We hear a lot about carbohydrates and how they can be fattening or bad for blood sugar. After weight loss surgery, high-protein diets are often recommended, with carbohydrates being discouraged. But are carbs really the enemy? Probably not, as long as you choose wisely. Here is the scoop.
Carbs to Choose: Complex vs. Simple Carbs
Simple carbs, such as sugar, are more quickly digested than complex carbs, such as some types of starch. However, complex carbs are not always healthier than simple ones. For example, simple-carb sugar-sweetened foods tend to be worse for weight than complex-carb whole grains, simple-carb fruits tend to be better for weight loss than a starchy, albeit complex-carb, bagel.
The fiber content is a good guide when choosing carbs. High-fiber carbs tend to be more filling, higher in natural nutrients, and better for blood sugar than low-fiber ones. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are examples.
The Importance of Balance
As with so much else in life, balance is everything. Avoiding carbs will save you calories, but may not be sustainable. If you lose weight without eating carbs and go back to eating them in the future, you may regain the weight.
As important as it is to include a few carbs, it is also important to eat them with other foods to prevent blood sugar spikes. Protein slows digestion while helping maintain lean muscle mass as you lose weight, while fat reduces hunger, too. Including a balance of all can be the safest and healthiest way to lose weight.
Carb Portion Sizes
The right serving size of carbs can be much smaller than expected, especially after weight loss surgery. Your doctor may recommend a quarter cup of oatmeal, half of a piece of fruit, or half-cup of beans, for example. A bagel, muffin, or plate of pasta can easily have 4 or more servings.
The BariatricPal Store has many tools to assist with portion control. Portion Control Rings, for example, can help you get a good dose of vegetables and protein, with smaller amounts of carbs, without needing measuring cups or a scale. Similarly, markings on the Portion Control Platelet you see how much of a high-carb food to add to a meal.
Controlled Carbs without Deprivation
Many of BariatricPal Single-Serve Protein Entrees have 10 to 20 grams of carbohydrates, while including a dose of protein and flavor. Check out dishes including some with rice, pasta, and potatoes, but without guilt.
No worries if you are craving high-carb foods that are starchy or sugary. The BariatricPal Store has plenty of high-protein, reduced-carb alternatives, including Pretzels, Chips, Pudding, Cookies, Bread, and Cereal.
Following Your Doctor’s Guidelines
As with anything else related to your health, it is important to follow the guidelines that your surgeon and nutritionist provide. There may be minor differences between the plan you receive and the plan a different healthcare team would provide, but do not worry. Just stick to the plan and ask your surgeon any questions you have.
Carbohydrates most definitely are not the enemy as long as you choose wisely and keep them in small portions as part of a balanced diet. The BariatricPal Store can help you get the right carbs for weight loss while keeping in the flavors and treats that will keep you satisfied.