What’s the deal with everyone being scared to eat carbohydrates these days? “Carbs” are always such a hot topic, especially in the weight loss industry thanks to the popularity of low-carb diets such as the Atkins, Paleo and South Beach.
The “carbs are bad” phrase from the above mentioned diets has left many people confused about carbohydrates and their importance for our health, including maintaining a healthy weight.
People need to understand and appreciate that not all carbohydrates are the same and it is the type, quality and quantity of carbohydrate in our diets that is important.
Why eat Carbohydrates?
Scientific evidence states this about Carbohydrates: “Dietary carbohydrates are involved in the control of energy balance because the regulation of food intake depends, in part, on the carbohydrate need of the individual. Because there is an obligatory requirement for glucose in several organs such as the brain, a spontaneous increase in food intake is seen when the diet has a low-carbohydrate, high-fat content. Therefore, the present nutritional advice of increasing the proportion of carbohydrate energy while decreasing that of fat in the everyday diet has strong scientific support in terms of the regulation of the energy balance”. 
This is why I found that when I removed carbohydrates completely from my diet I could not function in everyday life. My memory was awful, I had really low moods, I had no energy, I wanted to sleep all the time and I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Yes I lost weight but this was only for a very short time as I was competing and it was a ‘diet’, meaning it was only a temporary thing, not sustainable. I have tried functioning on zero carbs, low carbs (50-100g) and moderate carbs (100-150g) (all good low GI carbohydrates by the way) and because I train daily at the gym, I need carbohydrates for fuel.
As well as being a main source of energy, carbohydrates give our body’s much needed fibre, which is important for a healthy digestive system and to prevent constipation.
Do Carbs make you fat?
No! Eating too much of anything makes you fat to put it frankly. If you consume more calories than you burn from whatever source, you will gain weight.
We need to reduce the amount of processed carbs in our diet because this converts to sugar. It is beneficial to base our meals on less processed wholegrain varieties such as sweet potato and wholegrain bread and healthy grains like rice and oats. Clients come to me wanting to lose weight and they are scared when I tell them to eat more carbohydrates in order to lose weight. They even refuse to do it, as they are so scared they may put on weight. However these people are highly active often weight training 5-7 times a week and running or cycling long distances on a regular basis.
A testimonial from one of my clients:
“The progress you made while training for the fitness show was impressive and I prefer to gather info from people that walk the walk. Plus you have always been one of the intelligent ones and I knew in the back of my mind that I’d get clear and concise advice and I was right. You nailed the fact that I was on too low carbs and I’ve been following the advice you gave me and have come down from 19% to 15% body fat in the last 6 weeks and still falling!” Mr R. Grigg.
Now there are a number of reasons why this client lost weight by increasing his carb intake; less stress on his body, more energy to do more exercise, metabolic rate sped up because he went from low to high carb so shocked the body or he may just be someone who does better on more carbs. Everyone is different.
What’s the difference?
“There is strong evidence to show that fibre, found in wholegrain versions of starchy carbs for example, is good for our health.” 
The image below shows you some suitable wholegrain alternatives to refined and processed carbs.
The reason we should be consuming wholegrains for our health as opposed to refined is because of how the grain has been processed and the goodness that has been removed in order to make things white rather than their original state of brown or grainy. See the image of the ‘Anatomy of a grain’. There are three parts to the grain: the Bran, the Germ and the Endosperm all providing different nutrients and vitamins. Wholegrains provide all three however refined grains remove the bran and the germ thus removing Vitamins B and E, fibre and phytochemicals (antioxidants).
How many Carbs should I eat?
There is no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a “low carb diet” and what is “low” for one person may not be “low” for the next. An individual’s optimal carb intake depends on age, gender, body composition, activity levels, personal preference, food culture and current metabolic health. People who are physically active and have more muscle mass can tolerate a lot more carbs than people who are sedentary.
The bottom line is that you need to ensure you are eating quality carbohydrates and are not overeating for the amount of exercise you are doing on a daily basis. Carbohydrates are not bad, in fact they offer some great healthy benefits especially to people with digestive problems.
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Recently I hosted a free LIVE webinar on “Can you trust your gut? The 8 Surprising Truths about What’s Causing your Stomach Bloat and What you can do About it (starting today!)”.
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The webinar covered topics like;
- Proven tips and tricks to get back the flat stomach you’ve been craving just in time for summer.
- What areas of your life are causing you to bloat. “Knowledge is power”.
- What effective, real results clients are experiencing when reducing their stomach bloat.
- How to socialise with friends again without worrying about the repercussions when you fear making decisions about what to eat.
What is your take on eating carbs to lose weight?
Do you agree with this article? Have you found success using a diet similar to this one? Let us know in the comment box below.