The truth is, carbs do not have to be the enemy. However, eating simple carbs all day long, such as white flour and sugar will negatively affect the body and cause that ‘bloated’ feeling, where you are retaining water, look puffy, and also gain weight. There is a solution though. Even though simple carbohydrates do cause water retention, complex carbohydrates can actually help get rid of unwanted water weight.
Carbohydrates are found in many foods such as veggies and fruits, sweets and dairy products, as well as cereal and pasta. Your body has to ability to break down these carbohydrates and turn them into glucose (sugar) for energy. According to the The CDC, eating healthy means that 45-65 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates.
The two types of carbohydrates are simple and complex. Complex carbs will take longer to convert to glucose and are in foods that are much more nutritional then the simple carbohydrate foods.
Sugars, both the natural sugar in dairy products or fruit and the added sugars found in processed foods like baked goods are basically simple carbohydrates. Starches like potatoes, white rice, corn,
white flour, etc. are all simple carbs that can cause problems.
It is important to keep carbs a part of a healthy diet. However, it is the complex carbs that need to be included and the simple carbs that should be eliminated. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains contain fiber, and these help slow down digestion and make you feel full. Another bonus is that fiber also increases how much fat your body excretes. Getting rid of this fat is helpful in weight loss and preventing heart disease.
It seems confusing because there actually is a correlation between eating a high-carb diet and retaining water. If you eat too many simple carbohydrates, it causes your kidneys to retain salt instead of get rid of it. Then, once your body’s salt content increases, your body’s water content needs to increase to keep the salt to bodily fluid ratio steady.
When someone goes on a diet and cuts carbs, the body releases the salt and the water it was retaining. This explains how all of those low-carb diets out there often will cause quick initial weight loss. It is not because the dieter is losing any body fat, it is because but he is losing several pounds of retained salt and water.
If you suspect there is a certain carbohydrate you are eating that may be causing bloating then try to eliminate that food to see if the bloating stops. However, be careful not to cut out too many healthy carbs like fruits, vegetables and milk products.
Complex carbs, like whole-grain foods can help reduce bloating. Other foods that reduce water retention are green vegetables such as leafy greens vegetables, asparagus and green beans. It has been reported that pineapple and grapes also assist in decreasing bloating. It also helps to cut down on sodium, avoid alcohol and eat less red meat. Eating fruits that are high in antioxidants such as blueberries and cherries is helpful as well.