Why Good Carbs are Necessary

January 22, 2024

Have you ever been on a diet where after a month or two, it left you feeling crabby with cravings or low energy? Today, we’re going to talk about a key component to add to your lifestyle (rather than restrict) that helps you lose weight in a sustainable way, if weight loss is your goal. Our dietitians are talking about why eating real, whole food carbs are necessary for weight loss and well-being, plus they will give you tips and ideas on how to incorporate vegetables and fiber into your meal plan for long-term health.

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MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. If you are a first-time listener to Dishing Up Nutrition and you're a podcast listener, we welcome you. If you are a long time listener, you know we have been sharing the benefits of eating real food for over 20 years.

A few client success stories

We appreciate you tuning in to learn why eating real carbs and vegetables is necessary for weight loss and long-term health. Britni and I thank you for joining us today and we want to share a couple of amazing results our clients have experienced. So let's start with a client named Jane who reversed her osteoporosis by eating real food, protein, lots of protein, vegetables, natural fat, plus supplementing with a great bone building supplement called Key Osteo Plus. And of course, daily walks and weightlifting several times a week.

Let me share another success story from eating real food: protein, vegetables, and natural fat. For the past 14 years, Tina chose to manage her MS, multiple sclerosis, with her diet of real food. And now 14 years later, her neurologist said, you no longer need to come back for checkups because there is no indication on your scans of MS. It is gone.

BRITNI: That is truly amazing.

MELANIE: That was a day, red letter day for Tina. I mean, wow. Tina was so dedicated to her real food plan. She dedicated herself to eating this way that when her husband was in the hospital, she took all of her own food with her because she didn't trust the hospital food; dedication to the nth degree, but it paid off, right?

BRITNI: Without a doubt.

MELANIE: Yeah. So fabulous.

BRITNI: Let me share another real food success story. So Tom was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and he was having on average between 10 and 15 episodes of diarrhea a day. So he got to the point where he could not even

leave his home without feeling anxious. So through real food, he was able to eliminate his diarrhea and have daily formed bowel movements without any of his colitis symptoms.

MELANIE: He got his life back.

BRITNI: Yes, without a doubt. Let me share another success story about weight loss. Nell lost 90 pounds 10 years ago, and she has maintained that 90 pounds by eating real food. She did not take a weight loss drug. She just ate real food. There was no starvation, no prepackaged foods, just food that she was buying at the grocery store, cooking at home.

MELANIE: Nell is someone who is also very, very dedicated.

BRITNI: Yeah; without a doubt.

MELANIE: Of taking care of her health.


MELANIE: Yeah. So today we want to share some research about why eating good carbs, which are basically vegetables, is necessary for health and for long term weight loss. I'm Melanie Beasley. I'm a long-term dietitian of over 35 years. I've practiced nutrition through the low-fat phase of nutrition and weight loss. Sorry about that. Low fat worked for some for a short time. I mean, we did see some success, but the clients complained of being hungry all the time and they felt crabby and irritable.

I also lived through that high fat, low carb phase called the keto diet, which seems to work best for men for weight loss efforts, but again, it's not a sustainable plan for long-term weight loss. It works for a season, works for a while, but eventually it can be hard to maintain with your lifestyle.

A sustainable plan is key to long-term weight loss & health

BRITNI: Yeah. And, you know, we really, like you said, lifestyle, we really want to find something that just becomes your lifestyle and that is sustainable and that gets back to what we were talking about today.

MELANIE: So that you're not thinking about food all the time. You want to think about other things in life other than what you're going to put in your mouth next.

BRITNI: Yep. That's, you can, I mean, you could do something for a month or maybe two months, but yeah, at a point you're going to get, you mentioned crabby. You're going to still have cravings. You're probably not going to feel that great. Your energy might be low. So, the real food approach really helps to improve all of that.

MELANIE: Yeah. It really does.

BRITNI: You know, there's the newest diet recommendation that has been to fast for several hours. And this varies depending on the specific recommendation, but this can be a difficult plan to stay on for long term for some people as well. So again, today we're looking at a more balanced approach.

MELANIE: For long term.

