Carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation in the last couple decades. It started with the Atkins diet, then the South Beach Diet, today it's Keto, and while these protocols each have their own nuances, the theme is the same: Carbohydrates are bad.
I am a complete nerd when it comes to all things nutrition, and, as such, I spend a considerable amount of time reading books, watching documentaries, making recipes, etc. I have lived each of the above-mentioned lifestyles for sustained periods of time. Maybe you have too. You know what I figured out? I lose weight quickly on these plans. But you know what else I learned?
As soon as I add carbohydrates back in - even healthy ones - I gain it all back with interest.
The key to a healthy lifestyle is not a LOW-carb/NO-carb menu, it’s RIGHT-carb-in-the-right-amount menu. Carbs give you quick energy. Remember the fire analogy? Carbs are like kindling for your metabolism. There are good carbs like fruits and vegetables and whole grains and there are bad carbs like candy, cakes and white bread. The right carbs are made up of healthy sugars and fiber and other nutrients. Your body uses these carbs to carry protein to your muscles.
The wrong carbs are like lighter fluid – a quick explosive burst of energy with a high potential for collateral damage. These carbs are made up of processed sugars and lots of fake ingredients that have no nutritional value – and worse, some of those fake ingredients actually fool your body into thinking it’s not satisfied (high fructose corn syrup, to be specific, doesn't trigger the same leptin response)…they trick your brain into consuming more, similar sub-standard fuel (i.e. chips, crackers, cookies, etc.) and that extra ‘energy’ is stored as fat.
If your goal is long-term, sustainable weight loss, cutting out all carbs isn't the answer (cutting out sugar and highly processed carbs is always a good idea ;)). The process isn't as fast but the results will last - and you will have more energy for your every day activities than you might otherwise.
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