What Are Carbs?
The word makes dieters shudder, and entire diet plans are devoted to cutting them out entirely.
Although carbohydrates make a reliable villain, you can safely add them to your weight loss plan and still lose weight. A diet rich in complex carbs helps you feel fuller, improves digestion and has excellent nutritional value.
How Much Carbohydrates Should We Consume Daily
A balanced weight loss plan includes a reasonable amount of complex carbs. The new food pyramid allows 6-11 servings of carbohydrates. Each serving is a half a cup of food. It’s up to the individual to decide how much carbohydrates can be consumed for weight loss.
Low Calorie Carbs
Here is a listing of several types of low- and moderate-calorie carbs that can be consumed safely as part of a weight loss diet plan:
Whether canned, dried or in soups, beans are tasty and nutritious, high in both fiber and protein. You can substitute beans and rice for meat as an economical and fat free whole protein source. Canned red kidney beans is an inexpensive and convenient food to keep in the pantry for fast and easy chili, bean salad, or sprinkle these multi-use beans over cold greens. Soak dried beans for several hours for faster cooking.
Do you love thick soups, but watching your waistline? Barley to the rescue. Barley is a delicious a cold weather food that keeps blood sugar 20 to 30 percent lower than other grains. There are several types:
- Pearl barley
- Hulled barley
- Rolled barley
They’re all low calorie and nutritious. Barley has the additional benefit of lowering blood fats and making you feel full.The secret to delicious soup is to simmer barley over the stove for an hour or more to break down the grain and thicken the soup.
Whole Wheat Bread
Multigrain and whole wheat breads have fewer calories and more nutrition than breads made from white flour. Rolls, pitas and even raw pizza crusts are made from whole wheat flour. Always choose whole wheat over white if given the choice. Wheat breads have a slightly richer taste than white, and smell divine browning in the toaster.
Whole Grain Cereals
High fiber cereals used to look and taste like litter box spread, but this has changed. Cereal companies have improved the formulations by combining whole grains with nuts and dried fruit. Beware of the added sugar in many of the store bought blends, and read the labels.
Oatmeal is a cheap whole grain cereal that is known to lower cholesterol due to its fiber content. It is low in calories, fat free and one of the cheapest foods you can buy. Oatmeal in bulk form, unflavored, is the most economical and nutritious. Commercial blends in small pouches are expensive and high in sugar. It’s easy to add your own flavorings to this versatile food, so don’t be taken in by the hype.
Rice is technically a member of the grass family, and a whole, natural grain before it’s processed. Brown rice has similar calories to white, but more nutrition and fiber. Once the brown hull is removed, only the starchy endosperm remain, so you receive more carbohydrates per grain consuming white instead of brown rice. Brown rice is high in vitamin B1, B3 iron and other nutrients that are missing from unenriched white rice.
In Asia, brown rice is called “rough rice,” and associated with poverty and food shortages. But it’s far friendlier than white rice to the dieter.
Bread And Muscles
Arnold once linked white bread with white death and since then bodybuilders have felt a love-hate relationship with this fundamental element. The growing popularity of low-carbohydrate diets has relegated bread to the rear. But is it really necessary to avoid it?
The basic function of bread is as a source of carbohydrates for fuel. The mass of the other nutrients should be taken from fruits, vegetables, defatted dairy products, poultry and lean meat.
Even whole wheat bread, though more nutritious than white bread, is not a powerful nutrient.
How much bread should an athlete eat?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends 6 to 11 daily servings of bread and cereals. The last figure corresponds to the 2800 calorie diet of an active man.
But be careful what you put in the bread. If you want to lose weight, avoid butter before bread.
The negative side of bread
Dark breads provide more nutrients. The ideal sports diet should contain more whole grains than retinates. Refining removes fiber and nutrients, and fortifying only replaces four of the lost vitamins plus iron.
Pay attention to the term “100% whole wheat”, as some breads may add some whole wheat, bran or oats, which means little in terms of good nutrition. However, every slice of bread eaten doesn’t have to be whole wheat. Even if you add some white bread, you’re not taking poison.
You also need to look at the fiber. Look for breads that contain 2 or more grams of fiber per slice. There are many varieties of bread that contain even more.
Diet or light breads contain fewer calories and carbohydrates per slice. They are usually smaller, with more air or fibre added, and are not always recommended for the athlete as taking a few carbohydrates at breakfast or lunch can leave him weak and hungry and make him eat sweets in the afternoon.
Dense breads can have the opposite effect, providing more carbohydrates and calories than necessary. Special care must be taken with the base of pizzas because they can provide excess calories and carbohydrates not to mention excessive salt.
The Carbohydrate Lowering Experiment
With low-carbohydrate diets once again becoming fashionable, some bodybuilders want to give them away. I suggest athletes do an experiment. For a week, they should limit carbohydrates and see what happens. They will probably notice that they have less energy and train badly.
The next week, they should eat carbohydrates at every meal, a tuna snack instead of just tuna, for example, and see the benefits of carbohydrates.
You’ll feel better and do things better with carbohydrates. You can also weigh more because every gram of carbohydrate accumulated in the form of glycogen retains 3 grams of water. Some bodybuilders spend 2 or more hours a day in the gym.
When you train so much, you’re exercising at the endurance level, and getting enough carbohydrates is important to perform well. Bread is an easy, tasty, and inexpensive way to accomplish those goals.