Should you be cutting carbs out of your diet?

Should you be cutting carbs out of your diet?

Why does it feel that each morning we wake up and there is a new lifestyle trend or fad diet to follow? We constantly hear that we should be reducing our fat consumption, tracking our calories and calm down on the carbs. However, as carbs are usually the prime suspect in cases of heart health and gaining weight… Is it bad for us to cut out carbs? Well of course we know that our much loved processed junk foods are normally full of carbohydrates, meaning that eating less of these would be good for our bodies surely? The question remains, are all carbs bad? But hang on, before you start throwing your bread in the trash and cutting out carbs completely, let’s take a closer look to see if carbs are really the ones responsible.

The dawn of anti carbs

There used to be a time where ‘carbohydrates’ were never a worry. Now it’s become something we all fear and avoid at all costs. Every day there are new obsessive diets to try, forcing us to be mindful of the dreaded macronutrient. We’ve all been given a reason to believe that all carbs are bad, and that to have a healthy lifestyle, we should cut them out. So whilst carbs have been branded as a baddie and are sobbing somewhere, we need to point out that they’re not all the same. Most nutritionists would likely recommend that you steer clear of sugary snacks, processed junk foods and white bread - this is because they all contain empty calories. Ladies, let’s just think about that for a sec. When we’re sitting in front of the TV scoffing down something sugary or processed, we’re only temporarily full. Not long after, you’ll start to feel hungry again! That’s because these types of foods are quick fillers, but don’t actually give us the nutrients and vitamins our bodies need long term.

Cut carbs: Why?

Carbs have the ability to raise insulin levels (more so than fat or protein), meaning fat storage is encouraged. This is why many scientists believe that carbs are the main reason for increased obesity. Although, taking in huge amounts of any calorific nutrients will put you on a path towards obesity and weight gain. As we have all heard before, you can have too much of a good thing. In the short term, low-carb diets are seen to be more effective when it comes to weight loss. However, diets that are high carb haven’t been proven to be fattening.

So, why should you cut out carbs? It’s all about cutting down on those refined carbs in the form of: pasta, sodas, white rice, white flour, snacks and added sugars. If you’re thinking about cutting out carbs completely, you’ll need to be careful.

Reducing carb consumption for weight loss

Now there’s so many diets around, most with the theme of carb cutting appearing time and again, it can be easy to trust that carbs are the enemy. Plenty of us switch to a keto or low-carb diet to lose weight because we’ve been convinced that the key to becoming slim is to cut carbs. Let’s take a look at the good guys of the carb world. Foods such as whole grains, fruit and vegetables: some of these may be high in carbohydrates and calorific too. The difference here is they’re not empty calories. We aren’t consuming these foods as a quick snack to then eat something else soon after. Types of foods like these supply us with a steady amount of vitamin B, protein, fiber and other vital nutrients we need. As keto diets are designed for quick weight loss in the first few weeks, many of us get caught up in the idea of rapid weight loss. In saying that though, this type of weight loss and diet is just not sustainable. There is no shame in admitting that cutting out carbs for a long period of time is so damn hard.

Exercise: the effects of cutting carbs

If you’ve been cutting out carbs then it is safe to assume that you’ve probably hit a bit of a downer with your workouts too. As carbohydrates provide us with fast fuel for our workouts, the macronutrient is used up quickly and is the easiest one to release from your body’s storage. We know that healthy fats and protein also give us the energy we need for workouts. Although, our bodies will use the carbs we have stored the most efficiently. If you are finding yourself considering carb cutting, expect a lull in your workout routine. If you’ve recently cut carbs or made a huge change to your diet, it is completely normal for your performance during exercise to be a little...flat. This could be due to the fact that your body may not have enough fuel to finish your gym session.

Rather than completely giving carbs the boot, give healthy carbs a try instead. These come in the form of foods like oats, fruit and quinoa - they’re also filling, slow releasing foods.

