The Total Truth About Carbs

healthy carbs

“The whiter the bread the quicker you’re dead!”

If there’s one thing I’ve realized when I talk to others about healthy eating it’s that we lllloooovvvee our breads.

It seems you can take away our chocolate, our ice cream, and even our takeaways, but don’t even think about taking away our bread!

People get really defensive when you so much as suggest too many carbs could be contributing to their poor health issues.

None moreso than health professionals, though.

So, why is it that we all love our breads and pasta so much?

Apart from the fact we’ve been told for years how “essential” carbs are in the diet, another reason is the sugar-hit you get from certain carbs is pretty addictive.

Yeah, you read that right… addictive!

While I don’t normally refer to animal studies, this one is way too interesting to overlook.

Researchers fed rats 25% glucose in addition to their normal feed. They then induced withdrawal symptoms via naloxone (the antidote that reverses an opioid overdose), or food deprivation. Withdrawal led to symptoms such as teeth chattering. They concluded;

Repeated, excessive intake of sugar created a state in which an opioid antagonist caused behavioral and neurochemical signs of opioid withdrawal. The indices of anxiety and DA/ACh (dopamine/acetylcholine) imbalance were qualitatively similar to withdrawal from morphine or nicotine, suggesting that the rats had become sugar-dependent. (Source)

If you think that’s crazy, here’s a study in the same vain on humans…

Published in 2008, this controversial study concluded foods made largely from refined sugar and flour have the same addictive qualities as tobacco. Lead researcher Dr Simon Thornley said this;

Heavily processed carbohydrates such as cornflakes, sweets and croissants quickly raise the amount of sugar in your blood. This rush of sugar stimulates the same areas of the brain that are involved with addiction to nicotine and other drugs… Drug addicts have to keep taking larger amounts of their chemical of choice. They find it difficult to stop, they keep doing it despite negative consequences and they feel depressed if they do stop. People do all those things around refined carbohydrates.

It’s no secret sugar is unhealthy, but if it really is addictive this could explain A LOT regarding our obesity epidemic.

What You Need To Know About Carbohydrates

The thing is, many of us think of foods like breakfast cereals and bread as somehow better than sugar, in terms of their effect on the body.

So, let’s reacquaint ourselves with what a carbohydrate actually is, so we’re under no delusions. I’ll try not to bore you to tears with this… pinky promise! ;)

1. What Are Carbohydrates?

As you know, carbohydrate is one of the big three macronutrients — the other two are protein and fat.

Carbohydrates are a source of energy for your body, providing 4 calories per gram.

When you eat carby foods, they are converted into glucose (blood sugar), which is then used for energy in your cells, tissues and organs.

So, there is no doubt that our bodies need carbohydrates to function.

It is, however, the source and amount, which I want to challenge with this article.

2. Carbohydrate Types

The carbs you eat come in two forms, either simple or complex, depending on their chemical structure.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates can be monosaccharides, or disaccharides.

These include sugars found naturally in fruits, vegetables and dairy products, as well as those added during refining and processing of foods (soft drinks, table sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice, white bread, baked goods, most packaged cereals).

These sugars break down really easily, and quickly spike blood sugar levels, and this is why they can lead to a sugar crash after eating them.

Additionally, eating lots of foods like this can lead to uncontrollable sugar cravings.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are polysaccharides.

In order for the body to use carbohydrates in their polysaccharide form, they must be broken down into monosaccharides first. This takes time, and is why they do not spike blood sugars so suddenly.

This group of carbohydrates include wholegrain breads, wholegrain cereals, starchy vegetables, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and legumes.

3. How The Body Uses Carbohydrates

When you eat carbohydrates, they are digested, and your body will do one of the following:

  1. Burn the glucose, providing immediate energy.
  2. If the glucose isn’t needed for immediate energy, the liver or muscles convert it into glycogen for storage, which can be converted back to glucose later when the body needs energy.

