Low Carb Diets And What You Need
Low Carb Diets – why the fad?
It’s always something in the world of dieting, whilst it was once was low fat, high carbohydrate that everyone was focused on, it appears the latest fad is low carb diets. Diet trends are always changing and usually because people work out their diet isn’t working, so they shift their balance of macro-nutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates) elsewhere in hope that weight loss will pursue.
So the question remains, does low carb actually work? This is really hard to answer, because what exactly is low carb? There seems to be so much diversity in that answer! Ultimately, yes eating too many carbohydrates can make you fat, but this is not just restricted to carbs, eat too much fat or protein and you can expect the same outcome. I’ve talked about it before and I’ll say it again, portion control is key to your success whether it be for weight loss, weight maintenance or just healthy eating.
Do I need carbohydrates?
The short answer, yes! Our bodies need carbohydrates; they give us the energy we need. It’s not our only fuel source, but it’s what our body uses first for its energy source. Reducing the amount of carbohydrates individuals consume can certainly be beneficial for some, particularly when looking at the different types of carbs. However, it’s not ideal to restrict them completely because our body needs them.
Not all carbs are the same
Carbohydrates can be found in many different food groups, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy foods and of course they are loaded in all our discretionary food choices.
I hear it time and time again, carbs are bad! Yes this is accurate to a certain degree. Simply speaking, there are two main types of carbohydrates, our complex carbohydrates, such as a whole-grains, which are rich in nutrients, minerals and fiber, then our simple carbohydrates are typically our refined foods, where all the good nutrients and minerals have been stripped away. Think about all the highly refined, processed carbohydrates, foods like cakes, biscuits, chips, lollies, chocolate, the list goes on and on… There is very little nutritional value in these foods and are typically foods that are so easily eaten in high quantities. So quite simply, eat too many of them and they will contribute to weight gain.
What are the good carbs?
It’s about choosing your complex, more wholegrain foods, as they still have the vitamins, minerals and fiber in them.
As we eat carbs, they get broken down in our bodies into simple sugars, where our body moves this sugar to our cells to be used for energy. Our simple carbohydrates see this process happen very quickly, so you’ll often find yourself hungry again not long after eating. However, when we eat our complex wholegrain type carbohydrates, this process is much slower, meaning you have energy for a longer period of time and you’ll feel fuller for longer.
How much carbohydrate you consume is very individualized and depends on many different factors, such as your health, age, physical activity and individual preference. Overall, our whole food carbs, those which are high in fiber are generally the healthier choice compared to processed refined carbohydrates, which are going to result in being hungry again sooner.