Weight loss which relies on the extreme elimination of all carbohydrates is often hard to sustain as carbohydrates are necessary for the proper functioning of our bodies. The elimination of "quick" or starchy carbohydrates such as those found in rice and potatoes is suggested as the carbohydrate content generally spikes blood sugar levels and are often seen as precursors to metabolic resistance.
Whole, intact grains - such as brown rice and barley - are tolerated by some people as part of a moderately low-carbohydrate diet. The starch in intact whole grains is more slowly broken down into glucose than starch in refined grains (such as white rice) or grains ground into flour (even whole wheat flour).
Whole grain pastas are also more slowly digested. Pasta should be cooked "al dente" (slightly firm), as the more you cook it, the faster it is broken down into sugar.
Legumes and chickpeas also contain carbohydrate as most food does, however legumes are also eaten for their protein content. Chick peas also offer protein content however contain more carbs than legumes and may not be suitable for your diet. You may want to investigate other grains that are not only tasty but also have great protein profiles. Some suggested grains would be Chia seeds, Quinoa and amaranth (available at Flannerys).
Chia seeds can be beneficial to support healthy weight loss when included in the diet for a few reasons:
- Increase in energy production and reduced fatigue which may help individuals to maintain an exercise regime.
- The seeds have the ability to absorb up to 10 times their weight in water due to them being an insoluble fibre. This has a beneficial effect on bowel function as well as decreasing the need for large meals, this means that the seeds swell in the stomach and decrease hunger resulting in feeling full longer
- Chia seeds contain a balance of fatty acids (Omega 3) and fibre and are abundant in protein to help build muscle and burn fat.
- Low in calories and the process of the seeds swelling/ expansion helps to decrease the absorption of carbohydrates from foods while balancing blood sugars, this means that the craving for sugars will decrease
- The insoluble fibre contained in the seeds helps to sweep clean the bowels which has an effect on liver and bowel function. Healthy liver function plays a role in improving weight loss also.
- The combined actions of the seeds can certainly assist weight loss when combined with a healthy weight loss exercise regime and eating plan. It is important to realise that weight gain can be due too a number of different causes and only the personal assistance of a health care professional will ensure that all aspects of your individual condition is taken into account to provide a well researched treatment plan.
Fruits which are considered to be low carb and usually allowed to some degree on low carb diets include berries, strawberries, paw paw and grapefruit the sugars in these fruits as in the above grains do not convert as readily to glucose.
Regarding alternatives to carbohydrates, it is recommended to consume foods which burn slower to provide a constant fuel source rather than simple sugars which play havoc with blood sugars and contribute to cravings. It is healthier to concentrate on low carbohydrate/ glycemic index foods (GI) foods and high protein. Low GI foods are foods with a glycemic index of below 50. If you wish to have a list of foods and their GI value, go to the following website: www.lowglycemicdiet.com/gifoodlist.html