I’m Addicted to Chips – Here’s What Happened When I Gave Them Up For a Week

Most people would say I'm a very healthy eater. I've been doing the (mostly) vegan thing for years, and I rarely eat processed food. Except chips. For the life of me, I cannot part with my beloved nightly snack. Usually, just before dinner, I'll pop a few heavenly tortilla chips in my mouth and relish in the crunch, the saltiness. Everything about chips makes my mouth happy.

Unfortunately, I know eating chips every single night - even when they're organic, stone ground, made with beans, whatever - isn't a great habit. Sometimes I'll overdo it, and then my appetite for dinner is negatively impacted. And I'll end up feeling bloated and kinda gross about myself. So I decided to try my very best to give up chips for an entire week. I hoped that by eliminating this indulgence from my diet, I'd stop craving it so much. Read on to find out if I was able to nix my chip dependency and what I learned during my cold turkey, er, chip experiment.

Spoiler: They Were Hard to Resist

The first day I was officially off chips was right after the Thanksgiving holiday. Since I was pretty stuffed and (whispers) kinda hungover, I didn't feel tempted to snack. But the next day, I think I literally heard my heart break when I forced myself to pass the chip aisle during a grocery run. Sniff. And then, OK, confession time: Sunday, I cracked! We'd gone out to dinner to my favorite Mexican restaurant, and there they were. Glaring at me. The chips were so shiny and golden and warm. A nearby bowl of salsa beckoned me to just. take. one. dip. Sigh. I took so many more dips than one.

I felt badly after that dinner and swore off chips for the rest of the experiment. I swear. Until I found a bag of chips lurking in the back of the pantry one night. There was nothing else to eat, my hand to God. So I sneaked just a few.

On the last night of my chip purge, I was desperately craving chips, but I managed to call upon my willpower and opted for the satisfying crunch of broccoli with tangy dressing. That combo totally satiated my desire for a predinner snack, and I didn't even want the chips. Looking back, I should have been more prepared with healthy snack options to counteract cravings the entire week. And yeah, maybe I should have suggested another restaurant on Sunday.

What I Learned

By the end of the week, I decided that maybe it's not worth fighting something as strong as my love for chips. Instead, I think my energy would be better spent swearing off foods I wouldn't miss as much, like bread, pasta, and cookies. OK, I have to eat a cookie once in a while. But seriously, if you have one food you just can't say no to, allowing yourself to enjoy it isn't the end of the world if your eating habits are mainly healthy. Going forward, I just want to be more careful not to oversnack. Because the day after my no-chip week, I totally binged. I was just so happy to be reunited with my darling chips. So in the end, moderation seems far healthier than chip feast or famine.

Are Carbs Killing Your Metabolism? This Is What a Doctor Says

The low-carb vs. high-carb debate for anything - weight loss, athletic performance, overall better nutrition - will probably never end, but that's OK. Ultimately, it's about finding what works the best for your lifestyle, body type, and nutritional needs.

Because we know that low-carb diets like the keto diet can affect our blood sugar levels, we wanted to know how our macronutrient profile, specifically carbohydrates, can affect our metabolism. To find out more, POPSUGAR spoke to Holly Lofton, MD, director of the medical weight management program at NYU.

Related: Lose Weight and Boost Your Metabolism by Following This Doctor's 3-Step Guide

Our metabolism is a complex process that relates to how our body produces energy from fat, sugar, and protein and how it stores that energy. Usually, when people talk about metabolism, they're referring to their metabolic rate - how much energy/calories their body is able to burn in a period of time. The more energy your body is able to produce, the quicker your metabolism will be.

Foods with a smaller thermic effect (how much energy it takes for your body to burn food) require less energy to process, which means your body doesn't have to work hard to burn it. In contrast, foods with a larger thermic effect require more energy to burn and process, which means your body will work harder and burn more energy.

Related: If You Have a Slow Metabolism, an Expert Says This Is the Best Workout For Fat Loss

"A higher carbohydrate macronutrient profile likely has a smaller thermic effect of food," Dr. Lofton told POPSUGAR. Just because carbohydrates have a smaller thermic effect doesn't mean you should begin following the low-carb, high-fat keto diet right away. Eating a moderate amount of carbs won't slow down your metabolism, but "it doesn't boost it much," Dr. Lofton explained.