If there is “leftover” glucose remaining after these two steps, it will be converted into fat by the liver, and stored in adipose tissue around the body.

This is why consistently taking in more than your body can burn off eventually leads to fat deposits and weight gain.

4. How The Body Regulates Blood Sugars

After you eat a meal or snack, your blood sugar levels increase, and the pancreas responds by releasing insulin into the blood.

This signals fat, liver and muscle cells to absorb the glucose, lowering blood glucose levels back to normal again.

Between meals, blood sugar level decrease. This signals the liver to break down its stored glycogen, which releases glucose into the blood, raising blood glucose back to a normal level once again.

So, that’s a basic overview of how the body deals with carbohydrates.

It’s clear, simple carbs like sugar are the least desirable, but what about other foods like fruit, vegetables, and wholegrains?

Is Fruit A Healthy Carb?

Because fruit is a simple carbohydrate, many low-carbers advocate the complete removal of fruit from the diet, particularly for those looking to lose weight.

While I believe we should not be stuffing ourselves with fruit when trying to lose weight, it is, however, an abundant source of fiber, which slows its digestion and release into the blood stream. It is also full of important nutrients, and therefore does not need to be avoided.

Dried fruit, on the other hand, is something to be careful with.

During processing it is dehydrated. This essentially concentrates the calories, and is why a serving of dried fruit is only one 1/4 cup.

If you compare one cup of fresh blueberries, which has 83 calories, to a cup of dried blueberries, which has 480 calories, you can see why you would need to take care with your dried fruit portion.

Are Vegetables Healthy Carbs?

As for vegetables, they should also be in abundance in your diet. They are a fantastic source of nutrients and fiber, and they are essential for a healthy body and mind.

Any diet that recommends avoiding vegetables is completely off track.

Are Wholegrains Healthy Carbs?

I have a tougher time with the recommendation that everyone needs wholegrains in their life!

Think about all those packaged, boxed foods you have in your home.

If you take a closer look at them, you’ll find almost all grain-based products are loaded with sugar, corn syrups, unhealthy oils, artificial sweeteners, and a whole bunch of other ingredients we can’t even recognize.

These packaged foods have ingredient lists that go on forever, and even with their “heart healthy” seal of approval, a product containing so many unnatural ingredients simply cannot be a good thing.

Remember, a real food doesn’t need all these ingredients, it is the ingredient!

As the two studies I have already mentioned suggest, it is indeed possible to be addicted to sugary foods.

There is no doubt, food companies understand this, and it’s one reason they hire scientists to come up with foods that elicit a feel-good response from our neurotransmitters.

This is why cutting certain high carb foods and drinks from your diet will have a huge impact on your health in the long-run, and will massively help you to overcome food cravings.

Let me say it again, most people eat carbohydrates in quantities that are totally overboard. So, here are some reasons to avoid certain carb-rich foods…

Grains: A Poor Source Of Nutrients

I hear people saying all the time how unhealthy it is to cut grains out of the diet, and how diets that recommend this are fads!

I’ve probably said it myself in the past, but I’m willing to admit I was wrong.

The gold standard for measuring the impact carbs have on blood sugar level is the glycemic index.

So, the higher the glycemic index, the greater the blood sugar and insulin response. Basically, larger numbers are undesirable.

Wheat-based products don’t do too well on the GI scale, despite what we’re told about them releasing their energy more slowly.

In fact, bread ranks near the top, with a glycemic index of 71, right beside waffles (76), bagels (72), and puffed wheat (80). Compare this to Coca Cola, which ranks at 63, and we have a conundrum.

If it wasn’t for the fact that we’re encouraged to have grain-based products at every meal and snack, it might not be such an issue.

Grains As A Nutrient Source

In a study published in 2005, researchers examined 13 nutrients most lacking in the US diet, and then ranked 7 food groups according to their nutrient content.

