If you’re trying to lose weight, take another look at complex carbs. Complex carbohydrates fill you up and keep hunger away longer. Preventing hunger will keep you from eating too much and packing on calories. The high-fiber content of complex carbs means the body digests them slowly, and so they give you a steady source of energy for calorie-burning workouts. Complex carbs help keep blood sugar levels steady. Without the spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, you won’t feel cravings for sugary snacks loaded with empty calories. Complex carbs also give you more nutrients than simple carbohydrates. Love the lentils! Lose the white sugar!
These are some of the best complex carbohydrates for weight loss: Apples, beans, blackberries, lentils, oatmeal, quinoa, raspberries, whole wheat bread and pasta, and sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are a natural at helping control your appetite and trimming your waistline. They control appetite because they are high in fiber. The four grams of fiber in one medium sweet potato (about one cup) helps you feel fuller longer.
They give you a natural sweet fix without the refined sugar overload, and they won’t leave you craving more sweets. A compound found in sweet potatoes regulates blood sugar levels and helps prevent the desire for sweets that follows a dip in those levels. Plus, they can also help prevent blood sugar spikes because they have a relatively low glycemic index rating of 50. The low-glycemic rating means the sweet potato helps control your appetite by remaining in your digestive tract longer.
In addition to their weight-loss superpowers, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, which helps boost immunity and promotes good eye, skin, and bone health. They give you a powerful boost of anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
Beans are one of the best foods you can eat when you’re trying to control weight. Beans are another carb that’s full of the fiber that prevents you from feeling hungry. The fiber content of beans helps keep things moving through the digestive system. High-protein beans are low in calories and high in nutrition. They help keep energy and blood-sugar levels stable, which helps prevent cravings for sugary snacks that lack nutrition although they tend to be high in calories.
If you are not a fan of plain beans, add them to foods you love—smoothies, your scrambled eggs, soups, pasta dishes, or as a topping on pizza.
The value of low-fat, high-protein good carbs is that they help satisfy your hunger because they are loaded with fiber. Lentils are fiber powerhouses! A one-quarter-cup serving of dry green lentils offers 19 grams of fiber, petite French green lentils offer 18 grams and red lentils offer 14 grams of fiber. Stack that up against other legumes. The same amount of chickpeas offers nine grams, kidney beans offer 11 grams, and split peas offer 13 grams.
Lentil fiber is not just plain old fiber, it’s soluble fiber. That’s the kind that binds to carbohydrates and slows down digestion, so you feel fuller longer. Lentils are one of the highest sources of protein compared to other legumes. Red lentils and petite French green lentils offer 13 grams of protein, while a quarter-cup serving of dry green lentils offers 11 grams of protein. Lentils are aces at controlling cholesterol levels. Bonus: they cook up in just 20 minutes.