To carb or not to carb? That’s not quite the right question to ask when you’ve set a goal to lose weight and reclaim your health. The better question is, which carbs are on the no-no list? Learn which carbs pack on pounds, so that you can make healthier choices about the foods you consume.
Not all carbs are bad. In fact, good carbohydrates are full of nutrients, and they release energy slowly, maintaining stable blood sugar, so that you reduce the spikes and dips that affect hunger and mood. Good carbs include foods like whole grains, beans, and whole wheat pastas. On the other hand, bad carbohydrates offer no nutritional value; they’re simply empty calories. Here’s a list of common carbs to avoid:
1. Refined Sugar
These sugars are often added to processed foods to make them taste better, and make you want to eat more. Refined sugar goes by many names, including white sugar, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Learn more Names for Sugar so you can look for it on nutrition labels, and get that sweet tooth under control with 6 Ways to Cut Back on Refined Sugar Today.
2. Fruit Juice (commercially made)
Manufactured fruit juice is a hidden source of bad carbs. On the surface, fruit juice seems like a smart choice; after all, naturally-occurring sugars are considered healthy, right? It’s true that carbs from fruit offer nutrition, like antioxidants, not found in refined sugar. The problem is that fruit juice makers often add refined sugar (or artificial sweetener) to their mixes to make the products taste sweeter.
Homemade or non-sweetened juices are a healthier choice because they offer much of a fruit’s nutrition without the carbs that pack on pounds. Check out 15 Juice Combinations to Cleanse & Detox and Juicing for Radiant Skin.
3. White Bread
This kitchen staple is made from flour that’s been processed to make it sweeter and easier to digest. However, the processing strips white bread of all grain’s natural, healthy ingredients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Researchers found that people on a low-calorie diet that incorporated whole grains lost more belly fat than those eating refined grains, like white bread .
Your weight will benefit from avoiding these carbs that pack on pounds. Switch to whole grain bread and bread products, like this recipe for Healthy Homemade Bread Crumbs.
A 12-ounce can of pop floods the body with 9-12 teaspoons of sugar, causing insulin spikes that lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes. Learn more in Soda’s Side Effects: More Reasons to Cut Soda Out.
Artificially-sweetened soft drinks are no better either—what you save in calories, you pay for in cravings for sweet foods. Research suggests the artificial ingredients actually trigger cravings for sweet foods and contribute to weight gain. Check out 4 Healthy Alternatives to Diet Soda, and then take our 30-Day No Soda Challenge.
5. Desserts and Pastries
Packaged, store-bought, and homemade desserts and pastries are notoriously low on nutrition and high in calories, often because they incorporate the bad carb duo of refined sugar and white flour. But beware; even a choice that seems healthy, like a whole-grain muffin, might be loaded with refined sugar.
Don’t despair! You can still indulge a sweet tooth by choosing whole-grain, naturally-sweetened or no-added-sugar recipes. Dig into 17 Guilt-Free Dessert Recipes or No Sugar Added Skinny Desserts.
Is it time for a lifestyle reboot? Check out SkinnyMs. Clean Overhaul 30-Day Weight Loss Program ebook.