Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Come Back to Carbs

Can one woman hail the return of entire macronutrient?  I'd like to try.

We live in a carb-free, low-carb, healthy-carb country.  We're encouraged by experts to up our protein intake and lower our carbohydrates, with the premise that this is the key to arriving at a healthy (read: aesthetic) weight.  

Recently, I went to a dinner party and brought a lovely quinoa.  It went untouched.  Because of the carbs.

Later that week, I stopped at my gym's snack bar to pick up a sports drink prior to yoga class.  Amidst a sea of no-carb, high-protein drinks (many infused with artificial sweeteners in order to claim the title), I finally stumbled on some fruit juice that fit the bill.  

I get it.  We realized that we'd weigh a little less if we cut back on carbs.  But, what we didn't realize is that we'd be eliminating a major energy source, one that fuels our muscles, organs, and brains.  Carbohydrates have a significant impact on mood, as well.  Just ask someone who's going carb-free.  

Your trainer tells you to cut out bread.  Your gossip magazine shows you a day in the life of your favorite celebrity, proving that lean protein and vegetables for lunch and dinner is not only doable, but leads to the intended results.  Your coworker went low-carb and quickly dropped 15 pounds.  

The thing is. . . not one nutritionist I respect has ever recommended this type of diet to anyone I know.  They understand the importance of all three macronutrients.  They understand what cutting carbs does to one's energy and mood.  And then understand, as I do, that the weight-loss benefits of going low-carb are temporary (only for as long as you're on the diet), and that depriving ourselves of something (anything, really) often backfires, obfuscating the point entirely.  

I wish that I had a dollar for every person I meet who complains of an inability to ward off mid-afternoon candy runs, or who shamefully confesses to late-night binges on chips, cookies, or cake, who, by the way, is also restricting her carbs.  When she begins to reintroduce this necessary nutrient, she finds that her carbohydrate cravings remit.  It's her body's way of saying, "Thanks for giving me what I need."


MP2010 said...

I think were people get confused is what carbs are good and what carbs are not good. The carbs that turn into sugar are the carbs that our bodies are not intended to have. In order to live a healthy life style we have to get our carbs from high fiber vegetables, sprouted grains, etc. It is not the carbs you are cutting it's the sugar it turns into within your body during digestion.

Joanna said...

Thought provoking article, drstaceyny. I quoted you and discussed your thoughts on my site.

"Sugar Cravings, Carbs and Preparing for Thanksgving" tinyurl.com/cno7hwd

Thank you.

Tere said...

Carbs are my downfall. I love 'em but we have a love hate relationship. I love em, they taste good, but when I eat them, I crave even more, even more often. They have a power over me.

Rogers Memorial Hospital said...

I agree that our bodies are self healing machines of great wonder, which is why I also 100% agree with your post. When we limit ourselves for un-natural reasons, such as eating disorders our body will naturally start asking for what it needs, in a lot of different ways people don't understand.