Can I eat carbs and still lose weight?

carbs fiber hunger natural eating whole foods

Yes, absolutely. Just make sure they have this one thing in abundance.

If all you know about fiber is that it makes going to the bathroom easier, you’re missing out on some important benefits that directly impact weight.

I lost fifty pounds over a decade ago without going on a diet. I ate mostly carbohydrates, with some protein and lots of natural fats. I ate meat, but not too much, and mostly from local sources. It’s exactly how I eat today.

Over the years the carbs or no carbs debate mystified me a bit. Sugar, specifically added sugars, was clear. There’s no longer any doubt about how it causes weight gain (children are the worst affected). It’s become an occasional treat and if I avoid packaged foods then I won’t consume sugar at every meal. Easy.

Even as I lost weight I ate carbs at most meals and all times of the day (my weekly treat is a handmade pastry). I used my hunger to guide the amount I needed to produce a healthy weight. This system has largely remained intact for twelve years and running because it works so beautifully.

It’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to tune out diets like keto (really, all diets). It made no sense to me that limiting carbs to maintain a healthy weight was useful or needed. I ate a lot!

What I realized is that my carbs have fiber. Loads of it.

The defining feature of a carbohydrate that‘s problematic for weight gain–or not, is how intact the fiber is once it hits your plate. That’s it.

It’s the processing of food that makes it obesogenic. The modern diet is basically, fiber-free. Only 5% of the population gets the recommended minimum daily amount of fiber. I get close to double without trying very hard.

“Fiber is the closest thing we have to a true superfood — or super-nutrient since it’s a part of so many different foods. Eating a fiber-rich diet is associated with better gastrointestinal health and a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, even some cancers. That’s because fiber is amazingly helpful in many ways: It slows the absorption of glucose — which evens out our blood sugar levels — and also lowers cholesterol and inflammation.”

So, the question becomes not, should I have carbs or no carbs (which sets us up to over and under eat while never nourishing ourselves) but, is there enough fiber in this food to make it a whole food?

If you’re wondering what that amount is, it’s a simple formula.

2g of fiber or more per 100 calories

This is the threshold that turns ‘carbs’ into food that nourishes and gives you pleasure.

Take it to the grocery store and hold it up to what’s in your kitchen. Are the things you believed to be healthy high in fiber?

The fiber in real food is a minor miracle.
My own experience is that fiber (naturally in food) changes how my body metabolizes it. Fiber-rich food works seamlessly with my natural satiation and energy needs. I can fill up and never wonder about what it’s doing to me.

It’s easy to stop, I never feel over-full, but somehow not hungry either. I have plenty of energy, no midday crashes, and have largely stopped worrying about eating in general.

The reason I’ve never counted fiber in the past is that I long ago turned to whole, unprocessed foods instead of packaged foods. There was no need to do any counting or inspecting labels. Veggies, beans, and whole grains have all the fiber and flavor I could ever want.

If you’re relying on packaged foods or wondering if health-washed items are in fact, good for you, all you have to do is apply this simple formula.

It elegantly answers the question, is this good for me? 

 

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