Hiya I would really like someone to tell me more about carbs. I am active cycle every day at work, road bike 5-15 miles 4 times a week and run 5k twice a week. I am doing really well with weight loss having lost 1stone and 3lbs in just over 3 weeks. But I am trying to get into good habits. I get calories but carbs baffle me. When you go for a meal there seems to be a carb overload on most meals, can you explain carbs and what best to eat when out


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23 Replies

  • hi there that is a fabulous loss, what are you daily meals made up of please?

  • I try and stick to low Gi and have been using the fitness pal app which I think is fab as u have to earn ur food. That's how I look at it anyway. If I want to go out for a meal or have a glass of wine I have to work off the calories first but I do keep carbs to a minimum. Not sure if that's the best thing to do looking at some of the replies I got.

  • thankyou Kezi

  • Hi I am also scared of carbs, I try by all means to reduce carbs if people around me are eating I end up eating something small. My problem is I am not able to say no to food.

    Lat week I did not loss any thing in weight buy my dresses and skirt are now falling

  • I avoid carbs, esp in the evening. Carbs are cheap that's why you get loads when you go out! Substitute for salad/veg or just have a treat

  • That's a brilliant weight loss so far! I don't get hung up on carbs but I do find that if I eat them lunchtime, such as a sandwich, I just want to sleep afterwards. If you use MyFitnessPal that will keep track of the nutrition breakdown of your food.

    I lost three stone in six months on the 5:2 Diet where you just eat up to 500 calories on two days a week so obviously I made that up with protein and vegetables rather than calorie heavy carbohydrates.

  • Fantastic weight loss.. You need carbs for energy during the day and to sustain intensity in most workouts, so if your active do not cut them out. Excess carbs are stored as fat if not burnt off in exercise and your metabolism. Carbs come with different gi. High gi are your fast carbs the rubbish ones that are burnt off instantly which spikes insulin and glucose levels which give u the rush and downer...your complex carbs like brown rice are a lot slower to break down low gi and therefor eliminate the spikes and come down.

    Not only do carbs assist with energy but they also carry an affinity to water retention, not as much as sodium ofc (salt) so if you have cut out carbs totally then some of your weight loss is just that weight loss and not fat loss. It takes 3500 calories to burn off 1lb of fat. So those who say about dramatic weight loss in a week or a day are just kidding themselves and they have probably lost muscle mass and water retention not to mention their diets and when they weigh themselves. As a nation we should learn to chuck the damn scales out the window it's only good for a starting point not a week by week check up of your body mass. We only care about how we look, what jeans we fit in and therefor only care about fat%. Use measuring tapes and body fat calippers as a true indication of how you are doing.

    Good luck and congratulations on sustaining your exercise and good eating.

  • If excess carbs are stored as fat and it takes a lot of exercise to burn off fat, surely it would be a good idea not to eat too many carbs in the first place?

  • Your body still requires energy to function cut out carbs and see how you feel. One ancestors walked everywhere, were physical we adapted...since when was sitting on your bums watching TV idle/sedentary lifestyles associated with quality healthy want to walk, go to gym exercise, play sport you see how far you get with no carbs. It's your body's main energy source ask any biochemist lecturer if cutting out carbs is a good idea. He said most people will have put on the weight they have lost within 12 months and more. Life isn't a quick fix why are we all so adamant of taking the easy way out. You balloon up bmi increases you read a book called Atkins and feel you know the health industry.

    I'm sure you have heard of athletes hitting the wall r.e long distance marathons? It's not because their muscles have been used to's because glycogen stores have depeleted and you feel so shit that your muscles can barely contract because protein and fat is much harder to breakdown in the body.

    Okay I guess you want an actual answer right? Glucose (carbs) is broken down in glycolysis the product of glycolysis enters the Krebs cycle...the ONLY energy system that is capable of breaking down fats and proteins. So if you run out of pruvate then you will not be replenishing acetylcoa therefore your Krebs cycle stops functioning and guess stop burning fat and protein. Considering this is where protein is broken down...aka this is where your amino acids are formed within your body you know...essential amino acids are the ones not in our diet...well if your not breaking down protein within the body then you lose the amino acids from our everyday life's and you will begin to feel shite. Sustain no carb diets for long enough and who knows what damage you are doing, but if you think your burning off fat on that weight loss then your just kidding yourself.