The foods were ranked from 7 to 1 (7 represented the highest nutrient density). To determine the most nutrient dense food groups, they then added up all the rank scores.

Fresh vegetables (score 81) were by far the most nutrient rich foods, followed by seafood (score 65), lean meats (score 50), and fruits (score 48). Wholegrains came out with a score of 44.

Certainly not completely nutritionally devoid, but clearly it is possible to get those important nutrients from other foods, should you choose to avoid most wholegrains.

One of the main problems I have with recommending a high number of servings from the wholegrain group each day, is that it has the potential to lower the overall vitamin and mineral content in your diet.

This is inevitable when you tell people to eat 6+ portions of carbs each day, because other foods like fruit, vegetables, lean meat, and seafood are going to be displaced. This is simply not enough room to include it all.

The truth is, that although grains are indeed a source of nutrients, in many cases modern processing has removed the original nutrients from the grain. They are then artificially added back later on.

So yes, your loaf may be a source of nutrients, but they are artificial and have been tampered with. So, don’t count on them having the same beneficial effect on your body as they would originally have had.

If you’re concerned about fiber, consider the fact that while wholegrains have 4 times more fiber than refined grains, they are inferior in comparison to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Scientific Research

It’s easy to get carried away as others have done with this topic, and I don’t want to do that.

That’s why I always insist on turning to the scientific evidence, to find out what the research actually says on a given subject.

Body Composition

Many studies actually show that diets moderately increased in protein, and modestly restricted in carbohydrate, have a beneficial effect on weight and body composition. One study concluded;

A moderate carbohydrate, high protein diet has been shown to maintain weight loss at 12 months and beyond, with improvements in cardiovascular risk factors and little risk of long term side effects.

In fact, another study demonstrated that improvements in waist circumference are seen when carbohydrate is replaced with protein;

Greater improvements in waist circumference and body composition occurred when carbohydrate is replaced in the diet with protein.

Lipids and Insulin

The results of another study suggest the benefits of a lower carb diet extend beyond merely weight loss;

A weight loss diet with moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein results in more favorable changes in body composition, dyslipidemia, and post-prandial INS (insulin) response compared to a high carbohydrate, low protein diet, suggesting an additional benefit beyond weight management to include augmented risk reduction for metabolic disease.

Kidney Cancer

One study specifically looking at bread, suggested high bread consumption significantly increases the risk of renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer;

The results of this study provide further indications on dietary correlates of RCC (renal cell carcinoma), and in particular indicate that a diet rich in refined cereals and poor in vegetables may have an unfavorable role on RCC.

Breast Cancer

Another study in postmenopausal women, showed the risk of breast cancer could be raised by as much as 87 percent in those who ate the most refined sugars and grains;

Our data suggest that consumption of diets with high GI values may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women.

Blindness

Further research suggested diets high in carbohydrates that are quickly digested and absorbed, such as white bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, sugars and corn syrups, may produce eye tissue damage leading to blindness;

7.8% of new advanced AMD (age-related macular degeneration) cases would be prevented in 5 y if people consumed the low-dGI diet.

Heart Disease

One study found that women who eat lots of high carbohydrate foods, such as white bread and rice, were twice as likely to develop heart diseases;

High dietary GL (glycemic load) and carbohydrate intake from high-GI (glycemic index) foods increase the overall risk of CHD in women but not men.

Interestingly, complex carbohydrates were not associated with the increased risk of heart disease.

This suggests that the problem is not carbohydrates per se, but rapidly absorbed carbohydrates, which is why the avoidance of fruit and vegetables, for example, is not necessary.

There is such an abundance of studies in this area, and my review is merely a drop in the ocean.

However, I hope you get the general gist of what I’m trying to show you — that a diet high in rapidly absorbed carbohydrate is not healthy for anyone.

Are Carbs The “Enemy”?

It’s pretty clear our bodies were not designed to process large amounts of refined sugars and grains.

When we do, the research suggests there are serious health consequences.

