The truth about carbohydrates

Like many people, I have been on an on and off battle with my weight for most of my life. The problem started when I was in high school: life kind of sucked for me, and I basically  ate to make myself feel better. 

Not the most original story. 

Anyway, I grew older and I learnt about vegetables and how awesome they are. So I ate lots of vegetables and went to the gym. And never lost any weight. Rinse and repeat for three or four years. 

This year, I spoke to a dietician who explained to me why my diet is so important for weight loss. Over the years, I had picked up a lot of false beliefs such as:

  • you can eat anything, you just need to work out
  • you have to eat carbohydrates (and by this I mean starchy stuff) otherwise your body will go into starvation
  • eat whenever you are hungry
  • calorie counting is a guarantee for failure
  • alcohol has little to do with weightloss. So, i’m going to have a salad and then drink this bottle of wine. Alone.

I will deal with carbohydrates today. Up until this point, I had no idea that fruits and vegetables actually count as carbohydrates. Not only are they carbs, but they are the best and purest form of carbs that our bodies need. The rest, are details.

 

But obviously, I’m not an idiot.Look at this food chart below:

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People who promote low carb diets use the chart below to justify their cause (as they flaunt their lean, fat free physiques at us):

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Behind this chart is a detailed story about sugar, insulin and our bodies. I will talk about that later because I think that the facts speak for themselves. But right now, it is enough to say that if you want to lose weight and keep it off, the goal should be about 100g of carbs a day. How hard is that? Look at the carbohydrate content of fruit below:

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A couple of bananas, an apple, a few grapes. I can choose whatever I like and my body will have enough energy to function.  In contrast, one cup of pasta has about 50g of carbs. Rice, more or less the same amount. And bread, whether wholewheat, multigrain or just plain white has about 13 g per slice. So if we are following conventional wisdom, we end up eating more than 200g of carbs everyday.

Which is fine if you work on a construction site. Not so much if you sit at your desk all day.

And this is why I swore off starches. No more pasta for me.