Physiotherapy and Allied Health

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  "date": "2018-01-28T00:00:00",
  "author": "Matt Cooper",
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  "url": "/blog1/is-cutting-out-carbohydrates-the-key-to-weight-loss-or-just-another-fad",
  "title": "Is cutting out carbohydrates the key to weight loss or just another fad?",
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  "metaTitle": "Is cutting out carbohydrates the key to weight loss or just another fad?",
  "metaDescription": "Why are people scared of carbohydrates? Ethos Health discusses the reasons why we shouldn't be.",
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Carbohydrate, noun;A carbohydrate is a biological molecule consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms… can be broken down to release energy in the body”.\n

\n

Carbophobia, fear of and/or demonising of a valuable nutrient that provides energy.\n

\n

As an Accredited Practising Dietitian, I encounter a wide variety of ‘diets’ people follow in a bid to lose weight. In a society plagued by fad diets and\n quick fixes where the latest and greatest is just a click away this is no surprise – but of course, they don’t work.

\n

“Carbophobia”

\n

\n
\n

\n

Different diets are a lot like the latest celebrities, just a case of who or what is “hot” right now. Trending now is the “low-carb” band-wagon. I like\n to call this “Carbophobia”, or an undeserved fear of carbohydrates.

\n

Carbohydrates are not the enemy in a weight-loss plan. As a rule, diets where the intake of one nutrient is eliminated (except alcohol, which has pretty\n arguable nutritional status in the first place) should generally be avoided.

\n

In our experience most people pursuing a low carb diet are missing the point on three key pieces of information; (1) Where exactly are the carbohydrates\n hiding, (2) why are they getting all this bad press, and (3) what are the benefits and risks of a low carb diet?

\n

Where are the carbohydrates hiding?

\n


\n

\n

This sounds obvious, right? In plain sight, in our bread, cereals, pasta, rice and grains. Of course we all knew that. But you might not appreciate that\n the following foods also contain carbohydrates:

\n
    \n
  • Dairy products: milk, yoghurt and cheeses - all have small amount of carbohydrates\n
  • \n
  • Fruit: a banana, small mango, cup of grapes, kiwifruit or an apple have more carbohydrate than a slice of wholemeal bread!\n
  • \n
  • Legumes (e.g. lentils and chickpeas) and Starchy Vegetables including Potato and Corn
  • \n
\n

So it’s important to realise – carbs are everywhere, it is entirely impractical to completely avoid them, and if you did, you’d be missing out a whole\n range of vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly.

\n

Why are they getting all the bad press?

\n

Maybe the media ‘experts’ have moved on from demonising fat and red meat. The key to weight reduction is consuming less energy than your body requires.\n The elimination of any whole nutrient certainly achieves that and there are plenty of magazines and tabloid articles recounting stories of success\n through carb cutting. Moderation and portion control doesn’t provide the punchy headline the vilification of an entire food group or nutrient can.

\n

What is a low carbohydrate diet?

\n

There are varying degrees of a “low-carb” diet. Low carb can mean a reduction by one or two serves of carbohydrates per day, and for people trying to lose\n weight this is a sensible option. But in my experience, clients on a “low-carb” diet attempt to eliminate all carbohydrate-rich food, in an approach\n more commonly known as the “ketogenic” low-carb diet, low-carb/high fat or “keto” diet. Marketed as a weight-loss answer, sometimes\n even the key to higher mental functioning and better health it sounds like a plan too good to be true.

\n

A ketogenic diet induces a process known as ketosis, that occurs when a person consumes very few carbohydrates. This process relies on forcing\n the body into a metabolic state where it uses fats for energy, rather than the usual mixture of fat and carbohydrates. Fatigue, lethargy, bad breath\n and a decrease in sporting and physical performance are common side effects. A ketogenic diet is also associated with increased risk of gastrointestinal\n problems and cardiovascular disease, due to changes in dietary fibre and saturated fat intake.

