Updated: Jun 28, 2020
This will be the 1st of a 4-part blog on everything carbs. I feel it’s important to have a good foundation of what carbohydrates are and what they do for the body before digging into anything else, like how carbs aren’t evil and can actually help with weight loss.
Every decade, a different macronutrient is deemed as an unhealthy killer that is bad and should be eliminated from your diet. Fad diets, like the tuna fish diet, come and go. Nowadays carbohydrates are villainized by a large percentage of people to be “fattening”. You or someone you know has likely tried another fad diet- keto. The Ketogenic Diet gained massive popularity with its anti-carb approach. As with most fad diets, many people lose a little weight in the short term, only to gain most of it, if not all, back. I have news for you- Carbs are not “bad”! As with anything in life, moderation is key.
Fats became scrutinized as early as the 1940’s after a series of studies saw correlation between heart disease and high fat diets. As a result, for decades, fat free, low fat and reduced fat products were instead pumped full of sugar to maintain palatability which ultimately caused a remarkable increase of sugar consumption in the American diet.1 This did not improve the risk of cardiovascular disease but, instead, elevated it along with diabetes and other health conditions. Now, carbs are on the chopping block with keto being all the rage. The typical dieter may fall victim to the keto fad and do more harm than good. Many dieters are consuming excess saturated fats from animal meat and dairy products. Guess what happens to fat from food after we eat it? After absorption through the lymphatic system it's converted into lipid membranes, molecules like triglycerides or fatty adipose tissues. Carbs are a different story.
Carbohydrates are 1 of 3 macronutrients and come in complex and simple forms. Both forms supply energy for the body and without energy, you die! Complex carbohydrates still contain the fibrous outer portion known as fiber. If there is one thing I cannot repeat enough, it is, “Eat More Fiber!” because fiber eats fat! Enriched wheat flour on the other hand, have been stripped of their fibrous outer layers providing only calories without the nutrients in whole grains. Grains in their unprocessed form contain healthy fats, vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. “Enriched” means that the starch leftover after processing has been fortified with those vitamins originally stripped away from it. Why not just avoid the processing step all-together and opt for whole grains?
Fiber doesn’t really “eat” fat, but it binds to fats and pulls them away from our digestive system ultimately reducing calorie intake. Fiber also provides food for the beneficial bacteria in our gut microbiome, especially fiber from whole grains.. By taking care of the good bugs, a person builds up immunity to disease, improves mood and energy balance and can even help speed up weight-loss. It is also helpful to know that junk food, alcohol and artificial sugars FEED the bad bugs. This is obviously bad for the good bugs and your health. There is mounting evidence that the more diversity in fibrous foods eaten increases microbial diversity and THAT is associated with healthier weight and resistance to disease. (a more in-depth article on leaky gut coming shortly).
The takeaway from this post is choose whole grains while avoiding simple sugars from candy, junk food and alcohol to help maintain a healthy weight and energy levels while. I guarantee it helps with FLC syndrome. Next article I will explain how carbs eaten are converted into glycogen, not fat, and why this is beneficial for muscle-gain and weight-loss.