I love carbohydrates; potatoes are one of my favorite foods. There are many "quick weight loss programs" that suggest eliminating carbohydrates from our meal plans in order to lose weight quickly. Can cutting my favorite food out of my diet really help me shed those unwanted pounds? Sounds simple and seemingly works fast, but what you don't know can and will hurt you.
Why is it easy for so many people to buy into this quick fix for weight loss?
When people see the scale decreasing they perceive weight loss success, what they are really seeing occur is water loss and lean mass degradation.
Lean mass (anything in the body that is not fat) is constructed of over 70% water, 21% protein and 9% minerals. For every 115 grams of carbohydrate restriction, a subsequent loss of 1 pound of WATER will occur.
There is a huge difference in WEIGHT loss and FAT loss. Most of us hit the gym in order to become leaner and firmer, not just a smaller, dehydrated version of our fat selves.
Let me share with you why you should not eliminate carbohydrates from your diet to lose excess body FAT.
The brain and nervous system rely exclusively on blood sugar for energy. Once you severely restrict or eliminate carbohydrates from your meal plans, your body's blood sugar levels are depleted and your body gets the perception of starvation and is forced to create internally the same fuel that you have eliminated from your meal by restricting carbohydrates.
In turn, your body begins to cannibalize eating crucial lean muscle tissue (your fat burning engine), fat-burning enzymes, antibodies and collagen. During this process your body converts those amino acids to the necessary fuel, glucose in the liver (Gluconeogenesis).
Fats Burn In A Carbohydrate Flame
Removal of carbohydrates from the diet not only cause protein degradation but also adversely affects fatty acid oxidation (the fat burning process).
For every pound of fat burned in the muscles, a proportionate amount of glycogen (carbohydrate) is required to be burned as well. This makes carbohydrate consumption the key component for fat loss.
What are the long term affects of carbohydrate restriction?
The speed of your metabolism is based on the amount of lean mass that your body has and as your body is forced to cannibalize lean muscle the result can lead to a substantial loss in lean mass and muscle protein, decreasing your body's ability to burn fat efficiently.
Restriction of carbohydrates at any given meal and or throughout the day can decrease energy levels, promote sugar cravings, and snacking, all which can result in severe food binging, ultimately leaving you with a higher percentage of body fat, making you a smaller overweight version of yourself, with less metabolic machinery (muscle) to burn fat in the future. All which result in decreased energy, strength, performance, feelings of weakness, lethargy and exhaustion.
With this method are you programming your body to be lean, fit and healthy? I think not.
When the proper ratio of macronutrients, including carbohydrates are consumed the blood sugar remains stable and fat is directed into the muscle cells of the body enabling them to be used as a source of energy.