If you haven’t noticed, carbs have a pretty bad reputation. It is one they’ve rightly earned. Carbohydrate heavy foods (like breads and grains) are huge contributors to obesity. The good news is – not all carbs are bad for you. Eating healthy carbs promotes your weight loss goals.
Why? Because high-quality carbohydrates can be an incredible source of the energy, nutrients, and minerals your body needs to thrive. This is true, even if you are actively trying to lose weight.
Low-Quality Carbohydrates Make You Eat More
Think a heavy pasta or loaded pizza will fill you up? Think again. Eating low-quality carbohydrates can cause your body to build a leptin resistance, which causes overeating and body fat.
Leptin is often referred to as the “obesity hormone” because of the substantial role it plays in weight gain. It is secreted by the adipose tissue within your body. The role of leptin is to communicate to your brain that you are full. In short, leptin helps you stop eating.
Unfortunately, when you are leptin resistant, your brain doesn’t get this message which can lead to overeating and obesity. The 2012 article in Dovepress, ‘Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy,’ by Ian Spreadbury, Ph.D., proposes that:
Dense acellular (low-quality) carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity.
High-Quality Carbs Have a Low Carbohydrate Density
Carbohydrate density refers to the percentage of carbohydrates found within 100 grams of an item. Low-quality carbs have a high-density percentage (in the 75% range).
When we’re talking about high-quality carbohydrates (aka healthy carbs), we’re discussing a carbohydrate density of 23% or less. These percentages are not typically listed on the packaging. However, you can easily calculate them on your own using this formula:
Sticking to high-quality carbs isn’t just about losing weight. It’s about staying alive. A 2017 study by PURE, ‘Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents’, revealed that individuals whose diet consisted mainly of high-density carbohydrates were 28 percent more likely to die.
The science behind high-density and low-density carbohydrates comes down cell structure (or lack there of). Low-density carbohydrates are constructed out of fiber-walled cells. Throughout the cooking process, these cells remain mostly intact.
High-density carbohydrates don’t have these intact cells. These cells have been processed, allowing a higher quantity of carbs to be packed into a smaller space. As you eat these high-density carbohydrates and begin to build up a leptin resistance, you can develop a multitude of health-related issues ranging from obesity and diabetes to gastrointestinal issues and hormone imbalances.
High-Quality Foods with low Carbohydrate Density
The majority of high-quality carbohydrates are also high in fiber. This means your body needs to work harder to break them down, promoting a strong gastrointestinal tract, weight loss, and a reduction in body fat.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Nuts (Macadamia, Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, Walnuts)
- Brussel Sprouts
Low-Quality Foods with High Carbohydrate Density
Not only can the following low-quality carbs cause you to build up a leptin resistance, they can cause your blood sugar level to rise. Why? Because even though these items are not necessarily loaded with sugar (like cake or cookies), they turn to sugar as your body process them. This is what places them high on the glycemic index (a system used for measuring how quickly a food causes your blood sugar level to rise).
Medically Supervised Weight Loss
For most patients interested in losing weight, we recommend a paleo vegan diet, comprised of all organic ingredients. A paleo vegan diet is loaded with the vitamins and nutrients to thrive, while still giving you the support to achieve your weight loss goals. rich In order to help you achieve your weight loss goals,
Because each patient’s body is different, no two diets are exactly alike. Medically supervised weight loss allows us to help you customize your dietary plan to your body’s specific chemical makeup. This can help you supercharge your weight loss. Let’s talk about how to start feeling better and slimmer right now.
The following salad is loaded with antioxidant-rich, high-quality carbs. This is the kind of late-fall and early winter salad that’s bright and filling. It utilizes seasonal ingredients to create a beautiful bowl you’ll look forward to enjoying.
Antioxidant-Rich Pomegranate Sweet Potato Salad
The following ingredients are loaded with antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals to help your body thrive. But, this isn’t a must-follow recipe. Rather, use the following ingredients as inspiration.
Swap the arugula for spinach or baby kale. Add mandarin oranges for a bright pop of acid. Throw in some fresh herbs to bring some extra life to the bowl. Want more protein? Toss some toasted pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts on top. With this combo as your base, the world is your salad, so to speak.
- 2 large handfuls of Arugula
- ¼ cup radicchio, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup roasted sweet potato cubes
- ¼ cup avocado
- Light Balsamic Dressing
Combine arugula, radicchio, pomegranate seeds, sweet potatoes, and avocado in a medium bowl. Add dressing, a little at a time, tossing gently to coat.
Light Balsamic Dressing
- 3 TBS balsamic
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 5 TBS olive oil
Combine ingredients in a small jar with lid. Shake like crazy to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Use as needed.
More Paleo Vegan Recipes
This collection of paleo- and vegan-friendly cookie recipes perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth this season.
Sweet potato fries with avocado dipping sauce are the paleo vegan finger food so indulgent even your non-paleo friends will nosh like it’s their job.
These healthy paleo- and vegan-friendly fall dishes offer all the indulgence without any of the gut bomb of normal holiday food.
Enjoy this Article? Let's Keep them Coming.
Make your health a priority. Get our latest updates sent to your inbox.
Naturopathic health care with compassionate integrative doctors who understand your unique medical needs.