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vendredi 19 janvier 2024

The #1 Surprising Carb You Should Eat for Weight Loss, According to Dietitians


If weight loss is your goal, you may be convinced that cutting carbs will help you get there. While you might think that carbs can provide a significant amount of calories, they are absolutely essential for long-term success with weight loss. Carbohydrates are the body's No. 1 energy source; without them, you may feel sluggish and hungry.

Featured Recipe: Veggie Fajita

Certainly, some carbs can be more beneficial for weight loss than others. That’s why we spoke with dietitians who can speak to the nutritional benefits of eating carbs for weight loss, and specifically speak to one surprising carbohydrate source that can help you reach your weight-loss goals.

Read on to learn the No. 1 surprising carb to eat for weight loss, recommended by dietitians. 

Why Should You Eat Carbs for Weight Loss? 

Many people suggest cutting out all carbs for weight loss. While this diet rule may bring rapid results, eating a low- or no-carb diet will probably be unsustainable in the long term. And for weight loss to be a long-term success, you will want to include sources of carbs throughout your day.

To achieve weight loss specifically, it’s important to choose healthy carbs that give you the best “bang for your buck.” This means choosing options that keep you full as long as possible when you’re in a calorie deficit. Sources that are high in fiber are the best types of carbohydrates to choose to support your weight-loss efforts.

Fiber helps slow down digestion and keep you full longer. That’s why high-fiber carb sources tend to be more satisfying. You’ll likely feel satiated with a smaller portion size compared to refined carbohydrates that are low in fiber.

The Best Surprising Carb for Weight Loss

The best carb for weight loss might surprise you: corn tortillas! Corn tortillas have all the ingredients for a healthy weight-loss recipe. They are whole-grain, packed with fiber, come portion-sized right out of the package, and pair perfectly with protein and veggies for a balanced meal, like in these Salmon Tacos with Pineapple Salsa or the Best Veggie Enchiladas you’ll ever make. 

According to the USDA, one small corn tortilla (18 grams) contains the following nutrition:

  • Calories: 40
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Total sugars: 0g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: < 1g
  • Sodium: 8mg
  • Calcium: 14mg

They’re a Whole Grain

While corn, if eaten whole, is a vegetable, dried corn used to make tortillas is considered a grain. Whole grains have been shown to be helpful for weight loss due to their fiber content and nutrient density—meaning they are healthy and keep you full, per a 2019 review in Nutrients. Particularly when compared to refined grains, whole grains have a pretty impressive track record for our health. Associated with decreased heart disease and improved blood sugar, whole grains are not only beneficial for weight loss but may also impact your health long-term by helping prevent or manage chronic diseases.

“Corn tortillas are a complex carb which is good for your blood sugar, which in turn helps prevent cravings. They usually have around 10 grams of carbs per tortilla, which is half of what you would find in a flour tortilla,” says Gisela Bouvier, M.B.A., RD, LDN, MIEP, a Latina dietitian in Southwest Florida. 

They’re Packed with Fiber

Now that you know corn tortillas are a whole grain, you know that means they are a fiber source! Depending on the size of the tortilla, you can find 1 to 4 grams of fiber per tortilla. When you consider that a small tortilla has just 8 grams of carbs, even 1 gram of fiber is impressive!

Plus, corn tortillas are a vehicle for getting more fiber in your diet, which is critical for a happy metabolism, adds Amanda Sauceda, M.S., RD. “Fiber keeps you full and satisfied, and a small corn tortilla has 1 gram of fiber. This doesn't include the fiber from the veggies and salsa from the foods you're eating with the tortilla,” she explains.

Some research even shows that fiber intake alone can predict weight loss regardless of calorie intake, such as the 2019 POUNDS study published in the Journal of Nutrition

They Come Portion-Sized

Tortillas themselves are pre-portioned, making them an easy carb to add to your plate to support your weight-loss goals. Compared to corn tortillas, flour ones are higher in calories, carbs and fats and have lower total fiber. “Corn tortillas are beneficial for weight loss because not only are they fiber-rich, but they are also lower in calories and total fat compared to flour tortillas. In fact, they are usually about half the amount of calories, making corn tortillas a great choice when looking for more volume foods to eat,” shares Bouvier. 

Is There Such a Thing as Good Carbs and Bad Carbs?

What Types of Corn Tortillas Are Best for Weight Loss? 

When looking for corn tortillas at the store, you’ll want to take a look at the ingredient list, nutrition label and overall portion size. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can buy maize flour and whip up homemade tortillas.

Look for corn tortillas made with simple ingredients like corn, salt and water. Avoid options that are already fried to keep your added calories from fat low. Double-check the nutrition label to confirm that your corn tortillas generally contain a source of fiber. Lastly, there are tons of options to choose from, and the amount of calories will depend on the size. One small corn tortilla tends to be about 40 calories, and one large corn tortilla clocks in at about 100 calories.

The Bottom Line

Corn tortillas are a surprisingly great carb for weight loss because they are naturally portion-sized, are a great source of whole grains and provide you with filling fiber. Corn tortillas are the perfect example of why weight loss doesn't mean having to eat less food, comments Bouvier. Additionally, corn tortillas make a great vessel to add more nutrient-dense foods into your diet, such as vegetables, beans and protein, which are also essential for sustainable weight loss, she adds.

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