Are you a vegan wondering how a high carb low fat diet can help you lose weight? Maybe you aren’t sure if it’s even possible. In that case, let me tell you that YES! It is absolutely possible to lose weight on a hclf diet.
Losing weight on hclf diet will be much easier for you since you are already a vegan or planning to become vegan. Being vegan is already a HUGE step towards a healthy life. So I commend you on that!
The reason why I know that you can lose weight on a hclf diet is because I am myself who successfully lost weight on a HCLF diet. I am taking from experience.
However I must warn you that if you don’t do it right, you might even end up gaining weight!
If you want to lose weight on a high carb low fat vegan diet, your first lesson is that not all carbs are created equal. Keep reading to learn what I mean. I also debunk the most common carb myths, so don’t miss it!
But first a little story about my friend Ngan…Enjoy! Haha
A Quick Story About Ngan
One Friday night, my friend Ngan woke up from an intense nightmare and her pajamas were soaked with sweat.
She squealed with fear and began slapping in her own face for a long time. Then she turned the lights on, stared at her squishy belly in the mirror, and started howling and punching in her belly at the same time.
Ngan had struggled with weight loss for years. She even went to a fortune teller for help and the fortune teller told her about all types of fad diets that promised fast results and miracles. Unfortunately, those fad diets failed her.
There was a time Ngan completely eliminated all carbohydrates (including the healthy ones) from her diet in hopes of shedding unwanted pounds because she believed that carbs made her belly humongous.
Guess what? She was weak, dizzy, depressed, constipated, and had difficulty speaking.
Thankfully, she finally reached out to me and I explained to her that carbs should NEVER ever be her enemy. I also debunked some myths about carbs, and told her why we humans are built to thrive on starch!
She listened attentively, took my advice, and everything I said brought tears to her eyes. Now, she is in excellent shape and is a bewitching bombshell!!!
So, if you want to know about all the myths about carbs that I talked about with my friend Ngan, then keep on reading!
What Are Carbohydrates?
First, let’s get clear about what carbohydrates really are. If you want to lose weight on a hclf diet than you need to understand how carbs affect your body.
Carbohydrates are compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
Sugars (simple), celluloses (fiber), and starches (complex) are three basic types of carbohydrates. As a rule of thumb, about three-fourths of daily calories should come from carbohydrates.
Sugars include fructose (fruit sugar), glucose (the simple sugar which comes together in chains to make starch and cellulose), sucrose (common sugar you bake into pastries), and lactose (found in milk).
The reason why sugar provides instant, powerful energy is because it can easily be broken down in the body.
Cellulose is made up of chains of glucose bonded together and is found in the skins of fruits and vegetables. Since cellulose can’t be broken down by human gut enzymes, we can’t use it for fuel.
However, indigestible carbohydrates like cellulose are extremely important to us for their dietary fiber. Cellulose provides the bulk necessary for intestinal mobility and aids in elimination.
Starches are composed of long-branching chains of glucose molecules just like cellulose. Our body can easily break down starches into simple sugars that give us sustained energy and fill us up. Here are some examples of starchy foods:
- Grains: wheat, corn, rice, oats
- Vegetables: yams, potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Legumes: beans, lentils, and green peas
Carbohydrates provide energy for all body functions and they support our daily mental and physical activities. In addition, carbohydrates help regulate the digestion and utilization of protein and fat.
The key is selecting the good carbs to eat, such as quinoa, oats, apples, kidney beans, chickpeas, bananas, and sweet potatoes. Healthy carbs keep us feeling full and satisfied.
Unfortunately, refined and processed carbs like muffins, cupcakes, white bread, and french fries make us gain weight because they have little nutritional value.
The Glycemic Index (GI)
Another concept that we vegans wanting to lose weight on a hclf diet is the glycemic index.
According to Glycemic Index Foundation, the Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods based on how they affect blood sugar levels.
The index pertains mainly to carbohydrates like veggies, fruits, and grains since proteins and fats don’t really have much effect on blood sugar.
The Glycemic Index for a food is determined when the certain food is eaten by itself on an empty stomach and of course meals that contain protein, fat, and other carbohydrate can change the glycemic effect of single foods.
The bottom line is foods that are LOWER on the glycemic index are GOOD sources of complex carbohydrates (starches) because they are RICH in fiber and overall nutritional value.
All in all, the glycemic index is designed to help you figure out which carbs are good and which you must avoid, because as I stated before, not all carbs are created equal!
If you want to lose weight on a hclf vegan diet, then you need to eat good carbs.
Whole food sources of complex carbs such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains are highly beneficial and nutritious and our bodies are genetically designed to eat them.
They take a long time to digest and help stabilize your blood sugar level. Besides, they are packed with important minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that are essential for optimal health.
