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Should I Cut Out Carbs?

1st September 2018
Luke Adams

When I first started to understand my weight fluctuations, I often struggled to remember key dietary terminology to enable me to choose the food I needed.  To compound my confusion, there were and still are plenty of “fad” diets out their giving conflicting information on what to and what not to eat.

I believe, a diet, whether to gain weight or lose weight is personal. Once you understand a few core factors, you will be able to adapt any diet to suit your own body.

Whilst I am not a dietitian let me explain my understanding:

The first thing to get your head around is the 6 nutrients.  Don’t worry too much about them being a nutrient, I just think of them as nutritious, so therefore they are needed.

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

I also hear that fibre is the 7th nutrient, but I believe fibre is technically derived from carbs.

Over the coming weeks, I will explain each and its importance.  This week I will cover carbohydrates (starches, sugar & fibre), which is what a lot of people believe they should cut out to lose weight. Carbs are mainly used for the body’s energy but can be turned into fat (stored energy), hence people want to ditch carbs.

Carbs are broken down into two main categories: simple and complex.

What is Good & What is Bad

Complex is good and simple is not so good.

I apply ‘association’ memory methods to try and remember  things and I use; the human body is complex, interesting and has unique variation in structure therefore needs something complex to make it work properly, not something basic or simple.  Of course you can use your own story of association to help you remember.

Not limited to, but things like fizzy drinks, sweets and most processed foods contain simple sugars while whole grains, fruits and cereals contain complex carbs. To complicate things, simple sugars can also be in natural produce like fruit, but don’t worry too much about that, just remember Complex is good and Simple not so.

The Science Bit

For those readers wanting a bit more detail, the main difference between the two groups are their chemical structures.  Simple sugars are made up of a few sugar molecules while complex carbs are made up of hundreds and even thousands of these molecules put together. When in your body, the end product for both results in glucose.

What to Note

Notably when it comes to dieting, a key difference between the two is the time needed to digest. Your body digests simple sugars much quicker than if you eat the same amount of calories that are made up of complex carbs.  This is because simple sugars are closer to the end product than complex carbs which need more time to digest.   Subsequently they are used up quicker, providing a short a burst of energy.  This is an important factor because actually after eating food with simple sugars you soon get hungrier again.   So having lots of sweets, fizzy drinks, cakes etc may fill you up quickly, may provide an energy burst but it will be brief and you will soon be reaching for more food.  More food  that all adds up to a lot of calories by the end of the day.

You will have no doubt seen some diets recommended stripping out all carbohydrates from what you eat. Limiting bad carbohydrates such as sugar from your diet is a positive step but going further and refusing to eat fruits and whole grains can potentially deprive you of important nutrients your body needs to fight illnesses, give you the energy you need and keep your body well balanced.

So next time you see the latest low carb claim, make an informed decision, ignore it and grab an apple.

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Luke Adams

CMO

I am dyslexic, please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors.

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