Reasons to go low carb… or not…… 🍞
Carbs are often demonised in the media. Like any nutrient they can indeed cause weight gain, if over consumed. But as I mentioned in my article last week, they don’t inherently cause weight gain – unless you’re eating over your daily calorie allowance. In fact a recent review of studies show no significant differences in fat loss in a low carb vs normal carb diet (with protein and calories controlled for).
The foods most people associate with “carbs” are high sugar, often also high fat, foods. These are often very easy to over eat so often diets high in these foods result in less weight/fat loss or even weight gain. However it’s the surplus calories, not the carbs themselves causing the gain.
People will often avoid carbs because they’ve been led to believe that insulin will lead to increased fat storage. As carbs are the main driver of insulin elevation they are often blamed for weight gain/ lack of weight loss. However the studies simply don’t support this. In the studies mentioned above high carb diets do not cause more weight gain than any other diet (when protein and calories are consistent), despite having higher insulin levels. So diets low in sugar /carbs or a keto diet (low carb) don’t automatically result in weight loss UNLESS overall calories are lower and you are in a deficit.
Having said that for some people reducing carbs helps them achieve the calorie deficit. I would never recommend going very low carb, as usually it is unsustainable. But if you find that focusing on higher protein/fat options and reducing some carbs helps to hit your calories then that’s fine – IF that’s your preference. If most of your calories come from high carb junk food then removing some of the will definitely help! If you find your snacks are generally high carb/sugar based and that they don’t fill you up, leading to more chance of over eating later, then it’s worth considering swapping these out. Obviously if you don’t like carbs or have been medically advised to reduce them then go for it!