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What you need to know about carbs and weight loss

I did some informal market research about people’s pain points around losing weight or eating well and one subject came up repeatedly: Carbs!

Though you probably know that many people can lose weight successfully on a low carb plan, it may surprise you that just as many lose similar amounts on a quality carb plan. This has been shown in numerous studies. So the answer is yes, you can eat carbs and lose weight. And most importantly, if you’re someone who could never live without bread, rice, pasta, or quinoa, it doesn’t make sense to pick a weight loss approach that involves giving these things up.

For my carb-lovers, I’m in favor of sticking with quality carbohydrates: whole grains, fruits, a variety of veggies (including colorful starchy ones, like sweet potatoes), and beans. These whole foods have fiber that naturally fills you up, so you eat less over time. They’re also packed with positive nutrients.

So often, people take an all-or-nothing approach but sometimes the magic happens when they find the middle ground. It might be helpful to think of carbs this way: The middle ground is the quality (see above) and the amount. Thinking about your plate, the veggies take up the biggest part—at least half the plate. The protein is the second largest, whether that’s meat, fish, or a plant source. The whole grain or starchy veggie portion is the smallest serving. (Meaning, it's a side dish.) Plant-based fats (like avocado, oils, and nuts) and other high-calorie flavor-boosters (like cheese) are accessories. 

Of course, there will be times when carbs will take a bigger role (like a pasta dinner or an oatmeal breakfast), but think about how to balance these foods out with the other foods that are available to you. Tossing tomatoes, broccoli, and olives into your pasta invites veggies and healthy fats to the table. Adding sliced banana and walnuts to your oatmeal also brings more variety and additional nutrition to your morning meal.

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