You’ve probably heard, from a number of sources, that cutting carbs can be the key to weight loss. But what does that mean, exactly? Are all carbohydrates bad? Don’t you need a balance of nutrients? How does cutting back on carbs help with weight loss?
First, yes it is important to remember that there are different types of carbohydrates. There are simple carbohydrates, and there are complex carbohydrates. While some people swear by cutting back on all of them, we would caution you that doing so could mean eliminating vital nutrients from your diet.
On the other hand, cutting out simple carbs is definitely a valuable strategy. Why?
Let’s take a look at how carbohydrates work in the body. During the digestive process, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar and released into your bloodstream. This triggers a spike in blood glucose levels, which provides energy for daily activities and especially exercise. However, glucose remaining in your body, that isn’t burned off, will be stored as fat. So, if you eat more carbs than you burn through activity, you can see the problem.
Another problem is that your body releases insulin to help manage blood sugar spikes. Over time, consistently high blood sugar (and insulin) can lead to insulin resistance and therefore diabetes.
But all of this does not mean you need to avoid all carbohydrates. Simple carbs (like those in white flour and sugary treats) are released quickly into your bloodstream, causing sharp blood glucose spikes and crashes. Complex carbs, like those in sweet potatoes, whole wheat products,and beans, break down more slowly in your digestive tract. This leads to a more even blood glucose level. Plus, those foods contain other vital nutrients (like fiber) that you don’t want to eliminate from your diet.
So, to sum up: Yes, cutting carbs can aid in weight loss. But you want to focus on the right carbohydrates, and there’s no need to eliminate the healthy ones completely. Balancing carbs with proteins and healthy fats is also extremely important. For more information on the right diet for weight loss, call us to schedule an appointment. We can help you learn the difference between good and bad carbs, and design an eating plan that contains the right mix of nutrients.