As for carbohydrates, the first thing you need to think about is the intake of sugar. Minimize the usage of refined sugar, sugared soft drinks, and processed foods that are full of sugar such as donuts and cookies. I strongly recommend stopping drinking soft drinks since they contain really huge amount of sugar. Even if you drink diet soft drinks, I recommend stopping that, since several recent studies indicate that the sweetness of the diet drinks fools the body and messes up your insulin sensitivity and causes weight gain. Drink tea or coffee (without sugar or cream, if you can); they have a great many of health benefits, including potential weight loss. If you like the fizziness of the soft drink, try carbonated water with lemon or lime. You may add small amounts of fruit juice if you like.
If You Really Like Sweet…
f you really want something sweet, get dark (preferably organic) chocolate with 70% or higher cacao content. The flavor is far more intense than that of milk chocolate, and many people feel that a small piece of dark chocolate satisfies them. I recommend buying an expensive one, since if it costs more, people appreciate it more and eat less. Furthermore, the recent study indicates that people who eat dark chocolate regularly are, in fact, leaner than people who don’t. The scientists still don’t know the exact cause of this, but it is great news. The chocolate is indeed a magic food! Although I still don’t recommend eating huge amount of chocolate daily, it could be a great substitute for other types of sweets.
Bread, Pasta, and Potatoes
The next foods you need to pay attention to are bread, pasta, and potatoes. Try to reduce them and, if you like to eat them, try to use brown (or black) rice and other non-processed grains. If you like potatoes, try sweet potato or yam instead. They have far more nutritional value than regular potatoes. If you don’t have a choice, try to get whole grain bread and pasta. Avoid “white” bread if you can. It is pure calories without much nutritional value (see an article Bread: Whole Grains, Multigrain, and White). Processed food like white bread makes you hungry and also changes blood sugar level up and down significantly. Whole-grain bread or, better, non-refined grain have less of this effect.
If you have no choice but white bread or pasta made from refined flours, make sure that you eat vegetable and some protein with it. It will slow down the blood sugar surge. This is one reason why some people (especially in European cultures) who eat pasta daily, don’t gain weight. Their meal is “balanced.” Note that those who eat pasta daily but don’t gain weight don’t eat huge amount of the pasta. They eat just the right amount which they use up that day by their physical activities. If they eat more than they can spend, they do gain weight.
Low Carbohydrate Diet Or Low Fat Diet?
Although there are still debates going on about which diet, low fat or low carbohydrate, is more effective for losing weight, more and more researches indicate that low carb diets are more effective for controlling body weight. For example, a study done by John Hopkins researchers shows people with a low carb diet lost about 29 pound during 6 months, but the people who did a low fat diet lost only 19 pounds during the same period. I don’t recommend doing extreme low calorie diets, but you can still use this principle to improve your daily meal significantly. Remember that the important thing is a lifestyle change, not a onetime diet to lose weight.
You May Be Addicted to…
You think reducing the amount of carbohydrate is easy, but it may not be true. Many people are addicted to carbohydrate foods such as bread and pasta. I am not joking: it is an addiction like that to caffeine. Some people crave bread and if they cannot have it, they become irritated or feel physically ill. Again, like caffeine, it will take a week or so to get out of this stage if you are addicted (probably you are). Once getting out of the “addicted” stage, though you will still like bread, you’ll find yourself not craving it anymore.
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