In many diet and workout plans, we’ve been historically taught that carbs should be avoided like the plague.
Simple carbs, starchy carbs, and fibrous carbs – they all get the same bad rep, but are they really all bad?
The truth is that many people can consume carbs and still lose weight.
Let’s explore this further, so you know which carbs are better than others, and which ones should be eliminated from your diet.
Web MD defines carbohydrates as “a source of energy; they are mainly sugars and starches that the body breaks down into glucose that the body uses to feed its cells.”
There are three types of carbohydrates. Simple, starchy, and fibrous. What’s the difference between them?
Also called sugar carbohydrates, these are the “bad carbs.” They are found in processed and refined sugars.
These carbs make our favorite sodas, syrups, and packaged foods and candies (think doughnuts, M&Ms and Snickers, pies, cakes, etc.) taste so good.
They are broken down quickly by the body to be used as energy. Because they are a “fast-burn” energy source, it’s why you get that sugar high, and then the sugar crash that follows.
The problem is that they provide empty calories with little to no nutritional value. They lack fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and can lead to weight gain.
To make matters worse, they are highly addictive in nature, which is why if you go a while without them you get those sugar “cravings.”
These are a type of complex carb. They can be found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Like simple carbs, these still break down into glucose in the body (which is used for fuel).
Starchy carbs do take longer to digest, and the release of energy is slower making a sugar high and subsequent crash less likely. However, they still aren’t the best type of carbs you should be consuming.
These are the magic carbs that can really help you with your weight loss goals. These carbs, the other type of complex carbs, do not break down and actually slow down the overall digestion and absorption of food.
As the American Diabetes Association (ADA) puts it, “Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. When you consume dietary fiber, most of it passes through the intestines and is not digested.”
If you are intermittent fasting, trying to control your insulin levels, or want to lower your LDL cholesterol, you want more fibrous carbs in your diet.
They keep you full and keep your bowel movements regular. Essentially fibrous carbs give your body a weight loss boost.
However, if you are insulin resistant or diabetic, you may still need to cut your carb intake significantly to lose weight.
How to Get More Fibrous Carbs In Your Diet
The ADA says, “For good health, adults need to try to eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Most Americans do not consume nearly enough fiber in their diet, so while it is wise to aim for this goal, any increase in fiber in your diet can be beneficial.”
The question is, how can you get more fibrous carbs in your diet? Here are a few ideas that may help:
Add a side of beans or legumes to your meals – Lentils, white beans, pintos, kidney beans, black beans, and chickpeas (garbanzos)
Enjoy roasted chickpeas as a snack – Use a recipe like the one found on Love and Lemons, and combine a can of chickpeas, olive oil, and your favorite seasonings for a crispy snack without the guilt.
Swap your white pasta in your favorite Italian dishes: Whole wheat pasta is much better for you.
* People with gluten-sensitivity or allergies may want to swap their white pasta for Brown Rice Pasta.
Add some nuts to your favorite salad: A few almonds or walnuts can take your salad to the next level of gourmet.
Grab some berries and add them to your morning oatmeal: The ADA states that fruits with edible seeds are a great choice for fibrous carbs.
Roast cruciferous vegetables as a side dish: Think broccoli or brussels sprouts. Add a little olive oil, sea salt, and pepper and you’ve got a flavorful side that is a breeze to make.
Note: To avoid stomach irritation, the ADA recommends increasing your fiber intake gradually as you build your way up to the 30 grams of daily fiber. They also recommend increasing your water intake to avoid constipation, and drinking more water is always a good idea.
Fibrous Carbs Are Great For All-Day Energy
Your body needs energy, and choosing the right type of carbs as part of a whole-food diet can give it to you without killing your weight loss efforts.
The key is that you should never overdo it in the carbs department, and ideally you should stay away from simple carbs and high-starch vegetables that are low in fiber.
Our best advice is to be more mindful of the foods you’re consuming.
We often encourage our readers who have lots of weight to lose or are having trouble losing weight to fully detox from all carbs for a period of time.
In other words, you may need to reset your system to heal your metabolism and kick in weight loss.
But one thing is for certain, once you start paying attention to what you are eating, including the types of carbs on your plate, and the impact it’s having on your body, that’s when you’ll notice real changes in how you look and feel.
When You Really Want To Drop Weight Quickly
While fibrous carbs can definitely help you lose weight, you can achieve faster weight loss by seriously reducing the amount of carbs you eat.
Not sure where to start?
Reducing carbs (and making sure to eat the right carbs when you do eat them!) is just one of the simple, effective tools we use in our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge to help you lose up to 21 lbs in just 21 days!
You won’t have to worry about counting calories or tracking macros.
The 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge provides a step-by-step plan for eating your way to weight loss, with far less effort than you may think!
If you have more than 21 pounds to lose, our challenge was designed to be repeated as many times as you want in order to reach your goal weight.
Plus, our methods get your body, mindset and digestive system in balance so you actually keep the weight off!
The best part?
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