Ask almost anyone what they need to do to lose a bit of weight, and they’ll probably say: “Cut back on the carbs.” As a nutrition coach, I get asked this all the time. That, or, “Are you going to make me go paleo?”.
The latest craze that seems to be flooding Facebook new feeds is the Keto diet, and more specifically, the Keto products. They claim to (among other things) keep your body in a ketogenic state – burning fat and giving you long lasting energy throughout the day. And while this may leave you in a euphoric state and having absolute certainty that it works on day 1-3 you’ll soon start feeling the effects of having no carbohydrates.
Here’s the scenario, I’m sure you’ve all been there or witnessed this. People ordering bunless burgers, no potatoes with dinner, salad and meat for lunch, cutting bread and pasta out of their diet for fear of weight gain. They do this, for, I don’t know, 30 days or so, lose maybe 4-5kg and feel great!!!!
I feel bad for the poor old pasta, bread, oats, rice and other carb food groups that get rejected in this process of trying hard to lose weight. They get labelled the bad guys.
So, in order to get pasta, bread and other delicious carbs back into our diet, I wanted to provide you with a few facts about low carb diets. And how they get perceived as a good option for losing weight.
The reason people lose weight on ‘low carb’ diets is usually due to cutting overall calorie intake, which, happens to be in the form of carbs. Often, people who try low carb diets are initially pleased by an immediate weight loss… which is mostly water and glycogen. So, in the short term, it seems like low carb is the way to go! But, is this sustainable?
In the long term, most of us require some level of carbohydrates to function at our best. This is especially true for those of us who work out. If you’re sedentary, your carb needs are lower. So you might be able to get away with them being a little lower.
However, if you are like most of us in the gym and like to exercise regularly and at a high intensity, restricting your carb intake too drastically can lead to:
- decreased thyroid output
- increased cortisol output
- decreased testosterone
- impaired mood and cognitive function
- muscle catabolism
- suppressed immune function.
In other words: Your metabolism might slow, your stress hormones go up and your muscle-building hormones go down.
So, while your initial weight loss may be what you were wanting. I’m sure these other outcomes are not quite the effect you were looking for.
Want to know more?
Come along to our Nutrition and Lifestyle information evening and sign up to our “Healthy Instincts” lifestyle makeover for the month of July. Nadia and I will give you an insight on how to keep nutrition simple, while building healthy habits that support your overall energy and well-being.