As a nation, we are addicted to carbohydrates. Think about many of the most popular foods and you’ll realize that it’s true. Of course, there are the obvious snack foods such as chips, crackers, and cookies. Then, you have the deserts like cookies (again), cakes and pies, all loaded with carbs. Last, it is the side dishes, like mashed potatoes, French fries and bread. High carbs , all. Most people can pick these usual suspects out of a lineup without a problem.
Where the problem comes in is other foods that aren’t typically though of as high carbohydrate fare, yet is packed with carbohydrates. Anything that is breaded will deliver you a nice bolus of carbs, because breading is almost always made of white flour. In many cases, the breading on things such as battered shrimp accounts for a large percentage of the calories. People tend to not realize this, and concentrate on the fat that deep fried foods add to their diet. Unfortunately, many of these foods are a carb lover’s dream as well.
Other foods loaded with carbohydrates include such things typically thought of as part of a health diet, such as bagels. Bagels come in a stunning variety of different types, and some are far more healthy than others. Although they are all loaded with carbs, the ones made with predominantly white flour are the ones that you should avoid like smoking at the gas station.
Before I go any further, it would be a great idea to differentiate between “good” carbs and “bad” carbs. Now, the term good and bad isn’t an absolute, but rather meant to indicate which carbs are more predisposed to pack the fat around your thighs and midsection. Your body needs carbs. They power your brain, among other things, so simply cutting all the carbs out of your diet is probably not the best solution long term. Like many other things, it is mostly about being selective.
In a word, it mostly comes down to glycemic index. You’ve probably heard this before, especially if you’ve spent any time on this blog, but glycemic index is a measure of how fast a carbohydrate raises your blood sugar levels. While two servings of different foods can have the same amount of carbohydrates, it is the speed at which they get into your bloodstream that has a terrific impact on how much of the carbohydrate derived calories end up getting stored for later use by your body. Much to everyone’s chagrin, they tend to get stored primarily as fat. (Low glycemic index = slower carbohydrate absorbtion into the bloodstream)
Eating low carbohydrate diets is one sure way to cut out the high GI carbohydrates foods. Of course, you’ll eliminate the low glycemic index ones as well, but no strategy is perfect. That is one reason why eating a very low carb diet for a while is a great way to lose fat, but you don’t want to continue doing it for any length of time.
An Important Carbohydrate Consideration You Should Be Aware Of
There is another carb consideration you should make here, and that is the one between low absolute carbohydrate foods, and low carbohydrate load foods. A low carbohydrate load food on the other hand, may have get a relatively large percentage of it’s calories from carbohydrates, yet contribute a tiny amount to your overall carbohydrate intake.
Many vegetables are excellent examples of low carbohydrate load foods. Overall, they may be mostly carbohydrates, as opposed to fats and protien, yet they are so low in calories overall that they still only contribute a few grams of carbohydrate to your diet. In addition, the carbs that they do add are typically of the low glycemic index variety. These type of foods also give you many valuable nutrients, so are a highly important part of your diet, and should definitely be included, even if you are on a low carb diet.
Low Carbohydrate Food List
If you are embarking on a diet to lose fat, and using the low carb method to do so, here is a list of low carbohydrate foods you can choose form that will fit the bill, while tasting great.
|Roast Turkey, Light, 3oz||125||0||25||3|
|Lean Top Sirlion Steak, Broiled, 5oz||300||0||44||12|
|Pork Chop, Lean||165||0||23||8|
|Salmon, Baked, 3oz||140||0||21||5|
|Tuna, chunk light, canned, 3oz||135||0||30||1|
|Mozzerella Cheese, part skim, 1oz||80||1||8||5|
|Parmesan Cheese, 1oz||130||1||12||9|
|Cheddar Cheese, 1oz||110||0||7||9|
|Large Egg, 1ea||75||1||6||5|
|Peanut Butter, Natural, Unsweetened, 1oz||180||5||6||14|
|** Cauliflower, raw, 3oz||20||3||2||0|
|**Sweet Red or Green Pepper, raw, 3oz||20||4||1||0|
|Cottage Cheese, 4oz||120||3||13||4|
|**Tomato, raw, 5oz||25||5||1||0|
|**Mushrooms, raw, 3oz||20||3||1||0|
|**Spinach, raw, 2oz||10||2||2||0|
** Low Glycemic Load Foods
If you are going to be on a low carbohydrate diet, use this list of low carb foods for some inspiration. You can eat low carb without having to sacrifice taste. Remember that seasoning has no calories or carbs, so use it! Remember too that it is the overall number of calories you eat that ultimately determines how much weight you gain or lose (hopefully lose!), so don’t go all low carb crazy and think that you can still eat everything under the sun, 24 hours a day, and still lose that fat.
Speaking of eating 24 hours a day, a very important fat loss tip is to skew your carbohydrate intake toward the beginning of the day. Try to avoid carbs later in the day. The exception to this is if you are on a high intensity weight training program, having a protein / carb drink before bed can deliver your muscles the nutrients they need to grow.
So, cut those carbs, especially the high glycemic variety, it is one of the most powerful fat loss strategies you can use. Let me know how it works.
Until next time, lose your belly fat!