In South Africa we braai. If you don’t like it, you … actually, no. Everyone likes it. But braaivleis is not our only culinary indulgence.
A slow-cooked potjiekos paired with steaming samp truly hits the spot as well. Can you say comfort food?
Unfortunately comfort food often means “beware, this will make you fat”.
What about samp? Is there any room for it in your diet?
What exactly is samp?
Samp is dried corn kernels that have been pounded and chopped until broken into pieces and the hulls have come loose and fallen off.
It is enjoyed in various different recipes – from samp and beans, to samp with your stew or potjie.
Samp is usually prepared by soaking it in water before cooking. This reduces the cooking time.
So will I gain weight from samp?
Probably, if you eat buckets of it. But all jokes aside, samp is a carbohydrate, and most dieters will tell you that carbs (and sugar) are your enemy.
These food groups are usually the first ones to get cut out when people decide to lose weight. And while this might work well for a while, it’s not always the best idea.
In fact, many sources still advocate against cutting whole food groups out of your diet, even when you want to lose weight.
When you do that, you are putting yourself at risk for nutritional deficiencies and you are cutting out vitamins that your body needs to function at its best.
Another reason not to deprive yourself of carbs and sugar is that it will actually improve your chances of keeping the weight off. How is that possible?
Take the keto diet, for example. All sugar and carbs become a no-no. Dieters tend to lose a lot of weight fast, but in order to keep it off, being on keto needs to become a lifestyle.
When you reintroduce the ‘forbidden foods’ back into your diet, you gain weight again. In some cases, the dieter misses comforting carbs and sweets so much that they end up bingeing when the diet is over.
And in no time, the weight is back. The trick is to understand that there are good carbs and bad carbs.
Good carbs vs bad carbs
All carbs are not the same, and we can distinguish between simple and complex carbs.
Simple carbs are the bad ones, and it won’t be a loss if you cut these from your diet. Simple carbs digest quickly, messes around with your blood sugar and makes you feel hungry again sooner.
Complex carbs you can certainly hang on to, even if you need to lose weight. They contain bran and fibre that makes them slower to digest. This means that you feel fuller for longer.
Eating complex carbs in healthy moderation won’t make you gain weight, especially if combined with an exercise plan.
|Examples of complex carbs||Examples of simple carbs|
|Brown rice||White bread|
|Potato and sweet potato||Candy|
|Samp||Sugary soft drinks|
But wait, there’s more
Carbohydrates can be divided into three more categories: fibres, starches and sugars.
Plant-based carbs usually contain fibre. Fibre isn’t completely broken down during digestion, but it slowly moves through your intestines, helping you digest other nutrients.
These are the carbs that keep you from giving in to temptation, because they help you to stay fuller for longer. You can find them in legumes such as lentils, nuts and seeds, whole grains and some kinds of fruit.
Corn, and therefore samp, falls in the starch category. The good news is that starch functions much the same as fibre – keeping you fuller for longer. You also find them in many of the same types of food.
The sugars are usually the simple carbs, and they can take the form of natural or added sugars. Natural sugars are always the healthier option.
Something like candy, for example, mostly provides your body with sugar. But consuming fruit, a natural sugar, provides you with valuable nutrients as well.
Nutritional information of samp
According to MyNetDiary 100g samp contains 320 calories. Not that much, considering that you are getting the benefit of the fibre – staying fuller for longer.
For interest’s sake, burning this number of calories would take 40 minutes of jogging. Piece of cake, right?
It’s good to know that not all the good things in life are forbidden. If slow, steady and healthy weight loss without regaining the weight is your goal, then a hearty samp dish once in a while is okay.
The secret is always not to overdo it – and don’t forget to start moving, as exercise is a vital part of your weight loss journey.