How many carbohydrates you need to consume a day will vary for each person and is determined by variables such as your height, weight, physical activity, and goals. Generally speaking, Dr. Lofton recommends your macronutrient split consist of a greater amount of protein and a moderate amount of carbs and fats.

If you're interested in more ways you can boost your metabolism, Dr. Lofton said to focus on building more muscle (because muscle is metabolically active and requires more energy) and to be more active in general. Here's a four-week beginner's weightlifting program you can start following to build muscle.

I Gave Up Bread For a Whole Week, and I Have a Lot to Say About It

I'm a bread lover, plain and simple. And I'm sure there are many people out there who would vigorously nod their head in solidarity. I once ate a strict Paleo diet for a year, and the hardest part was that I couldn't tear off a huge piece of baguette whenever I felt like it. Even though I love my sweets, I would choose bread over cookies any day of the week.

I've been eating a plant-based vegan diet for a while now, and part of my daily nosh includes some kind of sprouted whole-grain bread. Sometimes on a Sunday, if I'm feeling particularly brunchy, I'll dive into crusty sourdough bread or order a stack of pancakes. So although I don't count my macros at all, I was curious to see what would happen if I cut down the grams of carbs I eat on a daily basis. Would I feel any different? Would I lose weight? I decided to try it, just for the hell of it. Here's what I learned.

I Was Especially Hungry in Between Breakfast and Lunch

I usually have a piece of sprouted Ezekiel toast in the morning with either peanut butter or Vegemite (a yeasty vitamin B12 spread from Australia) and avocado. I either eat my toast along with a protein smoothie or a tofu scramble. I didn't realize how crucial this part of my breakfast was until it was gone. I was starving by the time 11 a.m. rolled around, and I'm sure it was because I didn't have as many carbs in my system.

Halfway through the week, I substituted my toast for roasted sweet potato. This definitely helped me stay full until lunch, but as much as I love sweet potatoes, they simply don't compare to the comfort of a crispy piece of toast.

I Actually Felt More Tired During and After My Workouts

When you eat a vegan diet, you'll naturally eat more carbs than the average person - and that's totally OK. Carbs are your fuel, after all, and if you're eating complex carbs, rather than simple carbs such as sugar or white flour, you don't have much to worry about. When I totally gave up bread, I noticed a dip in my energy. Suddenly I didn't have as much pep in my step, especially in the morning before my workout. Additionally, because I wasn't fueling it the same way after my workout, I could feel that my body was missing the post-weightlifting carbs I used to feed it on the regular. I was even too tired to go for my weekly Sunday morning run.

I Ended Up Eating More Sweets

Because I wasn't getting my daily fill of bread, other cravings started to pop up. I suddenly had the urge to eat every piece of candy or chocolate in sight. It's not bread! I kept telling myself. This contributed strongly to the afternoon crash I would experience every day. And I'm pretty sure I ended up eating way more calories every day, which tends to happen when you don't smartly answer your body's cravings. I hated the sluggish feeling I got after snacking on one too many chocolate bars, which never happened when I ate bread.

I Didn't See Any Change in My Waistline

Many people find great results from a low-carb diet, but I didn't see any change in my body. That could be due to a number of reasons, though - I only did this experiment for a week, I didn't cut out all carbs (I was still eating fruits and potatoes), etc. But whatever the case may be, it just didn't seem worth it to me to nix bread from my life since it wasn't causing any problems before.

I'm not by any means saying that everybody should eat bread every day. What may work for me may not work for you. But either way, I don't think I'll be giving up my bread anytime soon. It tastes too good, it gives me energy, and I'm just not yet willing to part ways with it.

Cardio or HIIT For Weight Loss? This Doctor Says Making This Change to Your Diet Is More Important

A quick search will show you that there are many ways to begin losing body fat and becoming healthier. Some say it's doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT), some say it's cardio, and others say it's implementing a calorie deficit - you get our point. While exercise like strength training has proved to help you lose fat and get into shape, you may not see progress if you're slacking in the nutrition department.

According to Holly Lofton, MD, director of the medical weight management program at NYU Langone, "The nutrition is paramount to the exercise." She explained that when you work out, your body burns glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrates) first because this is the quickest form of energy. Once the glycogen has been burned, your body will then begin to access your fat stores.

