How Starches Can Stall Your Weight Loss

Disclaimer: Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any weight loss program.

Ever wondered why you start a new diet, begin losing weight, and then all of the sudden the weight loss stops or weight gain begins? Sometimes there is one thing you may be eating daily or even every other day that may be causing weight gain or no weight loss at all. Often times it takes some close examining to look back at your week and see what the “repeat offender” is. Often times there is one “repeat offender” that we are eating that we may think is “ok” that is actually stalling our weight loss. One “repeat offender” food group I find consistent across the board is starches.

So what is a starch?

Starches make up a large part of the carbohydrates consumed by Americans. Foods made from starchy vegetables, grains or their flours, such as French fries, baked potatoes, breads, pasta, rice, cookies and cakes, are all high in starches. Some starches can be metabolized as quickly and even quicker than sugar, which means that they can rapidly increase your blood sugar levels after eating. Reducing your starch and sugar intake is a good way to control your weight and blood sugar levels and improve your cardiovascular risk profile.

Sugars are simple carbohydrates. Example: grains (even “whole” grains), cereals, cornstarch breads, muffins, bagels, crackers, and “starchy” vegetables such as slow cooked beans (pinto, lima, black beans, etc.), carrots, parsnips, plantains, corn, peas, and potato chips.

Repeat daily offenders of any of the previously mentioned foods can cause mini spikes of insulin, which can result in fat storage overtime.

Often times when I ask people to cut something out, even something “healthy” such as beans, bread, bananas, or oatmeal, something they may be consuming on a daily basis, they will see weight loss the following week.

The best way to test this is to cut out the item you think may be triggering your weight gain.

If the item is starchy, and you are eating it frequently, reduce or cut it out for a week and sub with a protein item for a week.

If the item is “healthy”, such as nuts, and you are eating it frequently, reduce portion size.

Weigh yourself in a week after eliminating the item.

If you went down in weight you most likely were consuming too many calories from eating too much of a healthy item.

Or you have been eating an offending starchy item that is causing excess insulin secretion, also causing weight gain.

Some of the common ones I have seen that hinder weight loss are oatmeal daily, power bars daily, 3 bananas a day, daily plantains, cereal daily, wheat bread, large amounts of brown rice, and white rice every other day.

In these cases we eliminated the item and substituted a high protein item such as protein shake, egg omelets, boiled egg, turkey bacon, avocado, plain Greek yogurt with blueberries and almonds, berries and apples for fruits with almond butter, to name a few.

Keep in mind, any food item, even proteins or good fats items, when eaten in high consumption will cause excess fat storage. Portion control is critical.

Example: I recommend almonds for snacking in between meals, however, they should be eaten in small portion, that means about 20 almonds a serving, eating 50, and then maybe more than that once per day may cause some extra weight gain depending on your calorie expenditure.

Eating less carbs and sugar makes the taste for sugar and carbs decrease over time. The less you eat, the less you crave. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. Learn to listen to your body. A low-carbohydrate diet has a natural appetite reduction effect to ease you into the consumption of smaller and smaller quantities comfortably. Therefore, do not eat everything on your plate “just because it is there.”

I recommend that you start your day with a nutritious low-carbohydrate meal. Example: Meat or other protein source (usually eggs) and a low-carb vegetable. Could be an omelet with veggies.

When you stop that sugar crashing cycle, you stop the addiction. Sugar is an addiction, and like any addiction when you reintroduce it, you go right back through the stages and cycles of addiction: the cravings, the high, the crash, the withdrawal, and repeat. So best just to eliminate the item so the cycle will break. And trust me , eventually it will!

These are my tips! Starchy items are easy to notice! After you eat a starchy item are you very full? Does your stomach expand? Does your body like that feeling is what you need to ask yourself!!