Since fats lost the blame game for obesity, carbohydrates have earned a bad reputation.
But what most people tend to forget is that carbohydrates are a vital macronutrient and the most readily accepted source of energy by our body cells. (Read: Carbs: Tipping the scales towards weight loss)
Sudden elimination of carbohydrates could leave you sluggish, fatigued and with a mental fog. When it is said that carbohydrates cause weight gain the focus is on sugars and simple carbohydrates.
And by sugar it is literally table sugar and not those found in fruits in natural form.
Refined carbohydrates are also associated with poor nutrient quality and weight gain. However healthy carbohydrates are complex carbohydrates.
These do not spike your blood sugar thereby fueling your appetite.
Instead they provide nutrients, dietary fibre and some health supportive antioxidants.
And consumption of these healthy carbohydrates has been associated with weight loss.
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20 High Carb Foods Good For Weight Loss
You don’t need to fear healthy carbohydrates. Here is a list of 20 healthy high carbohydrate foods that are actually good for weight loss.
100g of oats provide 66g carbohydrates and 11g fibre. 70% of oats composition is carbohydrates and 15% protein.
Oats are a rich source of minerals such as magnesium, molybdenum and manganese.
Also they provide 5% calcium of the daily value, 26% iron and 17g iron.
Oats are rich in fibre beta glucan which helps with weight loss.
A 12 week study showed that regular consumption of oats leads to significant weight loss and reduction in abdominal fat.
A study published in Journal of American Dietetic Association, 2010 reveals that consumption of two portions of whole grain ready to eat oat cereals everyday for 12 weeks leads to a 3.3 cm decrease in waist circumference. (Read 10 Reasons Why Oats Are Good For Weight Loss)
What does this mean? Oats are one of the high carbohydrate foods that will actually reduce abdominal fat in 3 months.
100g quinoa provides 21g carbohydrates out of which 3g is dietary fibre. However it is one of the grains that provide high quality protein 4.4g/100g.
It is rich in antioxidants and also has anti-inflammatory polysaccharides. It is rich in vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, zinc etc.
What does this mean? Quinoa, apart from its high carbohydrate content provides high quality plant based protein which makes it a healthy option in weight loss.
3. Brown rice
Brown rice or whole grain rice provides 23g/100g carbohydrates. Brown rice is rich in fibre, selenium, manganese, vitamin B.
Brown rice is great for heart health, reduces diabetes risk and also lowers cholesterol.
What does this mean? Brown rice or whole grain rice is a better alternative to white rice when it comes to weight control.
Barley is one of the neglected grains, but whole grain barley added to soup can provide nutrients like magnesium, molybdenum, chromium, magnesium, selenium and vitamin B.
Barley is found to reduce risk of colon cancer, lower cholesterol and its fibre content benefits heart health. 100g barley provides 28g carbohydrate and 4g fibre.
A study published in Journal of Food Science, 2016 barley beta glucan obtained from barley bran suppress deposition of fat and development of fat cells.
Cooking white rice with barley rich in beta glucan is found to be very satiating and helps control appetite.
What does this mean? Barley is a high carbohydrate whose dietary fibre can help control appetite and can help in weight loss.
5. Whole grain products
100g whole wheat cooked spaghetti provides 27 g carbohydrate, 5g dietary fibre. 1 slice of multi grain (whole grain) bread provides 11g carbohydrates, 2g dietary fibre.
Buckwheat, kamut, millets, amaranth are few healthy grains than conventional wheat and rice keeping in mind their fibre content and protein quality.
The NHANES survey 2001-2012 reveals that consumption of whole grains is associated with better body weight and intake of nutrients in adults and children.
However less than 1% and % children and adults met the whole grain recommendations.
In fact a recent study published in BMJ 2016, a meta analysis of all studies on whole grain consumption reveals that whole grain consumption is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer and all causes of mortality such as respiratory diseases, non cancer causes, infections, diabetes as well as non heart related diseases.
This study included intake of specific whole grain products like whole grain bread, whole grain cereals, added bran etc. and this link was no observed in relation to refined grains.
What does this mean? When it comes to grains, instead of eliminating grains completely it is preferable to include whole grains in diet. This is great for weight loss and is also associated with reduced risk of many diseases.
100g of cooked lentils contain 20g of carbohydrates but also 8g of dietary fibre. Lentils are a good source of protein-9g/100g.
