Healthy Carbs For Weight Loss: 8 Carbs To Help You Lose Weight 2023

Sevginur Akdas

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

healthy carbs for weight loss

Carbohydrates are one of the most debated topics of weight loss. There are a lot of haters and lovers of carbs, but there should be a balance in everything regarding nutrition. Sometimes people focus too much on white or black colors, but there is grey too. Also, the benefits of carbs are generally overlooked. There are many healthy carbs for weight loss.

Let’s examine the benefits of including carbs in your weight loss journey in detail.

8 Healthy Carbs To Eat For Weight Loss

  1. Buckwheat
  2. Berries
  3. Oats
  4. Banana
  5. Carrot
  6. Celery
  7. Quinoa
  8. Beet

8 Best Carbs For Weight Loss

Carbohydrates are the primary source of glucose, a physiologic energy tool for our body. Basically, all of our cells primarily use this energy source. Without glucose in our blood, our body will use other macronutrients to produce glucose, such as fat or protein. Therefore, carb consumption is essential for a healthy metabolism. Now it’s time to learn what good carbs for weight loss are.


healthy carbs for weight loss

As we described in detail elsewhere, buckwheat is the perfect carb source to choose in a healthy weight loss diet. Buckwheat is one of the most common pseudocereals. Its consumption may prevent[1] heart disease, high blood cholesterol[2], and blood pressure[3], as well as high blood sugar[4], cancer[5], and inflammation[6].

Buckwheat is ideal for weight loss diets with its low calories and fat content per serving due to its high fiber structure and nutrient pattern. In addition, the antioxidant components effectively reduce inflammation[7] associated with obesity.

 It has low-calorie, high fiber, and high nutrient content[8] such as protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. 

100 grams of buckwheat[9] (0.83 cups) includes;

  • Calorie: 343 kilocalories
  • Carbs: 71.5 grams
  • Protein: 13.2 grams
  • Fat: 3.4 grams
  • Fiber: 10 grams


healthy carbs for weight loss

When you see natural red/purple-colored fruit, get ready for the benefits from it because this color is a harbinger of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content.

Berries suit this claim. They include a high amount of anthocyanins, the pigment responsible for this color. 

According to the results of over 124,000 Americans obtained from three prospective cohort studies[10], consuming foods rich in flavonoids, including anthocyanins, helps weight management. 

Also, anthocyanins reduce insulin resistance and fasting blood sugar. At the same time, it increased high-density lipoproteins, or HDL-C (“good” cholesterol), and reduced low-density lipoproteins, or LDL-C (“bad” cholesterol) in diabetic patients[11]

100 grams of blueberry[12] include;

  • Calorie:57 kcal
  • Carbs: 14.5 g
  • Protein: 0.74 g
  • Fat: 0.33 g
  • Fiber: 2.4 g

100 grams of strawberry[13] include;

  • Calorie: 35 kcal
  • Carbs: 7.63 g
  • Protein: 0.64 g
  • Fat: 0.22 g
  • Fiber: 1.8 g

100 grams of cranberry[14] include;

  • Calorie: 46 kcal
  • Carbs: 12 g
  • Protein: 0.46 g
  • Fat: 0.13 g
  • Fiber: 3.6 g

100 grams of raspberry[15] include;

  • Calorie: 52 kcal
  • Carbs: 11.9 g
  • Protein: 1.2 g
  • Fat: 0.65 g
  • Fiber: 6.5 g


healthy carbs for weight loss

Oats can regulate blood parameters closely related to insulin resistance and obesity. 

In a clinical trial of obese subjects, beta glucan-containing oat cereal consumption reduced[16] body weight and body fat, especially belly fat, at the end of the 12-week study period. 

Oats are an excellent source of dietary fiber essential for digestive health. For a healthy gastrointestinal tract and regular bowel movements, your diet should contain fiber of at least 20 g for women and 30 g for men[17]

Consuming whole grains like oats reduces both LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. Oat[18] was the most effective food among these whole grain foods to regulate blood cholesterol.

100 grams of raw oat[19] include;

  • Calorie: 379 kcal
  • Carbs: 67.7 g
  • Protein: 13.2 g
  • Fat: 6.52 g
  • Fiber: 10.1 grams


healthy carbs for weight loss

Banana is a fruit that is often preferred in diets. It is a good snack option because it is easy to carry in the backpack, available for buying from every market, and has a sweet taste. Thus, it can help suppress sweet cravings. 

In addition, bananas are a good source of fiber, potassium, and dietary fiber. Consuming a banana[20] when its outer skin is green increases the benefit of bananas as it has a lower glycemic index during this stage of ripeness.

100 grams of banana[21] include;

  • Calorie: 97 kcal
  • Carbs: 22.7 g
  • Protein: 0.74 g
  • Fat: 0.28 g
  • Fiber: 1.7 g


healthy carbs for weight loss

Carrots provide dietary fiber along with other beneficial compounds. 

The carotenoids[22] give the specific color of carrots, and they are named after carrots because an important amount of carotenoids is in the carrot roots[23].

A recent study indicates that carrot consumption[24] frequency is related to weight loss through a specific gene region.

Carrots also improve[25] gut barrier integrity and support gut health by reducing inflammation in the digestive system. 

100 grams of carrot[26] include;

  • Calorie: 41 kcal
  • Carbs: 9.58 g
  • Protein: 0.93 g
  • Fat: 0.24 g
  • Fiber: 2.8 g


healthy carbs for weight loss

Celery is a nutritious vegetable as it has a lot of phytochemicals such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, and micronutrients such as beta-carotene (provitamin A), vitamin C, and manganese. This content[27] acts as an antioxidant and decreases oxidative damage and inflammation related to obesity and other chronic diseases. It reduces insulin resistance and fat tissue development (lipogenesis). 

