There are a few common misconceptions about carbohydrates. First, that they are somehow bad and cause weight gain. This is false.
You can actually over consume all types of foods, even the ones that aren’t on the naughty list (whatever that even means at this point I have no idea).
So here we go:
The answer here is starches.
Starches are plants gifts to humans, not only are they filling and keep you full they easily convert to glucose which is the primary fuel source for both your brain and muscles. When your muscles are more filled (glucose and water, carbs help with hydration, thus the name) you are leaner all things being equal.
It was close but I am comfortable with this being #1, the more useful your muscles are, the more energy you have to do amazing things.
Also your brain really likes having glucose readily available (it consumes up to 120g a day which is about 3 potatoes, so yeah, now you know that).
Great sources of starchy carbohydrates are (this is a short list):
Rice (especially white rice)
The last two I would consume in moderation depending on how processed they are, which brings me to my next AMAZING carbs
This is one of Dr. Susan Kleiners (co-host of the Eat To Perform podcast) soap box issues.
In the last 15-20 years whole grains have gotten a bad rap because they are being lumped in with highly processed grains.
Whole grains aren’t just fine, they are what is known as prebiotics meaning they are a good source of fiber.
If you are taking probiotics but not consuming prebiotics you are missing half of the picture.
Essentially prebiotics SUPERCHARGE probiotics making them much more useful.
Some great whole grains are:
Amaranth (which apparently can be popped like popcorn, who knew)
And that’s the short list! Whole grains help with being lean by cultivating great gut health.
That’s right, BREAD. Technically this is part of number two because a lot of those good, whole and unprocessed grains are great in bread.
Sadly, you can’t just go to a store and get it because to keep the bread shelf stable you have to process it more. But you can typically find some good nutty whole grain bread in the bakery of some grocery stores.
Susan makes her own. I go to a local bakery.
Bread probably isn’t super great for being lean by itself but when it’s eaten with a meal it contributes to satiety which helps with over consumption. That said, it tastes really good so try and be conscious of how much you consume and the calories you are taking in.
You knew it was coming, fruits and vegetables.
I don’t think I need to spend a lot of time on this one. They often aren’t sexy in the way that the first three might be but the more you can incorporate fruits and veggies in your diet the more vitamins and minerals you get. Fruits and veggies often don’t have as much fiber as most people think but as an overall strategy they can contribute to the mix along with the carbs from category two.
The issue with carbs actually has nothing to do with carbohydrates themselves. It’s the calories from carbs that are the issue (which is the case for all macronutrients) for most people and when you combine carbs with other macronutrients they make foods easier to consume.
The whole good and bad foods thing isn’t helping and it comes from the dieting world. If we know that the first rule of dieting is that you shouldn’t be dieting all of the time then that opens a whole new world where you can have more useful foods compared to foods you don’t need as much (but might be able to enjoy in moderation on occasion).
Even the programs that reverse don’t do a good job because they cave to the fear of their clients or they let AI (artificial intelligence) do the work.