They are a good source of copper, phosphorous, manganese, iron and vitamin B.
A review study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2016 shows that regular inclusion of pulses (1 serving/day) in diet leads to a modest weight reduction compared to a diet without pulses.
What does this mean? Inclusion of pulses in diet offers a good source of protein as well fibre, both of which aid in weight loss.
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a rich source of dietary fibre.
They provide 23g/100g carbohydrate and 8g/100g dietary fibre.
Chickpeas are great for digestive health.
Cooked adzuki beans provide 25g carbohydrates and 7g dietary fibre per 100g. 100g cooked kidney beans offer 23g carbohydrate and 7g fibre.
A study published in Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics shows that high fibre bean rich diet is as good as low carbohydrate diet in terms of weight loss and additionally lowers blood lipids.
What does this mean? Regular consumption of beans which comprise complex carbohydrates is associated with reduced risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome.
1 fluid ounce of whole milk offers only 2g carbohydrates. 1 ounce of plain yogurt made from whole milk provides just 1 g carbohydrates.
A study was conducted wherein individuals were given either low fat milk, soy milk or calcium supplementation in addition to low calorie diet.
The weight loss was maximum in the low fat milk group and researchers concluded that milk consumption can increase weight loss outcome associated with low calorie diet.
A study published The Journal of Nutrition, 2011 shows that increased consumption of dairy foods promotes fat loss and increases diet and exercise induced weight loss significantly. (Read Dairy foods for weight loss)
What does this mean? Dairy products are shunned apparently due to their fat and sugar content. However they are rich in calcium and protein and hence can improve your weight loss outcomes. Before purchasing any dairy product, even yogurt, make sure they are free from added sugars and are not artificially sweetened.
Green peas are one of the carb rich vegetables. 100g green peas provide 16g carbs, 5g dietary fibre and 6g sugars. It also provides 5g/100g protein.
Among the micronutrients it provides manganese, vitamin K, vitamin C, phosphorous, folate, Vitamin B.
Green peas are a rich source of phytonutrients which have therapeutic properties and also serve as antioxidants.
A good pea soup can actually help curb appetite and reduce subsequent intake. Fibre from the coat of peas reduces digestibility of starch.
Pea starch has reduced glycemic index and reduced starch digestibility.
Pea protein has antioxidant and blood pressure lowering properties. Yellow pea fibre is also found to be beneficial in obesity.
What does this mean? Green peas and other pea types provide essential nutrients, protein and complex carbs which have reduced digestibility. Pea soup can help suppress appetite making a healthy weight loss food.
10. Sweet potato
1 small cooked sweet potato provides 12g carbohydrate, 2g fibre and 4g sugars. Sweet potatoes are great source of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin B.
There are orange flesh and purple flesh varieties of sweet potato and each have unique profile of phytonutrients some of which are excellent antioxidants.
What does this mean? Addition of sweet potatoes to diet offers nutritive value and dietary fibre which can benefit in weight loss and weight management.
100g of yam provide 27g carbohydrate and 4g dietary fibre. It is a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, potassium, manganese.
Yam consists of complex carbs and is a low glycemic index. It also provides a good deal of antioxidants and vitamin A.
What does this mean? Yam is a high starch food that is considered to be extremely nutritive and great for counteracting diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic risks and obesity.
100g raw beet root provides 13 g carbohydrates and only 58 calories.
Beet roots are rich in phytonutrients called betalains which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property. Beet roots are great for detoxification.
What does this mean? Consumption of beetroot juice improves health and detoxifies body. It also reduces metabolic risks in weight loss. Despite of its high sugar content beet root is great add to diet owing to its antioxidant profile.
1 small apple provides 77 calories, 21 g carbohydrate, 4g dietary fibre and 15g sugar.
The polyphenols found in apple have a number of health benefits: lowering blood sugar, protecting heart health and anti-cancer.
The dietary fibre provided by apples is found to benefit in weight loss and is also nutritive. Apple skin is highly nutritious. Apples are a good source of vitamin C.
Consumption of whole fruits benefits in weight loss by providing nutrients and also curbing appetite.
Consumption of cloudy, antioxidant rich apple juice is associated with significant reduction in body fat. Apple fibre, pectin is also found to be helpful in weight loss.
What does this mean? Apple contains nutrients and dietary fibre which aid in weight loss. Consumption of antioxidant rich fresh apple juice ( free from artificial sweeteners and flavours) is associated with significant reduction in body fat.