However, we ought not to perceive all carbohydrates as the enemy.

Instead, we need to know how to deal with them correctly, i.e. in what portions, and in what combination with other macronutrients.

For the most part, eating low glycemic index carbohydrates in combination with a source of lean protein, and/or a healthy fat at every meal, will have a much more favorable effect on your blood sugar levels.

Individual Approach To Carbs

As you know, I don’t believe in a one-size-fits all diet, and the same goes for how much carbohydrate you should eat.

So, if you are very athletic, highly active and lean, you can probably eat a decent amount of carbohydrates without doing too much damage to your health.

However, if you have a tendency to become overweight, you should certainly consider making it your primary goal to reduce your carbohydrate intake. And, when you do eat them, make sure they are from the right sources.

I never, ever, recommend eating zero, or even a very low carb diet, though. That is a very bad idea.

So, my advice is to avoid all refined carbs, such as white bread, white sugar, pizza, and bagels, like the plague. They are simply not a healthy choice for anyone.

In my experience, almost all adults can benefit from avoiding these high carb foods, most of the time.

That said, eating a slice of bread on occasion is not going to cause a major health issue on the spot.

But, I suggest you consider them more occasional treats, rather than the daily norm.

I admit, this topic is SUPER confusing. Really, it’s such a mega mind boggle!

Don’t get frazzled, though, here are some simple things you can remember to make sure you’re getting this whole healthy carb malarky spot on…

  • To stabilize your blood sugar levels, eat small, frequent meals.
  • Get most of your carbs from healthy sources like vegetables, fruit and legumes.
  • Limit your portion size when eating starchy carbs. Remember, eating too much will mean excess carbs are turned into fat and stored up in fat cells.
  • When you do eat high GI carbs, don’t eat them on their own, i.e. a white baguette. Rather, combine them with a quality protein source, a healthy fat, and a selection of vegetables.
  • If you train hard, you should purposely keep high GI carbs for after training.

What about you, do you think carbs are healthy?

Email address

About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?


Free Book: The Secret Behind Optimal Health!

Join +17,936 other smart people by entering your email address.
This will send you my book, which is a brief guide to Life Mastery.
It's absolutely free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Not convinced? Read 7 Reasons to Subscribe!

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Kerry November 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Hi
Enjoyed reading your article, well actually skimmed due to rushing off to work. So the answer to my question most likely is still in the article. You referenced wholegrains mainly to breads that are processed which i agree with totally, but would you place brown rice, oats in the same boat to avoid.

I only say this due to comparing in the different breakups you only use the words wholegrain and breads against fruit, veges etc for nutritional value and additives used in breads as the really bad part.

As you said a slice of bread here and there may not cause a major problem, so i was interested where you would place brown rice, oats and other unprocessed wholegrains in a diet, with the breads and pasta or as ok to consume.

I personally dont eat a lot of grains and agree, but i do like to vary my diet with these.

Kerry

Reply

Melanie November 19, 2012 at 11:40 am

Hi Kerry, I think it depends on what your health goals are. If it’s weight loss, then I would recommend cutting back on brown rice and oats for the time being, and getting most of your carbs from legumes, vegetables and fruit, etc. If your goal isn’t weight loss, then small portions of brown rice, oats, quinoa etc. are fine.

The reason I specify wholegrains like bread and breakfast cereals as particularly to be avoided is to do with their additives, as you rightly point out. Whereas brown rice or old fashioned oats are pretty close to their natural form, which is why I like to add them into my diet from time to time for variety.