It also has a low-lectin level. You may prefer celery in your meals if you follow a lectin-free diet.

100 grams of celery[28] include;

  • Calorie: 14 kcal
  • Carbs: 2.97 g
  • Protein: 0.69 g
  • Fat: 0.17 g
  • Fiber: 1.6 g


healthy carbs for weight loss

Similar to buckwheat, quinoa[29] is also pseudocereal and gluten-free. It has a balanced amino acid profile as a high carbohydrate source. It includes many anti-inflammatory structures to reduce obesity-related low-grade inflammation. 

100 grams of quinoa[30] include;

  • Calorie: 368 kcal
  • Carbs: 64.2 g
  • Protein: 14.1 g
  • Fat: 6.07 g
  • Fiber: 7 g


healthy carbs for weight loss

Here is another purple-colored food. You know what it means, yes, antioxidant capacity!  

Beet is a trendy food in sports nutrition as it helps improve[31] athletic performance, reduces fatigue after exercise and speeds up recovery. It has a good amount of nitrate, which increases oxygen uptake and blood vessel dilation It also contains antioxidant components, which benefit chronic diseases[32] such as cardiovascular diseases or metabolic syndrome.

100 grams of beets[33] include;

  • Calorie: 43 kcal
  • Carbs: 9.56 g
  • Protein: 1.61 g
  • Fat: 0.17 g
  • Fiber: 2.8 g

Are Carbs Good For Weight Loss?

The benefits you get from every nutrient depend on quantity, quality, and timing. 

Quantity; Daily Carb Amount

You can find many studies about carbs’ health benefits, harmful effects, high-carb diets, and even low-carb diets in the literature. Despite this, carbs have gained a bad reputation in the weight loss industry, which has been addressed by various meta-analyses. According to a recent Cochrane meta-analysis[34], there is very little to no difference between the weight loss effects of low-carb and balanced-carb diets. Similarly, there is little to no difference between these two diets’ dietary effects on biochemical parameters. 

So, How Many Carbs To Lose Weight?

Fat burning or weight loss is all about the calorie deficit you make in your energy intake. You cannot lose weight without a calorie deficit, even if you make the right choices and eat super-healthy foods.

It takes a 500-calorie deficit per day to lose a pound per week. So after you calculate your total energy requirement, deduct 500 calories from that total to come up with a calorie level to lose one pound of weight per week.

The huge gap between your energy need and consumption is an unhealthy state; slight daily decreases in calories are recommended for sustainable weight loss. 

Quality; Glycemic Index, Complex Carbs

The key point is what carbs you eat. As we listed above, carbs with a low glycemic index benefit you because they don’t cause fluctuations in your blood sugar with the related outcomes of unhealthy hunger cravings. Again according to the Cochrane database[35], a diet with a low glycemic load reduces body mass compared to usual or high glycemic index diets. Okay, but what is the glycemic index exactly?

How Does The Glycemic Index Of Carbs Affect Your Body?

The glycemic index[36] is a value attributed to foods, mainly high-carb foods, showing the rate of the increment in the rise in blood glucose level compared to sugar. The glycemic index of sugar (glucose) is accepted as 100, and other food effects are calculated compared with sugar. If the food’s glycemic index is high, it can increase your blood sugar quickly and to a higher level. If the food you consume has a lower glycemic index, your glucose level will increase slowly and stay steady. 

When To Eat Carbs For Weight Loss?

We all have a circadian clock in our bodies. This clock regulates hormones, enzymes, and even our moods. So it becomes a game changer when we eat according to circadian rhythm.

The American Heart Association[37] stated the significant relation between meal timing, weight loss, and other cardiometabolic risk factors concluding that irregular meal timing presented a metabolic risk and a deterrent to weight loss efforts. 

In the evening, our tolerance towards high glycemic index carbohydrate sources decreases, and we may tend to eat more carbs than we need. 

Also, your sleep routine is crucial for weight management and calorie and carb intake. In the study[38] with shift workers, individuals on the night shifts consumed a high amount of carbs during what they termed the “night-time eating syndrome” as compared to daytime shifts, which shows a relationship between the risk of obesity and shift work.

Healthy adults who underwent sleep restriction[39] (four hours/night) also had increased caloric intake and significantly more calories from unhealthy carbohydrate sources.

If you don’t have an obligation, ensure you don’t stay awake at night and try to sleep enough because you may tend to consume a high amount of carbohydrates with a high-glycemic index later in the day


There is no need to avoid carbohydrate consumption in the right amount and with the right choices during your weight loss journey because it will help you to lose weight. 

Carbohydrates are the precursors of glucose, the body’s primary energy tool. All of our cells use this energy source primarily. Therefore, proper carbohydrate consumption promotes the body’s energy expenditure and makes you feel energetic. 

In addition, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and specific antioxidant compounds in carbohydrate sources contribute to our health.

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Sevginur Akdas

Written by:

Sevginur Akdas, RD

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Sevginur Akdas is a researcher, medical writer, and clinical dietitian, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in metabolism, chronic diseases, and clinical nutrition fields. She has many scientific articles, meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and book chapters on nutrition, chronic diseases, dietary supplements, maternal and child nutrition, molecular nutrition & functional foods topics as a part of a research team currently. Besides her academic background, she is also a professional health&medical writer since 2017.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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