Running a low carb health program for over 25 years now, since before it became ‘fashionable’, we have invariably been asked this question many times… But doesn’t your body need those carbs?
We have had the odd person tell us that their ‘nutritionist’ or dietician says that it is dangerous to cut your carbs as your body needs it for energy. On the other hand there is ample proof that carbs cause obesity and type 2 diabetes, and that most people should be avoiding them. And many low-carbers claim that carbs are not an essential nutrient.
So what is the truth?
No matter where you fall in this debate, it’s hard to deny that carbohydrates play a role in the human body. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy, help preserve muscle, promote digestive health, and the fibre benefits heart and blood sugar levels.
But is eating a lot of ‘Carbohydrates’ really necessary for these functions?
The simple answer… NO… Your body has alternative ways to carry out many of these tasks without carbs. It is a myth that the brain needs 130 grams of carbohydrate per day. The body can essentially function without a single gram of carbohydrate in the diet.
When we don’t eat carbs, part of the brain can use ketones for energy. Ketones are molecules formed from the breakdown of fatty acids. Your body creates them when carbs are not available to provide your body with the energy it needs to function.Ketosis happens when the body produces large amounts of ketones to use for energy. This condition is not necessarily harmful and is much different from the complication of uncontrolled diabetes known as ketoacidosis.
FUN FACT.. When you are producing ketones you are literally burning up body fat!
The Bottom Line…
Carbohydrates serve several key functions in your body. However, if you are following a low-carb diet or food is scarce, your body will use alternative methods to produce energy and fuel your brain.
So, is the TLC-Program healthy in terms of carbs?
On the TLC-Program refined carbs are eliminated and good, unprocessed carbs are included in the food allowances. It is a ‘low healthy carb’, not ‘no carb’ program.
Studies show that low-carb diets cause more weight loss and lead to greater improvement in various health markers, including HDL (the “good”) cholesterol, blood triglycerides, blood sugar, blood pressure and others
For people who are obese, or have metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes, low-carb diets can have life-saving benefits.
This should not be taken lightly, because these are currently the biggest health problems in the world, responsible for millions of deaths per year.
Finally… When you choose to follow a low carb TLC-Program you do not ‘need’ carbs, but the TLC-Program does provide healthy carbs including fibre from the fruit and vegetable allowance and allowed snacks.