Carbs Are Not The Enemy!
January is typically the time many of us turn our attention to what we’re eating, in a bid to lose weight, tone up and increase our overall health and wellbeing. Each year a whole new array of health and fitness buzzwords find their way into our vocabulary, and in recent years one which has come to have a very negative association has been: “carbs”. But why? Are they really the enemy? Award-winning Directors & Head Coaches of Tonbridge-based The Strength and Conditioning Institute are two of the best people in the county to explain. The duo are qualified to National Level, and in December received a trophy naming their facility Functional Training Gym of the Year; placing their business amongst the very best in the UK.
Martin and Alex explore the current carb conundrum:
Increasingly, carbohydrates are being blamed for the obesity epidemic that we are all aware affects Western society. A lot of people struggling to lose weight are therefore led to presume they have a metabolic disorder, such as insulin resistance, due to the presence of carbohydrates in their diet.
But this worrying isn’t helpful, and could even be harmful, so today we’re demystifying the role of carbohydrates in weight loss. Firstly, the ‘low/zero carb’ diets you hear about work for some people because, by removing an entire macronutrient, they are inadvertently creating a caloric deficit (using more energy than they consume). This leads them to believe that the carbohydrates were holding them back from their goals. Crucially, however, an individual can adopt a ‘zero carb’ diet and STILL overeat protein and fats to the point that they gain weight!
We know for certain that caloric intake determines weight change, not the removal or inclusion of one specific macronutrient. This means you could lower your food intake to a consistent caloric deficit, whilst keeping carbohydrates in your diet, and still successfully drop the weight you want to lose.
But why might this be better? Because studies have shown that a diet which includes all the macronutrients is more sustainable, and therefore more successful, in the long term. There is a middle ground with controlling food intake – your carbohydrates don’t have to be ‘all or nothing’.
To find this middle ground, first make sure your dietary needs are being met with regards to protein and fat. Once they’re in place, adjust your carbohydrate intake based on your activity levels and track your progress over time. There’s no need to automatically deprive your body of an entire macronutrient: play around with your carbohydrate intake, dependent on your activity levels, and see how your body responds. You might be surprised!
Alex & Martin