People who want to lose weight often have the mistaken belief that carbohydrates will make them gain weight. On the contrary though, they can even help you reach your desired weight.

Carbohydrates are composed of sugar molecules made out of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They are commonly found in starches, fibers and sugars. You can also find them in beans, potatoes, pastas, sodas, breads and milk. Here are some tips on how they can help you lose weight.

Take Slow Carbohydrates

In the past, carbohydrates used to be classified as simple or complex. Recent studies show that this is not accurate because they can also be classified as slow-absorbing, which can either be sweet or starchy. Slow-absorbing carbs are your best bet when you want to lose weight because they are digested and absorbed longer. They make you feel full and reduce your hunger cravings. You can get them from grain breads, pastas, oats, bran cereals, plums, pears, fruit loafs, apples and grapes, among others.

Go Low

If you want to lose weight, you should not totally eliminate carbs from your diet. Rather, you should have a low-carbohydrate diet. You can achieve this by eating whole grains, vegetables and fruits daily. They contain lots of vitamins, minerals and nutrients which you can’t do without. Taking them with healthy fats and proteins can even reduce risks of heart diseases and diabetes.

So how low should you go? Experts advise that you take 120 grams of carbs if you’re on a standard 1,200-calorie diet. If you want a higher intake, you can have 150 grams of carbs per day.

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Pick Good Carbs

It all boils down to picking good carbohydrates. Picking the good ones can help you lose weight, avoid chronic illnesses and please your eyes and palate. Good carbs can be found in brown rice, wheat bread and whole grain pasta, among others. Here are some ways on how you can use them:

  • Take steel cut oats for hot cereals – For cold ones, pick one that has whole wheat, whole oats or other whole grains. You can try muesli, porridge, wheat flakes, wheat flake biscuits or bran flakes. They’re easy and quick to prepare and their fibre content can help your bowel movement.
  • In lieu of potatoes, eat brown rice, hulled barley, wheat berries, bulgur or millet – If you must eat potatoes and rice which are fast digesting, limit yourself to one medium potato or half cup of rice.
  • For lunch and snacks, take whole grain breads or rye loaf – Taking a slice or two daily can help you feel full and avoid those unnecessary snacks between meals.
  • Beans are good sources of slow carbs.
  • Take whole wheat pasta – If you find it too chewy, you can try one that’s made with half white flour and half whole wheat flour.
  • Avoid junk carbohydrates found in biscuits, chips, soft drinks, cakes, candies and lollipops.
  • Go for starchy vegetables like corn, sweet potato, lentils, carrots, chick peas or peas.
  • Take two pieces of whole fruit per day – Avoid excessive fruit juice intake since they are often too sweet with their fiber content removed.