CALORIES NOT CARBS
NOPE! Eating carbohydrate rich foods won’t make you put on weight – eating too many calories (AKA food) over all will!
Think of a high carb food… What springs to mind? White bread. Pasta. Rice. Crisps. Potatoes. Cake. Biscuits. Sugar. Sweets. Donuts.
Ok, so the obvious high carb choices might be appear less healthy but provided you are still within your calorie allowance you could eat all of these and wouldn’t put on any weight. You might lack some nutrients but you could for example eat nothing but Doritos all day and provided you were still within your calorie allowance you wouldn’t put on any weight.
A study tested this where a scientist followed the high carb Twinkie diet and ate nothing but Twinkie’s (those sweet sponge and cream filled American cakes). He didn’t eat anything else but Twinkies (apart from taking some vitamin supplements) for the duration of the diet but because he stayed within his calorie allowance he still lost weight.
There are plenty of healthy, nutritious high carb food choices too. Wholemeal pasta, brown rice, porridge oats, quinoa, tomatoes, bananas, grapes and fruit and juice in general. All of these foods are healthy aspart of a balanced diet, full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibre and foods which you wouldn’t want to cut out.
In fact gram for gram carbohydrates have the same number of calories as protein. However, they still have a bad rep!
Carbohydrates are our the primary source of energy for our body including our brain. Even if you’re not moving very much our brain needs energy to perform vital functions. Cutting carbs will likely leave you feeling lacking in energy, hungry and more prone to snacking.
You may notice an initial loss of weight by cutting out carbs but that is only due to the reduction in over all calories and because you have eaten less. This isn’t sustainable long term and it is very likely that this initial weight loss will creep back on.
So where does the myth come from?
Perhaps from people looking at carbs in isolation to other foods and the thought of those initial high sugar foods that spring to mind.
Perhaps the thought that carby foods are higher in calories than all other foods.
Perhaps Slimming World and other similar diets that recommend stripping carbs for a quick weight lossfix (but unsustainable long term).
So what’s the take away message?
Eating carbs won’t make you fat. Carbs aren’t bad or unhealthy.
Wholefood carbohydrate rich foods are healthy as part of a balanced diet and eaten within your calorie allowance.
We NEED carbohydrates for energy and for fibre for a healthy gut.
If your aim is to lose weight rather than cutting out carbs in their entirety reduce your quantities and eat good quality nutrient rich carbs such as whole grains and vegetables. Tracking your food and calories may help with this.
If your aim is to put on weight/muscle you will need to eat more good quality carbs to achieve this.
Try to eat a balanced varied diet and don’t look to eliminate any food group in its entirely unless you’ve been advised by your doctor.
Most importantly – enjoy those carbs!!!