If you have been following my blog for some time now, you either think that I am obsessed with carb cycling, or you are happy that I am making some sense out of mystical carbs, once and for all. Good carbs do exist and as you know the term “carb” does not equal “sugar” and does not equal “bad”! In fact, vegetables are carbs and they are important for our health.

Given that carbs are demonized in the online fitness circle, I understand your suspicions of the term “good carbs,” but it is true! There are good carbs out there that DO NOT make you put on weight. Today, I want to tell you that these “good carbs” can actually help you effectively burn fat for fuel.


The key is to eat the right carbs, at the right time, paired with the right exercises. If you are in my Weight Loss on the Wild Side program you are a master of my 4 carb day cycle, so now I want to talk about my favourite carbs for improving health and fighting fat. You may be surprised. Keep in mind as awesome as these foods are, I still recommend avoiding them on low carb days 😉

#1. Bananas: Up until this point, I actually advised against bananas because they are extra sweet and are a source of some serious sugar. But what I just learnt is that this is only true when they are overly ripe. As a banana ripens and becomes more yellow/develops dark blotches on it, the level of natural sugar it contains significantly increases. On the contrast when unripe, bananas contain a higher amount of resistant starch that is not easily digested or absorbed. What this means is that it does not have as great of an impact on blood sugar.

Even better, some of our lovely intestinal critters convert the soluble fiber and this resistant starch into short-chain fatty acids. One of these fatty acids is butyric acid, which has important health benefits in the large intestine. It helps to maintain a healthy intestinal lining and has relieved symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. In addition, it may lower the risk of colon cancer. This is HUGE. Remember a healthier gut means less troublesome food particles getting through into your bloodstream and triggering unwanted inflammation.

Yes, probiotics are great but we also need to feed the good bugs and provide them with a luxury diamond hotel to live in. Unripe bananas provide the resistant starch, which is a great food source for your gut bacteria and doesn’t impact your belly, waistline or blood sugar.

#2. Legumes: Personally I like legumes (sorry paleo lovers). Yes legumes may make you bloated and gassy at first, but this is because they are so high in fibre. If your body is not necessarily used to this, give it a good shot. Often these symptoms do go away, if they even occur in the first place.

I love legumes because research shows they lowers your risk of heart disease and reduces C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation). A 2011 study in the European Journal of Nutrition showed that when you add legumes into your diet they reduce the inflammation that is associated with a low caloric diet and improves body composition and blood pressure. Remember inflammation makes it harder to lose fat! Lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas are all great options. Legumes are also a plant based source of protein. As much as I love higher protein diets it is important to support our environment and ease the strain our natural resources feel.

#3: Cooked then Cooled Potatoes:

This is crazy and cool! I was researching the difference between sweet potatoes and regular old white potatoes and it turns out, white potatoes are good carbs too! Here’s the deal though you cannot eat them in the form of french fries or mashed potatoes. Obviously, french fries are unhealthy because they are cooked in inflammatory oils. Mashed potatoes are actually higher glycemic index, meaning they’re going to spike your blood sugar and thus lead to fat storage. However, if you bake them and then put them into the fridge to cool the resistant starch levels increase. Recall from above, resistant starch is food to keep our lovely intestinal critters happy. The best way to get in some cold potatoes is potatoe salad!


#4. Berries: All berries, in my opinion are great for your overall health and for your waistline. Berries are high in antioxidants, which may prevent or delay cell damage. Antioxidants have been shown to protect DNA, benefit your heart and delay alzheimer’s. What is key to understand is not  one antioxidant alone produces these effects. The studies that showed a benefit were ones where the participants consumed high amounts of fruit & vegetables. So supplementing with antioxidants is not the answer instead we must consume the whole foods.  In addition berries are low on the glycemic index due to their high fiber content. This means that they are not going to spike your blood sugar thus insulin is not going to be released in large quantities. This is important because insulin is a storage hormone, and too much of it makes sugar enter your blood to become stored in additional fat cells.  Plus high levels of insulin triggers inflammation in our bodies. All not good.

You have probably make the connection now that gut health is very important for weight loss. Having a healthy dose of good bacteria as well as eating the right foods to create a thriving environment is massively important for helping you lose fat as well as improving your overall health.

So go ahead and try and eat more of these carbs on regular or high carb training days. Carbs are so important to refuel your muscles and prevent injury. If these healthy carbs won’t cut it on your valentine’s day there is no harm in indulging in some discretionary calories but make sure to pair it with the appropriate workout!