The latest fad in the nutrition world is to eliminate completely carbohydrates such as bread, rice and other starchy foods from our diet to lose weight. Many do lose weight thinking that it is the result of eliminating the “devil carbohydrates”, while if we look at the current research and behavioral changes, we can see that reasons in reality are others and that carbohydrates are an essential nutrient for our brain, cell function, physical activity and many important activities within our body. The theory is, because carbohydrates are converted into glucose and cause an insulin spike then we will gain weight however, this is a natural physiological response to their intake. However too much of it can lead to gain weight as too much of anything. Usually people tend to abuse with carbohydrates but not with protein, fats or vegetables. You never hear someone saying “I had 10 entire eggs today” or “I ate an entire stick of butter” but you do hear “I ate too much bread, too much cookies and so on”.
This is what we can observe when people go on a low carbohydrates diet or eliminate them completely:
- They eliminate processed foods since most are carbohydrates rich such as pasta, white rice, cookies, cakes, breads and other fast acting ones
- They replace the carbohydrates they were eating with protein which are metabolically active (they help to lose weight) and promote muscle tone
- They eliminate sugary drinks since they contain sugar
- They eat less calories
- They eat more whole foods
If you eat whole grains carbohydrates instead of refined, eliminate or drastically reduce processed foods, eat a whole foods diet then you will lose weight even eating carbohydrates. Now how much calories, carbohydrates, protein and fats you should consume it depends by your age, physical activity and metabolism.
As you can see it is not necessary to drastically reduce carbohydrates and neither less eliminate them which long term is detrimental for your health.