BRITNI: We're thinking the rest of your life. And I am Britni Vincent. I have been a dietitian for the past 11 years. And I became interested in nutrition back in high school. I decided I was going to be a dietitian and that's what I committed to.

MELANIE: I don't think I knew that.


MELANIE: Back in high school, you decided.

BRITNI: Back in high school, I decided and I never looked back. My aunt was a dietitian and I think, that's what inspired me. I liked cooking and food and all of that. And throughout that process, I have been on my own health journey. And about 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

And mine was more rooted in inflammation from poor gut health and stress. And whereas most women with PCOS, theirs is really rooted in insulin resistance. So I was already on my real food path at that time, thankfully, but I continued to fine tune things. I eliminated gluten completely, I eliminated dairy. I took proper supplementation, and I was able to rebalance my hormones completely. At one point I was not ovulating at all, and then naturally I started to ovulate.

MELANIE: You are our hormone guru. Britni does train the nutritionists on all her hormone research because you have gone above and beyond to understand. And so you educate us so that we can all be helping our clients. But when I have a stumper, I turn to you.

BRITNI: Well, you know, when you have a personal interest, like you do Mel, in certain topics, you really dive into the research so you can thoroughly understand it.

MELANIE: Yeah. Yeah. That's so true.

BRITNI: Yeah. And you know, both Mel and I have experienced the positive effects of real food, and we are lucky to see that every day with our clients too. And these are just a handful of the successes that we see.

MELANIE: It really is the best job seeing people be who they want to be, both in their health, their weight, just overall physical wellbeing.


MELANIE: It's the best job. Yeah. I love it. Well, if you want or need to lose weight, there is an unending stream of available diets out there. There are supplements or medications or even surgeries to be the magical answer. But the question to ask yourself is, do any of these work long term or are they safe for me and can I afford them? I mean, these are all big questions.

Are there long-term consequences of some of these choices to lose weight? I understand the desperation many feel about their weight. I think small changes are better with ongoing weekly support, either from a class or individually from a, a dietitian or a nutritionist. What small and safe change can you make that has good success attached to those changes? That's what we want.

Vegetables provide many benefits

BRITNI: Yeah, that's a wonderful way to think about it and just ask yourself that. What is realistically one thing that you can focus on? And maybe it is the old advice of just increasing your vegetables. And that goes a really long way. Filling your plate with those lower carbohydrate vegetables, like salad greens, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, carrots, tomatoes. I mean, that's not even a complete list. The list goes on and on.

And all of these vegetables, they fill you up because they are high in fiber. They have tons of different nutrients and antioxidants to offer us. And these fun to eat vegetables contain very little sugar, but a lot of key nutrients to help you lose weight. And you can cook them in so many different ways so that they are absolutely delicious.

What are some way to incorporate vegetables?

MELANIE: You know, I have a lot of clients who will tell me, I just don't like vegetables. And they think a lot of it is because they think I want them to belly up to a big bowl of raw vegetables and munch through them. And there's so many options to sneak vegetables in a casserole or a chili or put them in a smoothie or roast them and dice them and have just a little bit. And a good variety too.

BRITNI: I think I can confidently say I am always able to find ways that my clients enjoy eating their vegetables.


BRITNI: You know, once we dive into it and go through some ideas, they do find ways that they enjoy them. And we're going to give you some ideas today too.

MELANIE: We're going to give you some ideas and listeners, I want to encourage you that once you start down the vegetable train, you, your palate changes.

BRITNI: It's so true.

MELANIE: It doesn't stay the same. And all of a sudden you're craving vegetables and you're like, who am I?


MELANIE: So you just have to trust the process.

BRITNI: Yeah. Right. Some of you are probably thinking that we're crazy for saying that. But it is true. You get to the point of craving vegetables.

MELANIE: Yeah. Yeah. Which is a good thing. If you are a new listener to our Dishing Up Nutrition podcast, you still may believe to drop excess pounds, you need to feel deprived and hungry all the time. A statement one of my clients told me she believes is if she isn't suffering, then her diet isn't working. It made me sad. That's so not true. Most people can resist sugar just so long and then their hand reaches into that nearest cookie jar or they open a chip bag and the starvation diet backfires. We're just not pleasant people or living pleasant lives when we're hungry. We become hangry.

