You want to lose weight, and the very first thing that people start yammering at you is to “change your diet change your diet change your diet change your diet…”
Changing the way you eat to lose weight isn’t a new idea; even the very best diet pills for women can’t replace the need to make dietary adjustments to support that weight loss. However, how you should change your diet to lose weight seems to be what keeps changing, shifting from one extreme to another.
Eating fat was the misdemeanor of women’s weight loss a few years back. This season, carbs have become weight loss enemy #1. Trendy low-carb diets like Atkins have gained huge popularity, promising to deliver easy weight loss with just the elimination of one food group – carbohydrates. People have begun to fear carbs in food as they once used to fear fat, trading in bagels for bacon, fruit for frankfurters.
So what’s the story? Are carbs the culprits behind weight gain?
Carbs and Weight Loss for Women
The problem with all this negative carb PR is that it lumps together far too many types of food into one single category. The carb foods that spike blood sugar, over-stimulate insulin production and cause inflammation and disease are grouped together with the carb foods that help to balance blood sugar, avoid diabetes, and fight against diseases such as cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, digestive problems, etc. Even worse, it lumps together the foods that lead to weight gain with the very foods that are essential for weight loss!
What’s the key that separates the good carbs from the bad? It’s fiber. Fiber is the part of the plant that our bodies cannot digest, and that slows down the absorption of other nutrients eaten with it. This keeps blood sugar steady, energy levels and mood balanced, blood cholesterol low, detoxification running smoothly, and the digestive system working efficiently and effectively.
Moreover, fiber is key to women’s weight loss because it helps you feel full on a very low number of calories (many of which your body can’t even absorb anyway). Additionally, fiber requires your body to burn a lot of calories simply trying to digest it. High protein and high fat foods also have this thermogenic effect and turn on the “I’m full” switch in your brain, but they are far higher in calories and do not digest as cleanly and efficiently.
On the other end of the spectrum is the “bad” carbs. These foods are nothing like what they once were naturally, when they were growing in the earth. To emphasize sweetness and soft texture, these foods have been highly modified, processed and refined, striped of their natural fiber and most other nutritious components. These are your “white” foods, such as refined sugar and sweeteners, white bread and baked goods, white rice, most commercial cereals, etc. The result is a nutritionally unbalanced food that causes your blood sugar to wildly fluctuate, triggering a hormone called insulin to flood in and store most of these carbs as fat in your body. These foods are empty calories with little nutritional value.
Carbohydrates – Friend or Foe for Effective Weight Loss for Women?
So are carbs the enemy when it comes to women’s weight loss? Yes. And no. Foods that have had their natural fiber and nutrients processed away can lead to weight gain and illness, and should be reduced in your diet when trying to lose weight.
Foods that are high in fiber and nutrient-rich carbohydrates, on the other hand, are exactly what the doctor ordered when it comes to women’s weight loss. These foods help you shed pounds, avoid disease, keep energized, and feel satisfied. For effective weight loss, women should allot 40 – 50 percent of their daily calories for healthy, fiber-filled carbohydrate choices.