Eating a diet packed with the right kind of carbs is the little-known secret to getting and staying slim for life.
When we talk about the right kind of carbs, we mean Resistant Starch. Hundreds of studies conducted at respected universities and research centers have shown Resistant Starch—such as grains, beans, and legumes—helps you eat less, burn more calories, feel more energized and less stressed, and lower cholesterol.
Sound too good to be true? Here are eight evidence-based reasons you must get carbs back in your life if you are ever to achieve that coveted sleek, slim look.
Eating carbs makes you thin for life
A recent multi-center study found that the slimmest people also ate the most carbs, and the chubbiest ate the least. The researchers concluded that your odds of getting and staying slim are best when carbs make up to 64% of your total daily caloric intake, or 361 grams.
That's the equivalent of several stuffed baked potatoes (a food we bet you've been afraid to eat for decades).
Most low-carb diets limit you to fewer than 30% of total calories from carbs and sometimes contain as few as 30 grams of carbohydrates a day.
Health.com: 10 fat-burning carbs
Carbs fill you up
Many carb-filled foods act as powerful appetite suppressants. They're even more filling than protein or fat. These special carbs fill you up because they are digested more slowly than other types of foods, triggering a sensation of fullness in both your brain and your belly.
Research done at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom found that consuming Resistant Starch in one meal caused study participants to consume 10% fewer calories (roughly 150 to 200 calories for the average woman) during the next day, because they felt less hungry.
Carbs curb your hunger
According to researchers, when dieters are taken off a low-carb diet and shifted them to an approach that includes generous amounts of fiber and Resistant Starch foods, something wonderful happens: Within two days, the dieters' cravings go away.
The fiber and Resistant Starch fills them up and satisfies them while allowing them to eat the foods they crave. These good-news carbs also raise levels of satiety hormones that tell the brain to flip a switch that stifles hunger and turns up metabolism.
Health.com: 4 hearty whole-grain recipes
Carbs control blood sugar and diabetes
The right mix of carbs is the best way to control blood sugar and keep diabetes at bay. In one study at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Center at the USDA, participants who consumed a diet rich in high Resistant Starch foods were able to lower their post-meal blood sugar and insulin response by up to 38%.
Eat the carbs you want, but you need to combine them so that they don't cause a spike in your blood sugar. Instead of eating white rice, switch to brown and combine it with beans, corn, or other high Resistant Starch foods that keep your blood sugar more balanced than low-carb diets.
Carbs speed up metabolism
Carbs high in Resistant Starch speed up your metabolism and your body's other natural fat burners. As Resistant Starch moves though your digestive system, it releases fatty acids that encourage fat burning, especially in your belly.
These fatty acids help preserve muscle mass—and that stokes your metabolism, helping you lose weight faster. Researchers set out to fatten up two groups of rats, feeding one group food that was low in Resistant Starch.
A second group was fed Resistant Starch-packed food. The rats fed the low Resistant Starch chow gained fat while losing muscle mass. Rats that ate the high Resistant Starch meals preserved their muscle mass, keeping their metabolism moving.
Health.com: 30 new metabolism boosters
Carbs blast belly fat
Carbs help you lose your belly fat faster than other foods, even when the same number of calories are consumed.
When scientists fed rats a diet rich in Resistant Starch, it increased the activity of fat-burning enzymes and decreased the activity of fat-storing enzymes. This means that the belly-fat cells were less likely to soak up and store calories as fat.
Health.com: Blast belly fat fast
Carbs keep you satisfied
Carbs keep you satisfied longer than other foods. Here's why: Your brain acts like a computerized fuel gauge that directs you to fill up whenever it notices that its gas tank (stomach) is empty
Foods high in Resistant Starch flip on every single fullness trigger in the body. They release fullness hormones in the intestine and make your cells more sensitive to insulin.
By increasing your consumption of filling foods and releasing satiety hormones, you'll minimize your hunger and cravings.
Carbs make you feel good about you!
"Dieters feel so empowered once they lose weight on carbs. For the first time, they are able to lose weight by eating in a balanced manner, without cutting out entire food groups," says Sari Greaves, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association