    Just re-read and you said lower carbs rather than cut them out so apologise about the waffle above ^^ but yes your right...we shouldn't be eating loads of them which is why 50% of your daily allowance should be on carbs as a rule of thumb. Carbs isn't the enemy...going over your calories is. Go over the calories r.e your own personal metabolism then you gain weight....consume less than your metabolism burns off you lose weight...simple maths. Hope the above helps you in your weight loss goals.

    Good luck for the future


  • Apologies about waffle on first half couldn't be bothered to re-edit the whole thing...

  • It's been a long time since I had to read the Krebs cycle...

    Have a look for the Australian cricket team and their change of eating to Low carb/High fat diet. It's a very interesting alternative to mainstream advice.

    The amount of carbs you need to eat will vary from person to person. 50% would be too much for me.

  • Ofc everybody is not active equally nor have the same metabolism. 50% is not a lot over the day and considering fat has been linked to so many different diseases if your not eating carbs your eating fat or ofc protein which people barely get 20% at the moment. Balanced lifestyle and healthy diet will go far at the end of the day.

  • The effects on our health of eating fats remains the subject of debate. The author is a cardiologist.

  • Well said,

    may I just add, we also need carbs (in moderation, and complex ones) for our brain to perform.

  • All food gives us energy, not just carbs. Cutting down carbs is an effective way to lose weight and does not lead to muscle loss. It can also have other health benefits.

    There are several studies on sites like PubMed, which summarises science papers.

    You need to find the level of carbs that works for you. Going very low carb is not usually necessary for most people and can be difficult to achieve. Sticking to low GI sounds like a good idea.

    If you want a comprehensive scientific explanation of how food affects our bodies, have a look for Dr Robert Lustig on the web, or his book "Fat Chance: - Sugar, the bitter truth".

  • First article has few subjects no statistical analysis for significant results, no control over within subjects, no control of how much exercise each group does...just because your overweight a 21 year old will be different to a 60 year old even if it's miles walked in a day. You can be overweight while exercising just look down your local gym for proof. Your tests can be cheated just to the published...for instance first thing you do is give your subjects groups and uneven split of subjects 26 vs 29 so that you add power to the groups you wish to see with results. I don't see any mention of statistical tests to test this power with the groups. There is nothing to say for a FACT that their experiment shows these results so it has poor validity and I'm sure I won't be reading it in next years biochemistry classes either...coz it wasn't in this years. I'm sure there is even more wrong with it but that's what I got off first glance. I'm not on campus so I can't access the article myself but if their abstract and results have this many problems then I'm sure a pro lecturer can find even more.

    Sometimes public get access to things they shouldn't....humans want funding for their studies if you think all scientists are 100% correct or even they are all ethical then your mistaken....come to think of that 1) how many calories are they on.... And 2) how do they know the subjects even did it 100% to truth either? People mean to go on a diet etc...but hey one chocolate bar won't hurt right? Same thing....doesn't even say they weigh their food or keep a journal or questionnaires....the smaller the N= the more of an impact genetics will have on your results too. This isn't a good overview towards the population.

  • PubMed tends to publish abstracts, most research journals require payment to access the stats and full article. The first article clearly stated it was a small sample, it's a fairly new, but increasing area of research.

    Your biochemistry classes will reflect the current consensus on dietary advice. Pre the 1970s the advice was to cut down on carbs if you wanted to lose weight and be healthy, post Ancel Keys the advice was to cut down on fat consumption. Not sure this has worked out too well for us in the long term. Key's results, although mainstream, remain controversial for many.

    I find you statement "Sometimes public get access to things they shouldn't" very worrying. Science should not be a closed shop.

