Almost all of us want to try to slim down every once in awhile, but often finding the right balance to shed a few pounds can be difficult. One way that you can shed those extra pounds is by cutting your daily intake of carbohydrates.
1. Understand how carbohydrates work.
Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients in the human diet, with fat and protein being the other two. Carbohydrates are essential to a number of functions in the body, including growth and your body’s metabolism. Carbohydrates are most often found in starchy foods such as breads, pastas and rice, but they can also be found in fruits and vegetables as well.
2. Know the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates.
You may have noticed these labels on some of the food you buy, but what do they really mean? Simple carbohydrates are made from refined grains. During the refining process, much of what makes them good for you is simply stripped away. You can often find these in your white breads or any heavily processed foods. Studies have shown that eating too much of these types of carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and other health problems such as diabetes and even cardiovascular conditions.
Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, have not been through the refining process. This means that they retain much of the fiber and other nutrients that your body really needs. These are commonly found in whole grains. Studies have shown that eating a low carb diet that is rich in complex carbohydrates will help you lose weight and improve your health.
If you want to follow a low carb diet, you should eliminate as many of the simple carbohydrates as you can from your diet while at the same time including more complex carbohydrates in your diet.
3. Find out if a low carb diet is right for you.
Low carb diets were all the rage several years ago, with many people choosing to eat more protein and eliminating carbohydrates almost completely from their diets. But is this right for you? The answer depends largely on your lifestyle
You see, your body takes the carbohydrates you ingest and turns them into glucose, otherwise known as sugar. It takes this sugar and then uses it as fuel to provide you with the energy you need each day. If you are active, enough all this fuel will be burned and you won’t store any for later. However, if you are not, your body takes this sugar and stores it as fat in your body causing you to gain weight. Reducing your intake of carbohydrates based on your activity level is the perfect way to keep your weight in check while also making sure your body still gets the fuel it needs every day.
4. Don’t eliminate carbohydrates all-together.
Carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates, provides several things that your body needs every day. These include starch, which is an easily-converted form of energy for your body; fiber, which aids in the digestion process; and other vitamins and minerals you need each day in order to maintain proper health.
What this means is you shouldn’t try to completely eliminate all carbohydrates from your diet. If you do, you will be denying your body many of the nutrients that it needs in order to maintain proper health. Just be sure when you do eat carbs that you choose whole grains and other sources of complex carbohydrates so you get the proper nutrition you need and not just the wasted calories and sugar that are found in simple carbohydrates.
5. Avoid these foods.
When planning your low carb diet, most diets recommend limiting your carb intake to 50 to 150 grams per day. There are many foods that are loaded with simple carbohydrates that you should avoid if you are trying to eat a low carb diet. A few examples of foods you should avoid are:
- White bread
- White rice
- Pizza crust
- Hot dog and hamburger buns
6. Eat these foods.
Even if you are choosing a low carb diet, there are many foods that are perfectly okay for you to eat that are rich in complex carbohydrates. These include:
- Whole Wheat Bread
- Brown rice
- Oats and other whole grains