Looking for the best carbs to eat for weight loss can be tricky. As you know carbohydrates are now being blamed for being the number one cause of obesity all over the world.
But remember that not all carbs are created equal. There are bad carbs and there are also good carbs that are actually healthy.
Related reading: 5 Top Weight Loss Lifestyle Tips
So how do you know which carbs are bad and which ones are good? First of all, good carbs are those that look like they were just harvested freshly from the ground. They are whole foods that have not been processed.
Good carbs, sometimes called slow carbs, are the ones that get digested slowly. When the sugar in the carbs are broken down to glucose by your digestive enzymes it is released slowly into the blood stream.
The fiber in the carbohydrate food prevents the rush of glucose into the body so it does not trigger a spike in insulin, the fat storage hormone.
Related reading: How Carbohydrates Contribute To Weight Gain
Dr Sarita Naik, the consultant in endocrinology at the University College Hospital in London, England states:
Switching to smaller portions of wholegrain carbs such as brown rice or pasta and barley reduces blood sugar spikes and makes sure your body gets all the micronutrients it needs to stay healthy
But grains are not the only good carbs that you can eat for weight loss. Beans of all types are high in fiber and low in fat. They keep you full for long periods of time and help keep your blood sugar stable.
An apple may be considered a good carb because it is a whole food and contains fiber. However, apple juice has been processed to separate the juice from the fiber so is not a good carb. The sugar in the juice gets digested quickly and is released into the blood stream quickly.
If you’re trying to shed some pounds then below is a list of the best carbs to eat for weight loss.
Related reading: How Many Carbs Do You Need To Eat To Lose Weight?
Best Carbs To Eat For Weight Loss
Quinoa is a highly nutritious seed, that has recently been gaining popularity in the health community. It’s gluten free so good if you are avoiding gluten.
100 grams of cooked quinoa contains 21.3% carbs, which is why those who are following a low carb diet would avoid it.
However, this seed, also known as a pseudo grain, is a great source of fiber and protein and is known to have several health benefits including improving blood sugar level.
Since quinoa is high in protein, it may help to promote weight loss by increasing your metabolism level. It’s very filling, it can also help to reduce appetite, which may aid in weight loss.
As a matter of fact, quinoa is being tested in various laboratories as a possible way to fight hunger and address the issues of malnutrition in some underdeveloped countries.
Oats are considered one of the healthiest whole grain foods on the planet. Although raw oats contain 66% of carbs, almost 11% of this is fiber. Oats are particularly rich in a powerful soluble fiber known as oat beta-glucan.
This particular type of fiber is good for lowering cholesterol as it prevents cholesterol in food being absorbed into the body. You have probably seen it as an addition to spreads. A scientific review found that it was also good for gut bacteria which in turn is good for health.
According to a study done by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, adding more fiber to your diet is one of the most effective easy to lose weight. According to Barbara Olendzki RD, co-investigator of the study,
“A high fiber diet can be filling and tasty, making it a pleasure to eat while losing weight and improving health and wellbeing,”
You can add a handful of raspberries or blueberries to your oatmeal to boost its fiber content and add flavor as well as some antioxidants. Just like quinoa, oats are also rich in protein and are very filling so they can help to curb your appetite.
If you start your day with a bowl of oatmeal, you can minimize unnecessary snacking later in the day, which is important for those who are trying to lose weight.
Related reading: 5 Healthy Snacks That Kill Sugar Cravings
Make sure you avoid instant oats as they have been processed more than other types of oats and are high on the Glycemic Index table. This means they will raise your blood sugar. Also watch out for quick or instant oats that have added sugar.
It’s best to buy organic oats as most commercially grown grains if not all are sprayed with Roundup which contains the toxic weedkiller glyphosate. See more about it under Barley.
3. Brown, Red and Black Rice
Rice is very filling and a great addition to any diet. However, white rice, which has been stripped of fiber and nutrients, has been linked to diabetes and obesity. Therefore, eating white rice may not be a good idea if you’re trying to lose weight.
Thankfully, there’s a healthier alternative to white rice and that’s brown, red or black rice. Black rice, an ancient grain, contains contains one of the highest levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin than in any other food and is said to have as many antioxidants as blueberries.
Red rice which has become popular recently has more fiber than black rice. It is also higher in anthocyanins than brown rice but has less than black rice.
Just like white rice, brown rice is very versatile and can be added to any meal. But what’s good about brown rice is that it has much lower calorie content. For instance, a 200-calorie serving of brown rice should be enough to fill you up. But with white rice, you’ll keep on eating more before you will feel satisfied.
Aside from helping you to lose weight, brown rice, red and black rice can also help to lower blood pressure, prevent diabetes, and lower your risk of heart diseases.
