Should You Skip Carbs for Dinner to Avoid Weight Gain?
Sevin Rey – Madame Figaro
Banning bread, pasta, or rice from dinner is often considered a straightforward strategy for those looking to avoid weight gain. However, this approach presents a couple of issues. Firstly, after a long day at work, few meals are as quick and satisfying to prepare as a plate of pasta. Secondly, a salad without a slice of bread might be lighter, but it can also feel less fulfilling. So, should we or should we not include starchy foods in our dinner?
We also advise health freaks into jump on our article Drinks to consume in the morning to preserve your liver, for more health tips.
Essential for Satiety
It's important to remember that bread, cereals (such as rice, wheat, barley, oats, and rye), and legumes (like lentils, beans, chickpeas, and dry beans) belong to the starch family. These foods provide complex carbohydrates that are slowly assimilated by the body, supplying the necessary energy. Consuming these at night might lead to energy being stored as fat if not expended. "Yes, we will store it if we eat a lot, but eliminating them entirely is not a good idea either," comments nutritionist Dr. Corinne Chicheportiche-Ayache. She points out the importance of the satiety effect provided by starchy foods, even when losing weight is the goal.
"It's important to include them in every meal. In the evening, if a person is sedentary, I recommend always having two slices of whole wheat bread to avoid cravings and binge eating on cheese or chocolate mousse at the end of the meal because one doesn't feel full," the doctor advises. She cautions against serving sizes of rice or pasta dishes, noting that "the issue is not so much the pasta but the quantity consumed and what is added to it."
Adjust According to Physical Activity
In the absence of physical activity, it's advisable, according to the nutritionist, to consume a good portion of starchy foods at lunch to avoid excessive hunger in the evening. "If one only eats a raw vegetable salad at noon, there's inevitably a craving for a piece of bread or risotto in the evening rather than broccoli," she warns
For those who exercise after work, starchy foods are essential as they provide the energy needed to replenish the body's reserves. "They can then eat four to five tablespoons of whole wheat pasta or rice," the nutritionist suggests.
Opt for Whole Grain Starches
Whether active or sedentary, whole grain starches are recommended at all meals due to their low glycemic index. The lower the index, the longer the body takes to digest the food, leading to a slower increase in blood sugar levels. This results in feeling full for a longer period, reducing the urge to snack.
Finally, among the foods to avoid in the evening, Dr. Chicheportiche-Ayache lists potatoes and white rice. "For example, the vinegared rice in sushi has a high glycemic index," she points out. Instead, opt for legumes like beans or lentils, ideally mixed with vegetables to avoid large portions.
This nuanced perspective underscores the importance of balance and moderation, rather than outright elimination, when it comes to including starchy foods in one's diet, especially during dinner.
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