Sugary carbohydrates are often high in calories.
Reducing your carb intake to less than 35 percent of your total energy intake can help reduce your calories for weight loss, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This means limiting your carb intake to 105 grams per day for 1, 200-calorie weight-loss diets, and 140 grams per day for 1, 600-calorie meal plans. Although some high-carb foods contain beneficial nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals, consume carbohydrates in moderation for successful weight loss.
Sugary drinks are often high in calories and carbs, but contain few beneficial nutrients. One can of regular cola contains about 136 calories and 35 grams of total carbohydrates, including 33 grams of sugar. Since sugar is a carbohydrate and provides four calories per gram, 132 of the calories in regular cola are from sugar. The American Heart Association recommends women limit sugar consumption to 100 calories or fewer per day, and men limit sugar calories to 150 or fewer each day.
Refined grains that have been highly processed provide calories and carbs but few other nutrients. Examples include white bread, white rice, plain bagels, regular pasta and sugary cereals. Replacing refined grains with whole grains, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta can help you feel full while consuming fewer calories. Increased satiety from consuming whole grains is likely due to higher protein and fiber content, compared with refined grains. A review published in a 2008 edition of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” reports that protein increases satiety more than fat or carbohydrates, and can lead to a reduction in calorie intake.
Although fresh fruits are a good source of fiber and vitamins, processed fruits often contain added sugars. Examples include some dried fruits, canned fruits packed in syrup and applesauce with sugar added. Many fruit juice drinks also contain added sugar. Look for unpeeled, fresh fruits and drinks that combine fruit and vegetable juices.
It’s tempting to reach for sweet-tasting foods when you’re hungry. In fact, a review published in a 2008 edition of “Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews” reports that sugar meets the criteria for a substance of abuse, and has shown to be addictive in rats. Sweets, when consumed in excess, are detrimental when trying to lose weight because most sweet foods and desserts are loaded with calories, sugar and saturated fat. Examples include candies, cookies, cakes, ice cream, pastries, doughnuts and candy bars. Sweets are often difficult to avoid during the first week or two of a new diet plan. However, it’s common to stop craving sweets after a period of withdrawal, especially if you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in protein and healthy fats.