Why avoiding carbs won’t help you lose weight.
Carbohydrates or “carbs” have been getting the bad rap for the longest time, often accused of causing weight gain. So much so that famous diets such as Atkins and South Beach recommend low-carb diet, anywhere between 20-gram carb limit during induction period, and 40-90 grams of carbs during the maintenance phase. This is scant compared to the recommended intake of about 225 to 325 grams if you’re on 2,000 calorie diet.
Reducing carbs can help in weight loss in the earlier stage of dieting. But studies show that in the long run, weight loss in a low-carb diet does not differ with that of, for example, a low-fat diet. More so, the weight loss from cutting carbs from your plate may likely be just water weight, or simply because cutting carbs also means cutting your overall calorie intake. A lot of carbs-rich food come packed with calories, which determines weight loss at the end of the day.
What’s interesting to observe is that a lot of people believe that “carbs is bad” without even understanding what they are and their role in our overall health. Often, people associate carbs to rice, pasta and bread not realizing that fruits are also considered carbs, so are some starchy vegetables and legumes. Milk and other dairy products also contain carbs.
It’s high time to put these myths to rest and highlight the many benefits of carbs for weight loss and total wellness. But before we come to its defense, it’s equally important to define carbs and why we shouldn’t be afraid of them.
101: Carbs is not the enemy
Carbohydrate is a macronutrients. These are nutrients that come from food that we consume in large quantities, along with protein, fat, and, to some extent, water. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is the body’s preferred source of fuel. Hence, as long as glucose is present in the blood, it is what the body will use for fuel. Our body stores glucose in our liver and muscles for future use. Carbohydrates are essential to boost our energy, maintain our metabolism, and fuel our brains and other vital organs.
Ever wondered why you feel weak and grumpy when you avoid carbs? Since carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, drastically cutting carbs can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and even nausea. You’ll also have less energy for physical activities and can severely affect athletic performance.
Myth 1: Carbs are fattening, we should avoid them at all cost
Fact: Carbs are not fattening, excess calories are
Carbs fuel us every day, yet they are probably the most maligned nutrients of all. We often hear people say how fattening carbs are, but quantity and quality of carbs matter too. We commonly get them from unhealthy food choices such as white bread, white rice, pasta, and snacks like crackers, pastries and candies. These come with excessive calories and added sugar. Unfortunately, these are the same food group that’s easy to overconsume leading to weight gain.
However, there are healthy carbs that come from wholefoods and minimally-processed sources. These are packed with essential fiber—which aids in digestion and keeps us feeling full and satisfied—as well as micronutrients. The fact is, having a diet rich with healthy carbs can help you lose and maintain weight; we just have to make the right choices.