You may have heard a gazillion myths about why diets with low carbs are important. Now let’s bust these myths! Firstly, the best way to lose body fat is simple, like most of the good stuff in life. But why then is EVERYTHING so flipping confusing? Are carbs really the bearded devil? Because most people literally lose their minds when following low carb approaches. Especially when wanting to just drop a few pounds to look and feel better in their own skin. But it’s even unnecessary when wanting to get to super lean levels of body fat.
Diets with Low Carbs Usually have Agenda’s
The main reason people adopt diets with low carbs in is because of mass confusion. And the major culprits are those in the (unregulated) fitness industry cashing in on anything that fits into a bottle. As a result, consumers annually empty their pockets for at best 2-3% of possible results. Leaving the other available 97-98% of results (the free stuff) on the table! So, it’s no wonder that without proper education, results time and time again aren’t achieved. From liver detoxes, fat burning pills, magical slimming liquids and spot reducing electric abdominal pads (FFS). It’s never ending. Enter hero voice….However!!! We are here to save you from losing the will to live and will break it down so you actually know what to do going forward.
For Every Gram of Carbohydrate Consumed We Hold 3 Grams of Water
Firstly, Carbohydrates are a large group of organic compounds that include sugar, starch and cellulose (jam, pasta, potatoes etcetera). And these are the main sources of energy the human brain and body prefers! Additionally, carbs and protein have 4 calories per gram with fats having 9 calories per gram. As the name implies carbo-hydrates hydrate us! Because for every gram of carbohydrate (stored as glycogen) consumed we hold 3 grams of water weight (not fat!). The average human can store around 500 grams of glycogen in the muscles and liver! So, we can easily lose or gain 4-5 pounds of scale (glycogen/water) weight upon starting and finishing a diet! And the truth shall set you free!!
Making the None Believers True Believers
Below are the calculations just in case you still aren’t a true believer!
Weight Gain Calculation
500 grams of stored glycogen x 3 grams of water weight = 1,500 grams of water weight
1,500 grams of water + 500 grams of stored carbohydrates = 2,000 grams
2,000 grams divided by 453 grams (1 pound) = 4.4 pounds
Additionally, 500 grams of carbs divided by 4 (4 calorie’s per gram) = 2,400 calories of carbohydrate storage!
Diets with Low Carbs Magic?
Companies take advantage of this initial drop in weight ‘phenomenon’ by pushing their ‘miraculous’ diets with low carbs and/or products. Sense my sarcasm yet? Like, ‘lose 11 pounds in a week’ but don’t tell you 70% of it isn’t actually fat. To note, glycogen stores naturally drop and rise on a daily basis even when not dieting. But especially through drastic low carbohydrate approaches. And this is because we eat different foods on different days which in turn changes our daily macros (carbs/fats/protein). Without knowing this information many live life avoiding carbs like the plague with the assumption they’ll gain weight.
However, now you know that end diet scale gain is hydration weight and not fat (ensure calories are raised progressively). Also, this blog will give you a better understanding of how many calorie’s are in a pound of fat.
Diets with Low Carbs to Diets with High Carbs Scale Differences
Below are two individuals macro nutrients. Which shows the impact Diets with Low Carbs have on scale weight when compared with diets high in carbs. Both people below currently consume the same calories and macros for weight maintenance at:
Maintenance Calories before Dieting for both People
Maintenance calories – 2,300
Macros at 330 gram carbs, 55 gram fats and 120 gram protein
Calorie Deficit for both People
Deficit calories at 1,800 totaling one pound of fat per week (-500 calories per day).
Person A – The Carb Queen
The carb queen slightly reduces both carbs and fats. With new macros of:
Carbs 248 grams (82 g reduction), fats 42 grams (13 g reduction) and protein 120 grams (the same).
Week 1 scale loss = 1.72 pounds (includes initial 0.72 pounds water/glycogen loss)
The Carb Queen Calculation
The carb queen drops carbs by 82 grams from 330 g to 248 g. Thus, 82 multiplied by 3 grams of water equates to 246 grams + the 82 grams = 328.
328 + divided by 453 (one pound) equals 0.72 pounds in week one (regained back when diet finishes).
Person B – The Carb Phobe
The carb Phobe decides to destroy their soul, take drastic punishment and have zero food versatility. With new macros of:
Carbs 30 grams (300 g reduction), fats 133 grams (78 g increase) and protein 120 grams (the same).
Week 1 scale loss = 3.64 pounds (includes initial 2.64 pounds water/glycogen loss)
The Carb Phobe Calculation
The carb phobe drops carbs by 300 grams from 330 g to 30 g. Thus, 300 grams multiplied by 3 grams of water equates to 900 grams + the 300 grams = 1,200.
1,200 divided by 453 (one pound) equals 2.64 pounds (regained back when diet finishes).
Interestingly, the carb phobics always naturally assume they are doing much better than the carb queens of the world. Due to having a much bigger initial scale drop. Except the carb phobe by week 2-3 will have gone bananas or binged themselves into next year. Despite both having burned equal amounts of body fat (1,800 calories) the carb queen has got months in her tank. Because she has great energy and zero food deprivation so can consistently adhere!
Although I’m not personally a fan of low carbohydrate diets for the aforementioned reasons. They do work for people who naturally like higher fat foods more than carbs. High fat foods include salmon, dark chocolate, cheese, avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Despite my eating these foods regularly, my diet has large amounts of carbs in. But the point is to say that the best way to diet is to choose the one that you best adhere to. For example, I adhere to a diet with more food on my plate and in my tummy. Which requires higher intakes of carbs for this effect. And most people do feel, train and retain muscle and strength much better when consuming higher carbs.
Reasons that Diets with Low Carbs Fail
Diets with Low Carbs Lower Physical Performance
Lifting weights is an anaerobic (without oxygen) activity and relies on stored glycogen to push for those new personal records! Anything like sprinting or weight lifting is so explosive by nature that it hasn’t the time to use oxygen! So, by lowering carbs aggressively mean strength losses or plateau’s are inevitable which negatively effects muscle building/retention! In addition, when carb stores are empty we don’t look as dense, lean or muscular. Instead looking more flat.
When we eat more carbs we feel better (brain and bodies preferred fuel) which means we train more often. And it literally makes sense, when our carb stores are fuller we are not only more energized but stronger. Because we have adequate energy stores to support training endeavors. Hence, we can retain or improve strength and in turn build muscle!
Diets with Low Carbs Equals Less Satiation
As we know fats contain 9 calories per gram and are very small in size which mean they aren’t very filling. So they can easily blow our calorie deficit. Yet we won’t feel like we’ve eaten much and will be hungry again within an hour or two! Complex carbs on the other hand keep us fuller for longer (3-4 hours). And are much bigger in size whilst containing less than half the calories of fats! So, when dieting it’s a smart approach to keep carbs as high as you can in order to fill up your plate and tummy! Additionally, they’re also high in fiber too which fill us up, keep us regular and reduce cholesterol.
Basically Carbs are Life
Spaghetti Bolognese, pizza, chili con carne, curry and roast dinner. Need I say more?
Have we released those life long carb chains? I bet you’ve been a carb lover all this time! Fill your carb boots! Just match your maintenance calories. And no fat will ever be gained, again!