Carbs and Weight Loss: Carbohydrates Get A Bad Rap

carbs and weight loss

Weight Loss Tips and Training

I’ve been an Austin personal trainer for quite a while. Close to 20 years now, in fact, and one of the most pervasive questions I get is “how do I lose weight”? The truth is that there are a lot of ways for one to lose weight and the best way for you personally to accomplish that could be quite different than the person standing next to you. A lot of people pay attention to the wrong sources and end up with misinformation that can ultimately be very unhealthy and potentially very dangerous. A perfect example of this would be the widespread misconception that the omission or minimalistic consumption of carbohydrates is a great way to lose weight. The infamous Atkins diet was based on that principal and yes, people lost weight… at first, but remember that Dr. Atkins who founded this “revolution in health”, died an obese man.

Anytime you take in carbs, your body will hold more water, so naturally, if you suspend the intake of carbs, you’ll shed water. If you consider that our bodies are comprised of roughly 65% to 70% water, then obviously you’ll see some weight loss, but that’s not fat loss. That’s simply water weight loss. In order to lose body fat, there’s a much more involved process needed than simply neglecting one macronutrient.

When you ingest carbs, your body will convert them to glycogen during the digestive process. Glycogen is basic fuel for our bodies. Like gasoline, the fuel for your car, there are various grades of quality. In the carbohydrate world, the super unleaded fuel would be complex carbs as they burn slower and cleaner in our bodies and produce long term quality fuel as opposed to a simple sugar which might give you a quick pick me up but then just as quickly return you to an even more lethargic state.

When you consume carbs, especially the simple ones, your body will respond by converting them to glycogen as stated above. For every gram of glycogen that is stored in your body, you will gain 2.7 grams of water weight on average. The reason for this is that when we ingest carbs, the kidneys automatically hold onto more sodium. Our bodies react to that sodium retention by retaining more water thus keeping an even sodium balance in the bloodstream.

The national institute of health has recommended for years that we consume 55-65% of our total daily calories in the form of carbohydrates. Some endurance athletes will consume an 80% or higher carbohydrate heavy diet in the days leading up to an event in order to store more glycogen and thus have more fuel for their event. In either case, whether you’re an elite athlete or a regular Joe, if your body has done this for an extended time and then suddenly you deplete the carbs, obviously some water weight shedding will occur as you have eliminated the cause of retention. Once your body has adjusted to the state of lowered carb intake, however, it will adjust and your rapid weight loss will cease.

Long term weight loss means losing body fat and keeping it off. Not just dropping water weight for a short time. Those who are interested in better conditioning and a healthier lifestyle will need to make good choices at mealtimes as well as embark on a consistent exercise regiment employing both aerobic and non aerobic exercises. Those who are posing for the cover of a swimsuit magazine and want to drop a little water weight in order to seemingly firm up their abdominal muscles, would do fine by limiting their carbohydrate intake as well as making sure the small amount of carbs they ingested, were the quality kind for a couple of days before the photo shoot.

If your goal is to be a strong and healthy person, then you should have a well balanced diet that is low in saturated fats and one that includes a sufficient amount of protein for your individual dietary needs and goals as well as a minimum of 40% of your calories coming from good quality carbohydrates. This means to chose whole wheat bread over white bread and oatmeal over cornflakes, etc. Consistently good choices and exercise yield the long term sustainable results that fad diets and trends are incapable of.

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Summary
Carbs and Weight Loss:  Carbohydrates Get A Bad Rap
Article Name
Carbs and Weight Loss: Carbohydrates Get A Bad Rap
Description
People have long blamed carbs for their weight gain and inability to lose weight. Carbohydrates have a bad rap, but they are very important for our bodies, and not nearly as bad as you think.
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Publisher Name
Andy Bruchey- Complete Fitness Design
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About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270