When cutting carbs to lose weight, it's most important to focus on reducing your intake of sugars, which are one of the three types of carbs. The other two are starches and fiber. While fiber can aid weight-loss efforts by slowing digestion and making you feel fuller longer, starches and sugars digest more quickly, which means you may feel hungry again shortly after eating them. When you want to lose weight as quickly as possible, reduce your intake of carbs -- especially sugars and starches -- and increase your intake of lean protein and healthy fats.
Focus your diet on low-carb whole foods, including lean beef, chicken and seafood; nonstarchy vegetables, such as broccoli and bell peppers; low-carb fruits, such as berries; and nuts and seeds. These foods are unprocessed and contain no added sugars.
Limit your intake of grains, which are high in carbs. When you do eat grains or grain products, make sure they are whole grains. Refined grains have the bran and germ removed, as well as much of their vitamin, mineral and fiber content. Refined-grain products, such as white bread, pasta and rice, are quickly converted to sugar in your bloodstream, leading to a sharp rise and fall in blood sugar and significant insulin release. Pronounced fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin will lead to fat storage, not weight loss. On the other hand, whole grains digest more slowly, providing you with steadier blood sugar and insulin levels.
Use stevia, an all-natural, calorie-free sweetener, in coffee and tea, baked goods, and other foods and beverages that benefit from a little sweetness. In a study published in "Appetite" in 2010, participants given stevia before a meal had lower postmeal insulin levels than those given sucrose or aspartame before a meal.
Find substitutes for your favorite carb-rich foods that will please your taste buds and your tummy. For example, scoop the cooked flesh out of a spaghetti squash and smother it with your favorite low-carb pasta sauce, or mash steamed cauliflower with garlic and herbs to take the place of mashed potatoes.
Swap sugar-sweetened beverages for no-calorie options. Sweet drinks such as soda and fruit juice are a major source of carbs (including sugars) and calories in the American diet. Instead of these, quench your thirst and satisfy your sweet tooth with plain, fizzy water garnished with fresh fruit chunks, or green tea served hot or cold with just a pinch of stevia.
- A safe rate of weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week. To lose this amount, you need to create a caloric deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day through a combination of a healthy diet and exercise.
- Although you can lose weight simply by reducing your caloric intake, combining a reduced-calorie diet with regular exercise is much more effective and will speed up your results.
- MayoClinic.com notes that stevia has not been approved as a food additive by the FDA, due to concerns over potential health effects, and urges using stevia only in moderation.
- The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook: Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats
- JoyBauer.com: Health Benefits of Refined Grains
- Integrative Oncology Essentials: Anti-Cancer Nutrition: Sugar and Carbohydrates 101
- Appetite: Effects of Stevia, Aspartame, and Sucrose on Food Intake, Satiety, and Postprandial Glucose and Insulin Levels
- Harvard School of Public Health: Sugary Drinks and Obesity Fact Sheet
- MayoClinic.com: Stevia: Can It Help with Weight Control?
- Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images