The truth about carbohydrates
There is so much stigma in the media about carbohydrates, health gurus, chefs, and Instagrammers promoting the danger of them and how we should not be consuming them.
MACRONUTRIENTS are ESSENTIAL to our bodies for functionality and the reason why they are called MACRO nutrients is that we need larger quantities of them (in grams) daily. The 3 essential macronutrients required by the human body to function are CARBOHYDRATES, FATS (lipids), and PROTEIN.
Carbohydrates (CHO) are made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. This macronutrient provides essential energy to the body, particularly for your brain function. CHO storage is in the form of glycogen, which provides about 1/2 of the energy used by muscles and body tissues.
With all of this being said, its safe to say, we should be consuming carbohydrates in our diets and not excluding them.
Diets such as the keto diet and Atkins diet, for example, promote high fat and low carb, some of the recommendations within these diets say for consumers to have only 20g of carbohydrates a day, that's literally the same as just having 1/2 a cup of sweet potato and that's it. Without the consumption of carbohydrates, you are risking malnutrition, because you are not getting enough of a variety of micronutrients, which you receive when you eat food such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. ESPECIALLY FIBRE (which is in most carbohydrates), fibre is essential for a healthy gut microbiome, and without it, you may find it hard to go to the toilet regularly.
A lot of the time people who go on these diets will initially lose weight but find it really hard to maintain the weight they lost because of certain wholefood group restrictions when they were on the diet. These restrictions did not teach the person how to consume a variety of food within their energy range (calories) in order to maintain a balanced diet and healthy weight in everyday life, it just taught them to eat a particular brand or food group of food to help them to lose the body fat they wanted to get off.
Most of the time that will work at first, usually because of the restriction of the whole food group, which then may naturally cause fewer calories to be consumed than what they were initially consuming before starting the diet. BUT when they achieve the goal and start eating more variety of foods again, such as the foods that contain carbohydrates (without the knowledge of energy requirements) the weight starts to creep back on again, this is due to more energy consumed (calories) when on the diet.
The secret to weight loss and sustainable weight loss is to take your time, there's no rush, and there's no need for food restrictions. We actually don't know enough evidence yet to prove the long term health effects on yoyo dieting and effecting your basal metabolic rate (BMR) a.k.a "metabolism" it could be doing more damage than good, so when it comes to dieting you must do it safely and at a reasonable pace!
Like I say to all of my clients, this is A JOURNEY, it's not something that can happen overnight, and there is no quick fix to long term sustainable results for the majority if you want to be healthy and maintain the fat loss you achieved.
The important thing to take away from this small blog post is that restrictive wholefood group diets DO NOT work long term and do not guarantee you long term health, also that carbohydrates are essential to our health.
Your long term health is what we should be aiming for, yes a weight loss goal is important for some too, but it should not be your only focus, and you should not be trying to find the quickest way to do so.
Focus on these things too :
- Better health internally and externally
- Quality movement
- Decent sleep
- Nourishing your body
- Consuming the correct amount of energy for your body
- Eating a variety of food so you naturally receive a variety of nutrients.
- No restrictions
With all of this weight loss will happen more effectively more efficiently and more sustainably.
All of this information was collected in a journal of notes from university lectures, textbooks, and articles that I have read during my studies.
Text Book Reference:
E.Whitney, S. R .Rolfes, T.Crowe, A.Walsh. (2019).Understanding nutrition (4th ed).Cengage