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Cutting down on starchy carbohydrates - is it a bad idea?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Heya,

Recently I've been eating a lot of junk, so I've decided to 'detox' a bit and stop eating millions of chips. So I formulated some nice recipe ideas where I could omit some starchy carbs and replace them with fibrous carbs, along with less sugar and saturated fats in general. This isn't necessarily a long term solution but just to kick start some decent habits.

I was speaking to a friend about this the other day and they said they thought cutting out starchy carbs (bread / wheat / rice) altogether is really bad for you, but I thought since it's still just sugars, as long as I am meeting my calorie requirements elsewhere it's not so bad. I generally eat half a bag of spinach in one sitting :D lol, finding a lot of creative ways to mix it up a bit.

Do people think it's a bad idea healthwise to cut out starchy carbs or at least restrict them highly? I'm just trying to go for a 'lean' diet for a few weeks, without too much extra calories from all those tasty carbs.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I wouldn't say it's unhealthy, but it may leave you with less energy. Why not try healthier carbs such as wholegrain pasta, rice and bread, much healthier and taste better in my opinion!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    depends on your lifestyle.
    if you are active and/or exercise much, then you need carbs. theyre good for you.

    What are your reasons?

    Its no one food group that makes you fat. Its overeating calories in general that makes you fat.

    The best way to lose weight and stay healthy, is to eat a balanced diet which involves all the food groups, but moderate yourself.
    It is easier to stay within those calories if you cut out things like fried chips etc, but Theres absolutely nothing wrong with a few oven chips here and there.

    Unrefined carbs are better than white carbs though, so wholemeal/brown things instead of white where you can, as theyll keep you fuller for longer and are more nutritious, and most vegetables are a fantastic source of good carbs.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Lifestyle: semi-active. I am normally pretty active, but my routine has fallen down a bit recently, so for the past two weeks I've done no real exercise. But I normally do exercise 3-4 times a week.

    Goals: get body fat percentage below 20% (currently 22-23% ish), after that I would like to just be 'fit', healthy, active and probably want to work on building up muscle strength and muscle definition.

    My main angle on the carbs is instead of just accidentally loading up on them (for example, tonight I'm having chilli, would normally cook loads of rice to eat with it, instead I'm having a wholemeal pitta), cutting them out/down and getting the 'energy' from the other bits, like the chilli in this example. Of couse I'm not going atkins and saying no to carbs 100%, but everything has calories in it, carbs are just a cheap / effective way of getting calories from what I can tell... which if you don't need the energy just means more fat for me :(.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Swapping out white grains for whole grains is a good way to do it. Having a small amount of starchy foods i.e. all grains and potatoes, (veg doesn't count) is important because we need the fibre and the energy we get from it.

    Some carbs are better than others - oats fill you up for longer and are quite nutritious, brown and wild rice have good fibre content, Corn is great, and can be used in all sorts of things. But refined carbs - white wheat flour, white rice (mainly basmati, others a slightly better), and potatoes (which are great in moderation, and if only boiled or baked). Its also looking at the way that carb had been processed - pizza bases in themselves are fine, but deep pan is obviously less healthy than a thin and crispy, and wholemeal pizza base would also be even better.

    I had a while when I stopped eating wheat and switched to eating spelt, which is a kind of wheat but has a higher nutritional content, and is easier to digest. I lost a bit of weight and that horrible bloating thing that often happens after eating wheat stopped. Have a greater variety of grains - have corn tortillas instead of wheat ones, try polenta instead of potatoes with a stew etc..
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »

    My main angle on the carbs is instead of just accidentally loading up on them (for example, tonight I'm having chilli, would normally cook loads of rice to eat with it, instead I'm having a wholemeal pitta), cutting them out/down and getting the 'energy' from the other bits, like the chilli in this example. Of couse I'm not going atkins and saying no to carbs 100%, but everything has calories in it, carbs are just a cheap / effective way of getting calories from what I can tell... which if you don't need the energy just means more fat for me :(.


    I see where youre coming from, but carbs are not just calories. theyre what your muscles and your brain use as their primary source of fuel. I think youre right in that theyre easy to overeat, and that you dont need massive portions of rice with a chilli, but if youre an active person, i would still try and get carbs in. theyre nothing to be frightened of.
    Maybe cut out refined sugars and white bread and white rice/pasta as a way of getting rid of the high GI carbs, but still keeping the good low GI ones
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    without going all gobbledegook on you it may be worth googling Rosemary Conley portion pots. They are little cup things that come with a guide which you use to measure the portion sizes of loose items like pasta, rice etc. When i was given them it really helped me realise that actually in terms of carb type stuff (rice/pasta/potato/cereal) the reccomended portion size is a lot less than i thought and it makes it really easy to get the right portion size without overeating the item. I could easily eat double sized portions of carbs without even realising it until i got these coz sometimes what looks like is a normal sized portion is actually more than you need. A good example of this is with chinese/indian takeaways - i could easily get three portion pot portions of rice with these - three meals worth, yet people often think it is a portion for one.

    Fibre is really important so if you do cut out some forms of carbs make sure that you are looking for fibre in other things.

    Also it may be worth mentioning that programs like slimming world advise you to fill up on rice, potatoes and pasta amongst other things freely and they have lots of weight loss success so they aren't all bad. I personally think it is all about balance and finding exactly what works for you on an individual basis.
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