07 Oct Low Carb Diet to Lose Weight? Not so Fast.
While a caloric deficit can be approached from a variety of angles; namely adding activity, cutting carbohydrates, cutting dietary fats or a combination of all three, there has been a prevalent method which has taken over the fitness industry time and time again. This is the phenomenon of “low carb” dieting, where the person reduces their carbohydrate grams so low that their food choices are restricted enough to cause them to feel fuller on less calories, and hence lose weight. Here we will not discuss strict Ketogenic dieting, which may even have applications in the medical field, but rather the typical semi-low-carb, uneducated approach that the great majority of the general public undertakes right after Christmas or before the summertime.
This is all fine and dandy, when the dieter understands that it is the reduction in total calories that is causing the weight loss, and NOT just the fact that they lowered their carbohydrate portion of the diet. Failing to understand this often causes a “carb phobia” mindset.
This is why most people simply think that it is the carbs, not the calories that are making them fat.
What happens here is that for the first couple of weeks, the dieter will lose weight until they adjust to the new palate and fullness factor from all the proteins, fats and fibrous carbs that they are eating instead of the low quality processed junk they were pounding down beforehand. Then, suddenly, hunger and cravings strike again, guess what, even on a low carb diet, this stuff happens! The misinformed person trying to lose more weight or maintain their newly found physique will attempt to eat more calories through proteins, and generally (if they’re even that well read) dietary fats (which like carbs, have nothing intrinsically bad about them). They expect them to still lose weight or make progress that way, but the scale and mirror will show otherwise.
They will inevitably start overeating again, even on their list of “good low carb” foods, they will “secret binge” on carbs when they’re a bit tipsy on the weekend or make “carb exceptions” at social gatherings. All this will make them gain weight – confirming their now self-identified belief that carbs make you fat. Why this? Because they never learnt that in order to stay lean, calories matter, and that any lean person knows that responsibility of your caloric intake is a burden you’ll have to carry for life if you want to look and feel the part. The average individual who loses weight every year solely by relying on carb restriction without additional research from credible sources, will be stuck with the fear of carbohydrates for life, cursed with the fear of their favorite dishes (that were staples for slimmer generations before them, by the way; who simply had less food to eat and moved more).
The simple truth for weight loss still lies in the calories in vs. calories out equation. Nothing will ever defeat the law of thermodynamics. Not even the complex structure of the human body. We are all energy after all. And energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only be converted from one form into another. We are all “calories.” If we consume more calories, we will gain weight (muscle or fat, depending on the size of the surplus and our activity), there will simply be “more of us” in the world, more calories will be converted to form a part of our body if we do not expend it as energy for fuel and essential bodily functions. That is a fact.
If we eat less than we need to maintain our bodily functions and activity, regardless of whether this deficit comes from carbs, fats or proteins, we will all lose weight. That is not to say that proportions of all three macronutrients are irrelevant as to the maintenance of lean bodily tissue or simply relative to how we feel or act while we are losing weight. But if you eat less fat or protein, and eat an abundance of carbs, you will still lose weight; you only need to consume your baseline amounts of protein and essential fats for health and you are good to go. Weight loss is inevitable within the context of a caloric deficit – this has been proven time and time again in studies. This is what is accepted as true by the mainstream medical community, and anything else is either still under review, misinformation or a hoax.
I do not intend to say that a reduction in carbs is not beneficial for weight loss, but that a reduction in dietary fat may be just as, if not even more effective. Also, for most individuals, a balanced diet with whole, unprocessed foods, adjusted for a caloric deficit via reduction in the consumption of overly palatable (extremely tasty) foods and an increase in the consumption of foods with a high fullness factor and satiety effect is the best option. This is the approach taken in our Beach Body Sculpting Program For Men and our Bikini Body Toning Program For Women. Also, protein is the most vital macronutrient on a diet, but still it can be overdone. A diet too high in protein can still be too high in calories, and stall your weight loss. Even though protein is the hardest macro to convert into body-fat, in excess it will make you store the little carbs and/or fat you’re eating, while feeling like crap – still not getting the results you want.
Given that you’re consuming your protein, essential fatty acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals, you can still eat the remainder of your calorie in any proportion of fats/carbs that you desire according to your palate or that you require for your activity (some sports require more glucose calories than others for optimal performance). You can also enjoy those to-good-to-be-true tasting burgers, fries, pizzas and desserts in moderation too. Just don’t make them a regular appearance in your diet. Even if they do fit your calories, that doesn’t mean you won’t have a hard time controlling their portions on a weight loss diet. In some rare cases, complete periods of abstinence from junk foods (not carbs in general) may help kickstart weight loss and get you motivated for life. This is not a long term approach. We preach this “kickstart” principle in our Fast Fat Loss program (if you have 10+ Kilos or more to lose, check this one out, you’ll love the way you look just after a couple of weeks on this one). You can eat carbs within your calorie budget and lose weight! That’s a fact! Accept it and move on.
Adam Ben – Eat. Workout. Live.