I love a good myth, just like a good meme, they are entertaining but can be quite annoying.
The problem is that honest, basic nutrition advice is usually dull.
It isn’t sexy and it doesn’t sell.
A good myth though, these sell pretty well.
That’s why people gravitate towards crazy statements.
They want it to be more complex so they have a reason for their lack of success.
Even worse they find a really complicated reason for why their method did work.
What we need to know and apply to get in shape is actually pretty basic.
Basic doesn’t mean easy, because losing weight, creating new habits and achieving and maintaining results isn’t easy.
It can be hard work.
It will require time, effort, consistency and commitment.
In this 5 part series I’m going to quash a few of the many misconceptions around a topic that I’m passionate about, Nutrition.
Why do people say this?
There are a few reasons:
1 – Many hyper palatable (aka super tasty!) foods are often higher in carbohydrates like chocolate, sweets, doughnuts, bread etc… I’m salivating already and I’m only a few lines in!
2 – These foods are often not very filling, thus easy to eat loads of.
We can easily over consume these, leading to excess calories, resulting in weight gain.
There is a third reason people bang on about it (I’ll not go too deep into as its boring), we have a hormone called insulin, it’s primary role is to store glucose (sugar in your blood) or to use it for energy.
The production of this hormone increases when we eat (especially carbs).
It’s role is to help transport the glucose into your cells (muscle and fat cells).
You can see why it was demonised as the ‘fat storage beast’.
Ultimately, unless we are diabetic or insulin resistant, we don’t need to stress too much about this.
If we are healthy, managing our calorie intake and keeping active, then we are all good.
When someone starts a health kick, usually the foods we believe to be ‘bad foods’ are the first on the hit list.
The foods we over do are often higher in carbs.
So we remove them, leading to a reduction in calories.
We lose weight.
Dave says, “I’ve removed bread and I’ve lost weight so it was bread that made me fat. Bread is carbs so carbs must make people fat”.
Not quite Dave!
You used to get home from work, you hadn’t been shopping for a proper meal and you used to smash an entire loaf before getting hungry again at 7pm and ordering a Chinese.
Now, you don’t do that and have a fairly sensible meal of an evening based around protein and vegetables, meaning a lot less calories. And you’re fuller from the protein.
Remember, correlation doesn’t equal causation.
So in reality, overall consumption of energy dense foods that Dave has normally over done has come down.
Other areas of his diet have improved and he’s started exercising.
All of this has contributed to significant reduction in calories and an increase in energy expenditure.
I wish it was more complicated, but it isn’t.
Thats why he lost weight.
There is nothing wrong with lowering your energy intake by reducing your carbohydrate intake.
It’s often a good place to start.
The chances are if you are overweight, you’ve been fairly high calorie and carbohydrate for some time.
Lower carbohydrate diets are often associated with an increase in protein (this is good), meaning people feel more satiated (fuller).
When we lower carbohydrates we often replace refined carbohydrates with more vegetables, so we are getting plenty of fibre and have a good volume of food for our calories. (all good)
This can result in better adherence and that’s ultimately what we require to progress.
Dave isn’t wrong for making the changes, it’s actually a fairly good place to start.
However, his interpretation of what happens when we eat some carbohydrates is flawed, and to imply that this method will suit everyone is wrong too.
If calories and protein are the same then there is no advantage to low carb or higher carb in relation to weight loss.
Find what works for you, just know that it may not suit the next person.
As a rough guide, your carbohydrate intake should be relevant to your activity levels.
Someone who is fairly sedentary, requires less fuel (calories in general and carbohydrate) to function.
If you train a lot then carbohydrates will help you get the most from your training.
If you’re lower carb and its working for you, great, just don’t tell everyone they have to do it too.
Play around with your intake and find what works best for you.
P.S. Tune in for the next Myth Buster Blog # 2 = Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat where we dial in and take a closer look at FATS in the diet.