Eat Carbs To Get Lean - Top 10 Carbohydrate Foods
For A Healthy Diet
Fat Loss Nutrition Basics
to get lean is not as difficult or confusing as we have been lead
to believe. The problem is the quick fix mentality and distorted
reality supplement companies and diet programs try to sell us. The
best method of nutrition to achieve a lean and healthy body is one
that consists of mainly whole foods and is macronutrient balanced.
When trying to lose body fat, we want to make sure we cover the
essentials and avoid the pitfalls. Once these bases are covered,
fat loss will become natural. First, we want to make sure we get
a body fat test to find out how much lean body mass we truly have.
There are several methods at your disposal, with varying degrees
of accuracy. Underwater weighing, bioelectrical impedance scales,
skin fold calipers, or even just body a few simple tape measurements
like the US Navy or YMCA methods. I suggest just about any of the
above methods will suffice for our purposes as long as it is used
consistently. Precision is far more important than the accuracy
to gauge progress.
We are also going to use our lean body weight to calculate
how much we eat and what that food is made up of. If your primary
goal is fat loss, I suggest a starting point of 1 gram of carbohydrate
per pound of lean body mass (LBM), 1 gram of protein per pound of
LBM and 0.5 gram of fat per pound of LBM. Simply take your body
fat percentage (in decimal form) and multiply it by your weight
and that equals the pounds of body fat you carry. Then subtract
that number from your total bodyweight and that is your lean body
mass. So lets deal with an example, just so there is no confusion.
Say you are 200 lbs and have a body fat of 25%. Then,
- lbs body fat = 0.25 x 200 = 50 lbs
- lbs lean body mass = 200 50 = 150 lbs
To lose body fat, you want to shoot for 150 g carbs/day, 150 g
protein/day, and 75 g fat/day if you were the above person! Divide
that up into four to six small meals and presto, you are going to
preserve lean mass and burn fat. Say you choose to eat five meals
a day, that is 30 g carbs, 30 g protein and 15 g fat per meal. These
are merely targets and meant to be guidelines. You wont hit
these numbers exactly, just be in the ball park and youll
be just fine. I also recommended that you take two days a week (you
choose) and you double your carbohydrate intake. Now, take one of
those two higher carbohydrate days and also double your fat intake,
but on only one. This will help satisfy cravings for your favorite
foods, recharge your metabolism and also keep your body from adapting
to the decrease in calories. It is a planned diversion and one that
if will only help if strategically used. Now that we know what to
eat and how much, we must now focus on the best choices in each
need carbohydrates to be at our healthiest. Yes, carbohydrates can
cause fat gain, especially if an over abundance of the calorie dense
variety are consumed too often. Eating too many calorie dense carbohydrates
causes insulin spiking and when that happens, fat burning potential
is greatly decreased and fat gain virtually imminent. From that
it would seem that a low carbohydrate diet would make sense? It
is actually true, you will lose body fat more quickly on a low carbohydrate
diet than any type of diet. So why would I recommend as much carbohydrates
as I do in my program? There are a couple of reasons for this. When
carbohydrate intake gets too low, your muscles have no fuel (called
glycogen). Your body then turns to its two alternate fuel
sources, fat and protein. Once glycogen stores get too depleted,
the body begins to breakdown proteins to use as fuel. Carbohydrates
are protein sparing, so while we dont want to prevent the
burning of fat, we also dont want to lose valuable muscle
mass either or use all the protein we ingest for energy in lieu
of muscle synthesis. We want the protein we intake to be used to
repair and build muscle. We want the muscle we have to grow. In
the long run, the amount of lean body mass we have dictates how
fast our metabolism is, 24 hours a day! We want lean, yet muscular
bodies. We definitely dont want to be a skinny, but soft and
saggy person. So how do we do this? We want to eat carbohydrate
foods in the right quantities, but focus on those that are nutrient
dense and convert to glucose over an extended period of time so
insulin doesnt spike. That means the carbohydrates we eat
must contain vitamins and minerals, have adequate fiber content
and have the enzymes necessary to digest them. We also dont
want to eat them alone, but with some protein and a little fat,
to further slow the insulin response.
The top ten carbohydrate sources/categories are:
10.) Brown rice: The key here is brown, with the fiber husks
in place. Rice allergies are rare and it digests readily without
too much distress, bloating or gas. It is best for fat loss to keep
serving sizes under 1 cup cooked or ¼ cup dry weight.
9.) Steel cut whole oatmeal: Not the rolled oats you grew
up eating, but maybe what your grandmother grew up eating. This
is the whole oat with all valuable fiber and nutrients in tact.
It takes a bit longer to cook, but the nutty flavor and slower insulin
response are worth it. As with brown rice, keep serving sizes under
1 cup cooked or ¼ cup dry weight.
