Cutting Carbs To Lose Weight

Cutting Carbs To Lose WeightMany readers write to me with questions about carbs in connection with weight. Here are five easy ways to cut back on carbs if you find most of your meals center around bread, pasta, and rice.

1. Watch Sugar Intake.

Yes, sorry to say that sugar is a carb, this includes alcohol! Sugar is the white lightening of the carb world, and should always be eaten in moderation. I don’t consider myself an anti-sugar fanatic, but I do call dessert my “special occasion” food. Watch out for unwanted sugar that might be “hidden” in many food products. If you are really concerned about sugar intake, read the label. Keep an eye out for culprits you might be eating loads of, like many popular condiments, pre-packaged foods, and drinks including: ketchup, sweet pickles and relish, barbeque sauce, protein bars, breakfast cereals, white bread, vitamin waters, dessert wines, champagne, and many more. Check out the label and look for these names that are just different forms for sugar: honey, dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, sorbitol, fruit juice concentrate, galactose, lactose, polydextrose, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, maltodextrin and turbinado sugar.

2. Skip the Breadbasket.

This one is my weakness!! When we go out to eat and they plunk down that basket with its chilled little dish of golden butter, I go nuts. Better to order a low-calorie appetizer instead if you can’t wait for your main course. Hitting the breadbasket could mean up to 500 extra calories in butter and bread alone. Salads with low-fat or non-fat dressing on the side are a great substitution. Instead of overdoing it on the carbs, you’ll be certain to get an extra serving of veggies.

3. Have a Side of Protein with Those Carbs!

Almost everyone I know eats double or triple the portion of bread they should be having to maintain a healthy weight. For me, it’s 6 ounces a day (that’s about 3 slices of bread and/or 1 1/2 cups dry pasta, sniff sniff!) and for my hubby it’s about 9 ounces (hate him, grrrr). Watch your portions, even better find out on My Pyramid how much bread you should limit yourself to each day. Avoid the bagel trap by combining half a bagel with low-fat protein. Some bagels are so big that just one can be your whole daily allowance for grains! Good high-protein choices include a low-fat yogurt, 1 cup of kefir, or 1/2 cup 1 % cottage cheese with berries or a banana, or a 1 cup of skim milk.

4. Don’t Go Cold Turkey.

Carbs, especially those of the whole grain variety are necessary for a healthy body and focused mind. Cutting out all carbs from your diet is not a good idea as we’ve learned from recent reports on unhealthy fad diets. Studies show that people who do not consume enough carbohydrates have problems concentrating. If you want to cut back, mix your carbs with low-fat protein or better yet, vegetables. Start by cutting back on that huge bowl of pasta and mix in some steamed veggies. Broccoli goes great with tomato sauce! Try cutting out bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes at dinner time 1-2 nights a week. There are plenty of simple, healthy recipes that don’t rely on starch like my noodle free lasagna.

5. Change the Grain.

Change all your breads, pastas, and grains to whole grain choices. Why? When you eat a lot of processed or “white” breads and grain, your blood sugar rises quickly because these foods have a high glycemic index, causing a spike in blood sugar. Also, the white stuff is stripped of all the fiber that helps you to stay thin. Whole grains digest more slowing, maintaining a steadier level for blood sugar, which can lower your overall risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Related Posts

  • Surprise! It’s sugar. Read more about hidden sugars in foods from local grocery stores.
  • Read about good carb, bad carb on
  • Learn more about the health benefits of delicious whole grains from the Whole Grains Council. Read studies that show how whole grains may reduce colorectal cancer, lower risk of inflammatory diseases, lead to healthier carotid arteries, reduce the risk of gum disease, and cut triglyceride count.

Article was first published in July 2007.


  1. Hi,I really love this article!!! I am a dietitian from India and we indians are big time carb eaters. Many are switching from whole grains to refined grains Eg, white rice is easy to cook. So the incidences of high triglycerides, diabetes and obesity is on the increase even among the younger ages. We dietitians are all striving to reform Indians to go back to healthy eating.

  2. hi great articel…surfin round for my dad…hope this helpsss

  3. What are your thoughts on ‘White Whole Wheat’ flours and breads? My understanding is that they are still made with the whole grain, just a different grain (not the traditional red wheat). Since my daughter refuses to eat the bread we eat (too many nuts and seeds!), we substitute the White Whole Wheat bread for her. I also have been using White Whole Wheat for baking since it appeals to more peoples taste.

    • I know it can be tough with picky kids!! If you’re purchasing “white” whole wheat flour that is 100% soft whole wheat (I’m thinking of the King Arthur brand, then yes that’s the way to go. It’s still whole wheat only made from a softer type of flour. In terms of processed breads, you want to be sure that you see the words “whole” in the ingredient list before the grain whether it’s wheat, oat rye etc. Sadly many breads on the market are filled with other items that aren’t really good for you, like artificial colorings, sugar, preservatives and the like. Brands like “Rudi’s” and Vermont Bread Co, tend to be more wholesome, just check out the ingredient list before you buy.

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