I feel like it’s turning into a four-letter-word that no one wants to admit to eating. I hear of people going on low carb diets ALL.THE.TIME. And I’m going crazy because of it.
I mean personally, I can totally understand why low carb diets are appealing. The whole ‘get skinny quick’ selling point really gets people’s attention. But getting skinny quick doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll stay skinny.
Let me break it down for ya:
Low carb diets are based on the idea that consuming very low amounts of carbohydrates will result in your body producing less insulin so that fat and protein (muscle) stores are used as the body’s main source of energy.
BUUUUURRRNNN THE FAT. Amirite?!
It all sounds like a good concept: Don’t eat bread and you’ll lose weight.
And studies show that most people end up losing weight from low carb diets and they lose it very quick, but the problem with quick weight loss is that you usually aren’t losing body fat. Instead, you’re losing water weight and muscle tissue. Now, if you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off for good, muscle is SOOOOOOO important.
Weight Loss Recourses tells us,
A decrease in the amount of muscle tissue you have will lead to a decrease in the number of calories you need each day to maintain your weight, making it much harder to keep your weight under control when you stop following the low carb diet.
So the less muscle you have, the fewer calories your body burns each day. As a result, you need to eat less to maintain the same weight.
Clearly, having muscle is a MUST.
This is where there is a huge flaw in low carb diets. With no carbohydrates going into your body and fat & muscle being used as the main source of energy, your body’s metabolism significantly decreases. Basically, your body goes into starvation mode and once you start eating carbs again, your body will store almost all of it as FAT.
Kind of ironic, no? The whole goal of going on a low carb diet is to lose fat but you end up gaining it in the long term.
I’ve had my go at low-carb diets before and I can sum up my entire experience in one word: MISERABLE.
I cycled between eating no carbs and eating very little carbs depending on how much I worked out that day, and yeah I did lose some weight, but I couldn’t tell! I looked the exact same. And on top of that, I was extremely moody. The slightest thing could set me off and I would either be yelling or crying. Not a pretty picture. HA.
It wasn’t until after my unfortunate experience with low carb diets that I did my research. And you know what I learned?
Carbs are not the enemy, people.
In fact, our bodies need carbs. Without them, we can go into ketosis which causes headaches, nausea, difficulty focusing mentally and even bad breath which is soooo gross. On top of that, consuming less than 20 grams of carbs a day can lead to fatigue, weakness, and dizziness.
So, I CANNOT say this enough, we need carbs. They obviously act as a source of energy, promote heart health, improve digestion, and–get ready for this one–THEY PROMOTE WEIGHT LOSS.
Before you go stuffing your face with pasta & cake, you need to be aware of the fact that there are good and bad carbs. Livestrong tells us,
Carbs are often blamed for weight gain, but the truth is that they are crucial for healthy weight control. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories that you consume each day. The only sources of fiber are in carbohydrates, so it’s nearly impossible to get enough dietary fiber on a low-carb diet. Fiber-rich foods add bulk to your diet, making you feel full more quickly and satisfying your appetite for longer. High-fiber foods are generally low in calories as well, so getting enough fiber can help you lose weight.
It’s not about the amount of carbs you eat, it’s about what kind of carbs you eat. Carbs high in fiber = GOOD. Carbs high in sugar = BAD. Good carbs include foods like whole grain pasta, brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, fruits and veggies, and legumes. Bad carbs are foods such as white bread, pizza crust, any kind of sweets, or processed foods.
The important thing to remember is BALANCE. A healthy/manageable diet is a balancing act by trying not to be in either extreme. And low carb diets are not the way to go. It’s okay (and necessary) to eat carbs but it’s important to load up on carbohydrates high in fiber. And I mean so what if you eat that piece of chocolate cake. Live a little!
Moral of the story…Eat your freakin’ carbs. Simple!
What are some dieting fads that have totally worked for you? Any that you’re just totally against?