Are you avoiding carbs because you think that carbs can make you fat? Many people switched to low carb eating to lose weight. But low-carb eating has given perfectly good vegetables and fruits a bad name. Instead of avoiding the high sugar and higher carb vegetables and fruits; learn how to eat them and still lose weight. You can eat carbs and lose weight.
After seeing so many people avoiding these nutritious and delicious fruits and vegetables; I am coming to their defense and encouraging you to get them back into your diet.
I read an article recently in which the opening premise was that the banana a person adds to their smoothie could be making them fat. I get where the author was coming from, because I am cautious about eating foods that can throw off my fat-burning hormones, namely sugar and foods that act like sugar. (Handy dandy PDF of those kinds of foods here: Sugar and Foods That Act Like Sugar)
There are folks that believe that eating fruit or high carb vegetables is no different than eating candy or drinking soda. And so some people avoid these types of fruits and vegetables and some people eat the candy thinking it’s no different than say, a banana.
There is just so much wrong about that!
The Fear Around Too Much Fruit
I’ve been scared that too much fruit would be as bad as eating too many processed carbs and I can trace that back to doing low carb diets quiet a few years ago, such as Adkins and South Beach. I remember on Adkins; it was very strict. And some of that thinking has persisted for many of us.
But higher carb fruits and vegetables are a real food and even though they have a relatively high amount of sugar compared to blueberries or green beans, they are not evil and definitely do not need to be avoided by most people.
Unless you are actually drawing a little blood and measuring your blood sugar after you eat, you really can’t tell the effect that foods are having on your blood sugar. People that are trying to control blood sugar by diet, such as diabetics must do this and perhaps they need to avoid some types of fruit.
I evaluate my food choices based on personal criteria. While my body weight is one of them, I also look at the overall picture. What’s the condition of my skin, hair, and nails? How do I feel—do I have good energy throughout the day? How am I sleeping?
Does this particular food cause me to overeat or does it start up cravings?
Over the past few years, I have found that eating higher carb vegetables and fruit is ESSENTIAL to feeling my best. Without them, or in too low of quantity, I don’t feel satisfied or energized. I need potatoes and other high carb fruit and vegetables every day!
I eat a potato, winter squash, or piece of fruit with every meal. Instead of creating cravings, it keeps my cravings at bay. I absolutely need some higher carb food with my meals to provide energy, satisfaction, and fullness. I don’t make the higher carb food the star of my meal but it is definitely and important supporting player.
What are the Higher Carb Fruits and Vegetables?
This list isn’t all-inclusive but will give you an idea about some of the higher carb fruits and vegetables that I enjoy and regularly include in my diet
|Potatoes||Carrots||Winter Squash||Sweet Potatoes|
Some people seem to equate these higher-carb produce such as bananas and potatoes as being as bad as processed carbs such as bread and pasta and avoid them. This is definitely not necessary in a balanced, whole food diet.
I have overeaten bread or pasta in my day but I have NEVER overeaten carrots or bananas!
There is just no comparison. These are not at all the same as processed grains. These fruits and vegetables all have VITAL nutrients: vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber.
Our bodies need these foods and all their amazing nutrition!
What About Moderation?
I could tell you to eat them in moderation because I also believe that you don’t need a ton of them to feel good. But in my experience, eaten as part of a whole food diet, it just isn’t an issue. Some days you need a little more than others. Some days you don’t need as much.
Even if you decided to really pig out on bananas or potatoes (NOT potato chips!), how many are you going to actually eat? I REALLY like potatoes but I can’t see myself eating more than one or two at a sitting. And would I do that every day? It’s highly doubtful.
Do Carbs Make You Fat?
To tell you the truth, I’m always a little cautious about higher carb fruit and vegetables. But I am at my thinnest of my entire adult life without dieting and I eat higher carb fruits and vegetables with every meal. I include them because they:
- Help me to stay full longer
- Taste delicious
- Give me a mood boost
- Provide natural energy
- Keep cravings away
Like I said, I have many times in the past over eaten bread or pasta. Food like these do set up cravings and overeating. For me, wheat also causes a bunch of other problems. Occasionally, I’ll have a little rice (key is small amount) or a few tortilla chips. It’s not optimum of course–but being honest here.
But I have found that the benefits of including some carbs with my meals does not make me fat and actually helps me maintain a healthy weight.
High Carb Fruits and Vegetables Improve Your Mood
Eating a high-carb fruit or vegetable is very different than eating a high-carb processed food. When you eat the fruit or vegetable, you feel good. You feel like you are doing something good for your body. And you are. You are feeding it good nutrition and feel-good carbs. When you eat that junk, you don’t feel so good after the first bite.
I found that eating too few starchy or sweet fruits and vegetables left me feeling down and lethargic. My mood is always better for eating these kinds of foods.
Yes, You Can Eat Carbs and Lose Weight
So, if you have been avoiding higher-carb fruits or vegetables like I did for years, I encourage you to start adding them back into your diet. I think they are a great replacement for things like oatmeal and toast which beyond fiber don’t provide much nutrition. These kinds of fruits and vegetables are an important part of your overall diet. So, be brave. Go eat a banana!
I’m going to repeat this: Bananas and other high-carb fruits and vegetables provide VITAL nutrients: vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. And these natural sources are superior to any supplement or food additive.
So, no. As part of a whole food diet, high carb fruits and vegetables DO NOT make you fat. Go ahead and enjoy!
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.