The Best Carbs That Are Good for Weight Loss?

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I want to start off by saying something controversial: Sugar CAN be part of an effective weight loss diet.

It’s not the cause of all of our health problems.

Sugar isn’t even addictive according to recent research.

“We find little evidence to support sugar addiction in humans, and findings from the animal literature suggest that addiction-like behaviours, such as bingeing, occur only in the context of intermittent access to sugar.”

So sugar is not addictive, but surely it’s to blame for the obesity epidemic.

Not exactly.

Here are before & after photos of patients who followed a diet of white rice, fruit juices and up to a pound of sugar per day.

is sugar bad for you

This photo is from an analysis of 106 patients who lost at least 100 pounds following Walter Kempner’s Rice Diet.

According to the study, they wound up healthier too.

Concomitant with weight reduction, there were significant decrements in blood pressure; fasting and two-hour postprandial blood glucose, serum triglyceride, and serum uric acid levels, and heart-chest ratio as evidenced on chest x-ray film.

Do you know how much a pound of sugar is?

There is about one pound of sugar in 7 packs of Red Vines.

amount of sugar in Red Vines

I’m not saying you should go on a Red Vines diet.

The reason this high-sugar minimal fat diet worked so well is that when fats are kept at 10%, or below, on a high carb diet it’s nearly impossible to store body fat.

The body rarely converts carbs to fat.

It takes sustained overfeeding of carbs and your muscles to be full of glycogen before carbs get converted to fat (de novo lipogenesis).

Most of the fat you see on your body is from the fat you eat since both protein and carbs RARELY get converted to fat.

large bacon burger on table

Carbs can cause the FAT you eat to get stored as fat.

There are two ways to minimize this.

  1. Limit fats to 10% or less of your daily caloric intake.
  2. Limit carbs and eat a higher fat diet of 65% or more.

Here’s a chart which demonstrates this (inspired by a talk given by Denise Minger at the Icelandic Health Symposium).

carbs-vs-fat-for-weight-loss

Here’s what happens when you either eat the majority of your diet as fat (over 65%) or very little fat (less than 10%).

  • Over 65% Fat: Your body goes into ketosis and uses fat for fuel.
  • Under 10% Fat: Insulin sensitivity drastically improves and your carbohydrate metabolism becomes optimized.

I prefer eating a low-fat diet.

By limiting fat in your diet, you are drastically reducing your chances of storing body fat.

In fact, I have an entire course on how to do this:

High Carb Fat Loss

I co-authored this with an Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach who lives in Iceland.

iceklandic olympic coach high carb low fat

We both realize that high fat diets (65%+) are popular.

This Keto and low-carb approach can work.

We just believe that operating at the other end of the fat spectrum, around 10% or less, is a historically proven approach for staying healthy and lean.

The longest living populations, like Okinawa for instance, followed a low fat high carb diet.

Here are some societies that thrive with a carb-heavy diet and under 10% fat.

  • Traditional Okinawans: 6% calories as fat
  • Traditional Pima: 8-12% calories as fat
  • Highlanders of Papua New Guinea: 3% calories as fat
  • Traditional Thai: 9% calories as fat

All of these populations were lean and healthy.

The problems happened when fats were increased to 30%+ while eating a ton of carbs.

High Fat + High Carbs = Strong Possibility of Storing That Fat as Body Fat

Obesity didn’t exist at all in these populations until the fat in their diets increased.

It’s the middle ground, the combining of fat and carbs, where things can get dicey.

sweet potato fries and hamburger

In nature, you won’t find many foods that contain a lot of fats AND a lot of carbs.

It is typically one or the other.

Anyway…

I realize this is a long intro for talking about discussing which carbs that are good for weight loss.

It really all depends on the rest of the diet.

For instance…

Rice CAN be amazing for weight loss… as long as the rest of the meal is low fat.

rice for weight loss

This meal wouldn’t be as great if deep fried eggrolls were added.

Getting back to healthy carbs.

Whole food carbs have several advantages over sugar.

Sugar isn’t evil or addictive and you can include it in your diet, but weight loss typically happens better with whole food carbs.

This is common sense…

Yams are a better choice than Red Vines (except for when you are at the movie theater).

movie theater snacks

Sugar just mainly provides empty calories.

Whole foods have nutrients the body needs and are more filling, etc.

Here’s a partial list.

Healthy carbs for weight loss:

  • Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, yams, and corn.
  • Legumes: Pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans.
  • Whole grains: Oatmeal, rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, spelt, and quinoa.
  • Most vegetables
  • Most fruit

You can lose weight with low fat processed foods.

You will just be healthier long term by focusing a lot of your diet on whole food carbs.

It’s not more complicated than that.

And…

Eating a bit of sugar isn’t that big of a deal.

A life devoid of gummy candy is a slightly depressing life 🙂

Cheers,

-Rusty Moore

As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.

Click Here to check out my premium courses.

Despite SUGAR-SHAMING being popular, you can lose weight eating a variety of carbs. Here\'s a list of the best healthy carbs for getting lean.