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4 Of The Worst Carbs That Almost Always Stall Your Weight Loss Efforts, According To Dietitians

4 Of The Worst Carbs That Almost Always Stall Your Weight Loss Efforts, According To Dietitians
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Not all carbohydrates are bad, and many foods that contain carbs can help add balance and nutrients to a healthy, weight loss-friendly diet. However, there are several kinds of foods with carbs that may not seem too unhealthy, but could prevent you from losing weight. We reached out to registered dietitians, nutritionists and other health experts to learn more about refined carbohydrates and why it’s best to avoid them as much as possible—especially if you’re frequently exercising and working to lose weight.

Read on for tips, suggestions and insight from Dana Ellis HunnesPhD, MPH, RD, senior dietitian at UCLA medical center, Abby VichillRD, registered dietitian at FWDfuel, Trista BestMPH, RD, LD, registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements, and Lisa Richardsregistered nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet.

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Refined Pasta

While the body requires carbohydrates to be adequately fueled, today’s standard diet is “providing more than necessary,” Richards explains, and most often in the form of “refined and highly processed foods made from flour,” like pasta. Even many pastas today are “processed and enriched,” which Richards notes can “cause inflammation and gastrointestinal issues, like Candida overgrowth.” This, can also lead to weight gain and prevent weight loss.

“Knowing this about pasta and refined carbohydrates, it is a great idea to have a few low-carbohydrate pasta alternatives in your recipe book,” she suggests, adding that “it seems just about any vegetable can be made into a spaghetti version of itself .” By using a spiralizer, Richards advises taking zucchini and other forms of squash, making them into noodles. This way, you don’t have to give up pasta or pasta dishes at all on your weight loss journey! “Simply boil or steam them as normal and place your favorite low-sugar sauce on them and you have a delicious, nutrient-dense pasta alternative.” Richards recommends. This, she continues, gives you a “low-carb pasta and also adds in antioxidants and other protective phytonutrients.”

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White Bread

Bread is a food that should be eaten in moderation due to its processed and refined nature, Best says, but especially white bread, as it is “calorically dense, inflammatory,” and contains the dreaded, aforementioned refined carbs. “White bread is made with refined carbohydrates and lacking in fiber and other beneficial nutrients,” she warns, adding that “refined carbs are highly inflammatory and turn to sugar quickly causing a quick rise in glucose.” Eating this kind of bread on a regular basis will lead to weight gain, Best notes, because it is “made from refined grains, sugar, and preservatives.” These are inflammatory ingredients and are also broken down quickly to be stored as fat.

“You will experience fatigue and brain fog from the inflammatory nature of the ingredients,” Best warns, which will not only set back your potential weight loss, but also bring about additional negative effects for your overall health and mental health. “Refined carbs create a state of low-level inflammation in the body which causes a host of health issues, including declined cognitive function,” she emphasizes. Instead of this, Best recommends opting for whole wheat bread, which will “cause the digestion process to slow down, which will keep the consumer full for longer and thereby prevent overeating.” When making your toast, she says to “opt for a whole grain or whole wheat option, gluten free if able, and void of added sugars and refined carbs” for a great, weight loss-promoting start to your day.

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French Fries/ Cheese Fries

French fries are made from potatotoes, which Vichill stresses are not a bad food on their own, and typically a “great source of carbs, potassium, magnesium, and other vitamins.” Unfortunately, oftentimes, when making them into classic French fries, Vichill notes that they “get deep fried in very cheap, highly inflammatory oils such as peanut, soybean, and canola oil.”

These oils, she adds, create “free radicals in the body, which can damage cells and have been linked to chronic disease and other inflammatory conditions.” This is obviously not good for your weight loss journey, either, and cheese fries or ‘loaded’ options at fast food restaurants are just as inflammatory, she says. To satisfy your potato cravings and to avoid this, many experts recommend whipping up your own home fries with avocado oil, and forgoing fattening toppings like cheeses, vegetable oils, etc. Noted!

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Packaged Pastries

The “least healthy type of carbohydrate” to eat is an “ultra-processed one,” Hunnes explains, such as those “that are frequently found in packaged pastries (think Pop-Tarts, energy bars, and fried anything.” The reason these types of carbs are not great for a weight loss journey at any age, let alone over 40, is “because they provide no nutritional benefit, they are often devoid of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds,” she says.

This, she says, detailing the drawbacks of breakfast pastries in particular, is “terrible for the metabolism because it leads to insulin spikes and increases in IGF-1, an inflammatory marker, and increases risk for chronic diseases and deposition (fat storage) of calories in the body.” Instead, Hunnes advises that we are best off to eat the “least processed carbohydrates possible, and replace them with whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, in their natural form, unprocessed.” These, she notes, will always aid your weight loss journey when in doubt, as they are “never harmful to our metabolism and are anti-inflammatory, high in fiber, and help regulate weight.” The more you know!

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