If you are anything like me, you are trying to drop some pounds. And while I do my best to cut calories, it can be incredible difficult and time consuming, and even borderline neurotic to sit there and write down the caloric value of everything I am putting into my mouth. I also know that my love for carbs is also somewhat sabotaging my weight loss.
I mean, I really didn’t need those three pieces of cornbread at Sunday's dinner. So what's a girl to do?
A recent study suggests that the key to dropping the pounds may be cutting back on the carbs a couple days a week and focusing less on the calories. Researchers from the U.K. studied women who had cut out carbohydrate dense food such as pasta, rice and bread for two days a week all while eating their regular everyday diet, on average lost nine pounds more than the women who were eating a 1,500 calorie Mediterranean diet. Those women only lost five pounds in the same period.
The reasoning behind this study was to find a diet that women who were obese and overweight could follow in terms to reduce their risk of breast cancer — higher Body Mass Indexes are believed to play a factor in developing breast cancer and blood sugar levels which carbs can elevate. (All three issues are disproportionately impact African-American women).
But this study gets a little shady as you read the fine print.
On the days where the group of women who were not eating carbs and were on a restricted diet, they were only consuming 650 calories, which is less than half the recommended calories one should have when dieting. Um, this sounds like an eating disorder more than it does a sustainable lifestyle.
But this doesn't mean that watching your carb intake is a waste of time. Even though we need carbs for fuel and to help our organs function, there is such a thing about being careful about our carbs.
Choose the best sources of carbohydrates — whole grains (the less processed, the better), vegetables, fruits and beans — since they promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber and a host of important phytonutrients. Skip the easily digested refined carbohydrates from refined grains — white bread, white rice, and the like — as well as pastries, sugared sodas and other highly processed foods, since these may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss and promote diabetes and heart disease.
So the key is less processed carbs and more real foods. And yes, you still need to count your calories.
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