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Are all carbs the same?

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Are all carbs the same might sound dumb but im just starting and was wondering. Example 30 carbs from bread will it be the same as 30 carbs from rice or potatoes or oatmeal. I read/heard you should give up bread and pasta to lise weight but i thought all the carbs would be ghe same.

Thanks
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Replies

  • TeaBea
    TeaBea Posts: 14,517 Member
    edited August 2016
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    Unless you have medical issues there is no reason to limit carb intake. Carbs provide energy. There is no need to give up bread & pasta to lose weight.

    Losing weight is about taking in fewer calories than your body expends. Where you "spend" your calories is up to you. All carbs are the same in that they have calories. But simple carbs may not be filling enough. Complex carbs may also contain fiber &/or protein, these have staying power. Log your regular foods & then make changes as needed.

    Example - whole grain bread is more filling than white bread for me, but it's not a change everyone wants to make. The same with whole grain pasta, not everyone's cup of tea. Figure out what things you can change for life. That will help you lose weight and keep it off.
  • kgeyser
    kgeyser Posts: 22,505 Member
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    Are all carbs the same might sound dumb but im just starting and was wondering. Example 30 carbs from bread will it be the same as 30 carbs from rice or potatoes or oatmeal. I read/heard you should give up bread and pasta to lise weight but i thought all the carbs would be ghe same.

    Thanks

    Ok, a gram of carbs is 4 calories, so 30g from bread or rice/potato/oatmeal would all yield 120 calories. Ultimately, it is calories that matter for weight loss, because you need a calorie deficit to lose weight. MFP calculates your calorie goal with the deficit included, so you would aim to eat that.

    Now, as far as sources from carbs go, that's a little different. As mentioned above, different foods contain carbs, and those foods may have more or less nutrition to them. But the reason you probably hear "give up breads and pasta" is because those are foods that are very easy to overeat, so by cutting them out, you would lose weight from the removal of those calories. However, there is also the matter of listening to your own body - if there is a food where you have one or two bites, and then just go overboard, maybe limiting that food is a good strategy.
  • Jcl81
    Jcl81 Posts: 154 Member
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    Nope.
  • MarkusDarwath
    MarkusDarwath Posts: 393 Member
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    TeaBea wrote: »
    Unless you have medical issues there is no reason to limit carb intake. Carbs provide energy. There is no need to give up bread & pasta to lose weight.

    That depends. A lot of people find that a low carb diet reduces hunger and makes it easier to control calories.

    As far as the OP question, if talking strictly about carbohydrates in the chemical sense, then all carbs (except fiber, which is not digested) contain roughly 4 calories per gram and become glucose in the blood stream. For complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains, the process takes longer than it does for simple carbs like table sugar or what you find in white flour pasta. This time difference is not huge, (I've been told) maybe 20 minutes or so. For someone who is diabetic or otherwise experiencing insulin resistance, that time difference is meaningless. If you don't process carbs in a timely manner your blood sugar peak will be about the same and take roughly the same amount of time to come back down. For those with normal insulin response, it is debatable as to whether glucose/insulin spikes and drops are significantly detrimental versus a flatter progression. It does definitely make a difference in energy levels, though.

    With regard to carb containing foods, as was pointed out, complex carb foods such as oatmeal tend to have more micro-nutrient value than simple carb foods like white bread. This can be important for a calorie reduced diet because nutrient deficiency can potentially result in cravings and over-eating, as one continues seeking out the wrong foods until they eventually meet their micro-nutrient needs, but have meanwhile consumed an excess of calories.

  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
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    TeaBea wrote: »
    Unless you have medical issues there is no reason to limit carb intake. Carbs provide energy. There is no need to give up bread & pasta to lose weight.

    That depends. A lot of people find that a low carb diet reduces hunger and makes it easier to control calories.

    As far as the OP question, if talking strictly about carbohydrates in the chemical sense, then all carbs (except fiber, which is not digested) contain roughly 4 calories per gram and become glucose in the blood stream. For complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains, the process takes longer than it does for simple carbs like table sugar or what you find in white flour pasta. This time difference is not huge, (I've been told) maybe 20 minutes or so. For someone who is diabetic or otherwise experiencing insulin resistance, that time difference is meaningless. If you don't process carbs in a timely manner your blood sugar peak will be about the same and take roughly the same amount of time to come back down. For those with normal insulin response, it is debatable as to whether glucose/insulin spikes and drops are significantly detrimental versus a flatter progression. It does definitely make a difference in energy levels, though.

    With regard to carb containing foods, as was pointed out, complex carb foods such as oatmeal tend to have more micro-nutrient value than simple carb foods like white bread. This can be important for a calorie reduced diet because nutrient deficiency can potentially result in cravings and over-eating, as one continues seeking out the wrong foods until they eventually meet their micro-nutrient needs, but have meanwhile consumed an excess of calories.

