Did you realize that high-carb diets don’t work equally well for everyone?
Nutrition science has come a long way since I finished my first nutrition course 40 years ago. We now acknowledge that one type of eating approach does not necessarily benefit us all.
[Although I bet many Plant-Based doctors won’t agree]
For instance, we found out that genetic differences dictate the responses that individuals have to fats, proteins and carbs. Even to salt!
And weight loss? That’s a complex process. It’s got a considerable genetic component in it. Researchers can’t agree on the actual impact, but they argue that it is anything between 30%-70%.
However, Dr Greger from Nutritionfacts very rightly says that our genes load the gun, but we pull the trigger.
Meaning that we may have genes that are less favourable for easy weight maintenance. But in the end, it’s our lifestyle and food choices that determine the actual outcome of weight.
We found dozens of genetic variants that are associated with obesity and metabolism. And hopefully, in the near future, we might be able to get meaningful AND accurate DNA testing that will offer useful dietary recommendations.
But right now I’d not waste my money on them because with a little ‘self-analysis’ we can see what works for us. No expensive testing is required.
So why do we repeatedly hear that EVERYONE loses more weight with low carb?
That statement is only partially true.
It is correct that during the first weeks of a weight loss journey, those on low carb, higher protein diets see a bigger weight loss on their bathroom scales.
But it has nothing to do with burning more fat. It’s got to do with fluid loss.
When we reduce our carb intake, we decrease the amount of stored glycogen. Those are the converted carbs stored in muscle and liver.
This in turn releases fluid from within our cells.
Each gram of stored glycogen holds on to around 3g of fluid. During low carb dieting, some of that fluid is released.
However, this honeymoon of big losses does not last long.
After the initial loss, both low carb and high carb dieters appear to achieve the same weight loss.
Nevertheless, putting aside the fact that high carb foods are more calorie-rich than most salads and veg, some of us definitely could do better with a moderate carb approach vs. “over-carbing” ourselves.
When we increase our plant protein, add a little fat from nuts, seeds or avocado and only eat moderate serves of carb-dense foods, we can stick to healthy eating more easily. Both cravings and hunger pangs will be reduced.
Research shows that those who have insulin resistance are better off staying away from very high carb diets that can work for so many, but not for everyone.
So how can you tell [without a DNA test] if you might do better on a lower-carb diet?
Here are some general tell-tale signs that your body may prefer fewer starchy carbs and some more protein.
After eating a generous and filling high carb meal:
1) Within an hour or two you feel like eating again.
2) After a carby lunch, you get a bit sleepy or lethargic. This is called a ‘mid afternoon’ crash
3) You may experience bloating and gas
4) You notice mental fogginess
5) Most of your weight is around your waist and belly [although this can also be due to cortisol or menopause]
Need a bit of help creating meals that don’t cause the above carb-related issues? And do you need help with losing weight? Then check out any of my plans.
A great option, to begin with, is the 2-week KickStarter recipe ebook. It gives you a day-to-day menu with all the recipes you require. That e-book can easily become your benchmark for a moderate to low carb “for-ever-eating plan”.