When you think about what to eat (or not eat) to lose body fat, carbohydrates are usually the first thing that gets cut out or drastically reduced.
But is a low or no-carb diet the best way to lose body fat? Today we’re going to show you that it’s more the type of carbs you consume that makes the difference, as opposed to getting rid of them outright.
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation, but not all carbs are bad for you. Here’s a brief explanation of 3 types of carbs and how they affect you.
Type 1: processed carbs
Processed carbs are the carbs void of most nutritional value due to excess processing. These include white rice, white bread, white pasta as well as cakes and confectionary. Big takeaway: if it’s white, give it a miss.
Because processed carbs contain very few nutrients, they get digested and absorbed very quickly. This leads to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and the rapid release of the hormone insulin, which over time can lead to risk of Type II Diabetes (as well as other chronic conditions).
Type 2: ‘smart carbs’
Smart carbs contain more nutritional value because they haven’t had their nutrients ‘processed’ out. This means they are much closer to their original condition when you buy them.
Smart carbs include sweet potato, brown rice, brown pasta, and wholemeal bread. Because these items have more nutrients, this nutrient density requires more time to digest. This means that they get broken down into sugar in your bloodstream at a much slower and more consistent rate, meaning your body doesn’t release large amounts of insulin and your blood sugar stays balanced.
Type 3: fruit and vegetables
Yes folks, fruit and veg are also a source of carbohydrates. Specifically if your goal is body fat loss, choose a higher ratio (i.e. 5:1) of vegetables to fruit in your diet. Fruit has nutrients but is also higher in sugar content, whereas vegetables are loaded with nutrients without the additional sugar.
Carbs = sugar
When you think of carbs, remember that carbs = sugar. The type of carb you eat, i.e. how it’s processed and what it’s made up of, will impact your blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar level rises quickly, your body will release the hormone insulin to counteract and balance out blood sugar.
If your blood sugar level is high consistently (i.e. if your diet is full of processed carbohydrates for an extended period), your body will become used to receiving larger quantities of insulin. When this happens, you become insulin resistant. When you become insulin resistant, if left unchecked you could be on your way to type II diabetes.
Is low carb the best way to lose body fat?
A low carb diet is not necessarily a guaranteed way to lose body fat.
Like it or not, your body needs energy. While the argument can be made that if you drastically reduce or eliminate carbohydrates your body will turn to other sources of energy (i.e. fat), this is a strategy that doesn’t happen overnight and may not be sustainable over the long term.
As opposed to drastic reduction or elimination, choose a better source of carbohydrates (i.e. Smart carbs or mixed vegetables) and control your portion sizes. This will provide you with a healthy source of energy, and once you get into the habit of choosing these types of carbs you can maintain that choice for life.
Click here to download our Portion Control Guide. We’re not big fans of counting calories, so we use our hands to measure portions. This is a simple way to manage all your portions (including carbohydrates), it’s easy to follow and you will always get results.
To learn more about healthy eating habits to achieve your fitness goals, contact James Staring, a leading personal trainer in Clapham, London.
About James Staring, certified fitness professional, delivering personal training in Clapham, London
James Staring, Lead Coach at FIT TO LAST, focuses on building the best version of you and inspiring you to new levels of health and fitness – regardless of your current ability or age.
James provides personalised nutrition coaching to change habits and lives through MY EATING COACH. Powered by Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach, this on-line nutrition coaching program is designed with a series of small steps to make lasting change in your eating habits.