So we've discuss a bit about why carbohydrates can make your fat loss adventure a bit troublesome. But let's also discuss the fact that there are no essential carbohydrates! There are essential fats and essential proteins, which have to be consumed on a daily basis in order for the body to function normally. The body can’t make these types of protein and fats, therefore they are essential. There are no essential carbohydrates.
So do we really need carbs?
Now, this may go against what you believe to be true in as far as every general doctor and most nutritionists will tell you that you need a certain number of carbohydrates every day to function. The overall number fluctuates between 50g and 150g of carbs / day. This isn’t necessarily true.
The body can in fact make carbohydrates out of protein and fat stores in a little process called gluconeogenesis, providing there is enough raw material to work with and produce. Granted this process is slow and not entirely productive for the body, but it CAN DO IT!
The body can also make ketone bodies (not to be confused with ketoacidosis, which is entirely different than ketone body production) within the liver to provide fuel for the brain. Now granted the body likes to have carbohydrates, because it makes it very easy. Glucose the primary sugar involved (which is eventually what all carbohydrates get converted into) is very easily used by the brain and various tissues. Remember, jet fuel. It’s awesome because it’s so fast acting and can be readily burned up by the body. Especially when engaged in intense activities like weight training and sprinting.
But in the end carbs aren’t necessary for the body to perform efficiently, especially in the desk jockey environment we have in today’s society.
Effectiveness of Low Carb Diets
This is why the Atkins, Keto diet and other variations of low carbohydrate diets work very well at reducing body fat so effectively. You don’t have any excess carbs in the diet fluctuating your insulin levels all the time, so the amount of storage potential is quite reduced. Boom!
That's what we want right?
Again, this question is more of a it depends scenario, but if you're really after losing bodyfat and you have a ton of it to burn, then yes, it is what you want.
Since storage potential is reduced on a low carb diet, you don’t have as much trouble burning body fat, since that’s the only thing that’s left to burn. And additionally, those who have adapted to a low carb diet have their overall fat burning enzymes in the liver are upgraded to burn body fat as their PRIMARY FUEL.
You're filling up your gas tank with protein and fats, plus hopefully some fibrous, non-starchy vegetables to keep that engine moving. Fibers man, fibers.
Hence eat fat to burn more fat.
Eat carbs and burn mostly carbs, plus store body fat if excess is consumed. Now granted this doesn’t take into account your other variables considering your body’s unique profile, but for simplicity sake let’s drive on. We’re generalizing here people.
The Problems with Controlling Carb Intake
-Carbs are in everything (or so it seems)
-There are different types of carbohydrates and not many people know what they are (we'll cover this one in a later blog)
-The government promotes carbs as part of a healthy lifestyle, the bastards!
-Carbs can be a good thing for exercisers providing they’re at a good body composition and are exercising intensely with a good amount of volume (also another topic)
-Carbohydrate timing is often the best bet for increased performance with the right kind of carbs
-People need to know when they should be having more carbohydrates in their diets. They're not the devil, they just are. If you're overfat and looking to lose a lot of bodyfat, low carbohydrate diets are a great weight loss tool. But as with everything they'll only last for a limited time. How long? Not sure, that depends on how much you have to lose, what you're training looks like, how strict you are with your diet, blah, blah, blah.
Until next time, I hope I've answered a few questions you might have on carbohydrates.
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Jesse “Captain Smash” Howland is the owner of SMASH’s Strength Lab, which offers targeted personal training to reach a variety of fitness and physique goals. A natural bodybuilder, competitive powerlifter, certified personal trainer, and nutrition coach, Jesse is often the go-to resource for personal training Ottawa. He studied Exercise Science at Oregon State University and even trained at the world famous Gold’s Gym. He’s a former US Army Captain with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a former blog writer at Veterans Fitness Career College, and former Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). His workouts and personal training are army-inspired to help reach your weightloss, athletic, or physique goals.