Good Monday morning!
Today I want to discuss the reasons for not being too dogmatic about using the term low carb diet and instead on focusing your thoughts on a good whole non-processed foods lifestyle.
Every week I receive several questions around the low carb diet, and while this is a good approach for a number of clients, we need to shift our mindset away from restricting carbs, and towards chasing natural whole foods.
Our body is an amazing machine, and can use a number of different energy sources to fuel it; creatine, glucose, fat, ketones and even alcohol! This machine has evolved over millions of years to make use of the fuels available in the most efficient and effective way possible for survival. When this machine evolved, carbs were available seasonally in the form of fruits and vegetables; our bodies were able to use carbs as a fuel source.
Along with the carbs from the fruit and veg came dense nutrients that the body needs for health and longevity. The body adapted to use these carbs as energy for high intensity work such as hunting or running from a sabre-toothed tiger! So, the glucose system in our body is not bad, and a MODERATE intake of carb can be good if our workload demands it! A few HIT workouts per week does it! The problems with carb intake begin when we over consume – but I will cover that in another blog post! When our mindset is based around low-carb, we start restricting any food that may contain carbs. This can cause us to restrict nutrient dense food such as fruit, and even vegetables depending on how low carb you are willing to go! These foods when eaten in MODERATION bring phyto-nutrients that are greatly beneficial for long-term health.
Other effects of lowering carbohydrate too far include:
The body has difficulty in metabolising fat loss if exercise is excessive and carbohydrate too low.
Lack of energy and mood swings as we peak and trough through insulin secretion
Sugar cravings and the lure of the sweet stuff if we drop carbohydrates too low leading to binge eating.
So while we should be avoiding the white stuff – white bread, white pasta, white flour, we should still focus on intake of carbohydrate from natural whole food sources – fruit in the form of berries, dark and leafy vegetables as well as a smattering of tubers!
No I’m in no way advocating eating a ton of fruit everyday … but don’t completely take it out of your diet to follow a strict low-carb approach. If you are eating fruit ensure it’s in its natural form, not juiced! When fruit is juiced, we MASSIVELY over-consume it.
Focus on whole-foods and your macro (and carb) intake will naturally fall in line with the levels your body expects to consume. This will be lower than the standard diet, but your motive is health not restriction!
CHASE HEALTH, NOT CALORIES.
Focus on whole foods and avoiding the white stuff and see how mood swings, headaches etc diminish, while energy levels and the ability to focus come to the fore. Naturally, your carbohydrate intake will lower but to a sustainable level.
Feel free to contact me for any advice/guidance, and make sure you get your questions in for Friday's reader Q & A!
In health, Joe