When people want to lose weight they usually try to shun all carbs in the belief that it’s the holy grail to losing weight fast. Whilst it’s true that cutting carbs from your diet will make you lose weight, it won’t be fat that you initially lose. When you cut carbs from your diet your body uses up its stored supplies of glycogen and as each gram of glycogen holds 3 grams of water you can lose up to two kilos of glycogen and one and half kilos of water in a few days. What really makes the weight drop off in a low/no carb diet is the overall reduction in calories When you think of the huge amount of refined carbohydrates which many people consume (cakes, white bread, biscuits) it’s little wonder that weight loss follows. Cutting out all carbs though is like throwing the baby out with the bath water and when you cut out bread, rice, pasta potatoes and fruit from your diet it’s pretty hard to sustain.
Not all carbs are equal!
Simple carbs include cakes, sweets biscuits and fruit so it’s probably best to cut the cakes and biscuits (down but not out – if you deprive yourself of something you just end up wanting it more). Fruit, however, also contains many of the nutrients and vitamins required by the body. Whilst simple carbs provide a surge of energy sadly, it’s not sustainable. With every high, there soon comes a low. Also, because refined sources of carbohydrates cause fluctuations in blood sugar, these in turn cause sugar lulls which trigger the hunger mechanism.
Complex carbs are the good guys. These include potatoes and wholegrain rice, pasta and bread. They provide a slow and sustained release of energy which is vital for anyone participating in a regular programme of exercise and also help to prevent the munchies for the bad stuff.
5 reasons why carbs shouldn’t be ghosted
- They are the only source of energy your brain and nervous system can use so a diet lacking in carbs is likely to make you feel listless, less fuelled for exercise and lacking in concentration.
- Starchy carbs are high in fibre and are an important part of a healthy diet. Research has shown that diets high in fibre lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer.
- Carbs help to preserve the body’s protein reserves, particularly lean muscle tissue. This helps to maintain a healthy metabolism.
- Following strenuous exercise, the body’s glycogen stores become depleted, consuming carbs post exercise helps to replenish these stores.
- Complex carbs keep you fuller for longer.
In a nutshell, simple carbs in the form of refined food cause weight gain. The more a carbohydrate is processed, preserved or ripened the less nutritious it will be. The nearer a carb is to its natural condition the better it is for you.
For further information read: The truth about carbs – NHS (www.nhs.uk)