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To cut carbs or not to, that is the question! This is one of the most debated topics amongst those who aim to lose weight.


Let’s explore this topic further to help you make the right choice for you.

Most weight loss diets are low in carbohydrates, from Keto to Paleo to the original Atkins diet. They all recommend higher protein and fat diet patterns. It is so well known that you need to cut carbs to lose weight that it spans generations. The first low-carb diets to hit the diet industry were around the 1850s. Yup! that long ago.

But here is the thing, if low-carb diets were the ultimate weight loss solution, why are we still struggling to lose weight?

Understanding the role carbohydrates play in our body and health.

Carbohydrates are in almost all the food groups we consume, including cereals, grains, legumes, fruit, starchy vegetables, dairy and nuts. What are we left with if we want to cut out all carbohydrates? Usually red and white meats, eggs, some vegetables and fats. The first thing to understand is that cutting out many nutrient sources will not be good for your overall health.

The role carbohydrates play in our body goes far beyond the provision of energy, which is a vital role. As carbohydrates are our bodies (in particular our brain) preferred energy source, we will always crave them. They help us burn fat and provide dietary fibre, which is crucial for our gut health. Unrefined carbohydrates are not processed much and still have intact “husks” or fibres, not to mention that there is a whole host of vitamins and minerals in these husks too.

Research has shown us that having a diet rich in fibre will help improve digestion, keep us full for longer, reduce the risk of depression and bowel cancers, and reduce cholesterol levels and risk of heart diseases. Most recently, a vast amount of research has revealed that the fibres in these foods fuel the beneficial microbes that live in our gut. These microbes produce valuable by-products as they break down the fibres, reducing our risk of diabetes, improving our immunity, and so much more!

This is most likely one of the fundamental concepts we all get wrong. Carbohydrates themselves are necessary, but the quality we choose to consume and the quantity make all the difference. Carbs are only “bad” when consumed as refined sources and in excess. This looks like white bread or rice, breakfast meal, sugary beverages, baked goods and processed snacks! The truth is that most of what is readily available is refined grains and processed foods. We can start understanding this better if we look at the heavy marketing of these products and the shelf space they occupy compared to their unrefined counterparts. Refined carbs provide quick energy and, due to the fast digestion, leave us hungry again soon after, making us eat more calories than we need.

Is it sustainable?

Many low-carb diets refer to the first phases of the diet where you experience fatigue, headaches and other uncomfortable symptoms as “part of the detox process”. This is not normal, and recent research has proven that low-carb diets result in considerable drops in a person’s immunity due to the lack of fuel for the beneficial bacteria in our guts, as well as higher cholesterol levels due to the high intake of fat.

Most people who try the diet complain of always being hungry, not enjoying their food, and blame themselves for not having the willpower to stick to it!

Say you can reduce your intake of carbohydrates or even cut them out. Is it sustainable? Do you have joy left in eating your food? Are you enjoying your meals? Can you even put together meals with the few foods you are left with?

What’s your decision?

We recommend following the balanced plate model. Load up your plate with vegetables, choose good quality carbohydrates, lean proteins and a sprinkle of healthy fats. You will stay satisfied for hours and enjoy your meals.

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