Question: I’ve been told to restrict carbs from my diet so that I can lose weight, as I have a function that I would like to go to and I’d like to be looking my best. What are your thoughts on cutting carbs?

Oh my… this is one of the biggest misconceptions on the planet! I NEVER cut my carbs; in fact they are mandatory all year round. So, if you’ve dabbled in diets over the years, you’ve undoubtedly considered cutting out carbs. Let’s take a look at what the research says and try to sort fact from fiction.

Carbs are not the devil and if you use them correctly the results you get are second to none. I use a combination of simple and complex carbs, even when I am leaning out for a photo shoot or wanting to lose a few extra kgs.

Remember that NOT all carbs are created equal! The simple carbs are lethal and I’m talking about the ones that could be hiding in your bread, pasta, crackers, cakes, slices and biscuits. They are usually the ones that taste amazing but they are not to be confused with their exact opposite – complex carbohydrates!

These ones ARE your friends and can really help you to lose those unwanted kilos,  but you must remember that anything in excess will NOT achieve the desired results you’re after. Cutting out carbs totally means that you’re potentially losing the best opportunity to manage your weight once and for all! Scared? You should be!

Understanding how to manipulate your complex carbohydrates is the key to successful long-term weight management and it’s how I can stay in good shape all year round. So if you’re still sceptical, don’t take my advice - read it for yourself! “A 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that adherence to a  Mediterranean diet (a diet high in complex carbohydrates) helped with overall weight loss. Going further back, a 2002 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that replacing refined grains with wholegrain and minimally processed grain products, along with eating more fruits and vegetables, may help to reduce the risk of both type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

On the flipside, the same study found that a diet high in refined carbs (white bread, pasta and rice, for example) contributes to hypertriglyceridemia, a condition that increases your risk of atherosclerosis and other conditions — yet another reason to stay away from simple carbohydrates. A  2010 study in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine found similar results.

The list goes on: a 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that refined grains in the diet — defined as white breads (lavash, baguettes), noodles, pasta, rice, toasted bread, milled barley, sweet bread, white flour, starch and biscuits — were associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome,  which is a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. The authors commented that thecombination of the obesity epidemic and growing intake of refined carbohydrates have created a “perfect storm” for the development of cardiometabolic disorders.


With this list of evidence, it’s easy to be scared of carbs. But instead of elimination,  consider replacement with the complex carbohydrates we were talking about earlier! These ones are fantastic for your health and you will not only feel great, you won’t have to cut carbs ever again in an attempt to lose weight or get leaner! Try to aim for 100% wholegrains or the ones that are contained in fruits, vegetables and legumes.

Try this instead of that!
• Eat brown rice instead of white rice.
• Opt for 100% wholegrain products instead of white options.
• Try whole-wheat pita bread instead of plain white bread.
• Eat an orange and skip the glass of processed orange juice.
• If you need a snack, choose air-popped popcorn over potato chips.


LINDY’S FAVOURITE STARCHY CARB SOURCES:
• Oats
• Sweet Potato
• Potato
• Quinoa
• Brown rice
• Couscous


So the good news is, if you understand how to manipulate your macronutrients and provide the body with the nutrients when it needs them the most, you will not only manage to get lean but you will stay lean all year round. If you want to get through the mumbo jumbo, give my 7 Rules a try! They keep me lean and loving life all year round
without having to sacrifice eating the foods I really love… like all those sweet treats! It’s all about moderation and knowing what to have and when. You can find the rules (they’re free) here.

Train hard, keep fit and LOVE life.

Lindy xx