If you choose the right ones, carbohydrates can help you banish belly fat, feel satiated, and score energy. After all, carbs are the body’s primary source of fuel. But when it comes to weight loss, not all carbs are created equal. Culprits, such as The 22 Worst Carbs in America, are proven to slow your metabolism down, plummet your energy levels in the long run, and digress you from scoring those hard-earned weight-loss wins.
In this exclusive video, David Zinczenko, creator of Eat This, Not That!, shares the bad-for-you carbs you must avoid if you’re looking to get lean and slash your risk of metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
What are ‘bad’ carbs?
When you fill your diet with simple and processed carbs such as white breads, white rice, sweeteners, and commercial pastas the body metabolizes them quickly and sends your blood sugar levels soaring, resulting in an energy crash. That’s because highly-processed carbs are all are void of satiating amounts of fiber. And that’s not all: An eye-opening study in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increasing your intake of refined carbs, and the lack of fiber that these stripped grains are associated with, can increase one’s risk of type 2 diabetes. That’s exactly why refined carbs are the type of starch that give carbs a bad rap!
So should you give up carbs altogether?
Of course not—your body require carbs for energy! Whether we consume fruits and legumes or Italian bread and pastries, your body uses up the food’s glucose to carry out essential life functions and help you power through your workout. When we deplete our diet of carbs, we are often overcome by lethargy and get bombarded with cravings.
Instead of depriving your body of its main source of energy, rid your kitchen of nutrient-void empty carbs and choose good-for-you carbs that are full of immunity-boosting antioxidants, minerals, and body-loving nutrients such as slimming protein and fiber.
“Fiber slows digestion, which wards off blood sugar spikes and hunger and helps maintain blood sugar control—all important keys to weight loss and management,” explains Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition, and New York City-based dietitian and fitness expert.
Eat This! Instead
Complementing your meals with complex carbs—including whole-grains such as quinoa, oats, bulgur, and kamut as well as legumes and starchy vegetables—will provide you with lasting energy because these foods are burned more slowly by the body.
How’s that? Besides for nourishing your body with essential phytochemicals and plant-based protein, whole-grains contain the entire grain kernel—which includes the bran, germ, and endosperm.
On the contrary, refined grains are stripped of their fiber- and nutrient-dense bran and germ in order to lend the grains a longer shelf life and an arguably more palatable texture. And that’s exactly why those ubiquitous loaves of white bread you spot in the supermarket are enriched! Manufacturers add the mood-boosting B vitamins and anemia-fighting iron that have been stripped in the milling process back into the grain product—but leave the belly-filling fiber out.
And while nutritious foods such as fruits and dairy products contain quick-burning simple sugars, these natural carbs aren’t refined and come packed with a slew of healthful nutrients you shouldn’t ignore. If you want a lean, toned tummy before swimsuit season arrives, balance your diet and fill your plate with these 25 Best Carbs That Will Uncover Your Abs.