Reply

Eddy Seegers November 15, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Melanie,

I loved this article. I get so frustrated at so-called dieticians and “health” experts telling me to eat whole grains and how I need to eat more whole grains when I do. Even when I tell them that my body and blood sugar levels do not react well, they insist that wholegrains should be part of a “balanced” plan. I see and feel what works and what doesn’t. I have created my own personal diet for what does best for me. I have various sources of protein, meat, fish, poultry, and then veggiesm legumes, and quinoa. I have learned to be creative in how I eat and include them in my meals. And the great thing is that it allows me to have a “cheat” meal on occasion without big consequence. I have been trying for years to lose weight and I have now lost 25 pounds in 2 months. Plus, I just had a traditional Thanksgiving meal as part of an office celebration and, contrary to years past, I do not feel guilty for having some dressing or a small serving of cranberry sauce. I will get back on my plan, stay away from wholegrains, and have my endocrinologist be ecstatic when i see him next month. My A1C should nosedive this visit.

Thanks again,

Eddy

Reply

Melanie November 19, 2012 at 11:44 am

Hi Eddy, that’s fantastic. You have done so well, and what amazing weight loss. It annoys me that health professionals try to advise everyone should eat the same diet. They need to open their eyes, and actually devise diets that help people, rather than being so closed minded. What you are saying sounds very healthy to me. Do you find your blood sugars have been much more stable with this way of eating?

Reply

Eddy Seegers November 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm

My sugars have been much more stable. I haven’t had any spikes and what has been a pleasant surprise is that when I workout, I haven’t had any dangerous drops either. The numbers will go lower, of course, but I have not had to deal with any episodes.

Reply

Melanie December 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

That’s fantastic Eddy :)

Reply

kelly November 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Great Article Melonie: I’m refreshed to see another Dietitian commenting on the not so good “whole grains’ . My old training had me teaching heart patients that a low fat, high carbohydrate diet was the key to health. I still see this coming from major sources promoting heart health. Thank you for being honest and sharing your information in such an easy to understand way. I’ve re-tweeted this article. Best, Kelly Greer BAScRD

Reply

Melanie November 19, 2012 at 11:47 am

Hi Kelly, Yes, I have been in the same place as you. It’s really only in very recent years that I realized my error. Isn’t it shocking that these major sources are still promoting this advice? I don’t see it changing any time soon either, but do hope I’m wrong in that!! Thanks for the RT, too :)

Reply

Amber November 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Hi Melanie,
Over in Australia a lot of dietitians talk about GI but we include grainy breads, oats, basmatti rice, sweet potato, fruit bread and pasta in the low GI diet. Unfortunately brown rice and white rice, white bread and whole meal bread, whiter cereals like rice bubbles and cornflakes and potato all fit into the high GI catagory. So you really need to choose your carbs wisely and of course over consumption is not good.
There is more info at http://www.glycemicindex.com
Amber

Reply

Melanie November 19, 2012 at 11:48 am

Hi Amber, thanks for sharing the GI index, that’s helpful.

Reply

Tiffany November 16, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hi Melanie

Thanks for the interesting article….. Now I understand despite my generally ‘healthy’ eating the ongoing battle I struggle with in relation to lasting weight loss may definitely arise from the over consumption of carby foods – yes I pick the more nutrient rich options of rye & brown rices & pasta but find that I often wind up over indulging – I wonder if perhaps I am getting too big a rush from the sugars in these foods?

Reply

Melanie November 19, 2012 at 11:53 am

Hi Tiffany, there are so many people eating in this way, thinking they are doing good. It doesn’t help that government agencies continue to encourage so many carby foods each day. It’s taken me a long time to reconcile myself to the fact that these agencies are wrong in their advice, but I cannot view it any other way now that I’ve spent so long researching this. The fact is, my clients do so much better in weight loss when these foods are drastically reduced. I just can’t argue with that.

I think those options you were picking, particularly brown rice, is absolutely fine, as long as you aren’t trying to lose weight, and also as long as the portion is small. But yes, I believe these types of foods keep you wanting more, and make craving much more likely in certain people.

