Why cutting out carbs doesn’t help your weight loss goals

Cupcakes and crumpets weren’t part of the Middle Stone Age diet, but evidence suggests that our ancient ancestors may have been snacking on starchy cereal as early as 105,000 years ago! Researchers from the University of Calgary found starch granules on ancient African stone tools. 

If carbs have been a part of our diets for so long, perhaps they’re important. Are carbs really bad for us? 

It’s time to bring some clarity to the carb conversation. Do carbs keep us from losing weight, or are they critical for our health and figure? Let’s take a closer look and see whether the cut-carb claims are accurate. 

Why Cutting Carbs Doesn’t Help You Lose Weight

When our personal experiences and the scientific research agree, it’s time to listen. Let’s look at both to see whether carbs need to get cut. 

Our Personal Experiences—The all-or-nothing mindset isn’t sustainable.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: Anytime you aim to cut out a whole food group, you set yourself up for failure. You find yourself restricting your diet for as long as possible. Eventually, your body overwhelms you with messages that you need that food group (because you do). Then you end up binging and overeating. 

It’s not healthy for our bodies to skip an entire macronutrient, which is why cutting carbs completely can lead to irresistible cravings. While you may want to cut carbs for a time or limit them, avoiding an entire macronutrient (which includes much of the highly nutritious produce we eat) is unsustainable and unhealthy.

What Science Says—Carbs are crazy-good for you.

Carbs bring many benefits to our bodies. They fuel your brain, reduce bloating, help you sleep better, and boost happy moods. Some carbs also lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, increase energy levels, and aid in digestion

We also need carbs to lose weight. Fiber, for example, is one type of carbohydrate critical for weight loss. One study found that fiber can prevent weight gain and concluded that “increasing consumption of dietary fiber is a critical step in stemming the epidemic of obesity.” In addition to weight control, fiber helps to prevent type 2 diabetes

So, why are carbs so controversial?

Let’s pause right there. Science says that carbs are practically a superfood. So, should we all start pounding soda?

The main reason why carbs seem so complicated and have led to so much conflict is the unhelpful way carbs are categorized. Carbs can either be simple or complex. Refined sugars, flours, processed foods, and soft drinks fall into the simple carb category. These foods actually harm our bodies, increase disease and inflammation, cause weight gain, and shorten our lifespan. 

Complex carbs, on the other hand, store all sorts of nutritional goodies. Veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains are considered complex carbs. They take much longer for our bodies to digest, and they’re packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

Complex carbs are the carbs we need. Cutting out all complex carbs not only will harm your weight loss goals but it also will harm your overall health and wellness and lifespan. 

Here’s how to eat carbs the right way

Follow these six tips on how to eat carbs, benefit your body, and lose weight too. 

Pay attention to your own body: Each body functions differently. Factors, like whether you’re insulin resistant or diabetic, can help you decide how many carbs your specific body needs to thrive. Pay attention to how you feel during and after eating different carby foods. Certain ones will leave you feeling sluggish and bloated (my carb kryptonite is tortilla chips!). Some will give you a lovely increase in energy and focus (that’s sweet potatoes for me!). 

Know when to cut carbs off: The average American eats 300-500 carbs a day. That’s problematic! But thinking that you have to live on 30 grams of carbs a day to be healthy is problematic too. Find the middle ground by understanding your personal carb goal, which will be different for each person. Most of us feel and function best with a diet of 45-60% carbs. That’s about 150-200 grams of carbs a day (my personal diet, for example, is made up of about 45% carbs). 

Pair your carbs properly: Protein takes longer to digest than carbs, so eating protein along with your carbs can slow down digestion in your stomach and absorption in your intestines. This means your blood sugar won’t spike and you’ll feel full for much longer. 

Eat your meal in this order: When you sit down for dinner, consume some protein, fat, and vegetable first. Then, move on to your starchy carbs. It’s really easy to overeat on less nutrient-dense carbs since they give our bodies quick relief when we’re hungry. By eating carbs last, you’ll make sure that you fill up on the foods that are most satiating and sustaining. 

Consume complex carbs: Stick with complex carbs as much as possible to boost your health and control your weight. Load up on veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Skip the refined sugars, flours, processed foods, and soft drinks. 

Manage your macros: When you have a clear understanding of your macro needs, you can find a way to include all the foods you love into your diet and still make progress! New to macro management? I’ve got you covered. Check out my free macro guide for beginners here. 

Find Food Freedom with LEAN

Thank the Homo sapiens we don’t need to cut carbs to lose weight! Try out my tips on how to carb the correct way, and enjoy that macronutrient to its fullest! 

Health, fitness, and even dieting is full of good news. That’s why I love educating people on these topics in our LEAN program. 

If you’re ready for some health and weight loss guidance that actually feels sustainable (and—dare I say it—fun), you’re the perfect fit for our LEAN community! Join my 7-week LEAN program today to see real and lifelong results in your health and weight loss journey.

For more practical health tips and tricks each week, sign up for my newsletter today

Related Posts

Leave a Reply