Carbohydrates get a bad rap when it comes to nutrition - particularly for those looking to lose weight.
The media, celebrities, and influencers’ promoting ‘low-carb’ diets have given this macronutrient a misfortunate and –UNDESERVED – negative hallmark.
When you venture out on a ‘low-carb’ diet, initially you will see weight-loss results because of the following:
- Cutting out the largest macronutrient in our western diet, means you’ll be avoiding / limiting a lot of foods and restricting your calorie intake.
- Our water and glycogen (stored carbohydrates used for energy) stores deplete, reducing our ‘weight’ ...NOT ‘fat’.
- The diets’ focus more on increasing protein and vegetable intake. This is another KEY factor. Increasing the amount of protein and fibre (from the vegetables) in your diet makes you feel fuller for longer, and as an added bonus increases your TEF (Thermic Effect of Food), which essentially is your metabolism.
This will give you short term results…but along with this you are:
- Potentially creating a poor relationship with food
- Having low energy levels – as carbohydrates are the most efficient source of energy for our body.
- Decreases in strength
- Muscle catabolism
- Increased cortisol levels (our stress hormone)
- Decrease in testosterone and thyroid output
- Other hormone dysregulation (especially in women)
- And more…
Research studies have shown that although there is an initial drop in weight (mainly contributed by the decrease in glycogen and water stores) with those on a ‘low-carb’ diets…
…in the long-term there is not significant difference between those on a ‘low-carb’ or ‘moderate-carb’ diet when protein levels were matched.
Said differently, as long as you maintain a sufficient intake of protein, is doesn’t matter HOW you partition your fats and carbohydrates for weight loss.
…This is where PERSONAL PREFERENCE and your specific LIFESTYLE FACTORS become important, as well as understanding these particular factors MAY CHANGE throughout your life – which is normal.
I could go on and on about this topic as there is a lot to it - and so much unnecessary confusion thanks to conflicting media advice from both sides looking to sell products and services around these concepts such as: “carbs are the devil” and “fat is making us fat”
… both which are IRRELEVANT and MEANINGLESS when taken in isolation and not considering other important lifestyle factors.
Another quick note:
Not all carbohydrates are equal, for example 30g of high-fructose corn syrup does NOT react in the exact same way as 30g of potatoes within our body – they also vary massively in the amount of MICRONUTRIENTS (vitamins and minerals) they carry which are important for your body.
In the same way, not all fats are equal.
If you want to clear any other myths / beliefs you have around carbohydrates head over to
Precision Nutrition (here) on their article Carb Controversy.
They have an archive of amazing resources worth checking out.
Stay Healthy and Happy,