How many times have you started out a diet by saying you’re going to “go low carb.” Or “drop carbs”?
Now for the unpopular opinion…
How many times has it worked initially but eventually became unsustainable and you gained the weight back plus some?
Low carb diets have been around FOREVER. Atkins, Paleo, Keto. The same thing revisited over and over perhaps just with a twist.
I bet at one time along the way you’ve heard the statements:
Carbs cause blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance
Carbs like sugar and grains are inflammatory
Carbs aren’t NEEDED the way protein and fat is
Except, it’s not that simple.
Can carbs increase insulin levels?
Yes, but hold on. Does increased insulin levels always lead to fat gain? No. Insulin is actually a satiety hormone, helping you to feel fuller…longer.
Are carbs really inflammatory?
Possibly. Are we talking about processed sugar? Processed foods in general? Probably. High quality carbs like whole grains and fiber filled veggies? Unlikely.
Do you need carbs the way the you need protein and fat?
Processed carbs? Absolutely not. BUT whole, minimally processed carbs? That’s a different story.
Here’s the problem with not eating carbs…
Not eating carbs costs us. Like mentioned above, it can work great in the short term. Hence why diets like Keto work initially. But most of us require carbs to function OPTIMALLY for the long term.
Restricting carbs too much can lead to decreased thyroid output, increased cortisol levels, decreased testosterone, crappy mood and brain fog as well as muscle break down and lower immune function.
This is seems to be especially true for women in regards to hormones.
Now, let’s look at this from an even more simple stand point.
CarboHYDRATE. Carbs retain water, leading to..hydration.
So it’s not uncommon to feel perhaps a little bloated after consuming them. BUT, considering our bodies are made up of roughly 50-60% water, I’m struggling to see how getting water/hydration from food is a problem. How about you?
Something else to consider.
One gram of protein equals 4 calories
One gram of carbs equals 4 calories
One gram of fat is equivalent to 9 calories.
What do we know to be true about weight loss? To lose weight one must be in a calorie deficit.
If fat equals more than double calorie wise than protein and carbs, one might begin to wonder how great that high fat diet actually works.
Let me let you in on the biggest weight-loss secret of all.
Perhaps its not actually high or low carb that is the main factor. Perhaps it is actually your protein intake. A diet high in protein with balanced carbs and fats leads to more feelings of satiety, less bingeing and an overall better mood and performance in general.
Your best bet?
Keep it simple. Don’t over think it. Don’t over restrict.
Instead, enjoy a wide variety of minimally processed WHOLE, FRESH foods.
Pay attention to how you look, feel and perform.
Decide what to do based of you and YOUR DATA. The only rules come from your body and your experience. There is no one size fits all approach.
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Michael has been working with clients in the gym and countless adults in a physical therapy setting since 2013. He spent 3 semesters working at Towson University with student-athletes from nearly every sport at the school. He served as the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Kennard-Dale High School during the 2019-2020 school year. His goal is to always get better and give you the safest and most effective use of your time at First Capital Gym.