Of course, it goes without saying that you should get your carbohydrates from whole foods, not refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup or processed food.
Obviously, if you have to choose between a carrot and a bag of chips, the carrot should always win out. Vegetables are nutrient-dense, meaning they provide a big bang for their ‘buck.’ They are delicious, nutritious and low calorie.
However, what about variation between vegetables; are some vegetables better for weight loss than others?
The answer is yes, and it somewhat depends on whether or not you are insulin resistant and partly on what your body chemistry is like. Some people have a higher tolerance for high-sugar vegetables than others.
If you have a lot of weight to lose or know that you have trouble with insulin resistance, it is best to stick to low-sugar, high nutrient vegetables. Here are eight great ones to consider:
Salad Greens: These include all leafy greens you use to make a salad. According to the American Dietetic Association, salad greens are basically “free” foods, meaning you can eat as much as you desire. They have less than 20 calories, plenty of healthy vitamins and fewer than 5 grams of carbs per one-cup serving.
Peppers: Peppers range from mild and sweet to fiery hot and everything in between. All forms of peppers are excellent for weight loss and weight management. Peppers are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, which boosts immune system function and assists in the assimilation of other nutrients. This low calorie food contains only 15 calories per serving (1/2 cup), and 1 gram of fiber.
Sweet Potatoes: Although sweet potatoes are higher is sugar than some other vegetables, they are jam-packed with nutrients. A 4-oz potato contains only 80 calories, has 3 grams of fiber and is one of the best sources of potassium. These tasty potatoes also contain vitamin C and vitamin A.
Tomatoes: One cup of cherry tomatoes contains only 25 calories, but has 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. The biggest health bonus of tomatoes is that they are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid which is highly beneficial for cancer prevention, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Portabella Mushrooms: These large and tasty mushrooms are packed with health promoting compounds. Perfect for marinating and tossing on the grill, portabellas contain copper, riboflavin, niacin, copper, phosphorus, thiamin and pantothenic acid.
Spinach: Popeye was right when he said to eat your spinach. One of the least sugary vegetables, spinach has only 10 calories per one cup serving, and plenty of fiber. Enjoy spinach as part of salad, or lightly steamed. Some people even put a handful in their smoothies or juices.
Cucumbers: Who can resist the slightly sweet taste of a fresh cucumber? They are one of the oldest known cultivated vegetables, native to India. They are now one of the most commonly grown crops in America. Cucumbers are extremely low in calories and high in water. They contain numerous vitamins and minerals and also act as a detoxifier, assisting the body in the elimination of dangerous toxins.
Cabbage: Cabbage is a low calorie, high nutrient blood cleanser that removes free radicals and uric acid, which can lead to arthritic pain, skin diseases and gout. Cabbage is excellent roughage, high in vitamin C, and also contains beneficial iodine. Iodine is necessary for proper brain, endocrine and nervous system functioning.
If your goal is weight loss, don’t fall for the “fake” packaged diet foods that are full of artificial fillers and processed ingredients. Choose instead to fill up on vegetables.
According to Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrates from healthy sources such as vegetables, fruits and certified raw or organic sources will promote a gradual weight loss of 2 pounds each week. Because they are so low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals, your body will thank you for including them in your diet every day!
Remember, the best choice is always local and organic!
-The Alternative Daily
Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabete; American Dietetic Association; 2008
Linus Pauling Institute; Carotenoids; Jane Higdon; December 2005