Carbs have fallen out of favour!
However did you know that cutting carbs makes it harder to lose weight?
A low carb diet will make the body consume protein (muscle) for energy. Less muscle means lower metabolism making it much harder to lose weight.
"But carbs make me fat"
Carbohydrates are the body’s source of energy. Which also means they are the brain’s source of energy. Without enough carbs we would lack energy to live a normal life; and, we would find it difficult to concentrate or think straight – making us irritable or even depressed.
Carbohydrates also provide the body with fibre – fantastic for gut health and good digestion.
When the body is really struggling the get energy form carbohydrates, it will cannibalise muscles (before turning to fat!!) to get the energy there instead.
With less muscle, the body has a lower metabolism and so will need less food. If you keep eating the same amount once your metabolism has fallen, you will gain more fat.
Carbs get a poor reputation mainly because of the way refined carbohydrates mess with our insulin by pouring too much glucose into the blood stream too quickly.
Yes it is sensible to avoid refined and overly processed carbohydrate foods like white flour, white rice, sugar, etc.
These foods release too much glucose into the blood stream so our body reacts by turning the insulin tap on high; this in turn brings glucose levels down very quickly – too quickly, making us tired and hungry again – continuing a vicious cycle of spikes and crashes in blood glucose.
This has two serious disadvantages
We end up over eating – usually seeking foods high in sugar because our blood glucose has just been taken down too low
The body is placed under stress due to the rapid changes in blood glucose levels and extreme changes have been linked to serious illnesses like type 2 diabetes.
The best carbs to choose are the ones that release energy slowly so that blood glucose levels stay steady through the day. These types of carbs are low Glycemic Index foods (low GI). Eating low GI foods will keep insulin levels low and help with appetite management.
Some substitutes to consider
Instead of… Try…
White bread Whole meal bread
Regular pasta Whole meal pasta
White rice Brown / wild rice
Instant porridge Rolled oats
Cornflakes Bran flakes
Crisps Nuts or seeds
The trick is to make the switch gradually, perhaps switching one item at a time or even using a mix where possible. Over time you get accustomed to the new taste and cravings for refined foods will reduce.