Good Carbohydrates: Foods for Fat Loss

The correct amount of carbohydrates that should be eaten during dieting is one the the most controversial subjects in the dieting industry.

Some preach low carbs, others say only calories matter, and yet others say to eat only slow carbs. What is the truth?

People have been successful, at least short-term, using all three. BUT, what really matters is long-term.

Diets that are restrictive, such as the atkins diet, may have faster short-term results, however, eating that way for life may be unsustainable. A Paleo Diet has also been very successful for many (avoids grains and refined carbs), but, again, it may not be sustainable.

A diet that utilizes a more balanced approach is better in the long run. This type of diet fits into life more realistically and is more likely to become a lifestyle.

Choosing the Right Carbs

When eating carbs always try to choose foods as close to their natural state as possible. For example:

  • A piece of fruit is better than fruit juice.
  • A whole potato is better than pasta.
  • Steel cut oats are better than oat flake cereal.
  • Brown rice is better than white rice.

Also, choose nutrient dense carbs before anything else.

Carbs within colorful vegetables and fruits are always better for your body than carb-rich foods like breads, pastas, rice, and potatoes. Here’s a great graphic that illustrates how to incorporate carbs into your diet.

It is also best to aim for fiber-rich carbohydrates (peas and beans, fruit, oatmeal). Higher intake of fiber is linked to lower heart disease and diabetes risk. Fiber is also essential for regular moving bowels, and less constipation!

Good Carb Pyramid

Good Sources of Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates to Avoid or Limit

Whole Grains

Modern agriculture and processing has lead to nutritionally poor grains. However, with a bit of know-how in the cooking department, there are many less known grains that are nutritionally rich. This list includes brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, popcorn, millet, wild rice, whole-grain barley, rye, and oats.

The Simple Rule

If in doubt choose carbohydrate foods that are the most unprocessed or minimally processed.

See Also


  • Luscombe-Marsh, N. D., Noakes, M., Wittert, G. A., Keogh, J. B., Foster, P., & Clifton, P. M. (2005). Carbohydrate-restricted diets high in either monounsaturated fat or protein are equally effective at promoting fat loss and improving blood lipids. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 81(4), 762-772. Link.
  • Noakes, M., Keogh, J. B., Foster, P. R., & Clifton, P. M. (2005). Effect of an energy-restricted, high-protein, low-fat diet relative to a conventional high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on weight loss, body composition, nutritional status, and markers of cardiovascular health in obese women. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 81(6), 1298-1306. Link
  • Stern, L., Iqbal, N., Seshadri, P., Chicano, K. L., Daily, D. A., McGrory, J., … & Samaha, F. F. (2004). The effects of low-carbohydrate versus conventional weight loss diets in severely obese adults: one-year follow-up of a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine, 140(10), 778-785. Link
  • Gaesser, G. A. (2007). Carbohydrate quantity and quality in relation to body mass index. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(10), 1768-1780 Link