\n

Clients report an initial weight loss of a few kilos (to be expected with any overall reduction in energy input) but then the plan starts to unravel. Often,\n the severe restriction becomes too difficult – eating out becomes a minefield of decision-making and social isolation, and eating at home requires\n double the prep time with separate meals prepared for themselves and the rest of the family.

\n

If a Ketogenic diet isn’t the answer then what is?

\n

I think we could all agree a successful diet is one which achieves your desired body weight and then maintains it for life, without compromising your quality\n of life along the way. That means a program designed for you as an individual, allowing you to achieve your health and weight loss goals without feeling\n deprived, fatigued or like a social pariah.

\n

The best weight loss and dietary health plan is to put yourself in the hands of a professional who is experienced and knowledgeable and able to put you\n on the right track to enjoying your life and getting to the best weight for you, once and for all. Your own Dietitian and your own individual plan\n where your lifestyle and health issue are key. Total energy input remains the most important determinant in any weight loss plan, not the ratio of\n carbohydrates or fat. But in short, the best diet is one you can sustain as a lifestyle change, where you can achieve long-term goals for life, and\n that is where an Accredited Dietitian can put you on the right track.

\n

Please note: The ketogenic diet is however used in the treatment of Epilepsy.

\n

References \n
\n

\n
    \n
  1. Astrup A, Larsen TM, Harper A. Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: hoax or an effective tool for weight loss? The Lancet. 2004 Sep;364(9437):897–9.
  2. \n
  3. Johnston BC, Kanters S, Bandayrel K, Wu P, Naji F, Siemieniuk RA, et al. Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2014 Sep 3;312(9):923.
  4. \n
  5. Sondike SB, Copperman N, Jacobson MS. Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents. The Journal of Pediatrics. 2003 Mar;142(3):253–8.
  6. \n
  7. Nordmann AJ, Nordmann A, Briel M, Keller U, Yancy WS, Brehm BJ, et al. Effects of Low-Carbohydrate vs Low-Fat Diets on Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2006 Feb 13;166(3):285.
  8. \n
  9. Bravata DM, Sanders L, Huang J, Krumholz HM, Olkin I, Gardner CD, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Low-Carbohydrate Diets: A Systematic Review. JAMA. 2003 Apr 9;289(14):1837.
  10. \n
  11. Zajac A, Poprzecki S, Maszczyk A, Czuba M, Michalczyk M, Zydek G. The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Exercise Metabolism and Physical Performance in Off-Road Cyclists. Nutrients. 2014 Jun 27;6(7):2493–508.
  12. \n
\n
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Is cutting out carbohydrates the key to weight loss or just another fad?

by Ethos Health - 28 Jan 2018

Carbohydrate, noun;A carbohydrate is a biological molecule consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms… can be broken down to release energy in the body”.

Carbophobia, fear of and/or demonising of a valuable nutrient that provides energy.

As an Accredited Practising Dietitian, I encounter a wide variety of ‘diets’ people follow in a bid to lose weight. In a society plagued by fad diets and quick fixes where the latest and greatest is just a click away this is no surprise – but of course, they don’t work.

“Carbophobia”


Different diets are a lot like the latest celebrities, just a case of who or what is “hot” right now. Trending now is the “low-carb” band-wagon. I like to call this “Carbophobia”, or an undeserved fear of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are not the enemy in a weight-loss plan. As a rule, diets where the intake of one nutrient is eliminated (except alcohol, which has pretty arguable nutritional status in the first place) should generally be avoided.

In our experience most people pursuing a low carb diet are missing the point on three key pieces of information; (1) Where exactly are the carbohydrates hiding, (2) why are they getting all this bad press, and (3) what are the benefits and risks of a low carb diet?

Where are the carbohydrates hiding?


This sounds obvious, right? In plain sight, in our bread, cereals, pasta, rice and grains. Of course we all knew that. But you might not appreciate that the following foods also contain carbohydrates:

  • Dairy products: milk, yoghurt and cheeses - all have small amount of carbohydrates
  • Fruit: a banana, small mango, cup of grapes, kiwifruit or an apple have more carbohydrate than a slice of wholemeal bread!
  • Legumes (e.g. lentils and chickpeas) and Starchy Vegetables including Potato and Corn

So it’s important to realise – carbs are everywhere, it is entirely impractical to completely avoid them, and if you did, you’d be missing out a whole range of vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly.