    What's interesting there is if you look at satiety studies, higher carbs overwhelmingly provide greater satiety for most people in the studies. For sure there are people for whom low carb provides greater satiety, but actual studies indicate that the majority don't. I've also found that many people complaining of lack of satiety from carbs were eating a lot, if not primarily, "junk" carbs.
  • malibu927
    malibu927 Posts: 17,564 Member
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    All calories are not the same. 100 calories of chocolate are not the same as 100 calories of lentils. That is the prime reason the whole calorie counting thing can be a farce when you don't pay attention to the detail.

    You can eat 1600 bad calories and not see any progress. On the other hand, you may eat 2000 good calories and see very good progress.

    The biggest culprit is how quickly your insulin levels spike based on your meal. A high simple carb diet like white bread or potatoes are rapidly digestible and increase body insulin. The slower the digestibility the better. Complex carbs take longer to process and the results are much better in terms of insulin levels.

    Google the relationship between carbs, the enzyme lipase and triglycerides in fat cells. And you will make wise decisions in calorie counting.

    100 calories is 100 calories, no matter what the source is. Nutrition wise, of course they are different, but when it comes to weight loss they are exactly the same.
  • Nikion901
    Nikion901 Posts: 2,467 Member
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    Is it making sense yet?

    My 2-cents ... I'll never bypass having a potato ... while it is considered a starchy, or simple, carb ... it is loaded with good nutrients. It only becomes an unhealthy choice when it is fried in fat or dosed over with cheese whiz or gravy or mixed with cream and lots of butter. Just, like anything, I would not eat a potato every day, but one or two a week, especially baked and eat the skin as well ... yummm.
  • MarkusDarwath
    MarkusDarwath Posts: 393 Member
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    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    What's interesting there is if you look at satiety studies, higher carbs overwhelmingly provide greater satiety for most people in the studies. For sure there are people for whom low carb provides greater satiety, but actual studies indicate that the majority don't. I've also found that many people complaining of lack of satiety from carbs were eating a lot, if not primarily, "junk" carbs.


    All I know is plenty of people swear by keto and Atkins type diets. I don't go that extreme myself, but I generally have no problems staying within my calorie target if I keep my carbs to less than 20% of total calories. Of course I also am doing this for blood sugar control, as I do have diabetes. If I go too far over my carb numbers, I end up craving more carb laden foods.
    Even for initial satiety though, a breakfast of eggs and sausage fills me a lot better than a calorie equivalent bowl of oatmeal would.
  • sweetilemon
    sweetilemon Posts: 122 Member
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    I was adviced to only eat unprocessed potatoes and eat wholemeal alternatives when possible. They have more fibre and their energy is realised more slowly so doesn't spike your sugars as much. Doesn't mean 100cals of one is any different, just better for your health and also keeps you fuller so you are less hungry. I get really hungry if I limit my carbs. Been there. I was told to also not eat 'double' carbs but this was also purely because of my own medical reasons. I do struggle to adhere as I love carbs, hoping the weight loss will mean this isn't as much of an issue.
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,464 Member
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    They are all pretty well the same from a calorie point of view. They have varying amounts of fiber. Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber. Though I try and balance my meals to include protein, carbs and fat, I have never denied myself from bread and pasta.

    For a real eye opener, weigh out a single serving of rice or pasta. That's it.

    I figure it pays to get my carbs from a variety of sources. Each has their benefits and the varying textures are pleasing. Changing up the carbs also helps mix and match your meals for variety.

    Chicken with Greek salad.
    Butter chicken with brown Basmati rice
    Chicken stew with Quinoa
    Alfredo sauce (light) with chicken and pasta
    Chicken and white bean chili
    Parmesan chicken
    Roasted chicken with sliced and breaded eggplant
    Hot chicken open faced sandwich
    McDonalds Chicken wrap
    Perogies with chicken
    Chicken with stir fry veggies

    Then switch it up with beef, or tofu.

    Virtually an endless variety of dishes available.
  • brichards_
    brichards_ Posts: 113 Member
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    Complex carbs are great for you! Things like fruit, rice, noodles, quinoa are so good for you and fuel your body and brain! Processed sugar carbs aren't good for you
  • CorneliusPhoton
    CorneliusPhoton Posts: 965 Member
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    White potatoes and white bread and rice quickly fill up your carb goal and quickly spike and drop your blood sugar. Eat higher fiber carbs and you can usually eat a lot more of them and stay satiated longer.
  • xvolution
    xvolution Posts: 721 Member
    edited August 2016
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    The main difference between all carbs is how quickly they affect your blood sugar. There's an index for this called the glycemic index, and the higher the number, the faster and harder a carb-rich food raises your blood sugar levels [and how quickly your body burns through that food. Pure sugar has a really high GI so it raises blood sugar quickly, but is used up quickly, thus the term "sugar crash"].

