“you should be eating a diet which you enjoy, providing enough calories to fuel your training but not too many that you aren’t reaching your goal”
Sugar. We’re constantly being told in the media is the source of all our fat related problems. It’s why we have an obesity crisis and it’s why you can’t shift that stubborn fat around your middle. So, cut out sugar and reduce your carbohydrate intake and you’ll watch the fat melt off, or will you?
Well probably yes. BUT this isn’t because you cut out carbs or sugar but rather because you reduced your calorie intake. If you reduced the amount of calories you were eating from fat you would have the same result. Further to that if you had cut out all sugar and replaced the calories with quinoa, brown rice or sweet potato you wouldn’t have lost the weight. (Guyenet, 2015) completed an experiment looking at the average intake in grams of both carbs and sugar vs obesity from 1980 to 2010. The study found that obesity continuously rose across the 30 years, however, the levels of carbs and sugars people ate dropped around the 2000 mark. This highlights that obesity is not because of the level of intake of sugar and carbs but through another factor such as overeating the number of calories.
So, if carbs and sugar aren’t the problem then what should we be doing to lose fat and stay lean? Basically, you should be eating a diet which you enjoy, providing enough calories to fuel your training but not too many that you aren’t reaching your goal (calorie deficit for fat loss, calorie maintenance to maintain body weight). Finally, you should be eating enough protein to repair your muscles and to promote a lean body.
For some people that may involve eating a reduced carb diet because they enjoy fats more than carbs. It may also involve cutting down on sugar because they find it hard to regulate their intake of it and it doesn’t fill them up!
However, for most people the most sustainable and therefore effective diet in the long run is a moderate-high protein diet with a good balance between carbs and fats. My two big take home points for this post are:
- Calories are more important than carbs, sugar, fat or any other factors for fat loss. Calories in vs calories out will hold true 99% of the time!
- Being realistic and making your diet enjoyable will always win out in the long run. Sustainability and consistency is the key to staying lean in the long term.
Jake van’t Hoff (@jvh_fitness) – Nutrition Coach and PT