8.) Quinoa: Another high fiber, gluten-free cereal grain.
Higher fiber and mineral content than the oats or rice for even
better insulin control. If taste doesnt suit you at first,
mix 1:1 with oatmeal until you get used to it. Once you are, youll
7.) Yams/sweet potatoes: These tubers are best prepared
baked, in the skin. Not much more carbs than a regular russet of
similar size, but more fiber, vitamins and minerals. I like them
baked, then refrigerated cold and sprinkled with a little cinnamon,
nutmeg and allspice.
6.) Winter squashes: Butternut, pumpkin, spaghetti or acorn
squash are all very nutritious and now can be found in markets year
round in most places. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds and
bake them skin side up over a ¼ of water. These are
full of fiber, vitamins and minerals and a nice change of pace.
5.) Peas and Legumes: Most beans varieties and green peas
fit this bill. Choose from black, pinto, navy, kidney, white, red,
chickpeas, garbanzo, etc. beans or green peas, as all of these are
high fiber and very filling. Protein content, along with the fiber,
fills you up without filling you out by keeping insulin response
low. For best results, soak and cook slowly. As a snack, try hummus!
4.) Colorful fibrous veggies: Red, yellow and orange bell
peppers, green beans, beets, yellow summer squash, zucchini, purple
eggplant, carrots, parsnips, red and green chili peppers
colors mean carotenoids, and plenty of mixed carotenoids means more
antioxidant coverage. A wide variety of colorful vegetables in your
diet will improve your health and make your skin glow. There is
almost no downside to the amount of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients,
and fiber (at low calories) they provide.
3.) Super fruits: Fruits are great foods, full of fiber
and enzymes, and with their quick digestion yet slow insulin response
makes them ideal for an instant energy boost. But not all fruits
are created equal and most dont even make this list, but a
select few make it almost to the top. Blackberries, blueberries,
raspberries, pomegranates, cranberries, and acai are amazing foods.
You will feel the difference when you eat them versus other fruits.
They are excellent when your sick, or when you workout hard, for
that extra level of protection. High antioxidant, phytonutrients,
enzymes, fiber and vitamins at moderate calories give you a lot
of bang for the buck. They also have cleansing alkalizing effects
on you internally, which along with all the antioxidants, provides
an enormous immunity boost and keeps your digestive system functioning
2.) Leafy green vegetables: Kale, sea kelp, turnip greens,
collard greens, mustard greens, beet greens, chlorella, wheat grass,
endive, alfalfa sprouts, spring green lettuces, spirulina, and spinach
are so low calorie, yet so nutrient dense, they rank very high on
my preferred carbohydrate list. Include these several meals a week
and they will cover almost any base you missed. Theyve got
the minerals, phytonutrients, fiber and vitamins in high quantities.
These also are alkalizing and cleansing, keeping your digestive
system running at full capacity.
1.) Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, broccoli rabe, cauliflower,
bok choy, napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, green and purple cabbages
are maybe not as high in micronutrients as the leafy green vegetables
or super fruits, yet they contain DIM or Diindolymethane, a phytonutrient
that acts as an estrogen disposal agent. Excess estrogen plagues
almost anyone who is overweight or has practiced poor dietary habits
for any amount of time. When you rid yourself of excess estrogen,
you free up testosterone to do its job of building muscle at the
expense of body fat. It is best to consume these incredible foods
in large quantities. Try broccoli rabe or baby bok choy, sautéed
in a little olive oil, with sea salt and garlic. Try mashed cauliflower
in place of mashed potatoes, its terrific.
Now, I would suggest 80% or more of your total carbohydrate
intake come from above preferred foods list. That doesnt
mean you cant have other complex carbohydrates like dairy
products, bananas, white rice, pasta or whole grain bread ever again.
It just means we will eat those foods more sparingly now. Simple
sugars (other than whole fruit sources) should be used very rarely,
if at all, except in one particular condition. That is your post-workout
meal/drink. After you have been tearing up your muscles in the gym,
they are primed for a quick and easy to digest meal, preferably
a protein and simple carb drink, so your body can go from a catabolic
state to an anabolic state and begin to synthesize lean tissue.
That repair process will continue over the next 48-96 hours with
healthy whole food meals, so this is the only time to do this. The
rules for the drink are that it contain high quality whey or egg
white protein, a simple sugar such as dextrose, glucose or sucrose
(but not crystalline fructose or high fructose corn syrup), and
virtually no fat or fiber. It is best if ingested anywhere from
0-30 minutes after your workout is complete. In essence, exactly
the opposite of what we normally want in a meal. You can add creatine
or l-glutamine if you like or fruit juice. These are not necessary
additions, but may help in recovery.
By Zach Smith