    It's why most recommend eating foods like wheat bread, oatmeal, corn, sweet potatoes, most fruit [they have GIs below 55] over more processed foods like cereal, white bread, white rice, russet potatoes and melons [they have GIs above 70].
    White potatoes and white bread and rice quickly fill up your carb goal and quickly spike and drop your blood sugar. Eat higher fiber carbs and you can usually eat a lot more of them and stay satiated longer.
    Surprisingly russet potatoes have a GI even higher than pure glucose [glucose = 100, russet potato=111].
  • stevencloser
    stevencloser Posts: 8,911 Member
    edited August 2016
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    White potatoes and white bread and rice quickly fill up your carb goal and quickly spike and drop your blood sugar. Eat higher fiber carbs and you can usually eat a lot more of them and stay satiated longer.

    Baked potatoes are among the most filling foods there are. Also 100 grams of potato has 77 calories with 18 grams of carbs. I don't want to know how many potatoes you think people eat to "quickly fill up your carb goal".
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,413 MFP Moderator
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    xvolution wrote: »
    The main difference between all carbs is how quickly they affect your blood sugar. There's an index for this called the glycemic index, and the higher the number, the faster and harder a carb-rich food raises your blood sugar levels [and how quickly your body burns through that food. Pure sugar has a really high GI so it raises blood sugar quickly, but is used up quickly, thus the term "sugar crash"].

    It's why most recommend eating foods like wheat bread, oatmeal, corn, sweet potatoes, most fruit [they have GIs below 55] over more processed foods like cereal, white bread, white rice, russet potatoes and melons [they have GIs above 70].

    Also keep in mind that the GI index is solely based on eating foods in isolation. The moment you eat them with other foods, it kind of goes out the window. Fat, proteins and fiber all slows the processing of carbs.


    But even more so, there isn't really a reason to be concerns about spikes in BG or insulin if there isn't a medical issue to be concerned or a personal preference.


    OP, cutting breads and pasta (if they are a big part of your diet) may be a way to create a deficit. But I eat bread every day and have lost 50 lbs and fairly fit.
  • stevencloser
    stevencloser Posts: 8,911 Member
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    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    What's interesting there is if you look at satiety studies, higher carbs overwhelmingly provide greater satiety for most people in the studies. For sure there are people for whom low carb provides greater satiety, but actual studies indicate that the majority don't. I've also found that many people complaining of lack of satiety from carbs were eating a lot, if not primarily, "junk" carbs.


    All I know is plenty of people swear by keto and Atkins type diets. I don't go that extreme myself, but I generally have no problems staying within my calorie target if I keep my carbs to less than 20% of total calories. Of course I also am doing this for blood sugar control, as I do have diabetes. If I go too far over my carb numbers, I end up craving more carb laden foods.
    Even for initial satiety though, a breakfast of eggs and sausage fills me a lot better than a calorie equivalent bowl of oatmeal would.

    If for the same calories you could have 1 pound of potatoes or 75 grams of bacon, I know which would fill me up more.
  • stevencloser
    stevencloser Posts: 8,911 Member
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    All calories are not the same. 100 calories of chocolate are not the same as 100 calories of lentils. That is the prime reason the whole calorie counting thing can be a farce when you don't pay attention to the detail.

    You can eat 1600 bad calories and not see any progress. On the other hand, you may eat 2000 good calories and see very good progress.

    The biggest culprit is how quickly your insulin levels spike based on your meal. A high simple carb diet like white bread or potatoes are rapidly digestible and increase body insulin. The slower the digestibility the better. Complex carbs take longer to process and the results are much better in terms of insulin levels.

    Google the relationship between carbs, the enzyme lipase and triglycerides in fat cells. And you will make wise decisions in calorie counting.

    This is absolutely wrong.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
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    All calories are not the same. 100 calories of chocolate are not the same as 100 calories of lentils.

    A calorie is not a synonym for food. All foods are not the same and no one claims otherwise. But a calorie is a unit of measurement (it makes no sense to talk about a "calorie of lentil" or a "calorie of chocolate" -- your body does not recognize it as such), and therefore a calorie is a calorie. Food choice matters for lots of reasons, of course, including nutrition.

    Carbs are different in that there are different types of carbs: starch, sugar, and fiber (in the US).
    You can eat 1600 bad calories and not see any progress. On the other hand, you may eat 2000 good calories and see very good progress.

    Nope, if my maintenance is 1900, I'll lose on 1600 (whatever it's made up of) and gain on 2000.

    What I eat may make it more likely I'll end up at 1600 or 2000 (or more), of course, and may affect maintenance if it affects how I feel/energy level. But this idea that you magically gain at less than maintenance calories if you eat too much chocolate is pure superstition, nothing more. There's no scientific explanation for it and many counter-examples.

    (And I gained lots of weight eating a healthy--but for the excessive calories--diet that wasn't particularly high in carbs and without any IR problem. Calories. I've lost it now, eating basically the same sorts of meals, just less food overall.)