It is often said that to lose weight, you need to give up carbohydrates. But on the contrary, if you choose healthy carbohydrates such as nutrient-rich starch, not only will it not make you fat, it can even supplement your nutrition, making it easier to lose weight. Lin Yuwei, a Taiwanese nutritionist, shared 10 low-calorie and nutritious starchy foods, which are good alternatives to rice. Not only are their calories less than half of that of rice, but they also contain vitamins and cellulose needed by the human body.
Lin said on her Facebook page that most people are encouraged to eat “whole foods” in an attempt to lose weight. But there are many types of starchy whole foods from natural sources, and it is easy to take in too much starch if you are not careful. She recommends 10 high-quality starchy foods.
Data shows that compared with rice, the calories in each bowl of them are less than half a bowl of rice. You can also take in extra nutrients that can help you lose weight at the same time. If you would like to have some starch during the weight-loss period, you can use these foods to replace white rice. In doing so, you gain the benefit of taking in more food, which can make you feel fuller yet with lower calorie content.
How They Compare with an Equivalent Amount of Rice
Calories in 1 bowl:
- Rice – 364kcal
- Sweet Potato – 126kcal, with beta-carotene
- Pumpkin – 110kcal, with beta-carotene
- Corn – 1 whole corn piece 127kcal, 1 bowl of corn kernels 190kcal, containing beta-carotene
- Lotus Root – 116kcal, GI (glycaemic index) 38 (Low)
- Taro – 135kcal, contains potassium ions
- Chinese Water Chestnuts – 126kcal, with potassium ions
- Water Caltrops – 140kcal, contains potassium ions
- Greater Burdock – 150kcal with inulin
- Yam – 132kcal, with soluble fibre
- Cold Potatoes – 133kcal with resistant starch (RS).
When compared with rice, sweet potato, pumpkin, and corn all have much lower calorie content, and the beta carotene in them can promote oxidation of the fatty acid within the human adipose cells and thus help natural weight loss.
Lotus root is considered the best starchy food. Eating lotus root raises blood sugar more slowly than ordinary starch. Its Glycaemic Index (GI) of 38 when compared with that of rice at 85, indicates it is much more effective in stabilizing bodily blood sugar. When the blood sugar level can be maintained stable all the time, it is less likely for the body to accumulate bodily fat.
Taro, Chinese water chestnut, and water caltrops are rich in potassium ions, providing more than 400mg (0.014 ounce) of it for every 100g (3.53 ounce) intake. When there is enough daily intake of potassium ions, it helps to maintain normal kidney metabolism and helps the body to discharge excess water, which is highly effective in eliminating edema.
Both greater burdock and yam are rich in fiber. Whether it is inulin in the former or soluble fiber in the latter, both are good in maintaining intestinal health and relieving constipation. It is worth the while to try to incorporate them into your diet.
Cold potato is particularly suitable for people who are worried about absorbing too many calories and causing obesity because it contains resistant starch (RS), which is not easily absorbed by the small intestine. As an additional benefit, it delays the absorption of other starches taken at the same time. This helps to stabilize blood sugar, so reducing the chance to gain weight.
Lin suggested that people who are in the process of controlling their weight by eating half a bowl of rice for each meal can now try to eat 1 bowl of the above-mentioned food instead. That lets you take in more stuff to make you feel fuller. People who are keen on fitness can also eat a bowl of the above-mentioned foods instead of the normal 1 bowl of rice, after a workout. When that is followed by a portion of fruit, you will not only have a more balanced diet but also help to reduce fat.
Lin is not alone on this. Takako Asao, a well-known Japanese nutritionist, also said that potatoes, chestnuts, and pumpkins contain a lot of dietary fiber, which not only produces a feeling of fullness but also prevents the accumulation of body fat and cleans the intestines, which is essential for weight loss. Pumpkin also contains plenty of vitamins C, A, and E, which have a particularly beneficial effect on conditioning the skin and mucous membranes too.