Cutting Carbs? How This Could Spell Trouble for Weight Loss

Your healthful, homemade meals are loaded with fresh fruits and veggies, good fats that give your body energy, and plenty of antioxidants to combat diseases later on. But if you find yourself skipping out on the bread course or avoiding pasta for fear of weight gain, then it might be time to get the facts straight. Carbs are becoming an evil word in the diet world — many sources suggest avoiding them at all costs for fast and effective weight loss. This is not a good idea.

Carbs are not the enemy

Unhappy man trying to constrict his diet

A strict diet will do more harm than good in the long run. | iStock.com

Not all carbs are bad, and some foods that are high in carbohydrates can be great sources of quick energy and fuel for long, grueling workouts. Avoiding carbs altogether could mean that you’re missing out on vital nutrients and healthy, fresh foods that can aid in your weight-loss journey.

All carbs are not created equal, explains Med-Health.net, and carbs that come from healthful foods have been shown to increase energy and boost serotonin levels, which means your mood gets a boost.

You will be exhausted

Tired businesswoman with her head down on a table

Tired? Maybe it’s because of all the carbs you’re cutting. | iStock.com/Poike

When you go carb-free, you might notice a severe dip in your energy. That’s because your body uses glucose as its main source of energy, and this comes from the sugars in your food. The extra sugar that you don’t use throughout the day then gets stored in your muscles and other parts of your body before being converted to fat later on, but don’t be fooled into thinking that your carbs don’t go to good use, especially if you’re very active. Foods that are high in fiber are also great for fighting diseases like type-2 diabetes and heart disease, so skipping carbs means you’re missing out.

You won’t really lose weight

Bowl filled with rigatoni pasta

Leaving out carbs is not the key to weight loss success. | iStock.com

If you’re still looking to lower your carb intake for weight loss, then your health may suffer in the long run. Reader’s Digest explains the Atkins diet, one of the most popular low-carb, high-fat diets that came out in the 1970s, has proven to be an inefficient way to lose weight in the long run. The idea behind this diet is to cut all carbs and go for foods higher in fat, which means you’ll probably be consuming a lot more bacon, cream cheese, and steak than you ordinarily would.

The problem here is that, while it may seem as if you’re losing weight, you may be simultaneously raising your cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides, making this diet extremely unhealthy.

Do you really want to slow down your metabolism?

Womans feet on weighing scale

Having a slow metabolism means you will more than likely gain weight. | iStock.com

You should prepare for your metabolism to suffer when cutting carbs as well. A lack of carbohydrates means your body has to get that energy from somewhere else, typically your muscles. As your body breaks down muscle, your metabolism will slow. When you inevitably start eating whole grains again, you’ll put the weight back on quicker than you would have if you had never gone low-carb in the first place.

The daily recommended value for adults is 300 grams of carbohydrates per day — if you’re aiming to cut carbs to the extreme, many diets will suggest that you eat less than 50 grams a day, Shape says.

Eat the right kind of carbs

Bowl of oatmeal porridge, topped with fresh blueberries and yogurt

Eat the best carbs instead of cutting them out completely. | iStock.com/robynmac

Instead of cutting out carbs completely, aim to eat fewer cookies, cakes, white bread and refined sugars. Men’s Fitness explains sweet potatoes, chickpeas, brown rice, blueberries, bananas, nuts and seeds, and low-fat yogurt are all great sources of healthy carbohydrates. Don’t be afraid of bread or pasta, either — whole grain bread and pasta are full of protein and important dietary fiber that you don’t want to miss. By incorporating these foods into your meals, you’ll feel clear-headed and energized for your workouts, and you won’t experience cravings that can sabotage your diet.