Carbohydrates and weight loss

Cut down on carbs to lose weight faster

You should eat fewer carbohydrates if you want to lose weight quickly.

Having said that, there is no need to cut out carbohydrates entirely if you are trying to lose weight and, in fact, that would not be a healthy step. Carbohydrates are an essential energy source for the body, but you should certainly cut back on the amount you are consuming – simple carbohydrates in particular.

In contrast, there are some healthy carbohydrates that you can eat that will actually give your body fuel to function, thereby facilitating exercise, a faster metabolism and weight loss.

The key is therefore controlling your carbohydrate intake, tailoring it to support weight loss instead of creating an obstacle to weight loss.

Which carbohydrates for weight loss?

Carbohydrates typically sit in the body and are very difficult to completely burn off. For best weight loss results, you therefore need to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” carbohydrates, finding those that are going to help (rather than hinder) your efforts.

There are some carbohydrates that offer you little or no nutritional value, and that can actually cause your blood sugar levels to spike and possibly create an insulin imbalance. It is important to consume a majority of healthy carbohydrates if you want to lose weight and keep it off.

Carbohydrates, such as fruit, vegetables, grains and other plant-based sources are healthy options that will support all-round nutrition, fibre intake, a fast metabolism and a feeling of satiety, at the same time as carbohydrate intake for energy levels. Examples include:

  • barley or barley grass
  • quinoa
  • chickpeas
  • wholegrains
  • sweet potatoes
  • oats
  • bananas
  • beetroot
  • grapefruit
  • and many more.

But one word of caution… While fruit is, of course, highly nutritious, beware not to over-indulge given the high levels of sugar. Even though these are healthy fruit sugars, they can still contribute to weight gain. Balance your diet carefully.

Eat smart, plan well

Changing the way you eat will most likely be one of the key factors that will help you achieve your weight-loss goals. Almost certainly, years of poor eating habits have led to the excess weight in the first place. It is those habits that need to be reversed.

Instead of eating your big meal in the evening, try changing it to lunch. Try not to eat starchy carbohydrates after 3pm; instead make your final meal of the day no more than three hours before bedtime. That meal should be a light meal high in lean protein and nutrients, but low in calories.

Sugary drinks, refined sugar and other processed foods are all things to avoid at all costs. Carbonated beverages, in particular, are full of sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates, and can also add to any cravings that you experience. Instead, choose a bottle of water to reduce the thirst that you have and help you to feel fuller, if you want to stay as healthy and slim as possible.

Also try to ensure that you have a little bit of lean protein in all of your meals, even breakfast. Protein tends to fill you up more than carbohydrates or fats would.

To help you lose weight, plan on eating a substantial healthy breakfast each morning. This strategy will help you avoid overeating at lunch time or craving snacks between the meals. Egg whites are a good choice.

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What are superfoods?

What puts the “super” into superfoods?

The expression “superfood” has been used for many years now, but what does it actually mean? And do these foods provide the answer to your nutritional goals, or is it all just hype?

Well, the reason these foods are referred to as being “super” is because they tend to be a rich source of vitamins and/or other nutrients (such as antioxidants and carotenoids), all of which play a vital role in keeping you healthy. Alternatively, they have a health-promoting characteristic that is not found in other foods of a similar type.

Many are known to contain elevated levels of lutein and vitamin C. They can also be rich in enzymes, proteins, minerals, and a range of phyto-nutrients.

Acai berries

A great example of a food often classed as a superfruit is the acai berrry.

These berries are known to contain among the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit. They also contain high levels of vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E and a lot more.

You can incorporate these exotic fruits into your daily diet by purchasing the powder, or by looking for a high quality acai berry supplement – ideally with Brazilian freeze-dried acai berry powder and extract for extra oomph!

Turmeric

Not just limited to the world of fruits, turmeric is another superfood that is known to provide various health benefits. This time a colourful root, turmeric contains high levels of curcumin – the active ingredient most often cited as the reason for its superfood title.

Add it into your diet regularly in whole food form, but for a greater concentration and therefore effect, try a supplement that contains at least 95% curcumin from turmeric extract.

Other colourful fruit and vegetables

And there are so many more examples of superfoods and superfruits.

Look for highly pigmented fruit, vegetables and other plant-based foods (such as wheatgrass), naturally rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and chlorophyll.

Blueberries, cherries and beetroot are just a few others.

These are all readily available in supermarkets or delis. The only downside of accessing their nutrients in whole food form is the concentration and the diminished levels of nutrients as a result of, for example, long-term storage and refrigeration. If you want to be sure of the level and quality of nutrients you are accessing, it is better to opt for health food supplements, where concentrated extracts and freeze-dried powders are used.

And, ideally, choose organic supplements for maximum benefit.

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