If you’re overweight, you’re probably carb-driven – or you certainly have been in the past. This means you consume a lot of processed or refined carbohydrates, and those types of carbs (even whole grains to some degree) cause insulin response, and often insulin spikes. These blood sugar spikes result in cravings that create a vicious cycle.
Insulin Reduces Fat Burning
When insulin increases, fat burning and fat breakdown decrease, and eventually stop. The increased insulin also turns your body into a carbohydrate burning machine, and you crave more carbs and seek them out to get energy and satisfaction.
Think of (Most) Carbs As Sugar
Processed and highly refined carbohydrates spike your blood sugar. They are converted to glucose (sugar) so quickly that a slice of white bread has a higher glycemic index than table sugar. Fat, acid and fiber slow down conversion to glucose, which is why whole grain (higher fiber) and el dente pasta (less cooked) pasta won’t spike your blood sugar as high as some alternatives – they have more fiber.
You Need (The Right) Carbs
Fruits and vegetables contain carbs, and if you stick to non-starchy vegetables, they won’t have the negative effects on your blood sugar that come from processed carbs. The best option is to combine lean protein and fiber in the same meal, with a little good fat. This has a blood-sugar stabilizing effect and has proven very effective for weight loss and maintenance.
Overweight individuals will get great results eating this way, particularly if they not only avoid processed carbs, but take a break from all grains. A small amount of quinoa or rice can be an occasional part of your diet, but consuming large amounts of (usually processed) grains at every meal in place of vegetables, which is what most Americans do, is a recipe for obesity.
Start Your Day With Protein
Starting your day with a protein breakfast (instead of baked goods or cereal, which are all carbs) has been shown to increase metabolism (fat burning) by up to 30% for the rest of the day. Prepare some egg breakfast “muffins” in advance, and you’ll have an easy and healthy meal that takes little time each morning. Simply mix eggs, milk or almond milk, spinach, chopped red pepper, chopped green onion, grated cheese and meat if desired (chopped bacon, ham or sausage works well) with your preferred spices. Pour into greased muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. They’ll keep up to four days in the fridge, or you can even freeze them… so you’re set with a healthy breakfast for days. Here’s an exact recipe if you want to start that way.
Every Processed Carb You Don’t Eat Makes It Easier
Many processed carbs such as wheat actually have addictive qualities and trigger the same parts of your brain as drugs such as heroin. When you go a few days without eating processed grains and sugar, your body gets past the high craving/withdrawal stage, and you’ll be much more comfortable being less carb-driven. If you don’t eat processed carbs at all, the carb cravings go away.
We’re Not Avoiding All Carbs
This is about getting balance back. You’ll be surprised when you realize how insidious processed carbs are. They try to creep into every meal and snack. When you start eating more consciously and getting away from the sandwiches, bagels, pasta and pizza that dominate so many meals, your blood sugar will get more stable and your digestion will improve. Let’s look as how some meals might appear:
- egg muffin cups (above)
- spinach omelet
- refried black beans with a fried egg and salsa
- salad with sliced steak or salmon
- stir fry with chicken or beef (careful of sugar in sauces)
- curried chicken salad
Make your own list as you browse your favorite recipes and keep it handy. You’ll find it’s easier to get free from being carb-driven when you realize how much delicious healthy low carb food is out there. Try primal or paleo recipe websites for more ideas.