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  • Writer's picturelemonfrogfitness

Why Should Keep Carbs in Your Diet

Because they taste flipping amazing why else?

I don’t think I need to go on really, but don’t worry I will.

Carbohydrates are the most debated food group and we often hear contradicting theories such as; they prevent fat loss vs they help with fat loss or they’re a great source of fuel vs they’re not a great source of fuel.

Who knows what to think?

Im not going to lie I have previously thought maybe they are responsible for fat gain (there are some pretty convincing theories out there).

But thats it they’re just theories, there are no studies to back them up.

So firstly lets discuss what carbohydrates role is within the body.

Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars which are then stored in our muscles as glycogen waiting to be used as energy.

The average Westerner consumes around 300g of carbs per day, to put this in perspective a healthy functioning adult can store roughly 400g as muscle glycogen, 90-110g in the liver and 25g in the blood glucose.

This highlights the fact that you won’t store carbs as fat unless you are in a calorie surplus (eating too much food).

Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred source of fuel as it can be easily broken down into glycogen and converted into ATP (energy). Cutting carbs from your diet will result in depleted glycogen stores which will inhibit your performance.

Which means your workouts and energy levels will suck.

So why do so many people see great weight loss results when they remove carbs from their diet?

The clue is in that question they REMOVE carbs they do not REPLACE them, meaning you have created a calorie deficit from the removal of a food group.

like I stated earlier the average westerner consumes 300g of carbs a day thats roughly 1200 calories from carbohydrates (if the foods are pure carbs). Of corse they're going to lose weight.

Also the initial weight loss (weight loss remember, not fat loss) is mostly from water. Glycogen retains water meaning when you deplete your glycogen stores you remove a lot of water weight from your muscles.

Ever had a high carb meal and woke up the next day a couple lbs heavier? that’s water, not fat.

So why do keto lovers claim that following a ketogenic diet burns more fat?

Because in a sense it does, let me explain.

For fat to be burned it must go through 3 stages:

Mobilisation - Stored fat is broken down into fatty acids to enter bloodstream

Transportation - Fatty acids are then transported in the bloodstream to muscle cells to be used as fuel.

Oxidation - Fat is used for ATP (energy)

When following a keto diet you remove near all carbs from your diet and consume more fats which results in more fatty acids being mobilised and transported by the bloodstream on its way to oxidation.

However not all the fatty acids that go through the first two stages are oxidised as fuel and without an adequate calorie deficit fatty acids are re-esterified (stored again).

When following a keto diet you increase your fat intake due to lowering your carb intake, therefor there are more fatty acids leaving cells for oxidation yes.

But there are also now more fats going through re-esterification (fatty acids entering cells) to be stored again.

So yes following the keto diet does result in more fats leaving the cells to be oxidised but there also more fats being put back in to cells to be stored again.

So as you can see there is no real benefit from following a Ketogenic diet.

Most people lose weight following it because they don't know how to replace carbs with enough fats.

They'll add in an 1/2 an avocado and maybe a small handful of nuts thinking it's enough but thats only 320 calories and if you remember correctly they've removed 1200 from their diet.

As long as you are in a calorie deficit you will burn body fat because both fuel sources (carbs and fats) are converted into ATP (energy).

If you are consuming less energy than you burn, stored body fat will then be converted into ATP (energy).

If you are consuming more calories than you burn the extra calories will be stored as body fat.

Then once you go into a calorie deficit it will be used as ATP (energy) and oxidised and result in fat loss.

The reason most people fail to achieve fat loss is because they remove all the foods they enjoy.

Studies have shown than people who kept carbs in their diet were able to sustain a calorie deficit for longer duration than those who removed them.

So as you can see carbs are not bad nor do they prevent fat loss, they will help make dieting more enjoyable and easier to adhere to long term (removing carbs from your diet will never last long), they also help us train at a higher intensity resulting in better workouts and more muscle built.

Oh yeah that's one thing I missed carbs do release insulin yes (insulin has a bad rep) but insulin is an anabolic hormone (a building hormone) meaning that it helps prevent muscle wastage, removing carbs increases the chances that you'll burn more proteins (muscle) as fuel.

So be sure to keep them in to maintain and build muscle mass.

I hope this blog has helped clear up some myths and made you less afraid of carbs.

A huge thank you for reading :)

P.s if you didn’t hear I will be bringing out a new recipe book each month for you guys for free. The only way to receive each one is through following the link below and leaving your name and email address.

Don’t worry the meals contain carbs.


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