  • It should be for those who can make a valid judgement to be able to inform the population...people see cut down on carbs...when scientifically speaking the paper is based on a crap sample of which it cannot reduce the number of variables to make it's findings sufficient...but one whiff of the paper or something put in the newspapers or news and everyone believes it as gold dust. If you cannot control the surroundings of the study then you cannot claim anything and the only thing you can take from it is that it requires further investigations from scientists to test it's claims. I don't need to read the paper or journal to say its validity is insufficient as it cannot backup it's claims.

  • People need scientists to explain complex ideas, not to censor their availability.

    The ketogenic diet is not new, it has been used successfully to treat epilepsy, as well as obesity. The article you didn't need to read has a summary of current knowledge and an explanation of ketosis and the Krebs cycle.

  • Thanks for that I will have a look Penel

  • There are only 2 macronutrients necessary to sustain life, Protein, and fats. Most people think that carbohydrates are the preferred energy source, but it is in fact fat, that is the preferred source of energy. Just because if there are carbohydrates eaten and glucose is present it will be used by the body, doesnt mean it is first choice, if that were the case, then alcohol would be considered first choice, because if alcohol is present in the blood stream, the body will use that first as an energy source. I am fairly sure that alcohol is not the bodies first choice for an energy source. Your body uses fat for most of the day, because it is the preferred energy for aerobic activities. although it uses glucose as well it is not necessary, glucose does come into its own for anaerobic exercise though, which the average person would be lucky to burn 400 calories in a hard 60 minute workout. That amounts to about 100g of carbs, the rest of your energy can come from fat, or protein. So save your body (and the insulin need for glucose storage) from going through all that trouble, and eat enough fat to power your day. Also no sugar highs and lows with fat adaptation. Cheers.

  • It would be good if we had scientific proof of that: take a large number of people, put half of them on hi fat - high protein diet, the other half on a Pollan style "real food, in moderation, mainly plants" and check after 50 years.

    Only then I will agree on the fact that we don't need carbs (which are found in plants....)

    Oh, and there is quite a difference between glucose taken pure (see energy gels) and the carbhoydrates you get from eating an apple​....

  • LOL ... and I haven't even entered the fray yet.

    Here's my contribution:

    I follow a very Low Carb diet. My carbs are usually around 15 to 20 percent of my intake for the day, and of those, almost none are in the form of starchy carbs. I do not eat anything with sugar in it, pasta, bread, potato, rice etc. My carbs are pretty much all veg. I eat a lot of protein and a fair amount of fat (in the form of avocado, nuts, coconut oil etc). I do cycles of being in ketosis, but do not do it continuously.

    Combined with doing HIIT type exercise and lifting heavy stuff off the floor I find this approach scorches off bodyfat, and once I adapted to it, gives me loads of energy etc. When I first went LCHF I went through the 'Lowcarb Fog' stage after a few weeks, which is very common and rather like having heavy 'flu, which often puts people off and makes them think they are becoming ill. I was not becoming ill, my body was just switching fuel sources from glucose to fat.

    For me, LCHF has been a resounding success.

    On the other hand, a couple of years ago I was doing a lot of long distance running. I spent hours and hours every week slwoly trundling along trails and over hills and so on. In terms of exercise I was doing the absolute opposite of what I do now. And at that time my diet was very high carb, and to a large extent vegetarian, bordering on vegan (not in any ideological sense, I just wasn't eating meat or dairy etc). For the demands I was putting on my body at that time, that approach worked very well too. I was not eating chip butties though. Brown rice and veg mainly. Exciting it wasn't.

    Both of these are, to an extent, extremes. Most people tend to have a 'balanced Western' diet, and do moderate, if any, exercise. The problem is the 'balanced Western diet' is pretty heavily carb loaded, and those carbs tend to be processed and starchy. If you are getting 40 percent plus of your nutrition from carbs but its all broccoli then you're still golden. If its all bread, not so much. Someone posted eiether here or in the Healthy Foods group a pie chart picture which may even have been an NHS one of what proportions of food you should eat and it was about equal quantities veg and strachy cabrs with a small sliver of meats and fats. I was quite shocked that such information is still promulgated in this day and age. those wretched Food Pyramids with a base of cerals, bread and potato...

    grrr. ranting. must stop

    "Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat." Greg Glassman

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