Reply

nana November 17, 2012 at 10:49 am

Hi Melanie. Thank you for this article. This topic is very confusing, and I admit I have gone backwards and forwards on this. I know that 1 size does not fit all but I do have a couple of questions for you about an optimal diet based on your reccomendations:
1. Breakfast is probably the most challenging meal on a limited carb/grain diet. I know eggs are the answer but what do I couple them with? I have always had eggs with my toast.
2. In your opinion, how much fruit do we really need in our diet? Could the two servings per day be overstated?

Reply

Melanie November 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Hi Nana, I know that can be a real challenge when you start out. I’ve found I really don’t look for toast now that I’ve gotten used to my boiled eggs, though.

You could try half an avocado, with a little of the center scooped out, then crack an egg into that, and bake in the oven. Another of my favs is avocado chopped up with tomatoes and fresh coriander to eat with my eggs. Large mushrooms (e.g. portabello) grilled can work instead of toast with an egg. Along the same lines, you can slice up eggplant, or courgette quite thick, then grill and use in place of bread.

Here’s a recipe for zucchini frittata.
Ingredients
1 zucchini
1 onion
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 tbsp rice bran oil

Method
Grate the zucchini into a small bowl, and finely chop the onion. Mix both together.
Add the egg to the bowl, and mix thoroughly, with some salt and pepper.
Spoon three mounds of the mixture into a warm pan with a little oil. Then, fry until lightly browned, pressing down to flatten. Flip and repeat.
Makes 3 frittatas.

I think 2 serves of fruit are adequate each day, particularly if you are trying to lose weight, with around 5 to 7 serves of veg.

Reply

Kelly November 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Hi Nana: I’m not speaking for Melanie here but I recommend most my clients avoid starchy carbohydrates ie grains at breakfast. The reason for this is that our Cortisol (stress hormone) is elevated in the am. This calls on the liver to dump stored sugar into the blood stream. Having starches in am starts our day with elevated blood sugar followed by a crash. Here are some ideas I suggest:

1) cottage cheese or greek yogurt with berries and a small handful of nuts and seeds
2) protein shake with whey, berries, almond milk or milk
3) 2 eggs with if you must spelt/brown rice toast and real butter

Peace,
Kelly

Reply

NANA November 19, 2012 at 2:42 am

Thanks Kelly. Will try those ideas. I am also thinking of having eggs with a piece of fruit as another alternative.

Reply

Melanie November 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Hi Kelly, great suggestions, thanks for that :)

Reply

nana November 20, 2012 at 8:57 am

Thanks Mel. Appreciate the advice. Would love more meal suggestions on the website in the future:-)

Reply

Melanie December 6, 2012 at 11:48 am

Hi Nana, Thanks for your suggestion. Have you taken a look at the recipes I’ve posted previously? I do have quite a few suggestions already if you use the search bar to find them.

Reply

Alex Pascoe November 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Very thorough and well written! I totally agree, my frustration is even with this information available people are still being mislead by advertising and ‘health professionals’ this message needs to be spread to the masses! Good work.

Reply

Dr. Mark November 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Very inclusive article with lots of great info. People tend to be too general in their understanding of carbs thinking they are supposed to limit all of them. The truth is we need to eat the right KINDS of carbs, basically the ones that grow from trees and plants. The ones that come from a factory are the ones we should avoid. Great post!

Reply

Melanie December 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Thanks Dr Mark. I agree, leave the boxed food at the supermarket!!

Reply

Rand Santor December 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

There is so much emphasis on which macro-nutrients are better to consume and which ones are bad for you. The truth is they are all needed in the body and neither of the three should ever be neglected. The problem isn’t too many carbs or too much fat, the real issue as it relates to obesity is consuming too many calories in general and that could come from any of the three. Sugar is the brain’s preferred source of energy and it really makes no difference to body whether that sugar comes from starch or high fructose corn syrup, it’s really all the same when the compounds are broken down. Instead of limiting one or two of the three macro-nutrients there should be more focus on attaining a proper balance of the three and keeping caloric intake in a healthy range, with an emphasis on more nutrient dense foods. I feel all these low-carb, low-fat, or high protein diet fads have created a lot of consumer confusion in what is healthy and what is not, and it seems to be detrimental to the effort of obesity. Despite all this emphasis on cutting out carbs and fat, Americans are more obese than ever and the rates are still increasing, so this philosophy is obviously not working.

