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Best Carb Foods for Your Diet

Carbohydrates are often categorized as simple carbs and complex carbs. If your diet is high in the former this can result in a cycle of short bursts of energy followed by “sugar crashes” which is when you suffer from cravings, mood swings and that lethargic feeling. Simple carbs include sucrose (table sugar), glucose, fructose (fruit sugar), and lactose (dairy sugar).

Examples of complex carbs on the other hand include bread, pasta, rice and vegetables. These are digested much slower than simple carbs and therefore offer a more steady release of energy. If your goal is weight loss, then all carbs should be reduced but more so simple carbs as a result of their impact on your blood sugar levels.

However, fibrous carbs such as green vegetables are one of the best carb foods you can eat for several reasons and you should endeavor to eat lots of these carbs. They are very low in calories, and in some cases even contain “negative calories”, which means that they contain so few calories that your body actually uses more calories to digest and process these foods.

An even more important distinction to make when choosing the best carb foods to help you lose weight is whether it is natural or refined. Natural carbs can be simple carbs such as fructose which is what is in fruits, or complex carbs which include starches such as potatoes and fibrous vegetables. Refined carbs on the other hand would include sucrose which is your average table sugar, and other refined sugars, or highly processed starchy carbs such as white bread and white rice.

Refined carbs are a terrible choice of food, and have little or no benefit to your body. Unfortunately, the typical western diet is shockingly high in refined carbs. What’s more, not only do these foods have many of the healthy nutrients sucked out of them, they are digested and processed by your body very quickly, like simple sugars are, which explains why you feel tired and lethargic after a typical Western lunch, especially when it’s washed down with a high-sugar beverage.

Another way to identify what the best carb foods to eat are is by referring to the GI, or glycemic index, values. The glycemic index shows the effect certain foods have on your blood sugar level. The lower the GI value, the less effect it has on your blood sugar level, and the steadier the release of energy will be. Red lentils, for example, have a very low GI value, while white rice has a very high GI value.

Ideally, when choosing the best carb foods to help you lose weight, you want to focus on natural complex carbs, especially fibrous vegetables, with a moderate amount of natural simple carbs, such as fruits and dairy products. As explained, avoid highly processed and refined carbs, especially sugars, and where possible, stick to low and medium GI foods.

Something you should keep in mind is that consuming refined carbs and sugars are extremely detrimental to your health, except when necessary, and have very high GI values, and the fact is most of us have far too much of them in our diet. When combined with unhealthy fats especially, these result in immediate fat gain. Examples of such foods include pastries, fried foods, and ice cream.

My advice is to avoid all high-sugar foods (and that means a lot of “low fat” foods contrary to what you may think at first), especially if they contain unhealthy fats, and high-sugar beverages such as soft drinks, sodas and alcoholic drinks. The best carb foods will always contain little or no sugar and very little fat content.