5 Carbs That Can Actually Help You Lose Weight

Good carbs offer a ton of health benefits. By choosing carbohydrates that are packed with fiber, they're more slowly absorbed into the system, which helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
11/11/2015 12:28 pm ET Updated Nov 11, 2016

Just like all fats were demonized as "bad" for you back in the '90s, carbs have become the food to fear.

But not all carbs are bad, in fact, they're a very important part of a healthy diet.

Good carbs offer a ton of health benefits. By choosing carbohydrates that are packed with fiber, they're more slowly absorbed into the system, which helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.

It's the refined and processed carbs that are unhealthy - things like junk food and refined grains such as white bread, muffins and hamburger buns.

That's because during the refining process, these grains are stripped of fiber, B-vitamins and certain minerals. They also have a high glycemic index, which means they negatively affect blood sugar levels.

Just a few other examples of "bad" carbs include cakes, pastries, chips, soda and most packaged baked goods. Those types of foods offer little in the way of nutrients, yet they generally contain a high amount of calories.

Eating them can cause a drop in blood sugar which affects an area of the brain that controls impulse - and that can lead to a loss of self-control, including cravings for unhealthy, high-calorie foods.

These 6 high carb foods, on the other hand, are good for you!

They have virtually the opposite effect, providing a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber that can help promote good health, support increased energy and even fat loss.

1. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not only delicious, they're filled with feel-good vitamins like B6 and also a rich source of vitamins A, C, D, iron and magnesium, known as the relaxation and anti-stress mineral.

Magnesium is essential for healthy nerve function, muscle, heart, bone, blood and more.

This nutritious tuber is packed with antioxidants which can help to reduce oxidative damage as well as lessen the risk of a number of diseases.

2. Blueberries

Blueberries are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth while enjoying a ton of health -- and possibly weight loss -- benefits.

Often referred to as a "superfood," blueberries also contain a large amount of many different vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.

3. Quinoa

Quinoa is an ancient grain that offers multiple health benefits.

Originally, it was roasted and made into flour that served as a basis for traditional types of bread, but these days, the sky is practically the limit when it comes to all of its different uses.

It can be made into pasta, added to soups, used in salads and more.

It's an excellent alternative to wheat for those on a gluten-free diet as quinoa is naturally gluten-free too.

Quinoa is rich in fiber and contains all eight essential amino acids - very unique in plant-based proteins. Being high in fiber and protein means that it can also help keep you feeling fuller longer, ultimately supporting weight-loss efforts.

4. Beets

If you want to increase your energy levels or improve endurance before a workout, try adding beets to your diet.

This powerful superfood can be sliced thin for salads or cooked, and they're also easy to juice.

Beets are filled with important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant compounds as well as being high in inorganic nitrates. The body converts these nitrates into nitric oxide which aids blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to the muscles.

Not only does nitric oxide help to lower blood pressure and possibly decrease the risk of a number of diseases, it also helps you work harder with less effort.

5. Apples

You know what they say, "An apple a day..."

Well, apples, particularly Granny Smith apples, according to a study out of Washington State University, are not only good for your health, they contain non-digestible compounds, including fiber and polyphenols that promote an increase of good bacteria in the gut and can help you lose weight.

As chronic inflammation has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, restoring microbial balance helps to reduce inflammation as well as boost the feeling of fullness.

Apples have also been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease, improve blood sugar control and may lessen the risk of some types of cancer too.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post inaccurately summarized the results of a Tufts University study. The reference has since been removed.