What Dieters Should Know About Carbohydrates

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Of all health issues related to carbohydrates, that of weight loss is probably the most misunderstood. Most dieters are aware of the disastrous effects of too much of the wrong carbohydrates -- principally sweets -- on a weight-loss plan. Sweets are high in calories, essentially devoid of nutrients, though they may take the edge off the appetite. But most people are unaware of the benefits of moderate amounts of the right carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains.

Dangerous diet

Despite their popularity, high-protein, low-calorie diets are neither healthful nor truly effective. Since low carbohydrate diets are not meant for long-term use, they do little to improve eating habits. In fact, these unbalanced regimens are more likely to cause the repeated cycles of weight loss and weight gain that experts consider dangerous.

Making the right choice

The promotion of low carbohydrate diets leads many weight watchers to make misguided food choices. For example, many will choose a 5-ounce steak (about 500 calories) over a serving of spaghetti with meat sauce, at about half the calories.

Calories in carbohydrates

When you are tempted to turn down carbohydrate food on your diet, remember this: ounce per ounce, carbohydrates and proteins supply the same number of calories (4 calories per gram), whereas fats supply twice as many (9 calories per gram). Carbohydrates can also help stave of between-meal hunger since they are high in fiber and water. Considering their many benefits, carbohydrates might be the best friend a dieter could ever have.

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