You hear all about this today. Low-carb this and low-carb that. What is all the fuss about? Are low carb diets really healthy?
This depends on a few factors.
1. What does low carb even mean? For some people this means cutting out grains and beans and that is it. For others it is seriously restricting fruits and veggies. I have even seen some people go on pure meat/fat diets. So what level are we talking about here?
2. Does it work for YOUR body? Not for some celebrity or health-guru, but for you.
Ok, so before I get started, I would like to clarify something. “We are ALL different.” We have different health levels, different activity levels, live in different areas, have different genetics, and different emotions. Given that, we all need different foods, imagine that. So please don’t judge what you should do off of somebody else. Some people have excellent guidelines but you need to let your own body be your ultimate guide.
So about cutting out processed carbs, grains, sugars, candy, donuts, etc. This will be cutting a lot of “carbs” out of your diet so yes, that is a good thing. This does not mean you are eating a “Low-carb” diet. It simply means you are cutting out all of the junk. This alone will greatly help your health. I would recommend this as a first step as anyone experimenting with a low-carb approach. It happens to be that most junk food is carbs. Don’t fall for the gluten-free “healthy” junk food. Packaged dead food and sugar is still junk even if it doesn’t have gluten. Stick with fruits and vegetables. If you want some good high carb veggies and fruit; sweet potatoes, potatoes, quinoa, bananas, squash, acorn, winter, butternut, spaghetti squash, papaya, plantains, etc.
Ok, so I can eat bananas all day and get insane amounts of sugar and carbs without eating grains. Is this healthy? Not for me. I would get sugar buzzes like none other and get very hungry without protein and fat. I also live in a climate that gets somewhat cold in the winter.
Here is the bottom line. “You shouldn’t be eating anything that your body doesn’t need or want.”
As a general rule, the more strength-training you will be doing; the more protein/fat you will need. If you are doing less, you may not need as much.
If you are eating fresh, living foods and your body is craving them, it is probably a sign to GO FOR IT. If you feel better cutting out the starchy vegetables and tropical fruits then do it. But don’t buy into this low-carb thing. The same exact thing applies to the opposite side of the spectrum where people hardly eat any protein or fat. Here is the thing. You can’t eat low-carb and low-fat at the same time. You just need to find that sweet-spot that your body likes. Think of it as properly fueling your car. You have 3 macronutrient ratios. What can you digest? Maybe your liver is bogged up and your fat processing is down. Your body may want more carbs until that gets up and running again. Personally, in the summer I do best on primarily fruits and vegetables, some plant fats, some animal protein/fats. In the winter, my fruit intake will drop a bit and my animal proteins/fats will go up a bit. My plant fats will go down a bit. Your body is smart. Let it be your guide. If you feel best eating “low-carb” then go for it. Just don’t starve yourself of something you really want just because somebody said so. I have seen people who eat LOW-CARB for a long time and are craving carbs that feel AMAZING after finally giving in and eating a big bowl of fruit. Likewise, I have seen VEGANS cave and eat some juicy eggs or sardines that feel AMAZING afterwards. You will learn quickly (or not so quickly in my case) that no matter what you are eating or how you are eating, SOMEBODY will have something bad to say about it. Don’t be one of these people. Lions don’t need somebody telling them the science behind why they need meat. Neither to gorillas need somebody telling them to eat leaves and bugs. We are the same. Just don’t let your taste buds be tricked. Don’t eat the junk, sugar, pasteurized dairy products, chemical laced food, etc. These all override our normal judgements on what to eat. Eat fresh, organic, real food. Your senses should guide you.