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Fiber and Good Carbs Assist Weight Loss

August 10, 2010
(Article first published as Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: Using Fiber to Drive Weight Loss on Technorati.)

Most people are familiar with the popular diet plans which millions follow in a desperate attempt to lose weight and improve health. Low carb diets have garnished much attention over the past 40 years as scores of people have quickly dropped weight following the program made popular by Dr. Robert Atkins. The Atkins plan has not been without controversy due to the inclusion of processed meats, high fat dairy and the initial exclusion of fresh vegetables.

Fad Carb Diets Don’t Work Long Term

While initial results of people following the Atkins program are impressive, most are unable to attain or maintain their target weight. For many, sustainable and healthy weight loss is only possible by following a high fiber diet which encourages plenty of leafy greens, proper balance of healthy fats and a high fiber intake which requires more energy for the body to break down.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition distinguishes carbohydrates based on their glycemic index, a measure of how quickly they convert to glucose in the blood. Glucose is released slowly in carbs which are high in fiber, blunting the typical blood sugar spike. These foods are associated with a lowered risk from many metabolic disorders, and may help prevent diabetes from progressing to an advanced form of the disease.

All Carbs Are Not Created Equal
Raw vegetables and cake both contain carbohydrates, yet most people would identify the dessert as an unhealthy carb choice. The key difference is in the way they release glucose to the bloodstream. The sugars in vegetables are closely bound with fiber, and are difficult for the body to break down quickly, while the cake immediately turns to sugar beginning in the mouth. Carbohydrates are essential to good health, but making the proper choices will lead to reduced disease risk and natural weight loss.

Making the Good Carb Choices

Carbs come in all different forms, and selecting wisely by choosing high fiber foods will assist in establishing your weight loss goal. Fiber can’t be digested by the body, and doesn’t have a caloric impact on fat metabolism and storage. Learn to read nutrition labels to determine the fiber content of foods.

You’ll quickly learn that the core of your diet should be from fresh leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds balanced with lesser amounts of meats and unprocessed fats. Work up to 40 to 50 grams of fiber each day, and watch your weight loss progress naturally.

Eliminate the Evil Carbs
Sugar added from any source is a top reason people gain weight and ruin their health. Sugar, glucose and fructose are all bad carbs which have no nutritional value and no fiber content to offset the impact on blood sugar. All refined grains, baked goods, candies and snacks should be eliminated from your diet. Be wary of the multi-grain marketing scheme, as these products will cause your blood sugar to rise as quickly as their refined counterparts.

Healthy weight loss is an admirable goal, frequently sabotaged by the typical refined junk food diet. It’s critical to incorporate high fiber foods into your diet which will help you feel full and avoid the blood sugar rollercoaster which leads to weight gain and declining health. Monitor your fiber intake, and benefit from lower disease risk and natural weight loss.

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