Do you need carbs? Some people emphatically claim no. Others fervently state that you do. There is a lot of conflicting advice on weight loss and diets out there. How can you figure out what is true in the midst of all that noise?
FIRST, let’s get something straight: Fruits & Vegetables ARE CARBS and they are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are extremely good for you.
But, when talking about “low-carb” diets, you need to understand that it is the man-made or processed carbs that should be eliminated or severely restricted. These include bread, pastries, cakes, pasta, white rice, cereals, white potatoes, processed foods, juices, and other beverages containing sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
Read on to debunk 7 low-carb diet myths.
Myth #1: A Low Carb Diet Lacks Nutrients
One of the prevalent myths out there is that a long-term low carb diet doesn’t provide enough nutrients such as B1 and folate which are found in grains. Yet, the truth is that there are many sources of these nutrients in other foods such as peanuts, flaxseed, pork, asparagus, and macadamia nuts. 1 serving of each of these yields the full daily requirement for adults.
Folate (vitamin B9) is found in plenty of low-carb leafy vegetables such as avocado, spinach, asparagus, and Brussel sprouts. Calcium is easily obtained from low-carb diets that include cheese and yogurt, fish, almonds and spinach, collards, and kale. At the end of the day, the trick to sufficient nutrients is eating a diet that consists of a wide range of foods.
A well-designed low-carb diet includes nuts, seeds, fruit, low-carb vegetables and meat, fish, and poultry, and maybe some dairy products. The truth is, you can get the essential nutrients your body needs during a low-carb diet. For those on a long-term low-carb diet, your doctor may recommend a multivitamin, vitamin D, and magnesium supplements. It is important to note that these nutrients are lacking in a regular American diet and not just in low-carb diets.
Myth #2: Low Carb Diets are Not Sustainable.
You hear this phrase a lot when people want to knock low-carb diets. Sure, the disadvantages of low-carb diets are that you won’t be eating a white bread peanut butter sandwich every day. But just like people can go years without eating junk that isn’t good for them including highly processed foods and snacks, it is possible to spend years on a low carb diet. Eating fresh, healthy, whole foods is sustainable and healthy. Sure, it may take some getting used to. Especially when you first start changing your bad habits into good ones. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to keep it up over the long haul.
Myth#3: The Only Thing That Matters is Calories
There is a lot of buzz around the importance of calories. Many people believe that as long as you are eating fewer calories than you burn off, it doesn’t matter what you eat. This is known as calories in, calories out. Some people claim that the low-carb diet only works because people tend to eat fewer calories on this plan. Plus, eating a diet based on healthy fats and protein with limited carbohydrates makes people feel full after eating much less. That way they are able to lose weight and stick to their meal plan without feeling starved.
At the end of the day, it’s not an if/or answer. Calories are important to losing weight. After all, you could eat nothing but chocolate and still consume the ideal number of calories for weight loss. But you won’t lose any weight. A calorie is a calorie. But all sources of calories are not equal.
Myth #4: Low Carb Weight Lost Comes From Water Weight
Another popular myth about the low carb diet is that you only lose “water” weight on this diet. But, research debunks this myth easily. For one thing, low-carb diets reduce insulin levels in the body. When this happens, your kidneys shed extra water and sodium. This is a good thing! Why would you want to carry around pounds of excess water in your body?
Also, your body stores a lot of carbohydrates (known and glycogen) in your muscles and liver. This glycogen binds with water. Whenever a person cuts down on carbs, the glycogen stores in the body go down (along with the water-bound to that glycogen). That’s why low-carb diets lead to less water weight in the early days. Yet, studies show that low-carb diets also reduce body fat, especially around the mid-section.
One 6-week long study on low-carb diets found that the participants lost 7.5 pounds of fat, but gained 2.4 pounds of muscle.
Myth #5: You Need Carbs for a Well-Balanced Diet
A low-carb diet is not the same as a no-carb diet. As I said at the beginning – fruits and vegetables are carbs and on a well-designed low-carb diet, you’ll eat a huge amount of vegetables, berries, nuts, and seeds. And you will still consume anywhere from 50-150 grams of carbs each day. This means that you can have a bit of oat or potatoes and some fruit during the day.
The only things you will be cutting from your diet are the low-nutrient, highly processed grains that humans have been buying off shelves for the past few hundred years. Cakes, white pasta, and rice can go. Apples, oats, barley, and sweet potatoes can stay. The type of carbohydrate is vital when discussing the merits of carbs.
Myth #6: All Carbs are Bad, Bad, Bad
On the other end of the spectrum are people who think that carb is a four-letter word. While too many carbs can cause many health problems, whole food sources of carbohydrates aren’t bad for you. A sweet potato, for example, has many health benefits. They are high in fiber and have anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, they are loaded with vitamin A as well as vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B5, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and much more.
Myth #7: Low-Carb Diets Are No Good for Athletes
There are rumors that low-carb diets ruin your physical performance. This may be true at the beginning of this diet as your body adapts to burning fat instead of carbs. And while most athletes eat a high-carb diet, there are several studies that show that low-carb diets help with endurance exercises.
So, Do You Need Carbs?
Thanks for reading. We hope this article has shed some light on the most common myths surrounding low-carb diets. Do you need carbs? The answer is yes, but you need the right kind. Can you live without carbs? If you’re talking about white bread and donuts, then the answer is yes. You can, and you should.
If you’ve struggled with diets in the past, it’s time to learn more about the ChiroThin Weight Loss program.