White bread, breakfast cereals, white rice and peeled white potatoes are the four starchy foods to be reduced if you want to lose weight. The list was prepared by the dietitians of the Cleveland Institute and is composed of foods that are permanently part of the eating habits of the US as well as other Western countries and therefore are difficult to eliminate. But for those who are struggling with the balance, cutting the so-called “empty carbohydrates” is a challenge that is worth taking on. The guiding principle is to limit the amount of processed foods and increase the importance of fresh produce in the diet. Not all starches are bad, but taking too many processed starches can slow down progress in weight loss. And it is only by observing a healthy diet for a long time that attempts to lose weight will be successful. We talked about it with Dr. Elisabetta Macorsini, biologist and nutritionist at Humanitas.
Here are the four types of starches to avoid
1. White bread and other refined flour products
White bread, crackers and pasta are starchy foods with a high content of calories and carbohydrates, but with a low content of fibers, proteins and nutrients”. These starches are digested so quickly that they increase the glucose levels, just like sugar, and leave with a feeling of hunger immediately afterwards. This can lead to overeating, then weight gain. If you want to enjoy bread and crackers then better whole grain varieties and products with no added sugar. The alternative to pasta is represented by wholemeal pasta or legumes, because their fiber will promote a more lasting sense of satiety.
2. Breakfast cereals
Breakfast cereals, basically ready-to-eat cereals and advertised as “healthy”, make blood sugars soar, especially when served with milk, another fast-absorbing food. Wholegrain cereals are not a solution either, because they are still processed and have, in varying quantities, added sugar. Dietitians suggest cooking whole grains such as oats, quinoa or barley.
3. White rice
White rice, devoid of fibre and protein as it is, is an empty carbohydrate that is quickly digested and absorbed, causing the blood sugar to rise faster, with a consequent increasing hunger for more elaborate carbohydrates or sugars. The suggestion is to replace white rice with wholemeal rice, which gives a sense of satiety and does not stimulate hunger.
4. White potatoes without skin
White potatoes without skin have a very high glycemic index, which means that blood sugar increases rapidly and that, depending on the food that accompanies them, a rapid drop in energy can occur with the effect of feeling hungry soon. If you eat potatoes it is advisable to keep the skin, which (in addition to containing potassium, phosphorus and vitamins B and C) slowing down the digestion, which keeps us satisfied for longer.