Low carb vs. little carb

“Low carb” has been all the rage for the last several years.  From Atkins to South Beach, it seems like everyone  knows the “benefits” of these diets.

However, I have noticed that when a client first comes to me they feel they need to “cut out all carbs”.  I hear this quite a bit from people, and the idea of it makes me cringe a little.

I think the problem comes from a misunderstanding of what foods are carbs.  People tend to think that carbs are strictly cookies, breads, cakes, etc.  What I’ve found is that often people don’t think of fruits and vegetables as carbs, but they 100% are.  Fruits and vegetables are a highly imprortant part of a healthy, sustainable diet.  They provide a ton of vitamins, nutrients and minerals that are critical for our bodies to function properly and to lose body fat.

I encourage people to follow what would technically be a “low carb” diet.  However I think it’s important to make this distinction-I said low carb, NOT little carb.  This is a very important concept to grasp.  When people typically think of a low carb diet they think of cutting out as many carbs as possible.  But they’re thinking of foods as carbs, instead of thinking of food having carbs in them.  So when they’re trying to reduce carb intake, they’re thinking of removing as many carb-type foods, not reducing the grams of carbs they’re ingesting.

For example, a typical brownie has around 240 calories to it as well as 40 grams of carbs.  On the other hand, you could eat 12 cups of spinach and only take in 60 calories and 9 grams of carbs.  There is a massive difference in the two foods, but people want to lump them both together as a carb and think of them similarly.

We absolutely eat far too many carbs in our society, at least far too many processed, refined, manufactured carbs.  We also eat far too few natural and healthy carbs.

Liek I said before, I am a proponent of following a lower carb nutritional plan for general health, but this doesn’t mean eating very few carb foods.  I encourage people to eat 2-3 pieces of fruit a day as well as a serving or two of vegetables with every meal.  This means eating a whole lot of carb-type foods, but not very many grams of carbs.  Using the above example, if you ate two brownies, you would take in 80 grams of carbs.  You would have to eat over 36 cups of spinach to take in the same amount of grams of carbs.

OR

3 bananas

OR

4 apples

OR

10 cups of broccoli

Do you see my point?

We can eat a ton more actual food and get far fewer carbs by eating natural, raw, fruits and vegetables.  Like I said, it’s important to make the distinction between eating low carb and eating little carb.

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