Curbing Carb Cravings
Session Five in our Bariatric Support Series
In our last session we talked about protein and the many benefits of increasing the amount of protein you eat like controlling hunger, cravings and ultimately losing weight. I left you with a challenge of spending two weeks carefully monitoring and if necessary increasing your protein intake. So what did you experience? Did it work to control hunger? Let me know in the messages below. If you had a good experience, don’t stop. Let’s keep it going for another 2 weeks.
What are carbohydrates?
Welcome back! Now that we have finished our discussion on protein I want to turn your attention to the topic of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for our body, especially for the brain and central nervous system. They are classified as either simple or complex carbohydrates. The average American consumes more carbohydrate than is needed in the diet.
Controlling your Carbs
Overeating carbohydrates can sabotage your weight loss efforts. When you consume too many calories from carbohydrate-containing foods your body will store it as fat. Controlling carbs is not easy because they are everywhere. Keep in mind that many foods contain hidden sources of sugar or carbohydrate.
Condiments (including tomato sauces, ketchup and salad dressing), dairy, beans and fat free food products all contain carbohydrate. Be sure to read labels carefully next time you are grocery shopping.
So here are a few ideas to reduce carbs
- Drink water or water with sugar free flavoring instead of soda. A sure way to over consume calories is by drinking sugary beverages including soda, sweet tea, alcohol and energy drinks. Sugary beverages will increase levels of sugar in your blood and have been linked to insulin resistance, type 2 Diabetes and obesity when consumed in excess. Stick with water or other calorie-free beverages such as crystal light, Vitamin Water Zero or Propel Zero as your beverage of choice. Cut back on bread.
- Over eating white bread can lead to weight gain and make it next to impossible to burn fat. It is quickly digested and absorbed into your blood stream making it a high glycemic Index food. A good rule of thumb is to avoid white breads, which are missing the fiber and nutrients found in their whole grain counterparts. My suggestion is to use lettuce as a bread replacement. Lettuce wraps are quick to make and can be stuffed with protein that will keep you full.
- Stop drinking fruit juice. Did you know that a glass of orange juice has the same amount of sugar as 5-6 whole oranges? Most of us cannot even eat that many oranges in a day. Fruit juices contain fructose, also called fruit sugar. Fructose works to override our bodies built in weight control system and is a preferred fuel source for all cancer cells in the body. Eliminating fruit juice from your diet will aid in weight loss and will decrease the risk of chronic disease. Choose high-protein snacks instead of pretzels, chips and other high carbohydrate snacks
During our week 4 video session you may remember us discussing how protein increases satiety or a feeling of fullness. This makes protein a preferred snack choice over carbohydrates, which often contain “empty calories” and leave you feeling hungry.
Some recommended protein snacks are cottage cheese, greek yogurt, low fat deli meat, hard boiled eggs, low fat string cheese or a whey protein shake.
Other Helpful Alternatives
- Use a sugar alternative. Artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda and Sweet N Low are okay to consume in small amounts, but overconsumption has been shown to lead to negative health outcomes. If you are looking for a healthy calorie-free, sugar substitute to sweeten your beverage then I recommend using Stevia. Stevia has been shown to feed the good bacteria in your gut, increase calcium absorption and decrease the risk of certain types of cancer. Stevia can be found under the brand name Truvia or SweetLeaf.
- Try protein fortified milk or Unsweetened Almond milk instead of cow’s milk. Cows milk contains 12 grams of carbohydrate per cup, while unsweetened almond milk has 8 grams of carbohydrate per cup. Even better, FairLife or Mootopia milk has 6 grams of carbohydrate per cup and double the protein compared to cow’s milk. If your recipe calls for milk then make a healthy substitute by using unsweetened Almond milk or protein fortified milk products. Swap out potatoes for extra veggies at restaurants.
- Ask for a side salad or a double portion of steamed broccoli on the side to replace the calorie laden baked potato or french fry basket. Many restaurants honor requests, so don’t be afraid to be assertive and ask questions about the menu. Be proactive with making healthier selections.
- Choose non-starchy vegetables. Starchy vegetables like peas, corn, potatoes and winter squash have 3 times (15 grams) the carbohydrate content as green beans, asparagus, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts (5 grams). Now this is not a complete list of vegetables, but a good start. Also you can eat 3 times the amount of non-starchy vegetables!
Session Five Challenge
Well so far you are tracking water and protein so let’s complete our tracking exercise by adding carb for the next two weeks.
Use your Baritastic app or My Fitness Pal to calculate how much carbohydrate you are eating. See if you are within these guidelines
- Medical weight loss – less than 60 grams of carbohydrate/day
- Bariatric Surgery – less than 60 grams of carbohydrate/day
If you are not, let’s try lowering carb intake by selecting a couple of the tips that I just gave you. In two weeks we will review and find out how it went.