We have all heard that too much of the wrong carbohydrates can have some negative effects on your health, particularly on your waistline. If you are trying to lose weight, control diabetes or prediabetes, chances are you are looking to reduce the intake of unhealthy carbohydrates. Remember, carbs are an essential part of your diet, so you should only seek to reduce the ones that do not positively contribute to your overall wellbeing.
The following are some tips on how to moderate your intake of daily carbs:
- Eliminate Sugary Drinks: Sugary beverages do nothing for your health. Given their high sugar content, they are generally linked to an increased risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity when one consumes them in excess. Consider this: a 12-ounce can of soda has about 38 grams of carbs, all of which come entirely from sugar. Eliminating this from your diet is one of the fastest, easiest ways to ensure you are reducing your intake of carbs. If you want to drink something refreshing, try opting for club soda with lemon or lime and perhaps a small amount of sweetener instead of sugar.
- Scale Back on Bread: For many, bread is a staple that is present at all meals. However, bread is also incredibly high in carbs and rather low in fiber, especially white bread that is made from refined grains, which could impact both health and weight. Whole grain bread can be healthy in moderation, but there are other foods that provide the same nutrients, such as vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It can be difficult to give up bread entirely, but minimizing how much you consume is completely doable.
- Ditch the Fruit Juice: Whole fruit is healthy, but fruit juice contains almost no fiber and is comprised mostly of sugar. While it does provide some vitamins and minerals, it is still not much better than sugary soft drinks in terms of carbs. A 12-ounce serving of apple juice contains 48 grams of carbs, which is more than what most sodas contain. If you are craving fruit, eat a piece of fruit instead. You will get all the same vitamins, fewer carbs, and more fiber.
- Choose Low-Carb Snacks: When you snack on high-carb foods like chips, pretzels, and crackers, it can add up quickly without filling you up. If you opt for a low-carb snack that is high in protein, you will not only feel fuller, but likely more energized as well. Healthy snack options you might want to consider include nuts like almonds and pecans, or cheese.
- Enjoy Eggs or Other Low-Carbs for Breakfast: You might think your small serving of granola is healthy, but half a cup has about 30 grams of digestible carbs, even without milk. Eggs are a much more suitable option for breakfast when you are trying to cut back on carbs. They are an excellent source of protein, contain less than a gram of carbs, and can keep you full for hours, which will mean less snacking during the day.
- Consider Using These Sweeteners Instead of Sugar: It might be tasty, but we all know that added sugar is bad for us, especially if you are trying to maintain a low-carb diet. Honey might seem like a great all-natural alternative, but it is also high in carbs and contains roughly the same percentage of both fructose and glucose as sugar. If you need to sweeten a beverage or food, consider some of these sugar-free options:
- Stevia: This comes from the stevia plant and, according to some studies, has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin activity.
- Erythritol: This type of sugar alcohol actually tastes like sugar, but does not raise a person’s blood sugar or insulin levels.
- Xylitol: This is also another type of sugar alcohol. It has been known to help fight the bacteria that cause tooth decay and might reduce insulin resistance.
- Use Almond or Coconut Milk Instead of Milk: True, milk has some nutritious value, but it is also high in carbs and contains a sugar known as lactose. While adding a splash of it to your coffee or tea is not going to make an impact on your diet, drinking it by the glassful or adding it to cereal or shakes will. Thankfully, there are many alternatives to milk these days, the most popular of which is coconut milk and almond milk. Most of these alternatives are largely comprised of water and often have 2 grams of carbs or less per serving, compared to the 13 grams of carbs milk contains.
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