By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
Bread, pasta, cereals, vegetables, fruits, and sugar are all forms of carbohydrates (carbs). If you are like most Americans, you likely eat more carbs daily than protein and fat. This dietary dynamic is interesting because you should consume far fewer carbs and far more proteins and unsaturated fats.
“Recommending a no carb or low carb diet?” No, not really.
Carbs are healthy for your body for two reasons; the first, carbs give you energy and secondly, carbs preserve your muscle mass. However, you must eat the right type of carbs and avoid the unhealthy carbs.
Use the glycemic index
To ensure you are selecting the right types of carbs, you could use the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a rating scale for carbohydrates based on how carbs affect your blood sugar after you consume them.
Foods low on the glycemic index are often healthier because they regulate your blood sugar to a greater extent than foods high on the glycemic index. Therefore, it is important to eat healthy carbs like whole grains and vegetables.
On the contrary, sugary processed foods and even fruits are high on the glycemic index and can negatively affect your weight and overall health if you consume too much.
Manage weight with exercise and low glycemic foods
Studies have found the combination of exercise and consuming low glycemic foods can have a profound effect on weight management. One of those studies found that only a modest increase in protein consumption combined with foods slightly lower on the glycemic index led to better weight management in a sample of over 1,200 adults.
In conclusion, exercise regularly and eat more protein from chicken, eggs, fish, and yes, red meat can be good for you too. Moderation is the key!
Be sure to eat a modest amount of low glycemic carbs like whole grains, oats, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts and green leafy lettuce.
This combined exercise and nutritional approach will pay dividends on your health and ability to maintain or even lose weight.
For more information about the glycemic index go to http://www.glycemicindex.com/
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Järvi, ANETTE E., et al. “Improved glycemic control and lipid profile and normalized fibrinolytic activity on a low-glycemic index diet in type 2 diabetic patients.” Diabetes Care 22.1 (1999): 10-18.
Sigal, Ronald J., et al. “Effects of aerobic training, resistance training, or both on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes: a randomized trial.” Annals of internal medicine 147.6 (2007): 357-369.
Larsen, Thomas Meinert, et al. “Diets with high or low protein content and glycemic index for weight-loss maintenance.” New England Journal of Medicine 363.22 (2010): 2102-2113.