Carbs Don't Make You Fat, Ruling Them Out Can Be the Biggest Blunder!

While trying to lose weight quickly, most of us end up ruling out carbohydrates completely from our diet. By doing so, you are not only hampering your weight loss goals but also putting your overall health at stake.

Sushmita Sengupta  |  Updated: November 28, 2017 14:03 IST

Carbs Don't Make You Fat, Ruling Them Out Can Be the Biggest Blunder!
  • Carbohydrates are one of the three most essential macro nutrients
  • Carbs comprises of three components: Sugars, Starch and Fibre
  • Ruling out carbs from your diet may hamper your weight loss trail
In a bid to lose weight most of us have developed certain myths along the way, which have led us to eliminate certain important nutrients from our diet. This half-baked knowledge may be doing more harm than good. For instance, take the case of carbohydrates. The biggest myth surrounding weight loss is that carbohydrates make you fat and you should give up on them totally. You may have been often advised to cut down on your carb intake, but avoiding them completely is definitely not required. Let us explain why.

While trying to lose weight quickly, most of us end up ruling out carbohydrates completely from our diet and there can't be a blunder bigger than this. By doing so, you are not only hampering your weight loss goals but also putting your overall health at stake. Carbohydrates are one of three essential macro-nutrients found in food and that your body requires - the other two being fats and proteins. Eliminating any food group from your diet completely is not sustainable for your health or your short-term weight loss goals.
People often misunderstand nutritionists' cue of cutting down on carbohydrates for weight loss. You need to know that not all carbohydrates are the same and it is the type, quality and quantity of carbohydrates in our diet that plays a crucial role. There are three different types of carbohydrates found in food: sugar, starch and fibre. If you are aiming to shed those extra pounds, you need to cut down on the carbohydrates particularly derived from sugars. One can do that by limiting the intake of simple carbohydrates, shares Bangalore-based nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood. " In order to lose weight, we should base our meals on complex carbs," she suggests.

What are simple and complex carbohydrates?

Simple carbs are sugars. While some of these occur naturally in milk, most of our simple carb-intake is from processed foods and drinks like carbonated beverages, cookies and packaged juices.


Simple Carbs found in Cookies and processed junk should be avoided

Starch and fibre are components of complex carbohydrates. Increasing the intake of these types of carbohydrates is advisable. Starchy carbohydrates from cereals, oats and whole wheat bread  are best recommended for weight loss. Fibre, on the other hand, plays a key role in suppressing hunger by giving us a feeling of fullness, thereby aiding weight loss. The main sources of dietary fiber includes fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.

Why carbohydrates are good

According to celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija "Carbs don't make you fat, but wrong choices can. Carbs are needed to give you energy through the day. They are also important for the metabolism of fats. If you want to fight fat, you need carbs to burn them. Complex carbs from foods like whole grains, brown rice and lentils should make up at least 60 per cent your daily meals. If you're not eating enough carbs you will not be able to sustain the weight loss and eat more to make up for the lack of calories"

Health Practitioner and Macrobiotic Nutritionist, Shilpa Arora agrees, "There are lot of myths surrounding carbohydrates in our diet. Each food group is extremely essential to build your health and this macronutrient is critical for the human body and metabolic activity. Thekind of carbohydrates we should be eating is important. Most of our carbohydrates should be Low Glycemic Index which means that they should not rapidly spike your blood sugar levels and provide slow release of energy. The reason why carbs have a bad reputation is because we consume more refined carbohydrates that cause sudden spikes in your blood sugar levels and can lead to to a host of health problems like Type 2 diabetes, PCOD, irritability, sugar cravings, lethargy, poor mental focus and fatigue."

She adds, "Ideally, most carbohydrates in our diet should be coming from a variety of fruits and vegetables. All the starchy vegetables and fruits are the best quality of carbohydrates with abundant fibre and other vital nutrients. If you are trying to lose weight, these carbs are the ones you should choose from. Avoid breads, pastas and cookies, these processed junk foods can prove to be a problematic in the long run."


Fruits and Vegetables are a  source of good carbohydrates

How to eat carbs to lose weight

Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta clears your dilemma on how to add carbohydrates to your weight loss diet. "Carbs are a very essential part of a balanced healthy diet. The trick here is that carbohydrates provide calories, but the calories that they provide are the ones that our body needs to function, for our metabolism and for our cells to grow. Most of these processes need carbohydrates as a major source of energy."

So, how do we go about it? Carbohydrates give calories yet they are important for sustenance. Here are some tips to keep in mind while maintaining your carbohydrate intake if you are trying to lose weight or even if you just want to stay fit.

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1. It is the quantity of carbohydrates that matters. When you are on a weight reduction die you need to limit your calories. Ensure how many portions of carbohydrates can you have, and what is the portion size of the carbs that you can have in a meal.

2. Choose good quality carbohydrates. Instead of going for refined carbohydrate like maida, sooji or bakery bread, choose whole grains, dals, rajma and legumes -all of these are excellent sources of carbohydrates as they also contain lots of fiber. Fibre is good to protect you from health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and it also helps you reach satiety sooner which prevents overeating and curbs cravings.


Fibre helps reach the point of satiety which curbs cravings

3. When you think of carbohydrates, you may only imagine bread, chapatti or rice but carbohydrates are also present in fruits and vegetables. These probably have the lowest calories and you can easily include them in your weight loss diet. They are packed with fibre, antioxidants, and lots of vitamins and minerals that keep you refreshed and energised.


So choose the right carbohydrates and lose weight in a healthy way. It is substitution and moderation, not elimination that plays a key role when it comes to carbohydrates.


About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.

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