BRITNI: Yeah. There was a meta-analysis published in the year 2020 that found that diets helped people lose weight in the first six months, but it had stopped by the time one year had rolled along.

MELANIE: How frustrating.

BRITNI: Yes. And then, sometimes when you regain that weight, then you might be gaining back more body fat than you, you had before you started it.

Yes, especially if you have a rapid weight loss, you lose a lot of muscle along that journey. And so what we want to do is focus on maintaining the muscle because guess what you gain back? Not muscle.


MELANIE: So fat. So it's so frustrating. It's just not how we want to go.

Muscle = metabolism

BRITNI: And muscle equals metabolism.

MELANIE: Good point.


MELANIE: Yeah. That's what keeps us revved. So if a low fat diet or a high fat keto type diet or the low calorie; I'm thinking 500, 600, 800 calorie diet doesn't work for long-term weight loss for you, it becomes that same frustration of losing weight, gaining it all back. Plus more.

And now it's hard to get the ball rolling again. Cause you're like, I've tried this before. I'm frustrated. What does work for long-term success: Nell chose a plan that helped her lose 90 pounds, but more importantly, keep those 90 pounds off for 10 years. I just applaud her. She's beautiful. She has radiant skin. She has a full head of hair. Have you seen her fingernails?

BRITNI: Beautiful.

MELANIE: Her fingernails are amazing. So often people lose their hair on a starvation type diet. So what eating plan works? Eating more low sugar vegetables, more broccoli, more celery, more bell peppers, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, asparagus. Think about these vegetables. They all grow above the earth with the exception of corn and beans. These are your low starch, low sugar vegetables.

BRITNI: That's a good way to think of it. And you might ask, is there one vegetable that is best to eat? Yes. One that you will eat. Just eat, eat the ones that you enjoy. We don't want you to force yourself to eat things that you don’t like.

MELANIE: If you hate Brussels sprouts.

BRITNI: There's plenty of other options.

MELANIE: You know, I had a client call them little demon balls and she was like, I'm not eating those because they just, I think they golf with those and I, yeah, I thought it was hilarious. So no, eat what you love.


MELANIE: But she did try Brussels sprouts, shredded Brussels sprouts down the road. I told her, make them with bacon fat and then crumble your bacon over the top. and a little drizzle of apple cider vinegar. And she was like surprised. And she loved them. So I converted her.

How can you get more vegetables into your day?

BRITNI: Nice. I love eating them that way. And all vegetables have a variety of nutrients and special nutritional values. So how do you get more vegetables into your daily food menu? Well, we've got some ideas for you and it does take work. It does take effort, even for us who love vegetables. You just have to be mindful of how you're going to get this into your day.

So when possible, I do suggest that clients buy organic vegetables, and especially the dirty dozen and you can Google that. That gets updated by the Environmental Working Group each year. And those are the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables with pesticides, herbicides. There's also a clean 15. So those would be a list of 15 veggies that it's not that big of a deal if you don't buy organic.

MELANIE: Yeah, that's a really good point. I also like to tell people if you're not sure and you can put your fingernail through the skin, it should be organic. It's a thin skin and it should be organic. You think avocados, you really can't. So they're probably one of the clean 15.

BRITNI: Yeah. That's a good, good tip. Well, right now it is already time for our break and we'll dive more into this when we come back from break.

MELANIE: Let's take a little break from our discussion about why eating vegetable carbohydrates are necessary for long-term health and weight management. If you are facing surgery this upcoming year, let me share some information about a supplement many found to have made a difference in their recovery. After surgery, the body needs additional micronutrients to speed recovery.

And I often recommend taking the supplement, Injury Surgical Support Formula, for three weeks before surgery and at least three weeks after surgery for that faster recovery.

BRITNI: Yeah, I have had so many clients tell me that their doctors are really impressed at how quickly they're recovering from their surgery.

MELANIE: And that's what we want, get back to life.

