Tuesday Tip: Do I have to ditch carbs? 🥖
Possibly the most pervasive myth in fitness and nutrition if that if you want to lose weight you need to cut out carbs. Even people who, in one breath tell me they know it’s all about creating a calorie deficit, will in the next breath tell me they’re going to cut carbs. So first off, yes if you suddenly cut carbs (which people usually take to mean bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, cakes, biscuits etc) you may lose weight ‘fast’ initially. This is because you’re losing glycogen and water. If your diet is high in those carbs then depending on what you replace them with it may also result in a calorie deficit. But after the initial few weeks it’s only a calorie deficit that will keep you losing weight – whether you include carbs in that or not is irrelevant.
You can definitely lose weight and eat carbs, there is nothing inherently fattening in carbs. In fact carbs are actually really important, especially if you’re active, as they boost performance and fuel your workouts. Your body stores carbs as glycogen in the liver and muscles which is a vital fuel source. If you cut carbs you’ll find your ability to exercise effectively drops and your energy levels decrease. Various carb sources are rich in micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) which are essential for optimal health, energy metabolism and performance. By removing carbs from your
diet, your micronutrient intake might not be sufficient. Importantly many carbs are pleasure foods – foods you enjoy and that make you happy. By cutting them out you’re reducing your own enjoyment when you really don’t need to.
Fat loss ultimately comes down to energy balance. If you’re in a calorie deficit you will burn fat. Many studies support this and show what when calories are controlled how you obtain these calories (be it from carbs or not) has no impact on fat loss. You can lose fat with either a low-carb or high-carb diet.
So carbs aren’t bad, they have loads of benefits. However, if you prefer a low-carb diet, go for it. If your main goal is fat loss, though remember it’s the overall calories that count and if you’re looking to optimize your performance or build muscle, carbs
will definitely help.
2 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip: Do I have to ditch carbs?”
Carbs aren’t nearly as bad for the body as people say, though much like anything, moderation is key here. Great insight shared here!