Why are they getting all the bad press?

Maybe the media ‘experts’ have moved on from demonising fat and red meat. The key to weight reduction is consuming less energy than your body requires. The elimination of any whole nutrient certainly achieves that and there are plenty of magazines and tabloid articles recounting stories of success through carb cutting. Moderation and portion control doesn’t provide the punchy headline the vilification of an entire food group or nutrient can.

What is a low carbohydrate diet?

There are varying degrees of a “low-carb” diet. Low carb can mean a reduction by one or two serves of carbohydrates per day, and for people trying to lose weight this is a sensible option. But in my experience, clients on a “low-carb” diet attempt to eliminate all carbohydrate-rich food, in an approach more commonly known as the “ketogenic” low-carb diet, low-carb/high fat or “keto” diet. Marketed as a weight-loss answer, sometimes even the key to higher mental functioning and better health it sounds like a plan too good to be true.

A ketogenic diet induces a process known as ketosis, that occurs when a person consumes very few carbohydrates. This process relies on forcing the body into a metabolic state where it uses fats for energy, rather than the usual mixture of fat and carbohydrates. Fatigue, lethargy, bad breath and a decrease in sporting and physical performance are common side effects. A ketogenic diet is also associated with increased risk of gastrointestinal problems and cardiovascular disease, due to changes in dietary fibre and saturated fat intake.

Clients report an initial weight loss of a few kilos (to be expected with any overall reduction in energy input) but then the plan starts to unravel. Often, the severe restriction becomes too difficult – eating out becomes a minefield of decision-making and social isolation, and eating at home requires double the prep time with separate meals prepared for themselves and the rest of the family.

If a Ketogenic diet isn’t the answer then what is?

I think we could all agree a successful diet is one which achieves your desired body weight and then maintains it for life, without compromising your quality of life along the way. That means a program designed for you as an individual, allowing you to achieve your health and weight loss goals without feeling deprived, fatigued or like a social pariah.

The best weight loss and dietary health plan is to put yourself in the hands of a professional who is experienced and knowledgeable and able to put you on the right track to enjoying your life and getting to the best weight for you, once and for all. Your own Dietitian and your own individual plan where your lifestyle and health issue are key. Total energy input remains the most important determinant in any weight loss plan, not the ratio of carbohydrates or fat. But in short, the best diet is one you can sustain as a lifestyle change, where you can achieve long-term goals for life, and that is where an Accredited Dietitian can put you on the right track.

Please note: The ketogenic diet is however used in the treatment of Epilepsy.

References

  1. Astrup A, Larsen TM, Harper A. Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: hoax or an effective tool for weight loss? The Lancet. 2004 Sep;364(9437):897–9.
  2. Johnston BC, Kanters S, Bandayrel K, Wu P, Naji F, Siemieniuk RA, et al. Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2014 Sep 3;312(9):923.
  3. Sondike SB, Copperman N, Jacobson MS. Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents. The Journal of Pediatrics. 2003 Mar;142(3):253–8.
  4. Nordmann AJ, Nordmann A, Briel M, Keller U, Yancy WS, Brehm BJ, et al. Effects of Low-Carbohydrate vs Low-Fat Diets on Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2006 Feb 13;166(3):285.
  5. Bravata DM, Sanders L, Huang J, Krumholz HM, Olkin I, Gardner CD, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Low-Carbohydrate Diets: A Systematic Review. JAMA. 2003 Apr 9;289(14):1837.
  6. Zajac A, Poprzecki S, Maszczyk A, Czuba M, Michalczyk M, Zydek G. The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Exercise Metabolism and Physical Performance in Off-Road Cyclists. Nutrients. 2014 Jun 27;6(7):2493–508.

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