To lose weight through the Carb Type Strategy, you will exclude certain types of carbohydrates, up to a certain "level" as shown in the chart below. How far you go is up to you.
In the chart below, the lower levels (starting at level 1) are considered worse for losing weight, so it's better to restrict the lower levels and eat only the higher levels. But again, where you draw the line is an individual decision.
For this strategy, you will likely need to look at nutrition labels to see carb content, and you'll need to be familiar with different types of carbs.
In general, carbs contained within any "whole food" should be fine for purposes of losing weight UNLESS you are aiming for a ketogenic or low-carb diet or are severely insulin resistant.
Read the comments below to help you figure out your best strategy.
|Refined Carbohydrates||Whole Food Carbohydrates|
Level 1: Sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup)
Level 2: White flour (from wheat)
Level 3: All flour (from any grain, including whole wheat flour)
Level 4: Whole Grains (visible kernels only; no flour) (wheat, rice, oats, etc)
Level 5: Fruit
Level 6: Starchy vegetables and legumes (beans, potatoes, carrots, etc)
Level 7: Fibrous vegetables
Comments about each level:
Level 1 & 2: If you want to make a big impact on your diet both in terms of low-carb, health, reducing insulin spikes, and losing weight, you'll reduce or eliminate these two levels.
Levels 1 - 3, Refined Carbohydrates: Eliminating these three levels gives you probably 90% of the benefit of low-carb dieting. When you eliminate those sources of carbs, you can't help but dramatically reduce your carb intake and increase your intake of more healthy sources. In other words, you may not need to do something as drastic as a ketogenic diet to get the desired benefits.
Insulin resistant/pre-diabetes/diabetes: If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, diabetes, or are insulin resistant, you will benefit from dropping all carbs in the Refined Carbohydrates category (Levels 1 - 3). Or, stated another way, stick with Whole Food carbohydrates.
"White carbohydrates": One popular approach is to avoid any carbohydrate that is white -- which includes, sugar, white flour, rice and potatoes. What's nice about that rule is that it is simple and effective. However, potatoes and white rice don't necessarily deserve to be shunned. Potatoes can in fact be a great diet food (see Filling Foods). Likewise, white rice has been shown to be highly filling. You may wish to experiment and see your own results. However, of course you should avoid what we might call "processed potatoes" (potato chips and french fries)
Level 3, All flour: This is a personal choice. You may benefit from avoiding all flour. The main problem with flour is that when a grain has been ground into flour, the body doesn't have to work very hard to digest it; it is absorbed very quickly compared to eating whole kernels or kernels in pieces (not ground up). If you don't want to avoid all flour, there are some extremely course breads that may get a "pass".
"Wheat Belly" theory: This controversial theory blames wheat for obesity and weight problems. Regardless of whether that is true or not for the general population -- you may in fact want to try eliminating all wheat (Level 2, and wheat on Level 3, and Level 4). It may help you lose weight, or it you may simply feel better if you happen to be gluten intolerant or wheat allergy. Of course it's also helpful or necessary to eliminate wheat if you have Celiac disease. In any case, there is a simple test: go without wheat entirely for one month and see how you feel.
Level 4, Whole Grains, visible: The entire food should consist of whole kernels or kernels broken into pieces, but not ground into flour. If it is flour or combined with flour, it doesn't count. These foods count as whole grains: Oatmeal, cracked wheat cereal, rice. These foods do NOT count: Whole wheat bread, cream of wheat, shredded wheat, Wheaties, etc.
Level 5 vs Level 6: These two groups are roughly equal when it comes to carb impact. Both levels have a good reputation for being good, healthy diet foods ... but it depends on who you ask. See next two points.
Level 5, Fruit: In spite of what some people say, fruit should not hinder weight loss efforts. Eating several servings a day is usually no problem. That said if you are aiming for very low carb or ketogenic levels or if the sweet flavor triggers cravings, you may need to eliminate fruit. Or reduce to say, 1 or 2 pieces or servings per day. But avoid fruit juice except in very small amounts (see Avoid Drinking Calories).
Level 6, starchy vegetables: These are generally excellent diet foods since they come packaged with fiber, protein and many other nutrients. However, some diets may restrict these foods to reduce total carbs to ensure ketosis -- and/or to reduce calorie levels for a short time. Also, in spite of the fiber content, some highly insulin resistant individuals may have still problems with some high-starch foods.
Level 7, fibrous vegetables: All vegetables contain some carbohydrates. But these vegetables contain so few carbs they can be eaten on any diet including low carb (and often in unlimited amounts).