like quinoa, rice, beans, and oats as well as starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes.
These foods contain vitamins and minerals that benefit your body, but if you are someone who has trouble losing weight, the starch in these foods may hold you back.
Starch is a term that describes the carbohydrate molecule. Starchy food contains long chains of sugar molecules bonded together.
Essentially, the more starchy a food is, the more carbohydrates it contains.
Starchy foods also have a higher glycemic index than their non-starchy counterparts. As a food moves up on the glycemic scale, it has a greater potential to spike your blood sugar, and, in turn, your fat-storing hormone, insulin.
If your metabolism is strong and you are young and active, these types of starchy carbs have a place in your diet. If you are a slow loser or have a long history of a poor diet or being overweight, these carbs will likely need to be limited or avoided. Narrow your focus to the best carbs for weight loss, which are non-starchy vegetables.
The Best Carbs: Non-Starchy Vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables are naturally low in carbohydrates and have a high fiber-to-carb ratio. This helps to slow their digestion and absorption, so there is little chance of a blood sugar or insulin spike.
Despite being low in carbs and calories, they are high hunger-satisfying volume. They are also high in vitamins and minerals that your body uses to help pull energy out of the foods you eat and support a multitude of metabolic processes.
Non-starchy vegetables include things like leafy greens, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini.
If you want to keep noodles in your life, go for zucchini noodles that are often referred to as zoodles. If you want to keep rice in your life, opt for cauliflower rice. Of course, they are not the same, but they will move you toward your goal rather than away from it.
The takeaway is this: you’ll be happiest with your weight loss results if you get sugar out of your daily diet and more vegetables in.
If you would like some help getting those rules into your life, I invite you to learn my free 0123 strategy. Thanks for reading and I will see you next week!
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.