Why Carbs Are not the Villain in Your Weight Loss Story

Posted: June 17, 2016 in Blog, Dieting, Nutrition

Are carbohydrates the new “fat”? It’s now almost hip to say something like “I don’t do carbs” when someone is offered a roll with dinner. Since when did it become so cool to almost completely reject one of the basic macronutrients that our bodies need to survive?

To find out, let’s start at the beginning. Instead of reinventing the wheel, the U.S. National Library of Medicine has one of the shortest and best definitions of carbohydrates we can find

“Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients. They are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs. It stores any extra sugar in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.”

When you read that, you can only wonder where it all went wrong for carbs. How can “the most important source of energy for your body” become something that is despised and villainized by so my people?

As Usual, the Problem is Us

While weight loss, a balanced diet and proper nutrition are not simple propositions, we humans continue to try to find simple answers for all of them. It is in this oversimplification, of something that is crucial to our health, that our misconceptions about carbohydrates are rooted.

The basic reason for the misunderstanding is that there is more than one form of carbohydrate. Again, let’s go to the U.S. National Library of Medicine a quick, clear explanation.

“Carbohydrates are called simple or complex, depending on their chemical structure. Simple carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, milk, and milk products. They also include sugars added during food processing and refining. Complex carbohydrates include whole grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables and legumes. Many of the complex carbohydrates are good sources of fiber.”

If you hang around the Herbal One blog often, you’ll know the problems that too much sugar consumption can cause. From obesity to diabetes, the processed sugar we eat in excess everyday can produce serious health problems.

As we just learned, sugar is a carbohydrate. But the reason sugar is bad for us isn’t because sugar itself is bad. It’s how much sugar we consume (up to five times more per day than what’s recommended by the Word Health Organization) that’s the culprit.

And that story about sugar is the same for most carbohydrates. Being an “important source of energy” is carbohydrates’ greatest achievement – and the cause of its bad name. Here’s why: when we eat too many carbs, even complex carbs like starchy vegetables and legumes, the excess energy gets stored as fat. Need we say more?

What Happens When You Don’t Get enough Carbs

Being blamed for adding extra weight to our bodies is the reason that carb-reduced or no-carb diets are so popular. Getting back to the idea that we humans tend to oversimplify serious issues relating to our health, the general thinking around carbs becomes, if eating fewer is good, then getting rid of more will be better. But it doesn’t work that way.

And that’s where the problems for our health – and weight loss – begin. Below are just a few of the complications that can arise if you don’t get enough carbohydrates in your diet.

1. A Slower Metabolism

Your body produces a hormone called T3, which your thyroid uses to regulate your metabolism and blood glucose levels. Studies show that when carb intake is too low, T3 production drops. A slower metabolism and erratic blood sugar both make it difficult to lose weight.

2. Hormonal Imbalance

Among other hormonal changes caused by too few carbs, your body’s production of testosterone goes down and its production of cortisol goes up when your body doesn’t get enough carbs. Lower testosterone means less muscle mass, and more cortisol means higher levels of fat. And women’s bodies may be even more sensitive to the hormonal disruptions caused by too few carbs

3. More Muscle Loss

Aside from the loss of muscle due to decreased testosterone production, studies show that muscle loss occurs from lower carb intake even in the presence of increased protein consumption.

Like we said, weight loss, proper nutrition and a balanced diet are not simple accomplishments. Everyone’s requirements to achieve each one are different. Talk to the trained nutritional consultants at your nearest Herbal One Centre to find out how you can enjoy them all.