If you’re trying to lose weight, your carb intake should be no more than 35% of your total daily calories. For a 1,200 calorie per day diet, that is 105 grams; for 1,600 calorie meal plans, it’s 140 grams.
Not all carbs are bad and we need some for energy, however some foods are high in carbs and should be cut out of a diet, if you’re on a weight loss program.
1. Refined Grains
Just as not all carbs are bad, neither are all grains. The ones to stay away from are products made from white enriched flour, white rice, plain bagels and regular pasta. That means you should avoid white bread, toast, bagel and pizza.
Instead focus on eating products made from whole grain, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta. Not only do they have fewer carbs, but also contain fiber and protein which keep you feeling fuller longer, thus reducing the urge to snack between meals.
2. Processed Fruits
Fresh is always the best, but if you have to use canned fruits, look for ones packed in their own juices and without added sugar. Read the nutrition label and look for anything that might be an added sugar like high fructose corn syrup. Also, dried fruits might look like a healthy choice, but the drying process can concentrate natural sugars making them higher in carbs than eating fresh fruit. When not in season, frozen (without added sugar) is the next best choice.
3. Sweets & Candies
Studies have shown sugar is addictive. In 2008 the Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review classified it as a substance that can be abused. When trying to cut calories, stay away from cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream, doughnuts, frosted rice crispies and candy bars as these are made with sugar and also loaded with saturated fat and calories. To add to this, don’t fall victim to jams, preserves and syrups as they are high in fructose.
4. Sugary drinks
Along this same line, sugary drinks are loaded with sugar. For example, one can of regular soda has 136 calories but also 35 grams of carbs of which 33 grams are from sugar. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sugar consumption to 100 calories or less for women and 150 per day or less for men. Just one can of regular cola uses up 1/3rd to 1/5th respectively, of the daily limit. Diet varieties aren’t much better as the artificial sugars or sweeteners are not good for the body either. Avoid all canned and bottled beverages if possible. Your best beverage bet – pure water.
As noted above, sugar and refined grains are the biggest two categories to watch when trying to cut carbs for weight loss. These things can be hidden in foods, so it is important to read nutrition labels and know what to look for.
The other food type that I am not quite sure to avoid is potatoes. I love potatoes – french fries, mashed potatoes and baked potatoes are such comfort foods that I don’t think anyone can live without. I reckon to be on the safe side, it is best to eat them moderately and it will be fine.
I hope this will help you plan better whether you are thinking on cutting down carbs or currently on a weight loss diet.