Myth: You must cut carbohydrates to lose weight.


Cutting carbohydrates is not the answer.  

German Bread
German Bread

Weight loss and obesity continue to be the major cause of premature illness and death.  Science continues to look for the reason for the expanding waistline.  Weight loss is not as easy, but it is an attainable task.  Weight loss and maintenance is obviously an uphill battle for most people, but especially those who struggle with their weight, and success may seem like an impossible task.  The key is a balance and avoiding as many empty calories as you can.  

Our bodies need carbohydrates, but empty calories from carbohydrates hurt satiety.  There are organs in our bodies that can only burn carbohydrates.  For example, the brain cannot burn fat or protein for energy.  Limiting carbohydrates will not work long-term because our bodies need them.  Depriving yourself of major food groups because of their carbohydrate count will likely end with us craving the foods even more.  You should eat a mix of carbohydrates, fat, and protein at every meal.  You should strive for a healthy balance of each macronutrient, and I suggest 40 percent carbs, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent protein.  

If you are a sugar person, it might seem impossible to reduce your consumption.  I am not saying you have to avoid sugar, but you have to limit your consumption.  Eating a whole bag of Oreos or a box of Twinkies will not help weight loss.  Sugar adds to the enjoyment of that drink or dessert, but it, also, has a huge impact on the scale.   I recommend that you limit your intake of simple sugars and empty calories.  It will make it easier to get the nutrients you need and lose weight.   You will not be able to completely ditch carbohydrates from your diet if you hope to eat a healthy diet because carbohydrates are the sole source of fiber.

You, absolutely, can eat carbs and still lose weight.  I know that a lot of trendy fad diets, such as Atkins and Paleo, have recommended avoiding carbohydrates but remember these are fad diets that are nearly impossible to maintain for long periods of time.  I have tied these and let me tell you from experience that you will fail if you do not learn to eat in moderation.  You do not have to completely avoid carbohydrates to lose weight but limiting them does help.  To clarify, some carbohydrates may even aid in your weight-loss efforts because the fiber from them will keep you full.  Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have carbohydrates and are often a great source of fiber.  

The Bottom Line: The key is choosing the right carbs to consume.  Healthy carbs help you feel full.   You should reduce your white flour, sugar, and white rice in your diet.  I recommend that you cut back on refined and processed carbohydrates.  It is a mistake to cat our all carbohydrates.  

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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