“Carbs are evil!” “Lower your carbs and you will lose weight!” “I cannot lose weight because I eat too many carbs!” These are all accurate statements from most people in this country. The Carbohydrate, our main energy source, has become the number one scapegoat to our weight management and for good reason.
I am here to tell you that our friend/enemy the Carb has also gotten a bad rap. The carbohydrate is not the reason we are gaining or unable to lose weight. It is too many calories. If you take in more than you burn, then you gain weight. We all know this?
Take a look at this article – http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html A 41 year old College professor went on a convenience store diet for 10 weeks. He ate Twinkies every three hours and mixed in Doritos and other snack food items. He also took a multi-vitamin, ate veggies in front of his kids, and had a protein shake in the morning for nutrition. End result: He lost 27 lbs!
Ok you’re asking, so he ate a lot of sugary, fattening, carb loaded foods; I bet he messed his cholesterol up?
Well, no actually. In those 10 weeks he lost 27 lbs his BMI dropped from 28 to 24. His bad LDL cholesterol dropped 20% percent. His good HDL cholesterol increased 20% and he reduced his triglycerides by 39%. But, But, CARBS BAD!!!!???
You know why he had such success. He ate less calories. He reduced his consumption of all that yummy junk food to 1800 calories a day. He went from averaging 2400 calories a day to 1800 calories a day. A 600 calorie deficit per day that totaled 4200 calories a week. TA-DA!
Now of course it is easier to lose weight cutting back on carbs, let’s not fool ourselves. It is easier to over eat with high carb diets. Those savvy marketers betting you could not eat just one lays potato chip are absolutely right. People find it very hard to have a 15 chips for 130 calories or ¼ a cup of rice as a side dish. Understandably so. So the simple answer we came up with is to scream out “don’t eat carbs!!!”
Keto/Atkins/South Beach ect all have the same common denominator. Cut your carbs and you will lose weight. Those plans work absolutely if you stick to them. People just fail to realize it is not the carb cutting that is doing it, it’s the reduced calorie intake.
Those weight loss pills and appetite suppressors are tricking you too. When you take these supplements you are most likely eating less and healthier and that is the real reason the weight is coming off. Can these supplements help, sure a little, but they are not a miracle and they are not long term. Otherwise we would all be guzzling them down.
Can you gain weight on keto, despite no carbs? Yes absolutely. If you are eating 3000 calories a day of bacon and other high fat rich foods you will gain weight period. Having no carbs is not easy and it is why these diets are usually similar and pop in an out of existence every couple of years.
While these fad diets work and a few people outside the bell curve will follow them religiously with great success, most people will follow the plans short term and find them too restrictive and quit.
Eventually, you are going to give in and have carbs, they are necessary for many vital functions. Reducing calories however, is built to the last. Eating what you want for the most part, but staying at a caloric deficit is much easier to take mentally.
This has been written about a million times, make that a million and one. Reminders never hurt anyone. There are most stories out there of people doing similar stunts and succeeding. Sure they get publicity, but they are not wrong for taking a approach that may actually be easier to be consistent with.
If you want to get in-depth with marco and micro nutrients, sugar, inflammation, carb sensitivity, gluten allergies, lactose intolerance, ect, we can and will in the future. These things can make a difference in weight management and overall health, but they are not deal breakers we make them out to be.
Now I am not suggesting going on a Twinkie or Doritos diet as fun as that sounds. Just pointing out that it does not really matter what diet plan you pick. Calories are king. Being easy on ourselves makes it easier to be consistent and consistency is the keystone to this puzzle.
If you are looking to start losing weight, do not be too strict on yourself. Know that you can still have the foods you enjoy, just cut them back. Set the bar low, and raise it as you progress. Make it easy, do not be a drill sergeant on yourself, and you will succeed. Stop making it too hard!
Reduce your calories consistently, no matter where you get them from, and you will lose weight, even if you eat Twinkies. Calories beat carbs and Bears beat Battlestar Galactica!
As a post script the professor who lost 27 lbs eating junk foods did admit that eating this way is not recommended long term. The professor quoted:
“These junk foods are consumed by lots of people,” he said. “It may be an issue of portion size and moderation rather than total removal. I just think it’s unrealistic to expect people to totally drop these foods for vegetables and fruits. It may be healthy, but not realistic. I wish I could say the outcomes are unhealthy. I wish I could say it’s healthy. I’m not confident enough in doing that. That frustrates a lot of people. One side says it’s irresponsible. It is unhealthy, but the data doesn’t say that.”
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