Carbs: Brain food

Whether you choose to believe this or not, your brain’s energy source of choice is carbs. Generally, our brains consume approximately 120 grams of carbohydrates on a daily basis. So if you’ve cut out carbs or have started to consume less carbs and are experiencing mood swings, mental fatigue and brain fog, this could be why. Whilst these side effects should slowly subside as your body adapts, this is what makes cutting out carbs so tough to maintain. Similar to the confusion involved with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ carbs, many muddle the role of stimulants (caffeine coffee) with carbohydrates. Even though a nice cup of coffee or an energy drink will supply us with a temporary burst of energy, those healthy carbs give your brain what it needs to function over a long period. The quality of what you’re consuming really needs to be considered here - sort of like putting good gas in your car!

Are we supposed to eat carbs?

If we look back to early humans, it was second nature to cook meats that provided fat, calories and protein. New research in recent years has shown that foods such as root vegetables and legumes, were cooked and eaten by our ancestors too! Further studies have shown that early humans started to develop the ability to consume starchy carbohydrates. This revealed how we have evolved since and how we’re able to digest starches. We now need to consider that every single cell in our bodies run on carbohydrate sugar - better known as glucose.

Why cutting carbs is bad: depriving your body

Even though foods that are carb-heavy feel like a bad idea, they are an important source of vital vitamins and minerals. All those crazy diets will have you convinced that carbs are satan’s spawn, eating the right carbs in the correct amounts are essential for a varied, healthy diet. As carbs can come in many forms, leaving them out could mean that you’re depriving your body of these key nutrients. Carbohydrates provide us with fiber, vitamins such as B12, minerals and magnesium. When we aren’t getting enough of these, you’re putting your body at risk, especially if you’re not consuming them via other food groups.

Cutting out carbs: Lack of fiber

In terms of nutrition, it simply cannot be one way or the other. Experts will try to tell you that fiber is a vital part of a healthy diet. If you choose to cut carbs completely, you’ll likely not be consuming enough fiber, seeing as it’s a carb. Research shows how important soluble fiber is for managing our weight and our heart health. Soluble fiber is usually somewhat sticky and thick; it’s found in high-carb foods such as legumes, oats and fruit. All of these also aid in slowing digestion.

Cutting out carbs: Is it bad for you?

If you’re still wondering why cutting carbs is bad for you, all we need to do is look at the fact that your body isn’t getting the essential nutrients and vitamins, and there is your answer. Whilst many crazed diets will tell you that cutting out carbs is the right thing to do. The truth is, our bodies need healthy carbs to function properly. Carbs are not only a great source of fiber, but they also give us the energy we need. Here's an example: If you cut out the carbs that take the form of processed junk foods, this is a great way to reach those fitness goals and feel healthier. Whilst cutting out bad carbs can be effective for shedding the pounds and controlling diabetes, eating carbs isn’t the definite cause of disease or weight gain. Try and look at your intake as a bigger picture, looking into the amount of protein, fat and calories you’re consuming.

Steering clear of those bad, processed carbs (empty calories) will help in achieving your weight loss goals. Saying that though, cutting them out completely won’t do you any good. Not only that ladies, we’re not going to lie to you, it’s simply not sustainable.

Cutting out carbs: How to

If you’re considering cutting out carbs, try not to cut them out completely. Instead, just try to reduce the bad carbs. Aside from the fact that the ‘bad’ carbs are harder to digest and process, they often give no calorie value or provide us with essential nutrients and vitamins. This also means that these aren’t the types of foods that will leave us full for long either. If you’re really wanting to cut out carbs, try reducing some or all of the below:
  • Bread and grains
  • Pasta
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Beer

Ready to smash your goals?

While following a healthy, varied diet will benefit your body (and weight loss!) in many ways, carbs aren't quite the enemy as much as we are led to believe. Carbs or not, losing weight can be tough. This is why we created Trimtone. Our 100% natural fat burner helps boost your metabolism and burn fat faster - so you can smash those goals, ladies!
Back to blog