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  • Evan McDaniel, CSCS

Why Carbs are Good!

If you think carbs are bad you should probably read this thoroughly and rethink your dietary choices and where you gather your information from.

Everyone and their dog is doing some form of a low carb diet right now. They are all the same no matter what they are called. Keto, Atkins, Paleo blah blah blah there are literally a million of them out there now. Ill detail out why they suck and why you need to eat some carbs.

Why are low carb diets popular? Because they show you drastic weight loss. Everyone wants to see some change overnight now. With the speed of life everything is right here and right now. We have drive up everything so why not get the body you want within 10 days without hard work, right? Let's take a closer look at the science behind why they 'work' and what you can do to see better results. The reason why people lose weight so quickly is pretty simple chemistry. The chemical breakdown of a carb is Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. If you have taken any level of biology or even 3rd grade science you know that Hydrogen and Oxygen make up water. H2O, right? Okay. so how do low carb diets help people lose 20 pounds in one week? If you eliminate carbon, hydrogen and oxygen from your body you will in turn have less water in your system, thus leading to a smaller number when you step on the scale. Great, right? Wrong.

Okay, at this point I am going to assume your eyes are rolling back in your head and you are moving onto something more entertaining but this is when it gets good. I am also assuming that if you are still reading you have in fact tried a low carb diet at some point and wondered why you lose and then gained the weight back so quickly. Well as quickly as the weight was removed by not consuming CHO(carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) that water weight will come piling back on the very second you start consuming carbs again. The next negative of a low carb diet is what your body has to do when you limit carb intake. A side effect of not eating good carbs is ketosis. People are all hyped up on this but if you break it down ketosis is basically your body consuming its own protein sources(muscle etc) to create a carb so your brain and spinal cord have energy. Yes your brain and spinal cord(CNS or central nervous system) ONLY RUN ON CARBS. Why do you think you get light headed and easily lose your balance when you go on these low carb binges? Correct, your brain and spinal cord NEED carbs to function properly.

So, you lose 20 pounds of water weight in one week? You're light headed, your body is consuming its muscle which is slowing down your metabolic rate to a crawl making it nearly impossible to burn fat(the optimal weight to lose) and maintain a healthy weight. But great, you lose the weight quickly and can brag to Debbie at coffee on Tuesdays that you hit your goal weight by putting some fricking butter in your coffee.

That being said on about day one of any college nutrition course they cover some red flags to fad diets and the first is ALWAYS eliminating one macronutrient. Macronutrients are Carbs, Protein and Fat. Micronutrients would be all vitamins and minerals found in food. So if any diet with a name, usually also a red flag so someone can sell some book or supplement kicks out one macronutrient you should be very weary and probably stay away.

So, what should you eat. Good carbs will help your body burn fat 24 hours a day. They will also help regulate blood sugar which prevents cravings and promotes healthy weight. They will also help build muscle which helps burn fat 24 hours a day. They will also help give you tons of energy to get through rigorous workouts which in turn, you guessed it increases your metabolic rate 24 hours a day. By increasing your metabolism you can in fact change the composition of your body and reduce your body fat. This is a LONG term plan for success. Yes it takes longer to lose the 20 pounds but it will STAY OFF LONGER. You will be happier because you're giving your body the fuel necessary to function at a very high level all day long. Good carbs are oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes. For females try and shoot for 20 grams per meal. If you couple that with 20 grams of good protein like chicken, fish, turkey, lean beef

Instead of starting and stopping these crash diets if you stuck with a balanced approach of good carbs and good protein consistently for the same amount of time you would amaze yourself with the positive changes. This type of program coupled with resistance training consistently and some short but fast running will result in about one pound of fat loss per week. Remember this is fat loss, not typical weight lost off the scale.

Wow that was a long one. Thanks for sticking with me.