HOW TO SPOT THEM
You’re trying to be smart about your diet. You’re exercising. But for some reason, the scale isn’t budging, or the weight refuses to come off as fast as you’d like. “A weightloss problem means there’s a problem in your fat cells,” explains nutrition scientist and exercise physiologist David Plourde, founder of The Plourde Institute in the US.
In his interdisciplinary, science-based weight-loss programme, he helps people increase the activity of hormone-sensitive lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat. Once their cells can release fat, the extra kilos start to disappear.
One way he does this is by putting his patients on a high-fibre diet free of added sugars and simple starches, such as white flour, since the body burns sugar for fuel before burning fat.
However, if you try to restrict your total carb intake on your own, it can be tricky. So many foods you’d never imagined to have carbs are secretly loaded with these diet wreckers. You don’t know you’re consuming them, so the scale remains stuck.
A study David conducted bears this out, revealing that when people know where carbohydrates lurk, they can avoid them and lose body fat. In the study, he divided 308 overweight people, all on a high-protein, moderate-fat diet, into three groups. The first received no guidance on how to avoid secret carb sources, while the second had limited information. The third group was given detailed instructions on how to steer clear of hidden sugars and starches. Armed with the most info, the third group lost 71 per cent of their body-fat mass – almost 50 per cent more than the group left in the dark.
So how can you avoid sneaky carb sources? Firstly, scan ingredient lists for words like “modified starch” and “maltodextrin” (which means it’s made from starch). Also, take a closer look at what is in foods you wouldn’t normally think of as having carbs, like chicken – if you see the word “product”, it’s a clue that the chicken is fortified with starch – and regular as well as diet beverages, pre-separated egg whites, and even medications.
Or go by this smart rule: Eat simple food with only a few, if any, added ingredients. “If the list of ingredients is a paragraph long, you don’t need a Ph.D. in chemistry to know that you’re probably getting some hidden carbohydrates,” says David. For more info, visit www.plourdeinstitute.com.