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When talking about weight, everyone has an ideal number they either want to attain or maintain. Whatever you’re going through, gaining weight can be an issue, especially if you are more prone to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and more.
One solution you might think of to stop gaining too much weight is by reducing your consumption of foods rich in carbohydrates. However, neither that nutrient nor fats alone are responsible for why plenty of individuals are gaining a couple of kilograms, according to Hayden James, a registered dietitian and diabetes care and education specialist (DCES) with Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. The main culprit lies in your daily calorie intake.
Generally speaking, you will most likely gain weight if your caloric intake is higher than the amount you lose every day. Therefore, consuming less high-calorie foods and exercising regularly are essential if you want to shed some of your excess fat.
In this article, learn more about the different types of carbs and which one among them is healthier. Furthermore, you will know some examples of foods that are rich in carbohydrates.
Difference Between Simple & Complex Carbs
Before you dismiss the idea that carbohydrates are not responsible for your weight gain, it is important to know its two different types and what benefits or downsides do they have when you eat them.
First off, when you hear the term “simple carbs”, you can expect food items, such as the following, to fall under this category:
• Sugary drinks
• Table sugar
• Fruit juice concentrate
Generally speaking, the carbs you get from processed or refined food products will have this type. However, you can also get them from fruits and milk.
According to Alicia Galvin, RD, a resident dietitian for Sovereign Laboratories in Dallas, simple carbs are easily absorbed by the body through the gut, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. When this process occurs, it can suppress fat burning. So the next time you eat some candies or drink your favourite soft drinks, keep in mind that your body weight might be a bit higher the next time you stand on a scale, especially if you consume them every day.
On the other hand, complex carbs contain fibre, a type of carbohydrate your body doesn’t digest or absorb. Galvin says that consuming foods rich in this nutrient feeds good gut bacteria and slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, ultimately preventing a spike in your blood sugar. This benefit allows you to have a constant and steady supply of energy.
However, while it may seem that simple carbs are something you should avoid, keep in mind that not all of its sources are bad for you. For example, fruits and dairy products have them but their benefits are way different than those such as candies and cookies. Determining whether carbohydrates are bad for you will depend on the type of food.
Which Foods are Rich in Complex Carbs?
1. Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, strawberries, apples, and more are excellent sources of complex carbs. Moreover, they also contain plenty of essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs, such as potassium, dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, and more.
A diet rich in these nutrients can lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease, prevent cancer, and may even promote weight loss, which is great for people who want to shed a couple of pounds.
2. Brown & Jasmine Rice
Unlike their white counterpart, brown and Jasmine rice are considered the healthier option as they contain the germ, bran, and endosperm of the grain, giving them a higher fibre content. This nutrient is great for satiety and weight maintenance, not to mention the vitamins and minerals it contains, such as iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins.
3. Sweet potatoes
Adding some sweet potatoes to your meals every day can help you maintain your weight. Besides being another source of fibre, eating them also increases hormones like cholecystokinin that actually helps make you feel full, according to Ryan Maciel R.D., C.S.C.S., a dietitian based in Cambridge.
4. Red potatoes
However, if you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes, going for red potatoes can also be an effective and filling food to add to your meals. They’re full of fibre that comes with less calories. But if you’re going to add toppings like sour cream or butter, you might want to consider other healthier options, such as mustard, salsa, red pepper flakes, and more.
Another high-fibre food you can add to the list is chickpeas. These legumes, according to Dietitian Patricia Bridget Lane, promote satiety which prevents you from overeating. They are perfect for people who are looking to reduce or maintain their weight.
Aside from its high fibre content and low calories, quinoa is also high in protein, at eight grams per cup. Adding this food to your diet is perfect if you are going on a meatless diet like vegetarianism, according to Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
7. Spaghetti squash
Lastly, spaghetti squash is a low-calorie food that is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, betacarotene, antioxidants, and more. According to Registered Dietitian Beth Czerwony, RD., one cup of this squash is only about forty calories and is capable of making you full.
A Long Life Involves Plenty of Carbs
Having a long life is great, especially if you want to see your kids and grandchildren grow older. While the reasons behind why some individuals live past 100, eating plenty of foods rich in complex carbs could possibly be one of the essential keys to achieving that goal. Similar to how the people in Okinawa, Japan, and Ikaria, Greece, you can expect to still feel alive and well even after you reach your sixties.
However, keep in mind to practise control over how much you eat every day. Stick to your recommended daily intake and you can expect to have a long and healthy life.
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