We have discussed before that the best nutritional method of weight loss is eating the right portions of every food group. Unless it’s medically necessary, the best route is to never cut out any food group from your diet.
You may say, “What about carbs? I thought carbs were bad for you.”
The short answer is no. Carbs are not bad for you. But let’s break this down more.
When we think of carbs (or carbohydrates), we would typically consider our “starches:” potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread. But these are not the only foods in this food group. Carbs are anything that consists of sugar, starch, or fiber. Starches, fruits, legumes, all of these foods are in the carb family.
We probably all have heard of the different “low carb” fad diets. We are told to eat as little carbs as possible, and we will lose weight fast. Yes, it is possible to lose weight quickly with a low carb diet, but it is not healthy, nor should it be done for a substantial amount of time.
Our bodies need carbs. I once read that the worst dietary decision any active person could do is to cut out carbs completely. Think of carbs as the fuel that our bodies need to keep going. If we deprive our bodies of that fuel, we will not have enough energy to keep going. Just like a car.
Have you ever noticed that these fad diets are only in style for a short season? Everyone is doing it, and then before you know it, you don’t hear about it anymore. That is because fad diets do not work for long-term results. Yes, low carb diets will give you quick results, but more often than not, just as quickly as you lost the weight, you will gain it back.
And this type of yo-yo dieting (losing, then gaining, losing, then gaining) will typically result in a higher body fat percentage. And let’s be honest, that is not our goal.
But we do need to understand that there are different types of carbs. We have good carbs (whole carbs) and bad carbs (refined carbs).
Bad carbs include sugar sweetened beverages, fruit juices, pastries, white bread, white pasta, and white rice.
Good carbs include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, and potatoes.
Dieting (or trying to lose weight) does not have to include feeling deprived or lethargic (which is what happens when we cut carbs out completely). Instead of choosing carbs from the “bad carb” list, choose carbs from the “good carb” list. Don’t cut out bread, pasta, or rice completely; eat whole grain instead. Choose more fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
While cutting down on carbs and “carb-cycling” (when we eat low carb one day, high carb the next) are ways to lose weight fast (and should only be done for short periods of time while exercising extreme caution), low carb is generally not the best route to take when trying to achieve long-term weight loss.