But there's a catch: Dr. Lofton explained that someone who is overweight and has large glycogen stores will have a hard time burning fat because their body hasn't burned off all of the glycogen. "It's hard for this person to lose weight without a significant dietary change, and that's going to be by cutting carbohydrates," she said.

This doesn't mean that you should skip out on working out. "It's about being well-rounded in both aspects," Dr. Lofton said. Because nobody is the same, we recommend speaking to an expert such as Dr. Lofton to determine a macronutrient profile (carbohydrates, fats, and protein) that fits your needs.

After Surviving a Heart Attack, Bob Harper Ate This Every Single Day to Lose 40 Pounds

Bob Harper is a survivor. After helping hundreds of people lose weight as a trainer and host of The Biggest Loser, the fitness guru had to put his own health first when he suffered a near-fatal heart attack in 2017. As part of his recovery, Bob completely transformed his lifestyle and lost 40 pounds in the process. During a recent interview, he revealed to POPSUGAR some of the biggest changes he made.

"I've been eating carbs every single day," Bob said. He shifted from a Paleo diet to a more carb-friendly, plant-based way of eating. He even details how carbs can help people lose weight in his book The Super Carb Diet.

"People are so misinformed about carbs because they feel like they know that there's that trick: if you cut out all your carbs, you're going to lose weight," he told POPSUGAR. However, most people tend to gain the weight back because eating too little carbs isn't sustainable in the long-term. Instead, Bob recommends people balance their plates with all macronutrients: carbs, protein, and fat. This will help you feel more satisfied, won't make you feel deprived, and will give you enough energy to make it through the day and crush your workouts.

Of course, not all carbs are created equal. There are the simple refined carbs, such as sugar and white flour that are virtually empty calories and get processed as blood sugar, which Bob doesn't recommend. Instead, he suggests reaching for the more complex, fiber-rich carbs such as brown rice, whole grain bread, and sweet potatoes. Those are the carbs Bob eats on a regular basis.

During an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, Bob recommended women eat about 30 grams of carbs at every meal. That equates to roughly two slices of whole grain bread, a half a cup of rice, or four ounces of whole grain pasta. This is in line with what registered dietitian and trainer Jim White, ACSM EX-P, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios, recommends. Jim told POPSUGAR that your daily macro breakdown if you're trying to lose weight should be 40 percent carbs, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent protein. If you're trying to gain muscle, your carbs should be even higher: 55 percent carbs, 25 percent protein, and 20 percent fat. With carbs making up the majority of your diet, this will give you enough energy to work out and still eat your favorite complex carbs.

This Trainer Explains Why Women Should Eat Carbs For Weight Loss and Overall Health

The low-carb diet craze has been a popular way to lose weight and stay lean for decades now. It started with Atkins, then South Beach, to eventually Paleo, Whole30, and now keto. Many people assume that eating too many carbs will impact their blood sugar and make them gain weight, so they eschew carbs entirely in favor of more protein and fat.

In reality, carbs have many health benefits. And while it's true that limiting carbs can help you lose weight in the short-term (carbs hold on to water more than any other macronutrient, so when you cut them out, you lose water weight), it may not be sustainable for most people. After all, could you go a lifetime without sweet potatoes or brown rice or whole-grain bread?

NASM-certified personal trainer and fitness coach Marci Nevin (@MarciNevin) explained in an Instagram post why carbs are so important for overall health, especially for women. "Sure low carb diets can be work in some circumstances," she wrote in her caption. "But for the sake of this post, I'm speaking more specifically to women who are in generally good health, doing frequent intense exercise, likely a little stressed, and have a goal of better body composition. For that woman, eating an adequate amount of carbs can be very beneficial."

She explained carbs are so beneficial for overall health because they:

  • Provide fuel for intense training.
  • Allow for recovery from intense training.
  • Help thyroid function.
  • Improve mood and brain function.
  • Help you get better sleep.
  • Provide macronutrients for good health.
  • Have fiber, which supports gut health.
  • May help with weight loss.
  • Keep sex and stress hormones in check.

