Carbs or no Carbs? What should I do?
During the 90’s we were made to believe that fat that was the devil ( a lot of us still have it ingrained in us today).
During the naughties, everyone switched to no sugar and diet versions of everything because sugar was the devil.
Now, because of the conflicting information out there, everyone is a little confused as to which is right and which is wrong.
Do I reduce carbs to lose fat?
But what about if I am still training?
Doesn’t protein make you bulky?
Or is it weights and protein together?
“Please help or I am giving up and eating this snickers bar”...
Let’s settle this by looking at the pyramid of importance.
Knowing that if you have a body composition goal, meaning you want to either decrease body fat or increase muscle mass (or eventually both), you have to make sure your net energy expenditure is congruent with that.
There is only 2 ways to make this happen.
Fat loss = calorie deficit
Muscle Gain = calorie surplus
*Whilst always ensuring that you maximise results and efficiency by utilising a strength training program which provides your muscles with a stimulus to adapt and consuming adequate protein levels to support growth and repair.
Within these calories, you have the option to play around with the macronutrients which make up these calories since each gram of macronutrient will influence the total caloric intake.
Protein = 4 K.calories per gram
Carbs = 4 K.calories per gram
Fat = 9 K. calories per gram
Firstly, look at your protein levels as your main priority. This is because we need to ensure we maintain enough muscle mass to support an increasing metabolism. If we start to lose muscle mass, we will reduce our metabolism and therefore we will affect how much food we can eat.
Whilst no one wants to be “bulky”, we have an obligation to maintain as much lean muscle as we can in order to support higher thermogenesis.
From there, make this simple decision.
Am I above between 8-14% Body Fat for males, and between
15-21% BF for females.
Also known as “do I have abs yet”.
If the answer is YES I already have abs and I don’t need to drop any more body fat, then you will be best to ensure you have enough carbohydrates in your diet to sustain energy levels for exercise and muscle growth without over consuming calories which will support fat storage.
Your priority should be to hit the recommended carbohydrate goal each day whilst having a focus on before and after workouts.
If the answer is NO, I am not between those ranges and I don’t have abs (and you want abs), then there is very strong evidence suggesting that you would benefit from eating a diet with less than 100g of carbs per day and focusing more on protein and fat intake to make up your calorie goals (which as mentioned above, should be in a net deficit of what you’re expending each day/ week, as this is the key indicator of whether you’ll increase or decrease fat storage)
These are the reasons why:
You have enough energy stored in your body that can be converted from fat storage into readily available energy if needed. By adding more carbs into your diet, your body will store those too because it will never fall into a deficit and will not need to access reserves.
By reducing your intake and utilizing a strength and conditioning program, you will place yourself in a negative caloric state and start to convert the stored fat into fatty acids for energy.
Carbs are the most over eaten macronutrient and is usually associated with “more-ish” type foods. Not many people will sit there and over eat on an avocado, but place a pizza or a bag of lollies on front of them and most people will eat more than they should. Which leads to over-consumption of energy and therefore storage of fat.
There are theories and experiments looking into the fact that chronically high carbohydrate diets (which most westerners have) can lead to insulin resistance and therefore higher storage of fat. Insulin is the gatekeeper for whether your body uses the energy available, or stores it for later. Those who have chronically over eaten on carbs will lose their ability to burn fat and will store more.
However, based on human evolution and various cultures proving otherwise, we can’t be certain that this is the cause of fat gain, however, what we can take away from this is that those that have a tendency to over-eat on carbohydrates, will put themselves in a calorie surplus and therefore have an energy balance in the positie. This is what leads to fat gain and also chronic disease from inflammation.
Long story short, if you don’t sit within those body fat % ranges (don’t have abs), it is more than likely from a life / period of over-eating with an imbalance of energy expenditure.
To start with, I would suggest that you decrease your carbohydrate intake to less than 100g per day in order to force yourself to seek real food and minimise processed foods.
This will help eliminate processed foods, which will ultimately decrease your caloric intake and lead to less inflammation.
You’ll then start to burn more calories than you consume and you’ll see a reduction in stored body fat, (providing you’re maintaining protein levels and a strength and conditioning program)
If you're someone who would benefit from having an expert look over your current situation in order to help develop an individualised strategy based on your goals, click the link below and book a free consult with one of our team.