BRITNI: Yeah, absolutely. And this Injury and Surgical Support Formula contains 21 different nutrients designed to support cellular health and healing and reduce inflammation. It's not a new product. It has been around for a long time, actually.

And a recent satisfied user said, “After my hip surgery, I recovered so well. I now recommend it to all my friends and family.” So you take six capsules for three weeks before and then three to six weeks after surgery.

MELANIE: A lot of my clients will say, why can't they just make it in one capsule? Well, when you have, chelated minerals, activated B vitamins, they're larger molecules. So, in order to really be something the body can absorb, they have to be a little bit bigger, and they're in easy, swallowable gel caps.

BRITNI: Yeah. And I think three with breakfast, three with lunch is a really good approach.

MELANIE: I like that. Better is better. Getting better faster, and getting back to life is, it's worth it.

More ideas on how to incorporate vegetables

BRITNI: Here are some specific ideas that might appeal to you: a red pepper cut up in slices and put in a jar is a great snack food, or sometimes I just eat it like an apple. So I don't even have to take the time to cut it up.

MELANIE: Can you do that? If I get a seed, I'm done. Like I just can't.

BRITNI: It doesn't bother me, but I understand. I understand that. Or you buy the mini peppers.

MELANIE: No, I get a seed with those. I love to, the little, I love to make strips.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah.

MELANIE: And then just munch on them like strips of apples.

BRITNI: And you could do, I mean, I'm saying red. You could do any color of those bell peppers are great to snack on. Celery, you could get those cleaned up, store those in jars. That's another great option; cucumbers, you can buy the mini version again, so you don't need to cut anything. Carrots are also a great option. I do really think buying the big carrots with the tops on tastes so much better than the baby carrots.

MELANIE: The baby carrots too, I believe a lot of them are treated with something to keep them from getting slimy.

BRITNI: They are.

MELANIE: And even organic. So I don't love the baby carrot. They're convenient, better, you know, good, better, best. So it's better rather than not eating a vegetable to do the baby carrots.

BRITNI: Great point. Cherry tomatoes are a wonderful option. And I think the trick is make a plan for your vegetables. That's a big one. So they're not just going in that rotter drawer and then you find them a few weeks.

MELANIE: Did you call it the rotter drawer?


MELANIE: That's great.

BRITNI: So make a plan for them. What are you going to snack on? What are you using for your meals? Having them prepared, whether that's buying them precut, getting them home, washing them, cutting them right away, you know, whatever works. But if you are hungry and you need to chop something up to eat it, chances are it's not going to happen.

MELANIE: The box of crackers is going to happen.


MELANIE: And that's where we get into trouble. It's funny you said rotter drawer for vegetables. We used that vegetable drawer in the refrigerator to thaw meat. So, yeah, we don't use it for vegetables because they're in there and suddenly they're just gone. It's like when you shut your phone, things just disappear. So that's how it is when you put vegetables in that drawer.

BRITNI: That's a great idea. If you put them elsewhere, I mean, then you're seeing them, then it's reminding you to eat them.



MELANIE: And it's just a wonderful, you feel a little righteous when you open your refrigerator and you see all these beautiful colorful vegetables that do a body good. Well, here's one of my favorite meal tricks: so all I have to do is grab a container out of the fridge and eat it.

I love mason jars, and I love big wide mouth mason jars. I think they're called asparagus jars. And what I do is I put the meat in the bottom, and I put anything that is going to be a little more wet next, which is usually if I have chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, then sliced carrots: they're a little more dry, sliced radishes and then leafy greens.

I like to mix up which types of leafy greens I use and sometimes it might be shredded coleslaw. And then at the very top, I sometimes, if there's room, will put the dressing or I will put the dressing in another container, especially if I make several. And then all I have to do is grab it, dump it in. We have two big bowls at work. I dump them in the bowl, got my dressing, easy, delicious, and you can line up like five of them.

BRITNI: Perfect.

MELANIE: So, I've got salads to go, always with some protein. I do have additional protein I eat with that because I can't get enough protein in those asparagus jars. But it's an easy way to grab and go. And if starting out, there's no shame in the game. If you go to a grocery store and you buy pre chopped. Cause you're like, Melanie, I don't have time to chop all these vegetables or shred them. No shame in the game.

