Losing weight doesn’t have to be a miserable experience where you completely cut out carbs in order to achieve ketosis – a state in which the body burns fat instead of carbs as its primary fuel source. Personal trainer and fitness expert Matt Hodges exclusively told Express.co.uk why carbs aren’t the enemy.
Many of us will be trying to lose weight this month in order to look and feel fantastic in our favorite Christmas dresses.
And there’s a world of information online on how to do this, like the ultra-popular keto diet, which involves eating less than 50g of carbs a day.
But according to expert Matt, “no carbs before Marbs” is a limited idea in the weight loss school of thought.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think it’s pretty widely known by now that the demonization of carbs is old news.
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“Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient and are part of a healthy, balanced diet, alongside protein and fat.”
In fact, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that carbs make up 45-65% of total daily calories.
If you are a woman consuming around 2,000 calories (NHS recommendation) per day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should come from carbohydrates – between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Matt continued, “Reducing the amount of carbs in your meals is just another way to reduce overall calories, which equates to weight/fat loss.
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“Now, carbs are more readily available and more delicious than protein and fat, which is why most people overeat them.
“So logically, by reducing your carbs, you’re going to lose weight. But reducing them to zero like a ketogenic diet does, in my opinion, is unnecessary, and for some, unhealthy.”
Because the body is supposed to eat carbs, a no-carb or low-carb diet might actually not be suitable in the long run.
The expert said: “Specifically, it’s also quite unsustainable and will lead to other problems later. The phrase might be catchy, but the philosophy has its flaws.”
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Of course, some carbs are healthier than others. Whole grain varieties such as wholemeal bread have more health benefits than refined varieties, such as white bread.
Harvard has published a guide to getting enough healthy carbs, recommending wholegrain bread, brown rice, quinoa, whole fruits, and beans.
Matt’s next tip was to be careful not only about what you eat, but also when you eat it. He said, “Meal regularity is essential for muscle gain and fat loss.
Again, this is another myth that was claimed in the 80s and 90s by professional bodybuilders who tended to eat every two to three hours.
“This idea that eating at these intervals will help you build more muscle and burn more fat because you’re ‘keeping the engine running’ is a misconception.
“It’s one of those myths that was born out of context. Professional bodybuilders eat, sleep, train, repeat. Kevin in accounting sleeps, eats, works, works, works, eats, sleeps.”
According to Matt, eating at regular breakfast, lunch and dinner times will help you maintain your weight more easily than if you eat little and often throughout the day.
“Eating at those kind of intervals will probably only lead to much higher calorie consumption (i.e. grazing) in the day and also, more importantly, disordered eating.
“Imagine not being able to go to a meeting or pick up your kids from school because you have to swallow half a turkey and some rice? No thanks. Understanding and knowing how many calories you need per day is the only thing ordinary Joes like us have to think about.”
Fitness expert Matt Hodges is the author of Behind Gym Doors, a deep dive into the world of personal training, with weird and wonderful anecdotes about the industry and the people who work in it.
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