Health

Carbs are not the devil

January 28, 2014
Carbs are not the devil

It seems like everyday I hear someone demonizing carbs; “Yeah, today I’m not gonna eat any carbs” or even worse “I am on a low carb diet.” But guys, carbs are not the devil!

With the rise of diets that claim you can ‘lose weight fast!’ by reducing your carbohydrate intake, or dropping this macronutrient entirely, it is no wonder people automatically assume that you will lose weight if you cut your carbohydrate intake. And to be honest it works at first, because when you reduce how many carbohydrates you eat, your body reduces the amount of insulin produced which in turn makes your body use protein or fat as its energy source.

The Problem With Low-Carb Diets

The problem with this however, is that you cannot be on a life long low carbohydrate diet. Sure, it may work in the short term, but the body, and especially the brain, requires carbohydrates for energy. The brain cells ONLY use glucose as an energy source and because it cannot store glucose, they depend on the bloodstream to deliver glucose to it. Carbohydrates get broken down into glucose, so if you remove carbohydrates from your diet, how is your brain supposed to function? Protein gets broken down into glycogen, and fats get broken down into glycerol and fatty acids, but they are nowhere near as efficient as glucose. I want a healthy and working brain thanks. There are many other dangers that can happen to you if you follow a low carb diet for you long such as

-feeling extremely tired all the time
-loss of muscle mass because you just don’t have the energy to workout
-constipation and bowel issues (from a reduction in fiber)
-dehydration
-longer term health issues such as your immune system becoming weaker

Carbs are not the devil

Carbs are not the devil

It is really not worth it. Seriously, I went on a verrry low carbohydrate diet last year and although I lost a lot of weight, I was tired all the time, and honestly it put me through a really hard time as I gained most of the weight back plus some (which thankfully I have lost through a HEALTHY and BALANCED diet!). I tried going back on my low carb diet at first, exercised like crazy but literally nothing worked because my body was so used to not having carbohydrates that even though I was eating completely healthy foods, I could not lose the weight. It seriously freaked me out because I have never had so much trouble losing weight in my life. My body had adapted to having such a low amount of carbs, that even eating a normal amount of carbohydrates would make me gain weight.

What We Should Be Focusing On

If anything we should really be more focused on cutting our sugar consumption, and not just the obvious things like chocolate and soft drinks like coke. You would be so surprised at how much added sugars are in such innocent products. An example would be ketchup, it is practically all sugar! And I am talking about sugars such as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, beet sugar, cane sugar, and liquid fructose. Although fruits are very healthy, unfortunately a lot of companies have been adding fructose (fruit sugar) to products to make them sweeter. If you want a more in-depth explanation about how bad added sugar (not naturally occurring sugars, I am not trying to demonize anything natural) can be for you, click here.

My Advice?

Just be sensible everyone and realize that carbs are not the devil; nor is any other macronutrient. There is no need to completely cut out any food group. Balance is the key. And sure, you can still enjoy your guilty pleasures too, just make sure that they aren’t an everyday occurrence. And again, if you eat too many carbohydrates then you may gain weight. But quite frankly, if you eat too much of anything, there is a high chance you will gain weight. Calories are calories, although not all calories are created equal (give me 300 calories of shrimp over 300 calories of non-nutritious rice cakes any day).

Let Me Know What YOU Think

What diets have you heard about? I would love to hear what they are, as I am always discovering weirder and weirder ones .. someone told me about a 500 calorie diet a day and I just about died.

Honestly yours,
Alice

References

The Human Brain
The Hidden Dangers of a Low Carbohydrate Diet
No Carb diets may impair memory
Low Carbohydrate Diets: Going Against The Grain

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  • Mari Kristin January 28, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    This is from a TV show I saw not long ago: There is the 5/2 diet where you have a very low intake of calories and carbs (basically starving yourself on green tea and soup) two days and you can literally eat whatever you want the other five days. Another version is not eating for 3-4 days every three months. Supposedly our bodies were not meant to have the ‘daily guideline amount’ of anything, and especially not protein which keeps growth hormones revived. This is supposedly exactly what causes cancer and the things most people die from these days. It was like a BBC Science show, it made sense there and then, but I have not heard anything else about this whatsoever from anywhere, so yes… Not doing that. Glad you’re sharing what you’ve taught me to the rest of the world wide web :o)

    • Honestly Fitness January 28, 2014 at 11:09 pm

      I have heard of the 5:2 diet, but not the one where you do not eat for 3-4 days every 3 months. How absurd!
      It makes sense that our bodies are supposed to have a daily guideline, every body is supposed to have their own specific guideline because everyone is unique and has specific needs. Protein i agree with, if you have too much protein, it actually produces a substance which is toxic in large quantities (but only when all your other macronutrients are low I believe, will have to check). Protein is important though, apparently it is the most important factor in weight and fat loss so i may do a post on that and say smth like ‘when is too much, too much?’.
      Thanks for your comment Mari, really interesting stuff and glad you think it was good of me to share this knowledge with others πŸ™‚

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