Did you know that whole plant foods contain at least 100,000 protective substances, such as phytochemicals and carotenoids that protect against serious diseases like heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.
It has been shown over and over again that people who eat carb rich (plant rich) diets are trimmer, stronger, fitter, and live a lot longer than those whose diets are super heavy in animal foods, high in protein and fat.
So, if you don’t eat good carbs, you won’t be able to benefit from all the health-promoting nutrients and your health will be more likely to suffer.
Healthy carbohydrate foods:
- All of vegetables
- Nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds)
- Seeds (pumpkin seeds, chia seeds)
- Whole fruits (bananas, strawberries, oranges, blueberries, grapefruit, apples)
- Legumes (lentils, peas, kidney beans, chickpeas)
- Whole grains (brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, oats, oatmeal)
- Tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, taro, cassava)
The bottom line is that if you eat good carbs, they will keep you full and satisfied longer, which will ultimately lead to weight-loss.
To avoid gaining weight on hclf diet then you need to stay away from the bad carbs.
Bad or simple carbohydrates are the ones that get broken down super duper quickly in the body, triggering insulin release and encouraging fat storage. Bad carbs usually come in the form of refined sugars and processed grains.
They are always found in packaged foods like candy, baked goods, white bread, cookies, crackers, chips, sugary cereals, and other foods made with white flour that contain little or zero fiber.
The reason why those bad carbs break down so quickly in our bodies is because they have undergone many many chemical procedures during factory processing.
Refined and processed foods can really become addictive both psychologically and physically.
When you experience the pleasure effect from eating unhealthy foods, you will want to keep on eating more and more.
If you want to learn more about how to stop craving vegan junk food which have all the bad carbs, then CLICK HERE.
You need to keep in mind that bad carbs are just empty calories. They contain few nutrients and are usually loaded with lots of fat and salt.
The bottom line is to stay away from bad carbs because they can sabotage you and lead to weight gain and many health problems.
How To Get the Best Carb-Rich Foods
According to Dr. Neal Barnard, it’s always best to select whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods from plant sources.
Eat whole fruits instead of drinking juice. Consume a whole-grain side dish and fresh vegetables rather than potato chips or crackers.
By doing so, you will surely be able to get good carbohydrates that are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Myths About Carbs That Are False
MYTH #1: CARBS MAKE YOU FAT
If you eat a lot of bad, processed carbs such as packaged junk food, doughnuts, cupcakes, muffins, white bread, etc., you will surely put on weight.
These unhealthy carbs can really mess up your metabolic hormones as well as your blood sugar level balance.
The major reason why people have a sugar crash or constantly crave carbs is because they eat junk carbs.
In addition, by eliminating or cutting out healthy carbs like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans, your body won’t be able to get essential minerals, vitamins, and nutrients.
Yes, you will lose a few pounds by going low-carb, but just because you cut back on carbs doesn’t mean that you’re burning all your stubborn fat. What you actually lose is your water weight.
Truthfully, healthy carbs can promote weight loss and help maintain an ideal, healthy weight because of their fiber content. Fiber is what gives you energy and fills you up.
According to Health.com, carbs are actually more filling than fat or protein and they keep you satisfied longer because they are digested more slowly compared to other foods.
So, by focusing on the quality of carbs and eating healthy filling carbs, you’ll be able to curb your hunger and cravings.
MYTH #2: CARBS CAUSE TYPE 2 DIABETES
Type 2 diabetes is caused by a number of reasons (family history, lack of exercise, overweight, obesity, abdominal fat, old age, bad diet habits, etc).
Healthy carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes DO NOT cause diabetes.
In fact, diets rich in FAT are what trigger type 2 diabetes. For more information on why fat is the cause of type 2 diabetes, check out NutritionFacts.org.
Several studies show that consuming a diet high in fatty foods (diets rich in meat and dairy products) causes fat particles to expand inside our cells.
And because of these fat particles, it’ll be hard for insulin to move sugar out from the bloodstream to our cells.
Rather than providing our cells with energy, the glucose (sugar) just stays in our bloodstream. That’s how diabetes happens.
People generally think that a lower-carb diet can help treat type 2 diabetes; however, low-carbohydrate diets are typically higher in animal products.
As mentioned earlier, animal foods such as meat and dairy products are high in saturated fat, which is very harmful to our health because high saturated fat intake may raise the risk of diabetes, heart attack, colon cancer, and other serious illnesses.
There are actually others who have success with higher carbohydrate, plant-based diets. Take Marc Ramirez for an example, Marc’s mom and his siblings all battled type 2 diabetes and he was also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
In the beginning, he wanted to improve his health by starting a low carb diet and working out, but he then found himself on daily insulin injections and still had to take four different medications.
