The Truth Behind Carbs and Fat Loss
When it comes to achieving lasting fat loss, it really is important to focus on what you are eating as opposed to how much you are eating. It’s not so much about the number of calories you consume that impacts your ability to lose body fat as it is more about the nutritional composition of those calories that matters. In reality, your weight is not the problem when it comes to looking and feeling your best. It’s the excess amount of body fat that is making you feel uncomfortable and look disproportionate.
There are 3 essential nutrients that you need to consume everyday if you want to live a healthy and vibrant lifestyle. In grade school you learned the basics about these essential nutrients, but here is a quick refresher. You get your protein from meat, poultry and fish. You get your fat from nuts and oils and you get your carbohydrates from pasta, bread and other grains. What about fruits and vegetables? Where do they fit in? If you grew up in the same generation as me the FDA probably just threw them in under vitamins and minerals and told you to eat 8-10 servings a day. Would you be surprised if I told you that fruits and vegetables are actually carbohydrates? And the real truth is that our bodies use energy from fruits and vegetables the same way we use energy from other carbohydrate sources such as rice and pasta.
Carbohydrates are responsible for providing us with energy and without them our bodies cannot function properly. The most important thing to understand about carbohydrates is the rate at which our bodies convert carbohydrate sources into glucose, as glucose is the only form of energy our bodies can use. This process is measured using the glycemic index. Carbohydrates range in complexity depending on two things (1) how long it takes them to enter the bloodstream and (2) how quickly they raise blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index enter the bloodstream quickly and raise blood sugar levels rapidly thereby creating an exaggerated insulin response. These carbohydrate sources consist of foods like white bread, granola, and pasta. Regular consumption of high glycemic carb sources creates a cycle of spiking blood sugar levels followed by a surging insulin response which results in “energy crashes” and eventually an addiction to sugar. On the flip side, complex carbohydrates have a low glycemic index and therefore raise blood sugar slowly resulting in a steady release of insulin. Complex carbohydrate sources consist of foods like slow cooked oatmeal, broccoli, strawberries and hummus and these weight loss foods are ideal when trying to lose weight on a healthy weight loss diet. The result of the steady release of insulin from consuming complex carbs is longer sustained energy and a sense of feeling full over a longer period of time.
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation over the years with the introduction of “low-carb” and “no-carb” diets. The truth is that carbohydrates are not the enemy and our bodies need carbohydrates in order to live a healthy and vibrant life. Eliminating carbohydrates from your diet may provide quick weight loss in the beginning, but will not result in lasting weight loss once you begin to introduce carbs back into a weight loss diet plan. What is most important is to understand which carbohydrate sources are favorable and which are unfavorable. As long as you are making favorable carbohydrates choices most of the time partnered with sufficient amounts of protein, losing excess body fat becomes virtually automatic.