Will Carbs Make Me Fat?
I receive lots of questions regarding eating carbohydrates. One of the general questions that I frequently get asked is, “Won’t carbohydrate foods make me fat?” This is not the case. Carbohydrates are an energy food for the body and are stored in your muscle and liver for use by the body. Carbohydrates are used by every cell in your body, used by the brain, used for moving muscles—whatever you do, the glucose in the blood from carbohydrates are used to fuel that activity.
Most carbohydrate foods come from plant-based sources. The typical sources of carbohydrates that we eat include:
- Peas (legumes)
Perhaps the most challenging aspects of changing our diets is giving up foods we've come to rely on as part of our regular eating routines. For those that want some other options that include low carb alternatives, I can help. Below are some ideas for lower-carb substitutes for high-carb foods you’ve come to love. Now, I am not saying you can NEVER eat carbs, but when trying to watch the amount of carbs you are eating, these options are great alternatives.
Low Carb Alternatives
For many people, bread is very hard to give up. When I start my clients on a meal plan, I usually try to rid of white flour and processed breads and replace them with whole grains, gluten-free or other types of lower carb options.
- Special low-carb breads (but read the labels carefully and note carbohydrate counts)
- Low-carb tortillas: there is gluten-free available as well.
- High-fiber "crisp breads" such as GG Bran Crispbread
There are also breads available that are less glycemic—meaning they aren't converted to sugar as quickly in our bodies. These breads are usually very heavy, with pieces of grains in them, or are made from sprouted grains like in Ezekiel® bread. Basically, the finer the wheat is ground, the easier it will be for your body to convert it to sugar.
Quick Tip: Whole wheat breads made from finely ground flour raise blood sugar just as much as white bread.
Many alternatives for pasta are available, which are lower in carbohydrates.
- Spaghetti squash (low carb recipe below)
- Shiitake noodles
- Low-carb pastas such as Dreamfields® work for some people.
Quick Tip: If you get 100% whole grain pasta and cook it al dente, the pasta will be less glycemic.
The starch in potatoes is essentially long strings of glucose (as is most starch). Although there isn't a perfect substitute for potatoes, some other vegetables can work well.
- Mashed Cauliflower
- Celeriac (celery root) is also good
- Zucchini strings—very good
Quick Tip: Among whole unprocessed foods, potatoes shoot blood sugar up faster and farther than any other.
Low Carb Recipe:
RECIPE-TURKEY SPAGHETTI SQUASH
- Spaghetti squash
- Ground turkey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly spray a baking sheet.
- Place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance.
- Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
- Meanwhile, heat in a skillet over medium heat.
- Cook ground turkey until brown. Cook and stir onion in turkey until tender. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through.
- Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the garlic onion mixture. Serve warm.