Is it too late to shed those extra pounds before the beach season? No, it isn’t and yes you can enjoy a healthy, weight-watching diet and continue eating those carbohydrates, free from those dull, colorless regimes which leave you feeling hungry.
According to Dr. Chris Iliades* you can diet and eat carbs, indeed you must because “carbohydrates are all about energy”. The question is, to eat the “good” carbs and not the bad. The report by Dr. Iliades reviews Dietary Guidelines for Americans and a study made by Dr. Donna Logan, dietician at the University of Texas Medical School, Houston.
The works reveal that the human body needs to break down foods such as fruits, vegetables, breads, pasta and dairy products to make glucose, the main source of energy. This can be burned for immediate use or can be stored as fat. A mistake many people make in dieting is to cut out carbohydrates completely, leading to a loss of energy and general malaise.
Rapid weight loss occurs, as the stored carbohydrates are burnt off and water weight decreases. However, after a short time, that weight loss slows, leading to demotivation and desperation, and when the diet collapses and carbs are consumed again, the result is worse than before the regime was started; the carbohydrate stores are quickly replenished and weight is put back on again.
With from 45 to 65 per cent of a normal person’s calories coming from carbohydrates, it is necessary to get the balance right. The secret is, according to the report, to eat slow-burning foods such as cereals, vegetables and fruits, which remain in the stomach longer, taking longer to break down. “Bad” carbs are described as “refined” ones which have been processed to remove grains and which have added sugar (such as white bread, cakes and biscuits/cookies).
To avoid, alongside these bad carbs, are foodstuffs with added sugar such as soda, sweets and snack foods. Low on sugar, high on fiber is the key. Finally, a diet must be enjoyable. “Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can add variety, color and flavor to meals,” states Donna Logan, who recommends brown rice, corn tortilla and whole-wheat foods.
Further tips include a breakfast made up of whole-grain cereals, lunch and dinner consisting of a meal served on a medium-sized plate with half of it covered with vegetables or salad and the other half, by a quarter each of protein and the carbohydrates mentioned above. Between meals, snacking on cut-up raw vegetables and fruit and substituting meat by secondary proteins such as beans and lentils are other great tips on keeping hunger at bay, losing pounds and keeping them off and fundamentally, enjoying your food.
*Source: Why carbohydrates are important for your diet
Translated from the Portuguese version
By Fátima CHANTRE