I was speaking to a client the other day and they’d been to see another professional who’d told them that giving up carbohydrates or “carbs” will help them lose weight. Controversial. Personally, I think carbs are given bad press.
For those who don’t know, carbs are a macronutrient. They are the sugars, starches and fibres that are found in most food groups and are essential for a healthy diet. What they are not, is the cause of obesity. Over eating is.
In fact, it is nigh on impossible to ‘give up’ all forms of carbohydrate. They are found in dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurts, all fruit and vegetables, grainy foods like bread, pasta and rice, legumes such as beans and finally, in sugary foods such as cakes, sweets and fizzy drinks.
The main job of carbohydrates is to provide the body with energy. Once consumed, they’re broken down into glucose which is then utilised by organs and muscles around the body. Any glucose that is unused gets converted into glycogen and is stored in the liver and muscles. If too much glucose is consumed and not all of it can be stored as glycogen, it is converted to fat for long-term storage of energy.
As I said earlier, it is not to the consumption of carbs that’s the problem, it’s consuming too much of them!
I wouldn’t ever tell a client to cut out any foods, whether that’s cake, crisps or alcohol. We all have our vices and life is too short to deny us the foods that we enjoy! However, what I would say to them is to manage the amount of these vices that they have. For example, if you’re going to have a pudding in the evening, maybe skip the biscuits with your cup of tea!
Losing weight is simple, you need to be in a calorie deficit. This is a scientific fact. If you consume more calories (energy) than you expend you WILL increase your fat levels and put on ‘weight’. If you expend more calories than you consume then you WILL lose weight.
In short, I won’t be cutting out donuts any time soon. But I will carry on counting my calories to the best of my ability!