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The Skinny on Carbs

The guide to eating carbs & meeting your goals:

Carbs only lead to weight gain & elevated triglycerides when eaten in excess.

Quick review on calories and metabolism: Your body burns calories at rest. This is called BMR (basal metabolic rate). This can range from 1200-2000. These are the calories burned doing absolutely NOTHING. Then we have additional calories burned through exercise, digestion of food, and NEAT (non-exercise induced thermogenesis) like doing laundry or fidgeting throughout the day. So if you are consuming carbs in excess of this, it will then lead to weight gain.

When you eliminate carbs, you can lose weight. Great, right? Here's the issue: most of my clients skipping carbs completely end up craving them later at night and then binge (either that day or days later).

Here's why we need complex carbs:

  • Energy so our organs can function (heart, liver, kidneys, etc)

  • Endurance and sustained athletic performance

  • Brain function

  • Immune & gut health

  • Increase serotonin production "happy chemical"

Types of carbs:

  1. Refined carbohydrates - these are grains that are stripped of their outer two layers causing them to lack fiber, b vitamins, phytonutrients - Examples: white bread, white pasta, white bagels, white rice, pastries, cakes, cookies, candy etc.

  2. Whole grains - have the outer two layers intact and provide nutrient boost of:

- Fiber -feeds the good bacteria in your gut & indirectly boosting immune health

- B-vitamins needed for proper energy metabolism

- phytonutrients - which help to reduce inflammation and reduce risk of certain cancers

Examples: whole grain flours, whole grain breads, farro, oats, barley, freekeh, wheat berries

Gluten free containing grains --> teff, millet, quinoa, certified rolled or steel cut oats, amaranth, brown or wild rice

What to look for: when reading an ingredient label on a package the 1st word should be whole grain or whole wheat, or water. Scan the fiber content - ensure the carbs you incorporate have at least 3g of fiber or more.

3. Be aware that other types of foods also contain carbs --> Dairy products like milk and yogurt, fruit, and some veggies contain higher amounts of carbs.

If you’re the type of person that is dreaming of the day when you’re “allowed” to eat carbs again, never eliminate them

You're allowed to eat what you crave but know your portions:

Lefts👉 2 mini whole grain bagels - 2 ounce cheese - 1 full sausage .

Right 👉 1 mini bagel whole grain bagel- 2 eggplants - 1 oz cheese - 2/3s sausage

Calorie difference between the two is 290, the daily cal deficit needed to lose 1/2 lb per week


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Registered Dietitian & Sports Nutritionist
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