In his new book, The Super Carb Diet, the fitness guru shares his tips for losing weight without cutting carbs.
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Bob Harper really wants everyone to stop thinking of carbs as the devil's macro. In his upcoming book, The Super Carb Diet, he insists that carbs are a necessary source of fuel and harmless in moderation. That's why Harper created the Super Carb Diet using his expertise from working in the health and fitness industry and what he's learned from doctors along the way. Here's what he wants you to know:
Some carbs are good.
You know there are good and bad fats, but there are good and bad carbs too. According to Harper, one key to including carbs in your diet is sticking to the good ones. You want complex carbs, which take longer to break down. "They are found in whole plant foods, are high in vitamins and minerals, and generally take a while to digest (good)," he writes. "They keep us full for longer because of the high fiber and long-lasting energy sources."
Conversely, you should limit "bad" simple carbs, such as corn syrup or fruit juice, which break down more quickly, causing a spike in insulin. (This study linked eating rapidly digestible carbs to hyperglycemic episodes.) Harper lays out lists of approved "super carbs" in his book, consisting of complex carbs and fruits, as well as "carbage" that he suggests avoiding. (Here's how bad and good carbs affect your brain.)
You can eat carbs at night.
Harper noticed that lots of diets call for avoiding carbs after a certain time, and wanted to avoid that with his diet. He reasoned that spreading carbs throughout the day won't cause weight gain and will instead lead to feeling balanced. Indeed, one European Journal of Nutrition study found that limiting carbs at night can throw blood sugar levels off balance. People who ate carbs during dinner had steadier blood sugar levels than those who limited carbs at night.
"When the meals are balanced and spread out evenly throughout the day, you won't be starving at night or at 4:00 in the afternoon," Harper writes. "It doesn't matter what time of day you're eating, just as long as it's balanced."
Carbs do not make you fat.
After trying his fair share of popular diets, Harper came to the conclusion that carbs provide energy and are essential to a balanced diet, whether you're trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight. (He revamped his diet and fitness routine post–heart attack.) The key to the Super Carb Diet is not to cut carbs but to stay on top of moderating how much you consume based on your weight. Harper suggests women aim for 30 grams of carbs per meal, and vary their fat and protein intake based on their weight. That means keeping a food journal, reading nutrition labels, and doing the math to make sure you hit your macros each day. Harper sums up his philosophy on carbs in the book: "While it's true that carbs can be dangerous if you're overeating or not eating the right ones, they do have a place in your daily life."