The craze of “low carb” diets is not a new phenomenon, but one that has begun in the mainstream with the famous Atkins diet and has continued onward as a mainstay of most people’s weight loss diets as well as overall nutritional values. By that, I mean most people consider carbs to be “bad.” So, is that actually the truth? Can there actually be a bad macronutrient?
Peer reviewed studies have actually shown that when groups are compared and both consume a diet of a caloric deficit (i.e. they are eating less calories than they burn daily) but one group is specifically lower in carbohydrates, the low carb group loses more weight.
In real world application, the availability of highly sugar, highly processed, extremely calorie dense carbohydrates are abundant – and that, indeed, causes a problem. While they may have the same amount of calories, 300 calories from a “Sticky Bun” and 300 calories from a sweet potato will have a different effect on the body; from spiking blood sugar levels in different ways, to causing different kinds of metabolic effect and different types of fat storage.
But in general, should we consider carbs to be “bad” and an enemy to weight loss? The answer is no, just make the correct choices within the category. Most sweets and calorie dense foods tend to have a lot of carbs because sugar is a carb and that is often the number one ingredient in these categories of “junk food”. We need carbohydrates for our body to function, though, and most importantly for weight loss – to fuel the killer workouts that you should be using to accelerate to drop the pounds!
Instead of avoiding carbs altogether in the name of weight loss, stick to complex, low sugar carbohydrates like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice or quinoa that will provide you sustained energy and the ability to push yourself in the gym which will ultimately lead to a better, healthier, more enjoyable weight loss system.