After he learned about all the great benefits of eating plant-based foods, he and his spouse decided to give it a shot.
He eliminated animal products and limited high-fat foods. He did not count carbs or calories. He would eat foods such as, oatmeal with fruits, pasta primavera (a dish consists of pasta and veggies), and black bean burritos.
Surprisingly, within two months, Marc dropped his daily insulin injections, and all his medications. Now his blood glucose levels are completely normal.
According to Dr. Neal Barnard, eating a plant-based diet, limiting high-fat foods, eating foods that are low on the glycemic index, consuming about 40 grams of fiber daily can prevent, manage, and even reverse type 2 diabetes.
Besides eating plant-based foods that are lower in calories and fat and higher in fiber, getting physical activity daily can also help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, by stabilizing your blood glucose.
MYTH #3: FRUITS MAKE YOU FAT
A lot of people believe that FRUITS MAKE THEM FAT because of the sugar and carb content.
The truth is fruits have a lot of NATURAL SUGAR, which is not refined or processed sugar that makes you sick and fat.
Fruits are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that benefit you in numerous ways.
Fiber in fruits help slow down the digestion of glucose and that prevents you from getting the insane insulin spikes you would with processed junk.
Moreover, fruits are super low in fat, so getting fat from just fruits alone is impossible because of the way carbs are metabolized in our bodies.
If someone tells you that eating an apple is the same as eating a twix bar, correct and educate them right away.
MYTH #4: LOW-CARB DIET ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
You probably always hear people say that anyone can easily lose weight and get healthy on a low carb diet and that’s a lie.
When you look at people that do a low carbohydrate diet over the long run, a great many of them whose cholesterol levels go up and their heart risk goes up, so it’s not really a healthy diet at all.
According to Healthline.com, low-carb diets are typically high in saturated fat (a type of solid fat at room temperature like lard) and we definitely don’t need it to survive!
While some plant-based foods contain saturated fats such as coconuts, coconut oil and palm oil, saturated fats are mostly derived from animal based foods like dairy products, meat, and eggs.
So when you go low-carb, you’re encouraged to eat more animal foods that are rich in saturated fat and cholesterol. This is considered detrimental to our health.
Low carb diets have a significant NEGATIVE impact on heart health. For more information on how low carb diets found to feed heart disease, check out NutritionFacts.org.
According to Dr. Milton Mills, our bodies need carbohydrates because they are our preferred source of energy. Our brain can’t function if we don’t eat enough carbs.
The human brain only weighs about 3 pounds, but it uses 25% of the energy we burn every single day and it’s all in the form of sugar.
Say, if someone with diabetes whose blood sugar level goes way too low, they will immediately go into a coma because the brain can’t function without it.
The problem with carbs is the fact that nowadays people are eating too many processed, refined carbohydrates that are packed with grease. Instead of eating whole grain rice or whole wheat bread, we eat white rice or white bread.
When the fiber is completely removed from a plant food, the starch can be broken down so quickly, so it’s like we are eating pure sugar. That is what causes a spike in insulin levels.
If your insulin levels are elevated most of the time, it prevents your body from burning fat, which can promote weight gain.
Our brain is always craving carbohydrates because after all that is what it needs to run itself on.
So, what happens is that we end up eating a muffin or a mall pretzel that is loaded with white flour and grease. Eating those bad carbs makes the insulin level go up and sugar level go down. That’s why we keep feeling hungry.
Rather than eating high starch foods like yams that fuel our brain and body, we are eating proportionately a lot more grease that ends up going straight into our fat cells.
Many studies have shown over and over again that low carb diets are associated with higher risk of chronic disease. All in all, it’s best to eat whole plant foods because those plant foods have fiber in them.
When carbohydrates are surrounded by fiber, it prevents your blood sugar levels from spiking too high and it also prevents them from falling rapidly, so you don’t always feel hungry.
MYTH #5: CARBS MAKE YOU TIRED
Every single cell in our bodies needs carbohydrates for ENERGY. Therefore, if you consume too few carbs, you will feel sluggish and will not be able to think clearly.
In addition, cutting out carbs can lead to mental fatigue, weakness, dizziness, constipation, and other health issues.
People feel tired because they eat foods that score HIGH on the glycemic index, such as sweets, refined grains, white breads, and white potatoes. These foods digest way too quickly and cause blood sugar spikes.
And once the blood sugar falls, your energy declines and cravings creep in.
These high glycemic-index foods increase serotonin in the brain that can easily make you sleepy and tired.
On the other hand, low glycemic-index foods, such as oatmeal, yams, and beans won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. They will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep your energy from flagging.
