The Wrong Type of Carbs Can Sabotage Weight Loss
Is THIS Why You’re Not Seeing Results?
The diet mistake sabotaging your workouts
By Cindy Kuzma
You’re dutifully heading to Zumba and hitting the walking path, but you’re still not seeing any difference. What gives? What’s in your pantry may be sabotaging your exercise routine, a new study in the journal Obesity suggests.
When women ate carbohydrates high on the glycemic index (GI)—a measure of how quickly they spike your blood sugar levels—their bodies used more carbs than fat to fuel their walking or cycling workouts. That’s bad news if you’re trying to slim down, says Alyssa Cellini, a nutritionist at Complete Nutrition and Wellness in New Jersey. Those who consumed the same amount of total carbs but ate lower on the glycemic index, on the other hand, torched more fat when they exercised.
The reason has to do with your insulin levels, Cellini explains. This hormone instructs your body to conserve fat—and the more your blood sugar spikes, the more of it surges into your bloodstream. As a result, you’ll use stored carbohydrates as an energy source for exercise rather than body fat.
The results are yet another reminder that when it comes to carbs, quality counts. Chances are, you already buy brown rice and whole-wheat bread rather than the white stuff; still, “women are eating foods that have a higher glycemic index and not realizing it,” Cellini says.
Here’s how to choose carbs that won’t send your blood sugar soaring.
- “Go the old-fashioned way,” Cellini suggests. Avoid minute rice and instant oatmeal, and cook beans from dried rather than buying them canned. The pre-processing that makes these foods more convenient also speeds the rate at which their sugars enter your bloodstream.
- Fruits you eat whole tend to have a lower glycemic index than those you peel. So put blueberries instead of bananas in your cereal, and slice apple instead of melon for a snack.
- Craving sweets? Eat chocolate-covered almonds instead of pure chocolate. The fat and fiber of the nuts balances out the chocolate’s effect on your blood sugar—plus, you’ll feel full sooner.
- Choose bread with a 5:1 (or less) ratio of carbs to fiber. For instance, if there’s 4 grams of fiber per slice, there should be no more than 20 grams of total carbohydrates.