carbs for weight loss
Now that we've got our protein powders and boosts out, it's kinda easy to feel like that's all you need nutritionally, right? And we DEF spent so much time developing these products to give your body just what it needs. But they'll work their best when you incorporate them into a healthy, balanced diet.
And you know I'm all about what you eat! But I think a lot of people are surprised when they actually eat with me or dig into my meal plans. Why? I eat a lot of carbs! And after all the anti-carb craziness of the last couple decades, from Atkins and the South Beach Diet to keto, carbohydrates have gotten a pretty bad rap. But here's the thing: your body needs carbs. And actually, I'm a big believer in carbs for weight loss.
So what's the deal with carbs, really? Let's find out.
What carbs are and how they work in your body
Carbs are organic compounds. We get most of our carbs in the forms of sugars, fibers, and starches. So yes, white bread and pasta contain carbs, but so do fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
Your body uses carbs to fuel your cells. Whenever you eat carbs, your body breaks them down and introduces them as glucose in your bloodstream (blood sugar). From there, your body uses a hormone called insulin to convert your blood sugar into energy for your cells.
The main thing you should know is that there are three types of carbs: simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are sugars and they're what you'll find in processed breads (like white bread), soda, baked goods, some pastas, and a lot of packaged food. Because the carb is already a sugar, it works quick, jacking your blood sugar levels up really fast. Your body then deploys a bunch of insulin to use up all that glucose in your blood — and you might feel a crash afterward.
Fiber and starch are complex carbs. They're more nutritious and your body digests them more slowly. That means they give you more consistent, long-lasting energy. Some examples of complex carbs include:
- Whole grains
- Fruits and veggies with a lot of fiber
Long story short, your cells need energy — and they need carbs for that. But complex carbs are WAY better for you that simple ones. And when we're talking carbs for weight loss, complex is the call.
4 reasons you need carbs for weight loss
#1: They give you energy for your workouts
Remember when I said that carbs are the fuel for your cells? And you know how your whole body is made up of cells? Well, you can put two and two together to figure out that carbs are basically the fuel source for your body.
Trying to get in a killer workout when you're carb-deficient is going to feel SO hard. If you feel fatigued before you even break a sweat, it could be a sign that you're not getting enough complex carbohydrates in your diet.
#2: They keep you full
Again, I'm talking about complex carbs here. But assuming you're choosing whole grains and fiber-rich produce, you're going to be eating meals and snacks that will keep you full for hours. In fact, fiber and certain types of starch can even help you avoid cravings! And that's a big part of why I always recommend carbs for weight loss.
#3: They're nutritious but lower-cal
Health experts recommend carbs making up a significant part of your caloric intake. Of the six essential nutrients — carbs, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water — carbs are your best bet for a balanced, healthy diet. That's because a lot of carbs (think: produce) contain other nutrients you need, like vitamins and minerals.
What about protein and fats? While protein should play a key role in your diet, eating more than you need usually just means your body storing the excess protein as fat. And speaking of fats, gram for gram, fats usually have twice the calories of carbs.
So if you're looking for a way to create balanced, healthy meals, make room on your plate for plenty of complex carbs.
#4: They're a key part of maintaining your body #goals
Look, I'll level with you. Completely cutting out carbs will probably mean some weight loss. When you're not eating carbs, your diet gets VERY restricted. And that means you're probably making super-conscious food choices and watching your calories closely. That's a recipe for weight loss, for sure.
But the thing is, you probably don't want to live that way forever. And I talk all the time with women who dropped pounds on a low-carb diet, only to see them come RIGHT back the second they started eating carbs again.
Part of the reason I'm pro-carbs for weight loss is that when you make carbs a part of your nutrition plan, any changes you make are a whole lot more sustainable. And that puts you in a position to keep losing weight or, if you've reached your goal weight, to stay there without feeling like you're on a super restrictive diet. I want to help the women in the LSF community drop pounds, but do it in a sustainable way so that the results last. And that means carbs, baby! Just make sure they're healthy carbs and you're making them part of a balanced, nutritious food plan. Do that, and you're well on your way to your goal weight!