Try This Trick: Wet Carbs for Weight Loss

oatmealOkay, so by now we all know that whole grain carbs trump refined carbs for nutrition, weight control, and to reduce our risk of heart disease and diabetes. And that we should be sure to make at least half of our grains that we consume each day whole grains. But are you ready to take your weight loss a step further? If so, “wet carbs” are where it’s at.

What Is a “Wet Carb” Anyway?

Let me explain. “Wet carbs” refer to whole grain foods that must first be prepared with water or other liquid before they’re ready for you to eat. For example, a bowl of hot oatmeal is a “wet carb,” as it first needs to be prepared with water or milk before you can eat it, whereas ready-to-eat breakfast cereal is a  “dry carb” (to which you may of course add milk, but the key is to look at the basic carb FIRST when deciding if it’s “wet” or “dry”). Adding a half-cup of cooked barley or brown rice to your favorite soup or salad would each be an example of a wet carb; in contrast, pairing your meal with a serving of whole grain crackers would be a dry carb.

Why It Works

The secret behind “wet carbs” is the added water weight. Extensive research from Penn State University suggests that this added water weight helps us feel fuller longer – and it’s this feeling of fullness that’s key to lasting weight loss. With carbohydrates in particular, this can be a helpful rule of thumb as it excludes a lot of those ready-to-eat carbs that can make it trickier to watch portions, such as crackers, pretzels, bread and desserts.

So while whole grains are indeed better for you then refined grains, think of aiming to make most of your whole grains each day “wet carbs” as a sort of ultra healthy carbohydrate. Here’s a list below – and if you look closely, you’ll see I even included dessert!

4 Swaps to Make

Breakfast: Instead of dry cereal (28 gram/1 cup), try oatmeal (234 gram/1 cup and 4 grams of fiber).

Salad: Skip the croutons (15 grams, half-cup) and top your salad off with lentils (99 grams, half-cup and 8 grams of fiber).

Soup: Instead of crackers with your soup, try adding barley (157 grams/1 cup and 6 grams of fiber).

Dessert: Go guilt-free by opting for a quinoa pudding (185 grams/1 cup and 5 grams of fiber).