Reply

Armen December 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Hi Rand,

Are you basically saying you can eat what you want and all that matters is getting the right amount of calories? Am I understanding you correctly?

Reply

Rand Santor December 11, 2012 at 1:13 am

In terms of maintaining a healthy weight, yes. You could eat only candy and stay a normal weight as long as you aren’t eating over the amount of calories your body requires. However, obviously that isn’t going to be a healthy diet, there is much more to being healthy than just being skinny. You still need a balance of carbs, fat and protein because they provide important functions in the body besides providing energy, as well as making sure you’re eating a variety of foods that will provide the recommended daily allowances of all the essential vitamins and minerals. So if you’re only aim is to not be over weight then yeah you could eat whatever you want, but if you want to have a truly healthy diet then I would recommend otherwise.

Reply

Kelly December 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm

RE: Rand. The calories in calories out paradigm has been debunked for quite some time. Insulin resistance caused by over consumption of carbohydrates has been shown to make weight loss impossible impossible for many who strictly follow a low calorie diet. I’m going to leave this one for Melonie. Suffice to say your logic here doesn’t take into account the multifaceted effect of hormones including insulin, estrogen, progesterone, T3, T4 and testosterone (to name a few).

http://www.womentowomen.com/healthyweight/calories-in-calories-out-myth.aspx

Respectfully ,

Kelly

Reply

Rand Santor December 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Kelly, thank you for your response, however I can’t say I agree with your response nor your source. The woman who wrote that article is trying to promote her own methods and products for that website. She cited no scientific results and relied completely on her credentials to sway readers. There are so many people like her on the internet and it’s causing a lot of consumer confusion as to what is healthy and what is not. I could easily find a similar person to her that could argue the exact opposite of what she was arguing. Would they be correct? No, it’s completely their own opinion and often not based on facts if they didn’t cite any research. If you eat less calories than your body requires to sustain your weight, your body will break down stored energy, i.e fat, to use. If you exercise often enough, your body will break down stored energy to fuel your actions. If you build muscle, your metabolism will increase because muscle requires much energy to maintain. These are all physiological facts and this will work for the average person. It is true, however that weight is resistant to change and losing weight is not easy and will take a great amount of dedication and discipline, but this is the healthiest route for most. I suggest when conducting further research into topics, you are weary of opinionated bloggers, even if they do have good credentials, and make sure to fact check them because their opinions are not always correct nor based on facts. : )

Melanie December 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Hi Rand, I agree with some of what you are saying, but my research has shown that;

- While calories do matter to a degree, they are far from the whole story. Macronutrients act differently within the body, and the idea that a calorie is a calorie is perhaps too simplistic.
- When people eat high carb foods, they crave more and more carbs. So replacing some of those carbs with proteins and fats helps control cravings. That equals weight loss.
- When you say, “Instead of limiting one or two of the three macro-nutrients there should be more focus on attaining a proper balance of the three,” — You seem to be missing the point in my article, since that is exactly what I am trying to readdress here, i.e. the balance of the 3 macronutrients in people’s diet, so that it is not so heavy on processed carbs, but a little higher in fat and protein, with some healthy carb sources in there, too.
- I don’t recommend a low carb diet. If you want to name it, I suppose I favor a more moderate carb diet, from healthy sources, not boxed or processed foods.
- There is also a very clear link between hormones like cortisol and too much sugary carbs in the diet. Basically, when there is too much sugar in the blood, cortisol is high, which promotes fat storage. So, your point about sugar being the brain’s preferred source of energy, and that it makes no difference to the body whether that sugar comes from starch or high fructose corn syrup, doesn’t tie up with the that. See here for more on this.
-I think weight loss is much more complicated that just calories in calories out. I also think it depends on the individual, everyone is so different. So while so can lose weight by simply reducing their calorie intake, others need a more strategic approach.
- One thing I always try to do is provide a study to back up what I’m saying.

