One of the main themes of almost any weight loss diet you can name is the concept that cutting back on carbohydrate intake produces positive results. From the old-style ‘calorie counting’ clubs through to the latest keto diets, carbs are seen as the primary target for anyone looking to modify their diet to achieve their weight loss aims.
There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are the most widely known ‘bad guys’ as they include sugary snacks, sweets and cakes, although they are also found in fruits and milk. Complex sugars are also called starches, and these include foods such as bread, rice, pasta and some vegetables.
Essentially, eating carbohydrates that are more than you need to maintain your body’s energy intake/outtake equilibrium is where the problem lies. The body stores unused carbs as fat. That is a by-product of evolution from times when our ancestors might not have known where their next meal was to be found.
Today, for the vast majority of people, that isn’t much of a consideration, but also sadly those who may not have access to a healthy diet can end up eating food containing the worst kind of processed carbs.
Although the basic idea of calorie counting in terms of carb intake is still sound, dieting has undergone revolutions in recent years due to the sheer amount of interest and research that has been done.
One of the biggest buzzwords you might have come across is ketosis, and it is very much based on the way that your body ‘burns’ energy derived from the food you eat and stores what is left over.
Essentially a ‘keto’ diet comes from the bodily process known as ketosis, which is triggered when a certain level of restriction on carb intake is achieved. It not only has dramatic weight loss results but also reduces appetite, and there is growing evidence of beneficial effects for sufferers of chronic conditions, including Type 2 diabetes.
Cutting down on too much ‘treat food’ is not only an excellent way to help weight loss but also can encourage a better state of all-round health. Highly processed foods are often not only very high in carbohydrate levels but also low in the vitamins and minerals essential to healthy eating.
Cutting out all carbs from your diet would be unhealthy. The long-term aim for anyone looking to control the amount of carbohydrates they consume should be to achieve a healthy balance, while also learning how to burn off excess energy that is stored as fat.
A diet high in protein and low in carbs is something that modern diet approaches such as those based on the keto concept bring to the fore. The method helps build muscle mass, which can be especially important as you grow older. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it also provides higher levels of energy.
It isn’t too difficult to lower your carb intake to achieve weight loss and an overall better state of health. Fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains all play an essential part. Many keto diets also sing the praises of what have previously been decried as ‘fatty’ foods, such as red meat and dairy products.
Getting yourself used to eating smaller portions than you may be used to is another trick that can pay dividends but, at the end of the day, cutting your calorie intake to lose weight can only be achieved by far greater self-control.
That is easier said than done for many people, especially when you take into account’ comfort eating’ and also ‘reward eating.’ Both of those have their basis in sound scientific concepts as various foods release different chemicals which act on our brains in various ways.
Sadly, most of these tend to be the ‘bad’ carb foods mentioned above, which is why bingeing on chocolate or cakes has taken on such a clinched image as representing the ‘failed dieter’!
The truth is that cutting back on carbs and ultimately only eating a regular healthy diet is not something that can be looked at as a short-term weight loss fix. It should be seen as a way of life that brings health benefits to both mind and body.
Of course, this isn’t something that can be achieved overnight because it takes time and effort. However, if you set yourself realistic targets, you can reach them and use each step of your success to spur you on to your ultimate goals.