BRITNI: Nope, not at all.

MELANIE: Just get them in, in your tummy.

BRITNI: And I think it's such a good tip to put them in an individual containers. You know, I have a client who she will not eat breakfast unless she's got it ready. It's in an individual container. And she can grab and go, otherwise it just, it does not happen.

MELANIE: Well, she knows herself. I applaud her for that.


MELANIE: Yeah. So it's, you have to plan. It's the biggest stumbling block I think our clients face is we live busy lives and so helping them plan is part of our equation.

BRITNI: It is. It is. It is.

MELANIE: I also want to add, I love to add to that salad mix, sometimes a variety of nuts or seeds at the top where it's drier. At the bottom where it's more wet, I might add cubed sweet potatoes, a little wild rice. You can really go ham on these things. And have a good time.

Studies support the benefits of vegetables

BRITNI: So many different options. And there are lots of studies to support the benefits of vegetables. In 2019, a meta-analysis published in the journal, Advances in Nutrition, reported that people who ate more vegetables were 22 percent less likely to gain weight over a long time. This study showed that people who ate just three to four servings of vegetables reduce their risk of being overweight or obese.

MELANIE: I love that. And I remember when we were at the Great Lakes Conference, they talked about a tribe of people and they eat a great deal of fiber and they had no autoimmune disorders, no disease to speak of. And the fiber content that they got in through nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables, mostly vegetables, huge. It was huge.

BRITNI: It was, I think, like 150 grams.


BRITNI: Yes. The average American, I think, is getting about 10.

MELANIE: I know. So I am challenged. That's my new. That's one of my new things in clinic is I always challenge my clients to just track in a food tracker: Cronometer or any food tracker that you can find. See how much fiber you're actually getting. Because vegetables provide this wonderful variety of types of fiber that we need.

Fiber from vegetables provide benefits

BRITNI: Yes. I have a client doing that right now and I just saw her the end of last week and she said, “If I hit my fiber goal, I don't have cravings. I am full. I am satisfied throughout the day.” So by her focusing on the vegetables, it helps everything else fall into place.

MELANIE: That is a great goal.

BRITNI: Yeah. And her blood sugar, her morning blood sugar is lower as well.

MELANIE: Fiber slows that, the blood sugar hit. Now, what was her goal in grams?

BRITNI: She's aiming for 30.

MELANIE: I think that's a great goal to start with. So listeners, that's the challenge today. I challenge you to track and see how much fiber you're getting in. And we want to do it naturally, not necessarily having to buy some sort of product, right?

So what is in vegetables that can help you lose the weight? It's all about the fiber in the vegetables. There's so much else that's happening with vegetables besides fiber, but fiber is a nutrient that fills you up, but it's low in calories and sugar. It doesn't affect blood sugar.

And fiber from vegetables move through the digestive tract slowly and stimulate satiety, that satisfaction, fullness, and naturally increases GLP-1. So when you start your meal with a variety of vegetables such as salad and four to five ounces of protein, you help your body produce the satiety hormone, GLP-1.

BRITNI: So if you start your meal with a big salad or just maybe snacking on some vegetables or maybe you just eat some roasted vegetables before your meal, that fiber from the vegetables is going to prevent or lower your blood sugar effect. And over time, from not having your blood sugar spike so often, your body is going to produce less insulin. Insulin is our primary fat storage hormone, so as our insulin production reduces, you're going to see that you start losing body fat and you start seeing results.

MELANIE: Mm hmm. Exactly.

BRITNI: Plus you're satisfied. And that's the key part that we've been talking about is feeling satisfied is really really key to finding something that is sustainable.

MELANIE: Yeah, the fiber is such a big part of vegetables. It's not the only part of their story.

BRITNI: No, not at all.

MELANIE: Well, are, and you might ask, are there better vegetables to choose for weight loss? Not really. A variety is ideal. So it's all about what you eat. And what you're willing to eat. Circling back to what you said, Britni, I like what you said, what's the best vegetable? The one you'll eat.


