(Written by Director of Adult Fitness Operations Richard Gandy)
In diet and nutrition Fats and Carbohydrates often get bad press for being the cause of weight gain due to a lot of conflicting information on the internet.
There is confusion about what types of foods you should consume to increase fat loss.
There are however situations where different macro nutrients are the right choice and other situations where there aren’t. Unlike proteins & fats, carbohydrates should be earned.
In any case, protein is the one macro-nutrient that should be prioritized as much as possible. Not only because it’s an essential requirement for staying lean, strong and healthy but because proteins prevent over-consumption of large volume of food as they help to reduce cravings between meals.
Fat is number two on the list; this macro nutrient also gets the blame for weight gain largely down to misinformation on its effect on body composition. Consuming adequate amount of fats is also essential for our body (and our brain) to function optimally; saturated fats most of all. They have a key role in supporting nutrient absorption, cell membrane and hormone building, in addition to vitamin conversion and transport.
Finally, carbohydrates are third because they’re non-essential. In other words, our bodies are perfectly capable of functioning without them. Individuals keeping their total intake of carbs under 50g enter a state of ketosis. Ketosis is simply the process of the body switching fuel source, where by the body utilizes stored fat as energy.
For the majority of the population a 3-4 week ketogenic (or very low-carb) diet can be beneficial. Most people who are carrying excess fat find it hard to utilize the carbohydrates they consume because f the lifestyle they have, being sedentary, stressed and often sleep deprived. Instead of opting for high glycemic starchy carbohydrate foods it is advised that low-sugar, high-fiber fruits (ex: berries) and vegetables (ex: Broccoli/Kale) are prioritized. Below is a table of low glycemic carbohydrates that are a good fit.
Low Glycemic Vegetable Examples
Shallots & Scallions
Onions & Chives
Low Glycemic Fruits
The Body Fat Rule
For males with a bodyfat percentage above 10%, and women above 15%, fats should make up most the calories after protein (20-30%) from foods such as avocados, nuts, and meat whilst utilizing oils such as coconut oil and olive oil to cook with. And for those who have a higher body fat percentage fats should make up all those extra calories (40%+).
Carbohydrates Before Exercise
If you’re exercising while you have carbohydrates in your system, you are burning carbohydrates, not fat. This isn’t necessarily an issue if you are a lean individual with the goal of building muscle. However, if your goal is fat loss and you’re are on the higher end of the body fat percentage scale this is not ideal for you reaching your fat loss goals.
When it comes to carbs and fats, there is no ‘one size fits all’ it depends on the individual their body fat level, activity level and their ability to utilize carbohydrates. While a high-level athlete training twice a day would need adequate carbohydrates for glycogen replenishment, a sedentary desk bound worker exercising 2/3 times a week with higher levels of bodyfat needs to scale back on carbohydrates until they are lean enough to where their bodies are able to handle them.