Really The Way To Go?
Author: Jesse Cannone CFT, CPRS, CSPN
The latest trend in the area of weight
loss is low-carb diets such as the Atkins
Diet. With so much conflicting information
out there on nutrition and weight loss,
it's difficult for the average person to
not only find out what works, but also understand
how to apply it.
In order to help clear the air, I'm going
to dispel some of the myths that are floating
around and give you some facts backed up
with real science on how the human body
actually metabolizes food.
First, let's talk about why the low-carb
approach is so popular.
There are a few reasons, but the most common
is that people are finally realizing that
the low-fat/high carb approach that has
been promoted for decades now just doesn't
work! Not only is it making us fatter, it's
also responsible for dozens of diseases
..most Americans eat too
many carbs and are deficient in the healthy
dietary fats. However, it seems that it
has to be one extreme or the other with
people in this country. So now many people
are cutting carbs and avoiding them like
the plague, which is just as bad.
..you say that it works?
Maybe you or someone you know has tried
the low-carb approach and noticed significant
weight loss. Yes, cutting carbs will cause
you to lose weight, but not much actual
body fat, if any at all. So, why do most
people lose weight so quickly? It's because
the human body holds 2.4g of water for every
1 gram of carbohydrate consumed. Cut the
carbs and all you do is hold less water!
This artificial weight loss is the main
reason so many people are going low-carb.
So, not only does following a low-carb
diet cause you to lose water, it also depletes
muscle glycogen which leaves you feeling
sluggish when trying to be active or workout.
Remember, carbs are stored as glycogen in
the muscles and glycogen is what's used
to fuel your muscles.
Another problem with severely limiting carbs
is that the brain uses carbs for energy
and without enough carbs, you won't be 100%
mentally. While I agree that people are
different and that some people do better
on lower amounts of carbs, most people will
feel like crap after a week or two with
no or low carbs.
But all the fitness and nutrition `gurus'
say that carbs are stored as fat, right?
WRONG! Any excess energy (food or beverage)
can be stored as fat it doesn't matter
if it's french fries or salad! Extra is
extra is extra! To my knowledge, there has
not been but one study that actually measured
body fat of individuals following a low-carb
both before and after to see exactly how
much body fat was lost. Plus, this study
was funded by a grant from Dr. Atkins!
Also, there is quite a bit more research
that shows that carbs are not only ok to
eat, but that they also contain vital nutrients
that can't be found in other foods.
A recent study done by French and Canadian
researchers found that consuming carbohydrates
in small amounts did NOT inhibit fat burning
and only approximately 4% of it was stored
as fat. This was in individuals who were
They also assessed the effect of carbohydrates
in individuals who performed light to moderate
intensity exercise and found that the small
carbohydrate meal resulted in no fat being
stored and did NOT inhibit fat burning.
Plus, even the large carbohydrate meal had
NO effect on fat burning and all of it went
directly to the muscles to replenish glycogen
and repair tissue.
Just imagine what happens when you do a
So what does this mean in plain English?
Basically, carbs are fine in small to moderate
amounts (even if you don't exercise) and
on days you do exercise, the carbs are going
to be stored in the muscles and not as fat.
So to all those people out there who think
that eating carbs will result in them being
stored as fat and it `shutting off; the
fat burning, I've got good news for you
You can finally have that big bowl of spaghetti
and meatballs you've been craving!
So how can you apply this to your eating
and fitness program? Here are a couple of
things to keep in mind:
1. You need carbs just the right
amount and the right type
So what are the right types? Focus on eating
carbs that are high in fiber such as vegetables,
beans, fruits, and whole grains.
2. Vary the amount of carbs you have based
on how active you are
For example on days you don't exercise,
eat less carbs and maybe vary the types.
3. The one time you can go carb crazy is
right after you exercise
For example if you want to cheat
and have ice cream the best time would be
right after a hard workout.
Focus on eating balanced carbs,
proteins and fats; and again, adjust the
amount of each based on how active you are
and plan to be.
I also recommend you do so research yourself
and learn as much as you can about human
metabolism and sound nutrition. Here are
some great resources:
You can also find some great resources
and articles at my website here: http://www.achieve-fitness.com/free_resources.htm
I hope you found this article informative
and I wish you the best. Remember, the more
you know the better off you'll be.
Jesse Cannone is a certified personal fitness
trainer, post-rehab specialist, nutritionist,
and a national fitness presenter. He is
also the author of Burn Fat FAST and A Bride's
Guide To Fast Fitness + Weight Loss in addition
to many other popular fitness articles.
He is known for his hard-hitting and to
the point style and offers a great free
email newsletter called Fitness Success
News, which you can subscribe to at his