Adding healthy fat to vegetables create even more benefits

MELANIE: So start there. And then, you will benefit more if you add a good natural fat to your vegetable. Olive oil on your salad or avocado mayo mixed in your chicken and vegetable salad. Make sure it's 100 percent avocado or olive oil mayo. You don't want it to have just a splash. You want it to be all of the oil to be avocado or olive oil.

Adding fat to your veggies also helps your body absorb the following fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, E, D, and K. So for long-term weight loss, how do you develop the vegetable habit? I've had clients who tell me right up front again, they don't like them. They hate them. And or maybe they just grew up only eating canned corn or canned peas. No wonder they don't love them.


MELANIE: They, these are just not super delicious. So let me suggest experimenting with fresh vegetables, even better, organic fresh vegetables. Here are some ideas: sauté fresh asparagus in real butter, or make coleslaw with pre-shredded cabbage or try Brussels sprouts already shredded and sautéed in that bacon fat that we talked about.

I love asparagus sprayed with avocado oil and seasoned with garlic salt and then place it in an air fryer or broiler. These are great. And then I dip them in a little avocado mayo with lemon juice whisked in.


MELANIE: So good. But it's finding the vegetables you're willing to eat prepared how you're willing to eat them. If the best that you can do, cause you have a busy schedule is buy a bag of frozen vegetables, do it. So they're always on hand. I have one client and the one thing that she does is she will make a smoothie in the morning and she will put frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets in her smoothie because you don't taste them.

She started with one and now she's up to almost a full cup of a combination of the two. That's how she's getting her vegetable in because she doesn't love how they taste or feel.

BRITNI: Yeah, I always have frozen veggies around because if you need something quick, it works. And you put some butter and some seasoning on them and they can taste delicious too.


BRITNI: And if you don't think you like a certain vegetable, for instance, growing up, the only way that I had Brussels sprouts was my mom would boil them.

MELANIE: I'm so sorry.

BRITNI: Let me tell you, they are not good that way.

MELANIE: We're back to demon golf balls, right?

BRITNI: Yes. But, sauteed Brussels sprouts, roasted Brussels sprouts, they are absolutely delicious. They are one of my favorite vegetables now.

MELANIE: The trick is not to burn them because when you burn them, they're bitter.

BRITNI: They are not good. So my point is be willing to try them different ways and you might be surprised that you enjoy a vegetable that you otherwise thought that you disliked. And I think one way that I've gotten many of my clients to like different vegetables is roasting them. They give a totally different flavor.

You can add different seasonings and almost any vegetable works to just pop on a sheet pan, some parchment paper and roast them using avocado oil, again, whatever seasonings you like. I know that we have an article on our website that talks all about roasting. So if you're not sure how to do it, just check out our website, weightandwellness.com.

MELANIE: That's a really good tip. You know, I had a client that couldn't tolerate leafy greens. They gave her gut problems. So she started with boxes of arugula, she would buy arugula, and she stir fried those with butter and coconut oil and garlic salt. I tried it. It's delicious.

You know, we think about spinach all the time. We never really think about cooking arugula. It took sort of the bite of arugula out. And, she cooks them almost till they're a little crispy in the pan, almost. It's delicious that way, arugula. So let's talk about how you take research findings and apply it to your weight and wellness goals.

What is the recommended amount of vegetables to eat?

The current dietary guidelines for Americans recommends two and a half cups of vegetables per day. Well, our Nutrition for Weight Loss plan recommends at least one cup of vegetables for breakfast, two and a half cups for lunch and dinner, and then even some at snacks. So that's about six cups per day.

If your goal is to lose 10 to 15 pounds this coming year, and you start eating six or more cups of vegetables each day from all varieties, you'll be successful. Now we know if you take spinach or arugula, they cook down, so your precooked weight. But this is a great habit to start achieving your weight and wellness goals.

BRITNI: And you know, if this sounds overwhelming and you're maybe only eating a cup a day, start with eating two cups a day. You know, start small.

MELANIE: Start small, and then you'll see how you're doing. So we are always available to make individual appointments to help you achieve these health goals. You can reach us at weightandwellness.com.

Schedule Nutrition Counseling

Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today.

BRITNI: Thank you.

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