What Happens to My Body When.. I Cut Out Carbs
By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
The Atkins diet may have had its day, but many of us are still tempted into cutting out carbs (carbohydrates) when we want to lose weight. Sure, it makes sense to eat fewer processed carbs like cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks, chocolate, sweets and crisps. But nutrition experts agree that potatoes, pasta, bread and cereals can make an important contribution to our diet and may actually help us to stay slim.
In particular, it’s important to keep wholegrains in our diet such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals like Shredded Wheat, wholewheat pasta, brown rice and oats. As the name suggests, wholegrains contain all three parts of the grain and so are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and complex carbohydrates. It’s this complete package that’s thought to provide a range of health and slimming benefits.
Research shows that people who eat plenty of wholegrains have a lower Body Mass Index and are less likely to gain weight over time than those who don’t eat them. This is because wholegrains tend to be high in fibre and complex carbohydrates, which help to fill us up and keep our blood sugar levels steady so that we don’t get sudden drops that leave us craving sugary foods.
Scientific studies also show that wholegrains are important for a healthy heart and keep the digestive system healthy, preventing problems such as constipation. In fact, health experts in the States go as far as recommending three servings of wholegrains a day. Sadly, research shows that nine out of 10 of us in the UK don’t eat anywhere near enough – on average, most of us don’t even manage to eat three servings a week and 30% of us don’t have any at all!
Don’t cut out carbs – just choose the right ones and have them in smaller portions. A serving of wholegrain for example is equal to just one slice of wholemeal bread, three tablespoons of wholegrain cereal or two heaped tablespoons of boiled brown rice.
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