For quite a few years carbohydrates have been public enemy number one where weight loss is concerned. But as anyone who's tried to stick to a low-carb (or, worse, no-carb) diet for more than a couple of weeks knows, giving up carbs isn't the easiest thing to pull off. Now, however, experts are saying some carbs aren't fattening at all, and that eating them can actually help you lose weight - and keep it off.
The carbs in the current spotlight contain an ingredient called resistant starch. Eating foods containing resistant starch may help you feel fuller for longer, boost fat burning (especially tummy fat), reduce cravings and even keep your blood sugar stable.
Resistant starch 'resists' being digested in your intestines - in much the same way as dietary fibre. Exactly how it works is explained in The CarbLovers Diet, a book written by the editors of US-based Health magazine. But for the time being, here's a quick guide to foods that contain resistant starch:
Potatoes Yes, the good old spud is back on the menu. Eat cold, as in potato salad, for added resistant starch power.
Pasta and rice These are also richer in resistant starch if you serve them cold, which is great news for sushi fans. Wholemeal varieties are even better.
Beans Chickpeas, lentils and white beans (such as cannellini beans) are full of resistant starch. Add them to salads, soups and stir-fries.
Oats Yet another good reason to have porridge for breakfast. Top with a sliced banana, as both they and plantains are also a great source of resistant starch.
Pearl barley You might remember this grain from your gran's cooking, but it may well be due a revival. Try adding it to stews, casseroles and salads for a resistant starch boost.
So, can carbs ever be cool again or has Dr Atkins and his gang put paid to that idea forever? Are you bored with the whole carbs vs protein thing? Let us know if what the experts say has any effect on your eating habits.