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How to Reduce Carbs for Weight Loss

By Lisa Atkinson

There have been numerous research studies and success stories about cutting carbs to lose weight, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. One lingering question is whether it's better to all carbs out of a diet or whether to substitute “bad” carbs for “good” ones. Carbohydrates are an important part of your diet. They provide the fuel the body needs to feed your cells to keep you moving and functioning properly. Therefore, you cannot cut all carbs out of your diet, but you can reduce the carbs that you eat and make conscious decisions to eat healthier, “good” carbs, which can lead to weight loss.

Use a food diary to keep track of the types of foods that you are eating. Categorize the foods as carbs (sugars, breads, grains, fruits and vegetables), proteins (meat, fish, poultry, dairy or nuts) or fats.

Categorize the carbs as simple or complex. Simple carbs are sugary sweets, white breads, pasta or rice, or anything with high amounts of high fructose corn syrup. Complex carbs are fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, pasta, cereal and brown rice.

Substitute complex carbs for simple carbs wherever you can. According to the USDA Healthy Eating Pyramid, you should eat more whole grains, which take longer to digest and help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Complex carbs are often higher in fiber and provide you will more quantity of food for the same amount of calories as simple carbs. That means you can eat more for fewer calories, which will help you lose weight.

Add more protein and healthy fats into your diet, instead of carbs. Instead of eating chips for a snack, consider cheese on whole grain crackers. It will make you feel full for longer and reduce your overall calories.

Limit eating sugary, simple carbs to once or twice a week. Trying to cut these foods out of your diet completely will usually fail and cause you to binge eat on these foods. Instead, find a healthier alternative and allow yourself a treat a few times a week as a reward for a new way of eating. Also, incorporate any simple carbs into a meal that is loaded with fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats. This will cause you to eat fewer of the simple carbs because you will fill up on the healthier foods.

Warnings

The long-term effects of eating very low to no-carb diets is unknown. However, studies of the most popular diets have shown that participants find it difficult to stick to these types of diets in the long term. A healthier solution is to substitute the grains and pastas for fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

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