Many people feel heavy after they eat a big meal full of meat, cheese, and other animal foods packed with fats. Therefore, not just high glycemic-index foods that make people tired, fatty foods also leave people drained.
All in all, you can always turn to healthy carbs to help stop cravings and keep your energy up throughout the day.
MYTH #6: ALL CARBS ARE CREATED EQUAL
There are good carbs and bad carbs. Generally speaking, a food that falls into the unhealthy column is when they are overly modified and processed.
These highly refined foods, like sweets, baked foods, sugary drinks, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners are stripped of fiber and nutrients, and are loaded with salt, fat, preservatives, and chemicals.
You must immediately trash all these unhealthy foods since they are all packed with empty calories that cause weight gain and disrupt your body’s immunity and metabolism.
Get the right kind of complex carbohydrates found in whole plant foods, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and tubers.
These healthy carbs contain essential fiber that helps keep your blood sugar from dropping and spiking.
Remember that quality matters. The bottom line is that you need to eat good carbs so that your body can benefit many health-promoting nutrients and function at an optimal level.
BONUS: To learn more about the high carb low fat diet for vegans, check out the video below!
Are Carbs Giving You Belly Problems?
I recently spoke to one of my personal training clients, Kim, and she told me carbohydrates cause her to have stomach problems. For example she will feel bloated and/or have gas.
Kim is not alone. In fact there are many people that suffer from Complex Carbohydrate Intolerance (CCI). The reason that some people have CCI is because they lack the enzyme necessary to digest complex carbohydrates.
Nowadays, there are products in the market that can help with in this regard.
A popular one is called Beano. Beano contains the enzyme called alpha-galactosidase that will help your body digest the food. The problem with Beano is that it is not vegan because it contains fish gelatin.
Therefore, I suggest you try out a similar product called Bean-zyme. Bean-zyme is vegan and it has great customer reviews. To check out the reviews and the price click here.
I have personally not tried out any of these products as I do not have CCI. However if you have any personal experience with any products that can help deal with CCI, please let us know in the comment section below.
And if carbs are giving you stomach problems, I also recommend that you check out my blog post “What Causes Vegan Bloating/Gas? You Need To Try These Remedies” as it will further provide you with lots of useful information.
Why Go Low Fat
Have you ever wondered what would happen to your body if you consumed fatty meals at all times?
Fatty foods come in numerous forms ranging from junk foods, such as oreo shakes, burgers, corn dogs, and fries all the way to adding creamers to your morning tea or coffee.
Eating meals that contain a huge amount of dietary fat, particularly from animal sources, including meats, dairy products, and eggs can be very harmful to your health.
Based on a study conducted by researchers at the Medical College of Georgia, fatty foods could lead to serious changes in the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.
Moreover, according to LIVESTRONG.COM, high fat diets cause weight gain, make you constipated, slow your metabolism, and raise your cholesterol.
The saturated fat found mostly in meat, dairy, and eggs leads to insulin resistance that raises your risk of diabetes and early heart disease.
On the other hand, the monounsaturated fat found mostly in nuts, olives, and avocados may actually help with weight loss, decrease inflammation, and protect against other saturated fats’ damaging effects.
When you choose low-fat foods over fatty ones. Your tongue will become a lot more sensitive to fat, which is good.
The truth is that the more sensitive your tongue is, the less meat, butter,dairy, and eggs you crave.
Plant foods are lower in fat and they are beneficial to those with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Eating a variety of plant foods may
help prevent, treat, or reverse these leading diseases.
In addition, low-fat plant-based diets lower cholesterol levels, improve body weight, blood sugar levels, and emotional states, such as, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and daily functioning.
If you want to improve your health, lose weight, reverse diabetes, cure arthritis, prevent heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses, then a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet is optimal for you!
ZCarbohydrates are a natural fuel for the brain, muscles, kidneys, heart, and central nervous system. Populations whose diets are heavily based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, are the healthiest and live the longest.
And not consuming high amounts of fat, will help you not exceed the caloric intake you need per day in order to lose weight.
All in all, a hclf diet gives you energy, helps prevent weight gain, benefits your heart, promotes a healthy digestive system, keeps your memory sharp, boosts your mood, and more.
But remember to avoid added sugar, refined grains, highly processed foods, sweets, and sugary drinks.
If you want to lose weight on a hclf diet, then you need to fuel your body with nutrient-dense, healthy carbohydrates, so you can look and feel your best.
I highly recommend that you Click Here next to check out my step-by-step guide on how to lose weight on a vegan diet next.
Are you a vegan who is on a hclf diet? Please share your experience with us on the comment section below. And if want to let all your friends know that they need to try a hclf diet to lose weight, then share this blog post on your favorite social media platform.