Often there is a negative association with eating carbohydrates when trying to lose weight. Many people think they need to remove high carbohydrate foods to achieve their weight loss goals. Carbohydrates encompass a wide variety of nutritious foods including wholegrains, dried beans, peas and lentils, starchy vegetables, fruit and dairy foods, and the less nutritious, more refined carbohydrates such as sugary foods. The good news is, you can continue to eat carbohydrate-containing foods and still lose weight – it’s all about considering the type of carbohydrate and the portion size.
Why are carbohydrates important?
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy and are essential for a well-balanced healthy diet. When a carbohydrate rich food is eaten, it is digested and mainly broken down to glucose, a simple sugar. Glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream, and with the help of insulin, it is then utilised by our brain, muscles, nervous system and all other organs as energy. If you choose to follow a low carbohydrate diet , you may experience some undesired side effects, such as:
- Loss of appetite
How do carbs fit into a healthy diet?
When thinking about how much carbohydrate you should be eating for weight loss, the real question is what amount is sustainable in the long term? Weight loss interventions need to be sustainable for successful weight management. Low carbohydrate diets are often popular for weight loss, however they come with a word of caution, they are usually higher in protein or fat, which can have negative effects on your kidneys and heart, and studies have shown that the short term weight loss achieved was not sustained 12 months later. Instead, reducing your portion size of carbohydrates and consuming a variety of nutritious carbohydrate rich foods can positively lead to long term weight loss.
National dietary guidelines formulated by the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) and the Ministry of Health (New Zealand) recommend 45-60% of daily energy intake come from carbohydrates. Here at Jenny Craig, our menus are designed by Dietitians in accordance with these guidelines. Our menus show you how to include carbohydrates in a healthy, balanced diet and provide suitable portion sizes to assist with your weight loss and maintaining your weight in the long term.
What carbs do you need to eat for weight loss?
The key to including carbohydrates as part of your weight management plan is to choose a wide variety. Think breakfast cereals which include oats, bran, muesli-type ingredients, include wholegrain breads and crackers. Include pasta, quinoa, long grain rice, couscous, legumes and pumpkin in your main meals. Don’t forget about snacks too, include a variety of reduced fat dairy foods, such as milk and yoghurt, and fresh fruit each day too. Once you have achieved your weight loss goals, our Coaches are here to help teach you how to include carbohydrate foods into your diet for long term weight loss success.
So, there’s no reason to avoid carbohydrates when you are trying to lose weight. Aim to incorporate a healthy portion of nutritious grains, legumes/beans, starchy vegetables, fruit and dairy in your diet. Join Jenny Craig today to kickstart your weight loss goals and learn how to include carbohydrates into a balanced diet.