Let’s talk carbs! Low carb, high carb or no carb?
Does low carb diets help you lose weight? This is a very common question I hear all the time in the fitness industry. Who could blame you? Look at the never ending nutrition trends you see on a daily basis. One magazine says to stop eating it while the other tells you to eat it, all while your standing in line checking out your groceries. Confusing? It can be!
What is a Carbohydrate?
Before I get started into this topic, let me give you a quick simple overview and explain what a carbohydrate is and where you can find them. Carbohydrates are one of the three macro-nutrients ( Fats, Proteins and Carbohydrates ) you consume on a daily basis that make up part of your calorie intake for the day. They are also your bodies preferred use of fuels for energy. There are 2 types of carbohydrates: one’s that provide nutritional value to the body and one’s that provide little to no nutritional value also known as empty calorie foods. Such healthy wholesome foods that make up for the good healthy carbohydrates can come from sources such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. Non-nutritional sources of carbohydrates come in the form of candy, soda, fruit drinks, and nutritive sweeteners. OK… now you have a simple idea of a carbohydrate… but is it bad or good and does it help you lose weight?
Plain and Simple
In a plain and simple answer… yes, if you reduce your carbohydrate intake from food, you will find that your scale weight will drop! but not the type of weight drop you think or at least not for someone who is looking for the long term weight loss. To explain this in a non complicated way , Carbohydrates retain water in the body (3 grams of water for every gram of carbohydrate). Eating to much carbs will result in temporary weight gain to excess storage of water and it goes the same for the other way around. Eating to low of a carbohydrate diet will result in weight loss from water loss! Don’t get me wrong, some low carbohydrate diets do result in some form of fat loss simply due to the fact of lower calorie intake of the day. But a good majority of it comes from water loss, not actual fat loss.
Who uses Low Carb Diets?
Competitive athletes such as body builders and fighters will usually use this type of method several days before a competition to either help them lose and make weight quick or show more definition to muscle in addition to minimizing water intake. It can be very dangerous and dehydrating to cut your carbohydrate intake that low for too long, especially if the water intake is not in sufficient amounts. This will be difficult to maintain if the body is having a hard time holding on to water with not enough carbohydrates to keep the water in place. Also, these competitive athletes understand the moment they start upping there carbohydrate intake again, they will gain most of there weight back and most of the time, that is the goal!
Why Low Carb Diets Make Long Term Weight Loss Hard
This type of low carb diet trend truly upsets me because people go on these diets to lose weight fast, get excited when they do and then gain most of there weight back when they start to go back to a normal diet. It sets them up to think they are incapable of losing weight or something is “wrong” with them, when that is not the case at all! There hope for future success becomes more and more diminished every time they try a trend much like this one to lose the weight quick.
How many Carbohydrates should I have?
The answer is not as simple as I would like it to be. Every person is unique in there own ways and there body responds differently to different types of diet methods. We usually need to experiment with ourselves to see how we respond to different things. According to the Institute of Medicine, the average intake of carbohydrates is usually between 2.7 to 4.5 g/ a pound of body weight which usually ranges about 45 to 65% of daily food intake for an adult.
Good Carbohydrate Benefits
In the end, carbohydrates have endless numerous benefits. To list just a few, they help regulate and promote a good mood when choosing the correct wholesome nutritional value carbohydrate sources, they can promote weight loss, they are good for your heart due to higher intake of good fiber and also, carbs can keep your memory sharp. Food is not only a fuel for the body, but a fuel for the mind as well!