From The Straits Times    |

Image: Grkic

If you’ve been avoiding carbs like the plague while trying to lose weight, it’s time to stop. Carbs aren’t the enemy, and your body actually needs them to function.

Carbohydrates are essential for energy – they get broken down into glucose before being absorbed by your body, and this glucose helps to fuel your activities.

The trick is to eat nutrient-packed, starchy carbs, instead of just loading up on simple sugars like chocolates or pastries.

Here, a list of the carbs you can eat to complement your weight-loss efforts while maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.


1. Barley

There are so many ways to prepare barley! This yummy grain can be used in drinks, desserts, soups and in mains. Various studies have shown that eating diets high in whole grains and fibre help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Barley has both – but choose hulled barley over pearled barley where possible as it’s the most nutritious. 


2. Quinoa

Naturally gluten-free, this is perfect for celiac sufferers. It is also one of the rare plant-based foods that’s considered a protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is a good source of fibre, iron, magnesium and potassium as well.


3. Whole-grain pasta

Swap out your regular pasta for whole-grain varieties instead. It tastes just as good, but is full of fibre and minerals. A higher intake of whole grains is associated with a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease too.


4. Oatmeal

One of the biggest benefits of oatmeal is its ability to help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol levels. A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition further reaffirms this as its researchers found that eating oats helps to reduce multiple markers of cardiovascular disease. Go for rolled oats or steel-cut oats to get the most benefits. You can also try out this delicious recipe for overnight oats

See also: Skip these 9 “healthy” foods to beat the wedding day bulge


5. Sweet potatoes

These spuds are high in beta-carotene, vitamin A, fibre and potassium: A 100g serving of sweet potato already helps you meet more than 100 per cent of your daily vitamin A requirements


6. Brown rice

Keep your blood sugar levels from spiking by filling your plate with brown rice instead of white rice. This one small change will make a big difference to your diabetes and obesity risk as brown rice has a lower glycaemic index and takes longer to digest. The fibre will keep you fuller for longer too so you don’t find yourself reaching for chips when 4pm rolls around. Here’s where you can get your brown rice fix in Singapore – hawker centres included. 


7. Fruits and vegetables

Yes, these are all considered carbs as well. Consume them in their pure form where possible – as whole apples and oranges, instead of blitzing them in a juice. That way, the fibre will fill you up and the sugar will take longer to hit your bloodstream.


See more:  Not losing weight? Instead of 2 big meals a day, do this instead

This story was first published on Shape.