Why you shouldn’t cut carbs, according to a dietitian

Carbohydrates dietitian Melissa Meier

As the popularity of low-carb diets continues to skyrocket, more and more people are skipping foods like pasta, bread and rice in favour of protein and fats. But with so many foods off the menu, you might be wondering if it’s really worth it. Does cutting carbs actually live up to its reputation as an amazing weight loss strategy with stellar health benefits? Here’s what you need to know (disclaimer: it’s more detrimental than you think!). 

 

1. Carb-rich foods give you important nutrients

A lot of people conjure up images of pizza, cakes and lollies whenever we hear the word ‘carbs’ – but carbohydrates also cover a broad range of nutritious foods like wholegrains, legumes, dairy, fruit and veg. 

 

When youcut these foods out, youshort-change your bodya rangeof valuable nutrients. Fibre is one example, which is pivotal for good digestive health(hello toilet troubles). B-groupvitamins are also hard to come by sans many carb-rich foods, so your body will struggle to produce energy. And you can’t forget about all-important calcium (from carb-rich dairy foods), which is important for strong bones and teeth.

2. Carbs keep you happy (not hangry)

Good quality carbohydrates (read: rolled oats, not pastries) give you long-lasting energy to keep you feeling full and satisfied – that is, far less likely to reach for the biscuit jar come 3pm. 

 

That’s because when you opt for carbs with a low glycaemic index, they are broken down slowly, resulting in a gradual rise and fall of blood sugars over time. That’s in comparison to a high-GI food (like white bread) that’s rapidly digested and spikes your blood sugars, leaving your searching for more.

 

Skipping carbs altogether results in low blood sugar levels. Not only can that leave you feeling #hangry, but also make it difficult to concentrate and leave you feeling jittery.

 

3. Carbs power you for exercise

Have you ever had a sloppy workout where every movement just seemed tougher than usual? It could have been because you skimped on carbs. That’s because carbohydrates are the most readily available (and easily used) source of fuel to power working muscles. 

 

To prevent the sluggishness, the best strategy is to have a pre- and post-workout snack made up of healthy carbs. Greek yoghurt is a perfect choice – and an added bonus is that it’s full of protein to help repair tired muscles.  

 

With these three points in mind, it’s no wonder many people struggle to sustain a low carb diet. A more realistic plan would be to skip the restriction and eat a balanced amount of healthy carb-rich foods with every meal. Capiche?