By Ankita Malik,
Head, Corporate Communications, COMIO and a fitness lover.
Ask somebody how to lose weight rapidly, and probabilities are, they’ll reply with “cut out carbs.” The reason behind that is the fact that cutting out carbs does cause fast weight loss but cutting out carbs could be causing your health some harm.
There are no two ways about it, if you get rid of all the bread, pasta and potatoes from your diet, the weight scale will go down. Add so-called junk food to that restricted list, and the losses will be even superior. If you take it to the excesses of banning even “healthy carbs” like fruits and certain vegetables too, then you’ll drop kilos at a rate of knots.
Though there may be examples where you need to cut down your carbs, there must never be any aim to take them out totally. Low-carb diets typically aren’t sustainable and cutting them could end up making you gain fat.
We all know what carbs are (And those of you who don’t can Google lol) and all of us will have tried cutting carbs before, and within this 95%, almost all of us will have seen weight loss in the first week or so! I read it somewhere that when you cut carbs from your diet, your body turns to its stored carbohydrates. At any one time, you can have as much as 500 grams of stored glycogen, and each gram of glycogen holds around 3 grams of water with it. This means if your body must use up all its glycogen for energy because you’re not eating carbs, you can lose up to two kilos (0.5 kilos from glycogen and 1.5 kilos from water) within a few days. But this is not fat loss. Too much of information, right?!
Most people who cut carbs swap their starches and sugars with low-carb vegetables and proteins. That’s great. What’s not so great is when a low-carb diet turns into a high-fat diet because you’re swapping out your starches for high-fat foods such as coconut oil, nuts and seeds, avocados and full-fat cheese. You can survive without any carbs in your diet, but there’s a difference between survival and getting amazing results. If you want to lose fat optimally, maintain your strength and energy, and lose weight and keep it off, carbs are critical. That doesn’t mean you can stuff your face with muesli, chips and spaghetti though. You need the right amount of carbs – and preferably at the right times.
Carbs: Your new best friend
You will lose weight on a low-carb diet (at least in the first few days, which includes a large portion of water). But that alone doesn’t make this the finest dieting tactic. In fact, it’s amazingly easy to gain fat when going low-carb, plus you’ll feel tired, irritable and hungry, all of which mean a low-carb diet isn’t only needless, but possibly damaging to your long-term health and fat loss too.
Instead of seeing at carbs as bad, see them as a macronutrient that needs manipulating depending on your goals and activity levels.
- Are you on the go all the time, drilling hard virtually every day and looking to get sturdier and build muscle? Then get those carbs up.
- Are you on a fat loss mission, a little on the lighter side, and maybe not so active day-to-day? You can still eat carbs, you just may want to ease back on them slightly.
As always, the extreme approach doesn’t work. What works is a method that’s based on you – your goals, your body type, and your favourites. Now go have a sandwich!