Through the years we have seen that a common problem many people have losing weight and burning fat as efficiently as possible is that they eat far too many carbohydrates, especially starchy carbohydrates. One of the simplest things you can do to help you lose weight, inches and burn more fat, is to use the one-starch method. You don't have to completely give up eating these delicious foods, simply cut back on foods like bread, rice, potatoes, beans or pasta at each meal. Instead of having several different starches, choose only one per meal.
Starchy foods like chips, crackers, pretzels, bread, rice, pasta and potatoes are very dense sources of carbohydrates and pack an incredible amount of calories per serving. For example, 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or potatoes can have more than 20 grams of carbohydrates compared to 1/2 cup of broccoli, asparagus, onions, bell peppers or zucchini which contain approximately 5 grams of carbohydrates or less. Even worse, most starchy carbohydrates are high-glycemic foods that can increase blood sugar quickly (which is not good, if your goal is to lose weight, inches and burn fat). If blood sugar rises too much or too fast, the hormone insulin is released to lower it. Spikes in insulin prevent the burning of stored body fat. Excess insulin can convert a majority of excess glucose into fat and store it in your fat cells. So, if you are eating a lot of starchy foods even though they are fat-free, many of those carbohydrates will be converted into and stored as fat.
My husband and I love Mexican food, which can be very high in starchy foods like corn chips, tortillas, refried beans and rice—all carbohydrates that are high-glycemic. Here’s a great tip to remember to control the starches and balance your meal when eating Mexican food. Order fajitas, which are traditionally made with grilled strips of skirt steak, quickly seared bell peppers and onion, and tortillas. Choose your favorite choice of quality protein such as steak, chicken, pork, or seafood and request extra grilled vegetables such as onions and bell peppers. Since you also need a small amount of healthy fat, enjoy the fajitas with a small side of creamy guacamole.
One of the most important things to remember about eating out, is that starchy foods are far less expensive than protein foods, so many restaurants will serve large portions of starchy carbohydrates for economic reasons. Refrain from eating an entire basket of warm bread and butter before your meal begins. Substitute baked, fried or mashed potatoes for steamed fresh vegetables. Be aware that one cup of cooked pasta contains more than 40 grams of carbohydrates. So the next time you are eating out, instead of having bread, chips, rice, potatoes, pasta or beans, order your meal to include only one starchy carbohydrate and turn a potentially weight-gaining, fat-storing meal into a fat-burning meal.
You can see how these simple adjustments can allow you to still enjoy many of your favorite foods and restaurants. You can use the one-starch method when eating out in any restaurant or even when preparing your own meals. You don’t have deprive yourself, it’s simply a matter of a healthier balance.
*Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar® spokesperson and national best-selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program