Poor old carbohydrates really get a bad rap these days. And it seems to be popular again to cut carbs to lose weight as we are seeing more people trying a low carb or ‘keto’ diet.
Carbohydrates include a wide variety of foods including whole grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, and dairy foods that are highly nutritious, as well as more refined carbohydrates such as sugar that is less nutritious.
So, do you have to cut these foods to lose weight?
The short answer is NO.
While cutting carbs can help you lose weight…cutting any food that reduces your overall energy intake can help you lose weight. By cutting carbs you are basically reducing your kilojoule or energy intake. The truth is that you may lose a bit more weight initially with lower carbohydrate diets, but this is due to water loss.
You can and should still include carbohydrates in a reduced energy diet and lose weight. The current research shows that over the long term, it doesn’t make a difference whether you follow a low, moderate or high carbohydrate diet provided your overall energy intake is reduced.
What matters most is what you can stick to long term – or what is realistic and sustainable for you. Another important factor of any weight loss plan is having the support that you need.
When it comes to including carbs into your diet, it’s important to remember that not all carbs are the same. Make sure you are choosing high fibre wholegrain sources, starchy veggies, fruit and reduced-fat dairy as these will provide you with more nutrition. It can also be helpful to limit your intake of highly refined carbohydrates such as sugar, sweet and soft drinks as they don’t offer much in terms of nutrition.