"Carbs, like rice, potatoes, etc. are the fuel source for high intensity training," she explained. "They are also what help your body recover from that intense exercise so you can hit it hard again in the next workout." She went on to say that if you're only getting your carbs from vegetables, you will eventually burn out.

Obviously, everyone's nutritional needs are different. Registered dietitian Jim White, ACSM, recommends that carbs should be your biggest macronutrient group throughout the day. For weight loss, he suggests a macro breakdown of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent protein. Start with this ratio and adjust from there, depending on your desired results.

So don't be afraid of carbs anymore - if you are feeling lethargic and burned out on a low-carb diet, feel free to incorporate them back into your life. Just make sure you are sticking to whole complex carbs like brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal.

Bob Harper Reveals the Carbs He Ate to Lose 40 Pounds, and They’re Delicious

Bob Harper has helped hundreds of people lose weight as a trainer and host of The Biggest Loser. But the superfit fitness guru, who suffered a heart attack in 2017 and is sharing his story as part of AstraZeneca's Survivors Have Heart program, has transformed his own life. He lost 40 pounds and shifted from a low-carb Paleo diet to a low-fat, carb-friendly diet.

In fact, Bob wrote all about how carbs are not only allowed on a diet plan but can actually help you lose weight in his book The Super Carb Diet. He told POPSUGAR that he lost 40 pounds after his heart attack and has been eating carbs every single day. Not only are they an essential macronutrient, but carbs give you the energy you need to perform your workouts.

As far as the carbs Bob eats to stay in shape, he sticks to fiber-rich whole grains and root vegetables. "I'll do whole grain bread," he told POPSUGAR. "I've gotten on this kick of eating brown rice cakes; I eat them all the time now." For breakfast, he'll have a rice cake with peanut butter and some yogurt. He also does brown rice if he's craving a carb as a side, or sweet potatoes or regular potatoes.

Overall, Bob said people will feel better if they incorporate carbs back into their diet and balance their plate with protein and fat. You don't need to tell us twice to eat carbs - pass the sweet potatoes!

Here’s What Anyone on the Keto Diet Needs to Know About Butternut Squash

If you're on the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet, you know that lots of foods are off limits. Restricting your carbs is essential, which means pastas and breads are generally out, as well as some produce (ugh, sweet potatoes). But what about butternut squash, a fall staple? It's not like it's a piece of sugar-laden fruit, right? Well, not so fast.

"The keto diet is low in carbs, with an allowance of as little as 20 grams of carbohydrates a day," registered dietitian Keri Glassman, MS, CDN, told POPSUGAR. "One cup of butternut squash has roughly 21 grams of carbs, which does not make it a keto-friendly option, as only one cup would potentially surpass a full day's allowance of carbs."

Instead, Glassman recommends swapping butternut squash for ¾ cup of kabocha squash, which has fewer than nine grams of carbs per cup, making it one of the more keto-friendly members of the squash family.

Here’s What Anyone on the Keto Diet Needs to Know About Butternut Squash

If you're on the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet, you know that lots of foods are off limits. Restricting your carbs is essential, which means pastas and breads are generally out, as well as some produce (ugh, sweet potatoes). But what about butternut squash, a fall staple? It's not like it's a piece of sugar-laden fruit, right? Well, not so fast.

"The keto diet is low in carbs, with an allowance of as little as 20 grams of carbohydrates a day," registered dietitian Keri Glassman, MS, CDN, told POPSUGAR. "One cup of butternut squash has roughly 21 grams of carbs, which does not make it a keto-friendly option, as only one cup would potentially surpass a full day's allowance of carbs."

Instead, Glassman recommends swapping butternut squash for ¾ cup of kabocha squash, which has fewer than nine grams of carbs per cup, making it one of the more keto-friendly members of the squash family.

Save Countless Hours (and Still Lose Weight!) With These Low-Carb Sheet Pan Recipes

You may never have the time or energy to wield several pots and pans like a contestant on Top Chef - but that doesn't mean you can't pull together a healthy meal any night of the week. If you're unfamiliar, you'll want to get to know the sheet pan recipe: these one-dish wonders require minimal ingredients and prep time, without sacrificing on flavor or nutrients. And the ones here are low-carb. So, whatever your goals - whether to lose weight, or honestly, just get dinner on the table before your kids melt down - grab a pan and watch your oven do the work.