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Will I See Faster Results If I Ditch Starches???

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Posts: 1,066
5/29/13 11:54 A

I love your posts Russell and I couldn't agree more.

Posts: 465
5/29/13 11:37 A

Please read the whole thread before replying. It's already been established that starches do not equal ALL carbs. I lost 50 pounds and have kept it off for two years by cutting out wheat and sugar and cutting way back on starches. I still eat carbs (but under 100g/day on average, sometimes closer to 50g/day). I get them in the form of green vegetables and a few servings per week of potatoes, berries, and corn. Since I changed my eating habits, my energy levels have gone up, way up. My cholesterol numbers have improved. It's also much easier to get up early in the mornings.

And yes, this is something I can do for the rest of my life. So to the OP, try cutting back on the starchy stuff and boosting non-starchy veggie intake. I love me a big ol' salad with leafy greens, raspberries, (optional chicken breast), chopped walnuts, feta cheese and low-carb raspberry vinaigrette!

Posts: 2,462
5/29/13 10:44 A

Agree with the others below that cutting out any one food group is not sustainable and that our bodies need carbs.

Posts: 16,783
5/29/13 8:20 A

I always love when people say don't do a diet. We are ALL on a diet. You are on a low fat diet, or low carb diet, or a " balanced " diet. The only people NOT on a diet are people on a hunger fast. The word just means what you eat.

I prefer a non-starchy, low carb diet, but going " Atkins-ish " probably isn't a good idea. Either do low carb, or don't, but going halfway just means you eat higher fat, while still eating too many carbs. You won't get most of the benefits.

I do gain weight if I have a banana, even if I stick to my 1800 calories a day. It won't cause me to go on a binge, like rice will, but will cause me to gain a lb or two. Making blanket statements based on how food affects you doesn't make them true. We all handle foods differently.

The answer to your original question depends on your sensitivity to starches. If you can eat potatoes, rice, noodles, and bread, and not feel hungry 2 hours later, then you might just want to eat better carbs, instead of cutting the amount. If however, you get cravings every time you eat starches, then you might want to consider following something like Atkins, but if you do, fully commit to it. You can eat Atkins for the rest of your life, it is a way of eating. Another option is the Low Glycemic Index diet, which just switches the focus of which types of carbs you eat.

Make a choice, and try it out. If the results are not what you want in 3 months, try something else. Find what works, and repeat over and over till you hit GW. Good Luck.

SparkPoints: (2,447)
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Posts: 130
5/29/13 1:23 A

I would say avoiding wheat (bread and pasta) and rice wouldn't hurt (as well as cakes and pastries). I would keep potatoes. They may be starchy, but they have a ton of nutrients, too (and can work as a meal in a pinch).

I found it worked for me in the past (coupled with an hour of exercise, five times a week). I wouldn't suggest going full-blown Atkins. I'd be more likely to advise vegetarianism with occasional portions of meat. (You would be very hard-pressed to eat mostly meat and stay within your allowed calorie limits.)

SparkPoints: (72,089)
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Posts: 3,476
5/24/13 2:31 P

Is ditching carbs sustainable for you? Can you live with a low-starch diet the rest of your life? Remember that doing temporary things to lose weight will probably lead to temporary weight loss. If you make permanent changes to your eating that you can live with forever, you're more likely to keep the weight off.

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Posts: 574
5/24/13 1:15 P

My wife ditched all starches except for fruits such as banana and pumpkin, which has worked well for her - she went far below her original goal weight, but she was also careful to track everything she was eating, which IMO is one of the most important aspects to weight loss, but is often overlooked. She also ditched all processed foods except the protein bars she eats as part of her lunch. And with those she is careful to have only bars that are around 200 calories.

Posts: 12,344
5/23/13 7:05 P

Others have already said this, but you'll get much more helpful advice if you share what you're already doing. We can't answer, "Will I see faster results if I eat less X?" when we don't know how fast your results are now, how much X you're eating, or exactly what X is. Or for that matter, how much Y and Z you're eating, and whether ditching X means replacing it with W.

If you ditch X and don't replace the calories, you'll lose regardless of what X is. But if you don't know how many calories you're eating now, you'll probably replace them unconsciously. If you're not weighing/measuring and tracking what you eat, that's a pretty necessary first step before you can make an informed decision about what to change.

SparkPoints: (19,069)
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Posts: 771
5/23/13 5:18 P

These are only my thoughts on your question. The faster you lose it, the quicker you regain it. Slow is the only way to go.

