Before we talk about “good” or slow carb foods, let’s review the 10 worst possible sources of “bad” carbs. If you’re eating these as a significant part of a regular diet, your weight loss goals are probably doomed, yet replacing them with slow carbs could bring about lasting weight loss.
These are all common sources of quick-release carbs that cause your blood sugar to surge, otherwise known as High-GI (Glycemic Index) or “fast carbs”.
The 10 Worst Possible Sources of Carbs
- Cereals containing sugar
- Breading on fried foods or Skillet “Helper” mixes
- White bread
- White rice
- White potatoes (baked, mashed, French fries, chips)
- Baked goods (cakes, doughnuts, cookies, etc)
“Recent animal research provides compelling evidence that high-GI carbohydrate is associated with increased risk of obesity. In one study, male rats were split into high- and low-GI groups over 18 weeks while mean body weight was maintained. Rats fed the high-GI diet were 71% fatter and had 8% less lean body mass than the low-GI group.” link to study
You NEED Carbs – The Right Carbs
Let’s sneak in a mini-nutrition lesson here. You need carbs, because they provide your body with energy. The problem is that excess carbs are stored as fat.
So we want carbs that move slowly from your stomach and through your small intestine, being digested (converted by your body to glucose) gradually so that the fuel they provide is a steady flow instead of a spike.
This means the key to slow carbs is to find nutritious foods with ALL of these qualities:
- Low GI (glycemic index) ratings – no blood sugar surges
- High fiber
- Slow digestion
You’ll notice that the “bad carb” foods listed above have the opposite of these qualities. They’re all high GI, low in dietary fiber, and digested quickly – a recipe for building body fat.
So What Foods Are Slow Carbs?
The concept of slow carbs was popularized by Tim Ferris, author of The Four Hour Work Week. Slow carbs help you feel full longer, so they’re a great assist to those who are trying to lose weight and keep it off. They also keep your blood sugar levels more stable between meals, which helps prevent chronic diseases.
They’re nutritionally dense, high in protein and fiber, and offer sufficient calories in a serving to keep your body fuelled. They digest slowly and are excellent at preventing blood sugar surges. Very low on the Glycemic Index, they’re a staple of slow-carb diets, and can be prepared in many ways. Choices include:
- Beans (white, black, pink, kidney, pinto, black-eyed, great northern, navy, chickpea)
- Green Beans
Pretty much any green vegetable is a good choice, but avoid starchy vegetables such as white potatoes and corn which contain quick-release carbs – for example, a baked or mashed potatoe scores a GI of 85.
Good slow carb choices include:
- Asparagus – A tasty treat that can be roasted, steamed, sautéed, pickled or added to a salad, asparagus has a Glycemic Index of only 15 and lots of fiber.
- Cabbage – Cooked or raw, cabbage is another low GI vegetable with a rating of 15. It’s high in fiber and Vitamin C.
- Broccoli – Another vegetable with a GI of 15, broccoli has lots of vitamins.
- Cauliflower – A low GI vegetable with a GI of 15, cauliflower can be easily substituted for high-GI white rice or mashed potatoes.
- Celery – With a GI of only 15, celery has long been known for “negative calories”, in that it is said it takes more energy to chew and digest it than you get from eating it.
- Cucumber – Tasty raw or pickled, cucumber’s GI of 15 makes it another low-carb favorite.
- Spinach – Another GI 15 vegetable, spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients and a key ingredient in our supernutrient green smoothie. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
I’ve written elsewhere about how the superfood Quinoa has extraordinary nutrition, and a high satiating index that really helps dieters. It’s also a slow carb staple with a GI of 35, considered low on the GI Index.
Steel Cut Oatmeal
Steel cut oatmeal (GI 42) is an excellent slow carb breakfast. Add a couple of teaspoons of chia seed or hemp hearts to really boost its nutrition.
It’s About Lifestyle Choices
Now, you may not want to change your diet. You may be perfectly happy choosing the majority of your foods from my list of the 10 worst possible sources of carbs at the top of this article. That’s your choice – but I ask you to consider this short quote by Deming:
It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
~W. Edwards Deming
If you are in Hawaii and are looking for support in weight loss, healthy eating and lifestyle change, book an appointment with me. Your first visit is free, so it’s a very low risk way of becoming informed about what medical weight loss can do to improve your life.