There is a reason why lower carb diets have gained critical acclaim. They work!?
Let’s correct that statement: they work damn well for certain demographics…
Lower carb diets may be the best approach for improving body composition and biomarkers of health for obese, insulin resistant and sedentary populations.
If you give a couch-surfing body just enough carbs to support liver glycogen stores, to fuel the brain and central nervous system at rest then you have everything you need for good cognitive function, energy, and mood without gaining fat. That’s why Paleo-style diets work as a starting point for these specific types of people.
The Caveman theme is simple to remember and relatively easy to apply, and thus it is a great educational tool for the complete beginner that doesn’t know (or care) much about nutrition.
Improvement in food quality and nutrient density almost always improves diet numbers, leading to better blood sugar control, body composition, and biomarkers of health.
This does NOT mean Paleo is the end-all answer to your dietary needs. It also doesn’t mean low carb is right for YOUR body.
The biggest problem is with the active community: those who run, lift, jump, bike, ski, or do anything at all that requires more energy. Too many people are creating a diet that doesn’t match their level of activity.
Diets to Lose Weight: The Unspoken Rule
Anyone who is active and spends time exercising needs to look at their diet through a different lens. Surviving in the wild is not the same thing as athletically thriving in the arena, lifting more weight, or running faster.
If you want to perform well and look a certain way, you need to consider all of the factors.
The diet industry these days has lost the principle of specificity: matching your nutrition plan to your individual situation, activity levels, current health status, metabolic condition, and physique or performance goals.
So don’t just blindly follow any online ‘Lose 5kg in 10 minutes’ diet plan. You must educate yourself and then test and assess in the real world to see what works best for you.
High Intensity Exercise: It Changes Everything
Anaerobic exercise (strength training, HIIT, cross-training, CrossFit) creates a unique metabolic environment, an altered physiological state, and changes the way your body processes nutrients from 24 to 72 hours after completion of a training session.
So if you exercise 3 to 4 days a week, then your body is in recovery mode virtually 100 percent of the time. It is in an altered physiological state beyond pure resting conditions, thus your bodies nutritional needs are completely different to the average sedentary office worker who works out once a week.
A good analogy is your car. If your car has been sitting in the garage, it doesn’t need petrol. Loading up on carbs is like trying to fill up a full tank - it just spills over the side.
In the human body that overspill equates to sugar backing up in the bloodstream (high blood glucose). This in turn leads to body fat storage and a host of other negative effects like elevated triglycerides and cholesterol, insulin resistance and, eventually, the risk of type II diabetes.
However, if you drive your car around every day, sometimes for long distances, you have to fill the tank up often. If you don’t, you will run out of petrol.
An empty tank in the human body equates to fatigue, depression, lethargy, irritability, impaired performance, muscle loss, stubborn fat, insomnia, low testosterone, impaired thyroid production and metabolic rate. That’s a long way of saying you’ll be incredibly frustrated because, despite dieting and training, your body is not changing.
Carbs, Weight Loss, and Your Body
If you are an athlete seeing great results on a low-carb plan without a plateau, that’s awesome. Honestly, don’t change anything.
But if you are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above, be humble enough to admit that you might be making a big, mismatched dietary mistake.
A funny thing happened to the wheat industry thanks to the low-carb movement: people stopped eating breads and grains. All of a sudden everyone decided they must eat gluten free items, as “they must be gluten intolerant” in reality the percentage of people who are either intolerant or full blown sufferers of Celiac is tiny .
That wasn’t all that happened. Lots of dieters who made the change lost weight and felt better than ever.
But the reason wasn’t always as everyone assumed, namely some level of Gluten intolerance. It is more likely that while a lower carb diet can help with weight loss, it was not that carbs that were the enemy. In fact, they are a vital nutrient that will help you get lean fast and keep you energized for your workouts.
The reason the diet changes made such a difference was because many people were overeating carbs, and the change in diet meant they were eating more protein and vegetables. So while a low carb diet can be useful with weight loss, carbs are not inherently bad.
Your carb sensitivity is based on your body.
It’s important to know that adding weight occurs by eating too many calories that your body is unable to burn.
If you overeat, you’ll store fat regardless of where those calories are coming from. So controlling weight gain is more about total calorie balance than any particular food, carbs included. And if removing carbs makes you miserable, it’s probably not the right approach for you.
That said, some people find it easier to control their weight when they reduce or avoid carb-heavy foods that they have a tendency to over indulge in. But if you can control your intake, enjoy the carbs.
For more information on how to improve your quality of life with a few small changes please contact us at
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