The body does need carbs so please don't ditch them. Learn how to control them. If you are determined to try Atkins, then go for it. But remember, it's the Atkins DIET. You don't want to be on a DIET for the rest of your life. But give it a try and remember to slowly add carbs back into your life. Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.

Posts: 26,427
5/23/13 5:14 P

A lower carb diet may bring about a slightly faster weight loss in the very beginning---but by 6 months the weight loss is the same between lower carb or lower fat. So really you need to find an eating program that is healthy, with a calorie amount that results in 1-2 pounds weekly weight loss and a program you can stick with for the rest of your life.

You may want to give Sparkpeople a try.

SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Posts: 1,066
5/23/13 5:10 P

When I stopped eating grains I didn't lose much weight, just a few pounds, i didn't have a lot to lose. I did improve my body composition though. I eat the same number of calories as before. I eat tons of non starchy vegetables, protein, fats and a little fruit.

Posts: 2,266
5/23/13 4:43 P

Ok well... if you are eating above your calorie range (and thus not losing weight), and the way you decide to keep your calories IN range is by ditching "unnecessary/excess" starches... then, yes, you would expect to see faster weight loss. But as Dragonchilde pointed out, NOT because you "ditched starch" but rather because you "reduced overall calories."

If you swap out "starch" calories for "sugar" or "fat" or "protein" calories, you won't see any difference at all in the weight loss. Maybe you would feel physically better or worse, more "satisfied" or less, by changing the composition of your daily diet. But that's a separate issue from actual weight LOSS.

Now, that all said, many of us eating a "typical north american diet" DO eat waaaaayyy too many refined/processed "starch" foods. French fries, packets of cookies, doritos, cinnamon rolls, snack foods of all shapes colours and sizes. So, for some people, "cutting out the starch" can be a good "trick" to help oneself learn healthier eating habits. You can get well enough carbs from complex-carb sources (fruits and veg, beans, lentils, whole grains), that you really CAN kiss "processed/junky" starch foods GOODBYE, and be the better for it. If this works for you, by all means.... but again at the end of the day, the REASON it "works" for weight loss is by reducing OVERALL calorie intake.

SparkPoints: (56,306)
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5/23/13 4:42 P

Don't worry, most people around here understand that carbs = fruits, veggies, grains, and more. ;)

Eating a banana will not slow your weight loss.

Making the right carbohydrate choices can help fight cravings and avoid blood sugar crashes, but limiting starches won't help you lose weight faster unless it also cuts calories overall.

Sharing more about your program will help us troubleshoot why you're not losing weight the way you feel you should be (or determine if your expectations are reasonable.)

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 5/23/2013 (16:43)

Posts: 161
5/23/13 4:39 P

Sure. When I say starches I don't mean all carbs. As I know all fruits are carbs, a banana is "starchy" where citrus fruits are not. Same with a potato compared to green beans - potato is "starchy". I'm even including whole grains, legumes, "white" foods. The basic Atkins list. I've just tried to train myself not to say carbs when I really mean a starchy food, as a lot of people don't get that carbs can include their fruits & veggies, not just pasta, rice, and bread.

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Posts: 574
5/23/13 4:37 P

depends on what you mean by starches

SparkPoints: (56,306)
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Posts: 9,583
5/23/13 4:30 P

Cutting starches likely will not make you lose weight any faster. Why? Weight loss is about calories in, calories out; while quality DOES matter, I am not quite sure what you mean by starches in this case; that can mean a few different things, so could you elaborate? The presence of one nutrient won't make weight loss happen faster.

I assume you mean "carbs" for the purposes of this discussion (based on the "atkins" comment), please correct me if I'm wrong. Your body does need carbohydrates to function properly, but choosing the right carbs can help you last longer and avoid cravings. Cutting carbs won't make you lose weight if you're still overeating overall. IF your weight loss is slower than you should be, I'd look first to the numbers. Are you weighing/measuring your food? How much are oyu eating a day, and how much are you burning?

Eating carbs before (or after) a workout will not prevent you from burning fat.

Perhaps if you shared your nutrition/fitness trackers, we could provide more specific feedback. However, you haven't shared anything about your program. how much are you losing, how long have ou been at this, and what's your target weight loss goal per week?

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 5/23/2013 (16:32)

Posts: 161
5/23/13 4:03 P

I'm so ready to ditch the starches in my diet. I'm unhappy with my slow weight loss. So I think I will try to go "Atkins-ish" for a while then slowly add a few starches at a time back. Although I was wondering if on the days I workout should I put a few starches into my breakfast? Or would that defeat the purpose and not give me the burn as if I had none in my system?

Thanks so much for your advice!

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