Tuesday tip: Don’t Avoid Carbs 🍞
Many people believe that cutting carbs is the answer to weight loss. Whilst cutting out carbs can work for some people, it’s the reduction in calories that may accompany it that provides the benefit, not the avoidance of carbs per se. This is usually because avoiding carbs has resulting in avoiding highly palatable, calorie dense foods which are often high fat too e.g. pizza, chips, pasta dishes etc. So rather than focusing on carbs as a food group, you’re better off focusing on the high calorie, low nutrient quality, easy to over eat, aspects of your diet and work on reducing them rather than focusing on carbs.
But don’t low carb diets and keto diets result in better fat loss? No actually they don’t. A recent review of studies looked at studies where food was controlled – so participants were given specific foods to eat (ie a tightly controlled study). Comparing diets with the same calories, same amount of protein but different proportions of carb, and fats found that there was NO difference in fat loss, weight loss or energy expenditure. These were lab conditions so any confounding factors were reduced. There was a small difference between the low fat diet and low carb diet – showing that low fat was marginally better for fat loss but the difference was so small that it isn’t enough to make a real difference to overall weight loss.
So what does this mean? It means you shouldn’t avoid carbs – they’re good – we need them for energy and brain function. However there are certain types of food we tend to associate with ‘carbs’ that it is worth reducing or having in moderation if you’re trying to lose fat. These include restaurant meals/takeaways, fancy coffees, alcohol, ‘junk’ food snacks etc. These can all be included in your diet but you may wish to reduce the frequency or quantity to help with fat loss.
Keeping carbs in your diet will keep you happy and if you’re happy you’re far more likely to stick to it. If you stick to it it will be sustainable and that’s what we want!
Happy Tuesday 🤗