@Armen and @Kelly thanks for your input.

Reply

Liisi from FitSmarty December 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Another good article about carbs :)
I especially like the idea that if you are fit, lean and highly active then you MAY eat carbs.. and if you tend to be overweight you should avoid them. Reduce! Not leave out completely..
I refer to this article in our facebook page :)

Reply

Melanie December 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Thanks for sharing the article, Liisi.

Reply

supplements that boost testosterone January 24, 2014 at 5:38 am

Decreased testosterone occurs naturally from aging.

Most of the people don’t know that their
website have numbers of poor quality irrelevant back links.

I now have a couple of high quality writers that I work with, which supplement the content that I provide.

Reply

Kathleen January 24, 2014 at 11:01 pm

I’m vegan and gluten free, minimize refined carbs and processed food and limit soy and corn intake. I’m active and take supplements including omega oil, probiotics.. Latest blood tests show three problems, despite otherwise excellent bloodwork (including good HDL’s and other inflammatory markers): 1) High cholesterol (273.. mysteriously went up 30 points in 3 months), 2) high glucose levels and 3) low iron. The high cholesterol and glucose levels are family-related and I have a history of low iron prior to becoming a vegan (I’m post-menopausal and have read anemia among post-menopausal women is unusual). I know the obvious about improving all of these: oatmeal and flaxseed for cholesterol (one study suggested 20mg flax/day lowered cholesterol as effectively as statins), chromium and cinnamon to regulate blood sugar (although my glucose is high and I’ve been taking chromium) and I’ll have to take iron supplementation since dietary is not enough to raise my current level from 23 to the desired 70. But, I’d love to hear from anyone who has any thoughts about why, in someone whose diet is very good, is active (run/bike) and all things staying the same, cholesterol levels would jump 30 points in a three-month period. I know stress affects cholesterol but there was nothing unusually stressful in that 3-month period. Secondly, I’d appreciate ideas of why, given my low dietary intake of processed foods/sugar/simple carbs, my glucose levels would be high? Again, I have a family history of diabetes but I am not overweight and being careful with foods that result in high glucose levels, yet having high glucose is baffling. One clue is, even pre-vegan, I do not metabolize sugar very well–I can get very sleepy, to the point of passing out after eating something with a lot of sugar in it, which is one reason I limit intake. I’m guessing my inability to metabolize sugar is responsible for high glucose levels and ultimately, converting glucose to bad cholesterol. I’m also wondering if my somewhat lower protein levels (try to get 36g/protein a day, but some days it’s more like 6-7g) plays a role in high glucose/cholesterol. I eat refined sugar maybe one day a week.. no fruit except a small amt of figs on oatmeal, maybe 1 glass of wine/week, sometimes none. Appreciate thoughts and suggestions to lower cholesterol/glucose. Thank you!

Reply

weight loss secrets March 4, 2014 at 7:53 am

hey there and thank you for your information – I have certainly picked up anything new from right here.
I did however expertise some technical points using this website, as I experienced to reload the web site many times previous to I could get it
to load properly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK?
Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances
times will often affect your placement in google and can damage
your high quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.
Well I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and could
look out for much more of your respective intriguing content.

Ensure that you update this again soon.

Reply

Google June 29, 2014 at 3:46 am

* A sitemap to navigate your website is helpful for visitors to access main pages.

This will allow you to answer only those calls
that come in on your forwarded toll free number and
route other calls to different locations. There are other ways to improve your ranking in Googlemaps,
the purpose of this blog post is not to tell you EVERYTHING Frederick Web Promotions can do to improve your ranking,
the purpose of this particular blog post is to:.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 10 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: