Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pasta Dinner Might Boost Weight Loss

When people embark on a weight loss mission, even if they're only trying to shave off the last 5 lbs, the first thing on the chopping block is usually carbs. Carbs really get a bad rap sometimes; potatoes, bread and pasta tend to be considered 'fattening' foods that people flat out quit eating when they are "on a diet". It is a terrible idea to pin the blame of weight gain on a few innocent foods because they contain nutrients essential for good health and also because the rumours aren't true. It also turns out that with the right timing, carbs can actually boost weight loss and lower cholesterol levels, among other benefits.

Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for your muscles and brain, so cutting them out or limiting them too severely can be detrimental to your health. Another good reason not to skin on carbs is that consuming balanced meals and snacks that contain at least 3 food groups (e.g. meat or alternatives, grains and vegetables) can help balance blood sugar levels and keep you full and satisfied from one meal to the next. And finally, new research has shown that having more carbs at dinner rather than spacing them out differently through the day can actually help your body blast more calories and improve a number of clinical outcomes.

In the study, two groups of men and women followed diets containing between 1300-1500 calories, made up of 20 per cent protein, 30 per cent to 35 per cent fat, and 45 per cent to 50 per cent carbohydrate. This is considered a low- to moderate-carbohydrate diet, as carbohydrates should make up between 45-55% of your daily energy intake. The difference between the groups was in the timing of the carbohydrate intake; the experimental group had less carbs and more protein at breakfast and lunch and a larger portion of carbs with dinner.

After 6 months it was found that the participants in the experimental group lost more weight, more of which was fat, and they also lost a larger percentage of their waist circumferences. Their hunger and fullness hormones as well as their glucose and insulin levels were more balanced, and the participants reported feeling more full throughout the day. In addition, their cholesterol and inflammatory marker levels also decreased.

Keep in mind that those participants didn't eat more carbs over all, they just timed them differently to serve different purposes throughout the day. So before you nix sandwiches and pasta all together, give this method a try!