Eat Pasta, Drop Pounds!
By Lucy Danziger
Ever tried to avoid carbs in order to lose weight and found they still follow you everywhere you go? At my favorite restaurant, the fettuccine on the menu taunts me; at my friend’s baby shower, the sandwich platter beckons much louder than the mixed greens. And in a business meeting, the cookies distract me. Whether it’s a basket of warm bread, a tasty pasta or tantalizing desserts, carbs can be hard to quit.
Thankfully, you don’t have to. Despite their reputation for helping pack on the pudge (remember Dr. Atkins?), certain carbs can actually help you feel fuller longer and fight fat. The key? Fiber—found in whole grains, oats, certain legumes and even popcorn! When people follow a high-fiber diet—at least 34 grams of fiber a day—they absorb up to 6 percent fewer calories, research shows.
Before you raid your breadbox, learn these two simple carb commandments to enjoy pasta and all your fave carbs and still peel off pounds.
Carb commandment #1: Look for whole grains. Unlike their white counterparts, whole-grain versions of rice, bread and pasta are high in satiating, fat-fighting fiber. Opt for whole-grain pastas and replace your usual loaf of bread with one that offers 4 to 5 g fiber per slice, says SELF contributing editor Janis Jibrin, R.D. For breakfast, nibble on whole-grain waffles. On pizza night, try whipping up a whole-wheat crust at home. Order brown rice with your Chinese stir-fry, and use whole-wheat tortillas on Mexican Mondays. These subtle (and scrumptious!) swaps will help you slim!
Carb commandment #2: No need to pig out—even on whole wheat! As with every nugget of nutrition advice, moderation is key. Fortunately, whole grains contain the same number of calories as refined or white carbs, but they serve up more fiber, so you’ll be satisfied with a smaller portion, says Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., author of The Real You Diet (Wiley). Go ahead and have your Butternut Squash and Fried Sage Pasta, but serve it in a cereal bowl rather than a Frisbee-sized dinner plate and stick to a 1-cup serving. Mangia!
Now that you’ve swapped your default fettuccine for whole-grain and brown rice for white, check out this list of amazing grains on Self.com for more ways to fill your cart smart.