Arsenic in rice
There is concern over the levels of arsenic in rice and brown and black rice both contain more than white rice as it accumulates in the bran which is stripped off when processed to white rice. The amount can vary according to the water it’s grown in.
Organic rice can accumulate arsenic as well but will not contain the other toxic chemical residues that non-organic varieties may contain. Some companies test for arsenic levels in rice so you could seek those out.
Related reading: Do Toxic Chemicals Make You Fat?
The best way to reduce the amount of arsenic in brown, red and black rice is to soak it overnight in filtered water then drain it and rinse very well before cooking.
Barley is a gluten containing grain that’s considered one of the best carbs to eat for weight loss. It’s rich in fiber and is chock full of nutrients. This grain also helps to reduce the level of cholesterol in the body, which aids in weight loss.
Just like oats, barley is rich in beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that helps to prevent cholesterol being absorbed and escorts it out of the body.
Since barley contains lots of fiber, it can help you to feel full longer. This minimizes cravings and unhealthy snacking. Furthermore, the high fiber content in barley helps you to get a proper bowel movement. It cleanses your digestive system in order to free your body from harmful toxins.
Toxic weedkiller in grains
Like wheat and oats, barley is sprayed with the toxic weedkiller glyphosate (chemical in Roundup) before harvesting. Unfortunately it gets in to products made from the grains. Glyphosate was labeled a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization’s cancer agency in 2015.
According to Eco-Watch 93% of Americans tested had glyphostate in their urine and it’s been found in people’s urine in Europe too. It has a number of side effects including causing an imbalance on gut bacteria and imbalances in gut bacteria and some studies have found that glyphosate appears to accumulate in human cells.
You can find out more about Glyphosate and how to get rid of it from your body in my article on my Detox blog: Should You Detox Your Body From Glyphosate Weedkiller?
5. Sweet Potatoes
Thanks to its high amount of dietary fiber and low-calorie content, the sweet potatoes are one of the best carbs to eat if you’re trying to lose weight. As mentioned, foods rich in fiber is good for weight loss since it can help to keep you feeling full longer. These foods take a long time to leave your stomach, which reduces your chances of overeating.
Sweet potato is also among those carbs that have relatively low-calorie content. It contains only 100 calories per serving. This is definitely lower than the white potato, which has up to 500 calories per serving.
Sweet the potatoes are low on the glycemic index so unlike white potatoes they do not increase your blood glucose.
Related reading: Is A Low Carb Diet The Same As Low GI?
6. Black Beans
Beans of all types are high in fiber and protein and low in fat. They keep you full for long periods of time and help keep your blood sugar stable. This helps to prevent you snacking between meals and overeating.
Of all beans black beans are the highest in flavonoids. Researchers have shown that a high intake of flavonoids can help prevent weight gain and prevent the storage of excess tummy fat.
Black beans can be combined with brown rice in dishes for complete protein.
Is There A Best Time to Eat Carbs?
I see people asking this question a lot in some health groups so I thought this was a good opportunity to answer it. As you can see, carbs are not all really that bad. While some are detrimental to your health, there are those that are actually good for you and may help with your goal to lose weight.
But you’re probably wondering when would be the best time to eat them if you’re trying to shed some pounds. There have been several studies done to find out the answer to this.
In one study done in a period of 6 months, 78 obese individuals were asked to follow a low-calorie diet that involved eating carbs. One group were asked to eat carbs at dinner while the others during every meal. Those who ate carbs only during dinner lost more body fat and weight and felt fuller longer compared to those who had been eating carbs at their every meal.
The group who ate carbs at dinner were effectively carb backloading. This is basically a process where carbohydrates are eliminated from your diet until in the evening when you workout.
It works on the theory that insulin can help to shuttle carbs towards the muscle cells post-training instead of the fat cells, thereby leading to fat loss and muscle gain. You can read more about it in my this article: Does Carb Backloading Help With Fat Loss?
However, a recent study observed that our bodies are actually more efficient at burning cabs during daytime. The study concludes that if you want to lose weight, you should eat carbs during the day and not at dinner.
Carbs at night for adrenal fatigue or sleep problems
On the other hand If you have adrenal fatigue or trouble sleeping then you may be better off eating more complex carbs with your evening meal. This will have to be the subject of another blog post though as there is too much to go into here.
Given the contradicting results of the two studies, it’s not clear as to when would be the best time to eat carbs in order to lose weight fast.
But what’s clear is that carbs play an important role in achieving overall health and fitness goals. It gives you the energy that you need to exercise and build muscles. Carbs are a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Best Carbs to Eat for Weight Loss
Timing vs quality
When it comes to losing weight, timing is actually less important than the quality of food that you eat. If you don’t want to say goodbye to carbs by going on a low carb or ketogenic diet, then make sure to choose the right carbs to eat.
Always go for high-quality complex carbs with low calories, such as the foods mentioned in this list of the best carbs to eat for weight loss.