Why carbs are not the devil (Ketogenic VS HCLF)

Why carbs are not the devil (Ketogenic VS HCLF)

Hey guys! So today I want to talk to you about my diet. I went from a ketogenic diet which is high fat and low carb which worked out to be about 60% fat, 30% protein and 10% carbs to a high carb, lower fat diet which is 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fat. Which one do you think works to achieve your health and fitness goal?  Surprise surprise, it’s the one you’re most likely to stick to in the long term.

 Examples of a ketogenic diet 

Examples of a ketogenic diet 

 My current diet macronutrients 

My current diet macronutrients 

The reason I didn’t stick with keto is because it was far too difficult for me to eat such small portions of carbohydrates. I got bored easily and as I’m not an inventive cook and I’m super lazy, I ended up just eating the same 3 meals all the time. If I wanted tacos, I’d have to use lettuce leaves, if I wanted to make pizza I’d have to make a base of Philadelphia cheese and cauliflower, if I wanted pasta I’d have to spiralise zucchinis. You get the picture. I just got sick of all the extra effort that was required and gradually started going back to my old habits. That being said, I think the keto diet is great if:

  1. You have the time to prepare and cook meals

  2. You don’t go out that much as it’s freaking hard not eating carbs when you’re out

  3. You don’t workout

I want to touch on the last point. I’ve seen some fantastic results on women and men who don’t workout and simply follow a ketogenic diet and have lost weight. It’s a sure fire way to lose body fat. However, if you’re working out, I do believe you need to eat carbs.

Because I had been keto for so long I took a long time getting my head around this. I had stopped being a strict keto but I would still limit my carbs and have a eat a reasonable amount of fats. I would still avoid pasta and grains. I still basically thought all carbs were the devil. Then I learnt there’s a difference between good carbs and bad carbs.

Examples of good, complex carbs are:
Beans, legumes,  starchy vegetables whole grain rice, whole-wheat pasta and wholemeal bread

Examples of bad, refined carbs are:
Processed sugars such as lollies, fries, white bread, coke, white rice and white flour pretty much anything that tastes delicious!

 Good carbs VS bad carbs

Good carbs VS bad carbs

So why does your body need carbs if you workout or simply want to lose weight?

1. They give the body energy when you workout

Carbohydrates are your body's preferred fuel source. They propel the body during exercise. I'm not saying you should plow through a loaf of garlic bread, you need to fuel your body so it can train at its best and that goes back to the type of carbs that are important for your body, complex carbs. 

2. They help muscle cells to rebuild

So to simplify it, try to think of it like this. Your muscles need energy. Energy which is provided by carbs. If you’re on low carb diet, you will have low energy. This means you won’t be able to lift the maximum amount your body can lift at the gym. If you’re not lifting to your max potential you’re not going to damage and tear your muscles which need to happen for your muscles to grow. Hopefully that gives you a good reason to start eating carbs!  


3. They help muscle cells to recover

Carbs help to recover and rebuild muscle tissues, which are torn down during exercise. Complex carbs also help the body heal as your body recovers during sleep, and right after exercise. That’s why you might have heard it’s so important to feed your body carbs right after a workout.

In short, if you’re working out, you can’t afford to be on a low carb diet.

Why do I like eating carbs?

I love the variety of foods that are available to me. When I was keto, I couldn’t eat bread or pasta or rice and now these food groups make up a large part of my diet. I find it much easier when going out with friends to be able to order food and enjoy the food that I am eating. Plus the food I make takes less time and is quicker and easier. Please keep in mind, this is what works for me, you might be different as all bodies are different. Experiment and listen to what your body is telling you it needs!