1 small pear offers 86 calories, 23g carbohydrate, 5g dietary fibre and 15g sugar. Pears are a good source of vitamin C.
Phytonutrients found in pears have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Intake of these phytonutrients has been associated with reduced blood sugar.
Fibre content of pears benefits in weight loss.
Research proves that consumption of apples or pears leads to better weight loss than inclusion of oats in diet.
Inclusion of fruits such as pears to low calorie diet improves weight loss results.
What does this mean? Pears, due to their fat content, help in weight loss and also aid to control appetite.
½ a grapefruit provides only 52 calories and 13g of carbohydrate. Grapefruit is a rich source of vitamin C.
Lycopene is an anti-tumor agent found in red and pink grapefruit.
Grapefruit juice is a rich source of antioxidants.
A clinical trial published in Nutrition & Metabolism,2011 showed that consumption of grapefruit or grapefruit juice prior to low calorie meal helped in controlling appetite.
This led to a weight loss of 7.1% and there was significant reduction in fat from abdomen and trunk area. (Read Grapefruit for weight loss)
What does this mean? Consumption of grapefruit juice or whole grapefruit prior to a meal helps control appetite. Despite of its carbohydrate content, grapefruit has some great active ingredients that help in burning fat.
16. Blue berries
1 ounce serving of blueberries provides 4g carbohydrate: 1g dietary fibre 3g sugar. Blue berries are bursting with phytonutrients.
They are rich in antioxidants and are good in source of vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, fibre and even the anti-aging phytonutrient-resveratrol.
Blueberries, if portion is controlled, can serve as a good snack and provide health promoting nutrients and antioxidants.
What does this mean? Blueberries’ sugar content can be neglected in view of their antioxidant and nutrient rich profile. Blueberry juice is great for weight loss.
1 small banana provides 23g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fibre and 12g sugar.
Bananas are rich in potassium which helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Bananas though high in sugar are low in glycemic index.
Banana fibre is good for digestion which is attributed to pectin content.
Bananas are generally thought to aid in weight gain but if the portion is controlled then its high fibre content can actually help in weight loss and benefit digestive health.
What does this mean? Limited intake of bananas can provide necessary starch and fibre and aid in weight loss.
Fresh figs are a great treat for the taste buds owing to their sweetness and smooth taste. 1 medium fig provides only 9g carbohydrates and 2g of dietary fibre.
Figs are a good source of potassium which lower blood pressure. Figs are great for cardiovascular health.
The dietary fibre in figs can be beneficial in improving digestion, gut health both of which play important roles in obesity development.
In fact a study shows that consumption of fig paste can relieve constipation.
What does this mean? Figs are highly nutritious and a good source of dietary fibre. Adequate consumption of dietary fibre is associated with better body weight.
19. Dried fruits
Dried fruits are high in calories and that’s why you should keep an eye on the portion. However dry fruits are a nutritious snack.
1 ounce of mixed dried fruits can provide carbohydrates in the range of 15-20 g and also a decent amount of fibre.
However they are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals.
What does this mean? Dried fruits can serve as great snacks but you have to watch out for the portion size since they are energy dense. Also do not opt for candied dried fruits.
20. Nuts and seeds
100g of nuts provide carbohydrates in the range of 10-20g out of which maximum content is dietary fibre.
Similarly seeds also provide 15-20g carbohydrates with high dietary fibre.
Consumption of nuts along with reduced calorie diet benefits in weight loss.
A study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition,2010 demonstrated that pistachio consumption, in comparison to consumption of isocaloric carbohydrate rich snack-pretzels, results in better weight loss.
So if you are restricting of calories addition of nuts will help you in weight loss. (Read Nuts for weight loss)
Similarly seeds like flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds will add nutrition to your diet along with the dietary fibre that aids in weight loss.
What does this mean? When following a calorie restricted diet, it is safe to add nuts and seeds to the regime as their fibre and nutrient content boost weight loss results.
Refined carbohydrates such as refined grains, refined flour, processed sugar, corn syrup are the carbs that cause weight gain.
Complex carbohydrates have multiple benefits in weight loss: they provide fibre, nutrients, fat burning ingredients and help control appetite.
Consumption of healthy carbohydrates does not only help in weight loss but also improves various aspects of health.