Why You Should Get Over Your Fear of Carbs

Why You Should Get Over Your Fear of Carbs

I’ll just share the good news now: it’s possible to regularly eat the fun kind of carbohydrates (a.k.a. pasta and pizza) without weight-gain. Hard to believe since the fear of bread products has become so embedded in our culture. Once eccentric carb-ditching tricks have become normal: asking the waiter to hold the bread basket, scooping out the insides of bagels, and forever ordering the fish over spaghetti. Nutritionist and author of Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads, Christine Avanti flips this Atkins paradigm. Here she explains the best way to eat carbs and why they are the essence of energy, metabolism, and fat-burning.

1.  Combine carbs with a protein. Combining a protein with a carb not only fills you up, but it lowers the overall glycemic index (the GI, a popular way to measure the speed that carbs enter the bloodstream in the form of glucose or blood sugar). According to David Ludwig, M.D. of Harvard Medical School, high GI meals are like newspaper in your fireplace, quick to flare up and burn out, while low GI meals are more like slow-burning logs. This one trick, if used consistently, can influence your weight loss plan more than any other eating tip.
Example: Pasta with a meaty tomato sauce
2.  Eat carbs more often!  While the conventional approach to dieting teaches you how to omit meals, the smarter approach is to make sure you do not miss meals. And it gets better. Eating a carb-protein meal 4 times per day rather than 3 helps keep blood sugar levels stabilized. This keeps the metabolism firing and energy levels high. Research has demonstrated that regulating blood sugar levels regulates hormonal secretions which results in optimal fat burning. Not only this, but carbs must be present in the system for the chemical process of fat-burning to work.
Note: For portion sizes and many more details, check out Christine’s book.
3.  Eat carbs at every meal.  Believe it or not, this is a healthier approach because you will stabilize blood sugar and prevent the urge to binge later. Skipping carbs at a meal almost always leads you to make up for it later; usually in the form of late-night cookies. This is because the brain needs the glucose from carbs for fuel and if it doesn’t get more within 4 or 5 hours, your body has no choice but to break down lean body tissues (like muscles) for fuel.
Example of what not to eat: salad with grilled chicken — too low on carbs! Much better to eat a grilled chicken burger with a side of fruit.
4.  Eat carbs late at night. Yes this is just as important as the rest of your meals. And go ahead and eat dinner even if it is late. Starving yourself or skipping meals slows the metabolism and let’s face it — it isn’t fun to starve! To keep the metabolism humming and the fat burning, eat a full meal including carbs even in the late evening. Just be sure to eat a healthy protein-carb combo and if it is really late, you might want to cut the meal in half.
5.  Don’t overdo it at one time. Your body isn’t a cash register. It doesn’t add up your total at the end of the day. It only cares how much you eat at a single meal. If you eat one entire large deep-dish pizza, your body converts the carb overload to fat storage. However if you only eat two light slices now and two slices for dinner 4 hours later, you won’t overload the bloodstream with glucose at one time, thus you will keep your fat-burning going. So, keep each meal a reasonable size and spread your carbs evenly over all the meals in the day.

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