Jump to content
  • ENA

    Choosing Carbohydrates Carefully

    Excerpted from
    Fire Up Your Metabolism : 9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever
    By Lyssie Lakatos, R.D., Tammy Lakatos Shames

    MYTH: Vegetables are boring.

    BUSTED: Vegetables roasted with your favorite spices are not boring. Try hot pepper, garlic, or onion. See page 67 for a list of ways to spice up your veggies.

    MYTH: You can't sink your teeth into veggies.

    BUSTED: Try filling up on a box of frozen spinach cooked with tomato sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

    MYTH: You can't enjoy vegetables without fattening dressings.

    BUSTED: Try dipping your veggies in balsamic vinegar, salsa, barbecue sauce, nonfat yogurt and onion dip mix, or nonfat dressing.

    MYTH: Carbohydrates are fattening.

    BUSTED: Carbohydrates are not fattening. However, they do invite fattening toppings like butter, cream sauces, and sour cream, which lead to excess pounds. And people tend to overeat carbs; overeating anything causes weight gain.

    MYTH: Eating bread and pasta isn't healthy.

    BUSTED: Whole wheat pastas and whole wheat breads are extremely healthy and important for a speedy metabolism.

    MYTH: You should eat carbohydrates only early in the day.

    BUSTED: You need to eat some carbohydrates at every meal; they provide your body with energy and they are your body's fuel.

    Our Twin Trial

    We are both extremely energetic, and we owe much of our energy to eating plenty of "always" carbohydrates. We hypothesized that the guinea pig who would have to practically give up these carbohydrates would most likely be a "tired twin" during the course of the experiment.

    As you can imagine, convincing Tammy that it was her turn to be the nutritional science experiment took a little more than just Lyssie's reminder that her past guinea pig experience resulted in salvaging her hair. So Lyssie also tried to work her seventeen-minute age seniority to her advantage, but Tammy wouldn't budge.

    To be fair, we flipped a coin and let that dictate our nutritional fate for this experiment and for the rest of our twin trials. As luck would have it, Lyssie lost. This meant that she was doomed to give up her body's most efficient metabolism-revving fuel and her body's best source of energy, the "always" carbohydrates. Instead, she would be forced to fuel her body, as most Americans do, primarily with "sometimes" and "rarely" carbohydrates. Although all carbohydrates, including the "sometimes" and "rarely" ones, provide energy for the body, it's only the "always" carbohydrates that kick the metabolism into high gear.

    Lyssie: I knew the severity of the results: I had witnessed countless clients who initially came to us loading up their bodies primarily with "sometimes" and "rarely" carbohydrates and experienced energy highs and crashes, food cravings and frequent hunger, and a body fat count that was through the roof. After making changes in their diets so that they were eating mostly "always" carbohydrates, our clients rarely experienced hunger pangs, had few if any food cravings, had more energy than ever, and most of all, their metabolism had sped up, causing them to lose innumerable pounds.

    Now it was my turn to prove just how damaging overeating "sometimes" and "rarely" carbohydrates can be. Would someone like myself, with tons of energy and substantial amounts of dietary discipline, succumb to the ill effects of eating mainly "sometimes" and "rarely" carbohydrates? Would I have energy crashes and food cravings and a slow metabolism that would lead to fat gain? I feared the worst and complained for an entire hour after losing the flip-and that was even before the trial began. Being forced to eat the "sometimes" and "rarely" carbohydrates is worth making a fuss over.

    So for four weeks we both had our usual daily eight carbohydrate servings. Only now I met my carbohydrate requirements by having five servings of "sometimes" carbohydrates and three servings of "rarely" carbohydrates rather than the primarily "always" carbohydrates I usually ate.

    The changes started in the morning. Instead of eating my usual breakfast of homemade granola (our mom makes this herself with whole oats-"always" carb-soy flour, and nuts and no hydrogenated oils, and sends it to me), I chose a "sometimes" breakfast cereal. Special K, and ate that with my usual soy milk and an apple. By mid-morning, I was already sliding on the slippery slope of carbs. I was hungry before lunch for the first time in years, and I was craving more food so that I could have my usual energy.

    Most mornings I eat breakfast and then go to the gym. My breakfast gives me fuel for my workout and tides me over until about 9:00 or 9:30 when I have my midmorning snack. However, after having Special K, I was hungry in the middle of my aerobic exercise. Not surprisingly, exhaustion followed hunger, and before I knew it my usual pace on the treadmill slowed. When I switched to the bike, I was completely zonked.

    So much for burning calories that morning. All I wanted was my midmorning snack. I was ravenous. My usual postworkout yogurt didn't make a dent in my hunger! I felt like I needed more food, which I didn't want to have, because the extra food would compromise the trial.

    Thinking that the Special K might be to blame, in the next days I experimented with several different "sometimes" carbohydrates to sec which would make me feel the best. I tried Honey Nut Cheerios, Chex, Product 19, white toast, and Cream of Wheat. Eventually, I wound up choosing a plain, white English muffin with soy milk and an apple, as this seemed to be the most satiating and energizing, yet it too still left my stomach rumbling.

    One week into the trial, I got to the point where I couldn't take it any longer. I cheated and gave in to my temptation. I started with a post-yogurt pretzel. Later in the month, that turned into two or three.

    I really tried to make this experiment as painless as possible by simply eating the same main meals I usually ate, only replacing "always" carbohydrates with the "sometimes" and "rarely" ones. Now I had my regular sandwich on white bread. At dinner, I replaced brown rice, whole wheat pita, and whole wheat tortillas with their refined counterparts-white rice, white pita, and white flour tortillas.

    Overall, besides making several taste adjustments, the main effects that I experienced from my carb switch were that hunger came on shortly after meals and I felt less energetic. I was most affected after breakfast, when the "sometimes" carbohydrate was quickly burned because I didn't have a whole lot of fiber or protein or fat with the meal to slow the digestion and to keep delivering energy to me.

    After four weeks of this experiment, my body fat had gone up 3 1/2 percent.

    I was shocked. The only change I made was in the type of carbs I ate. My serving portions and frequencies were the same, and although my lunches varied among tuna, turkey, and peanut butter sandwiches, they were always on white English muffins or white pita. For dinner I had fish, chicken, turkey, or veggie burgers, but white rice, white pasta, or white bread and white buns always accompanied them. My snacks of low-fat cheese and whole wheat crackers were made on saltines or Wheat Thins. So, although a 3'/: percent change in body fat may not sound like much, it is significant when you consider that my exercise routine and most of my other food choices remained the same.

    The psychological consequences of the weight gain were much worse than the physical. The Saturday night before this trial ended, I went to a wedding, which I had been eagerly anticipating for months. I had bought the perfect, sleek, beautiful black dress, and I couldn't wait to wear it when I saw my old friends. One problem: The dress no longer looked quite so perfect. It was snug and unflattering. I did the only decent thing I could while attempting to save my pride. I grabbed my biggest Pashmina and draped it over the dress. It might as well have been a curtain-it was so big that it covered everything from my shoulders to my knees (thank God something fit perfectly!).

    The good news is that I had another wedding a couple of months later, and now I had real inspiration to keep clear of "sometimes" and "rarely" carbs again-I wanted to look good in that dress! Choosing the wrong carbohydrates, such as I was forced to do, is an error that most Americans make unwittingly.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Create New...