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The Truth About Carbohydrates and Weight Loss. Podcast Episode 165


Carbohydrates and Losing Weight

When it comes to weight loss, there are a few key elements that you need to get right:

  1. Your plan. What exactly are you going to do differently to lose weight? (Hint, it doesn't have to be "depriving yourself" or relying on will power.) But you do need to know what foods you're going to eat and in what quantities. And a big question that arrises here is "what about carbohydrates"?
  2. How you're going to stick to your plan. So often people blame the "plan". Often it's not the plan that's a problem, it's that people don't stick to it. (You do need a plan that you can realistically stick to.)
  3. Your relationship with food and whether you turn to food for comfort. (If that's the case, the moment life happens, your plan is out the window.)

(If you'd like to fix your relationship with food and end emotional eating, check out "End Emotional Eating with Dr Orlena" for just $27:

In this article, you'll learn:

  • Common misconceptions about carbohydrates
  • What carbohydrates are
  • How not all carbohydrates are equal
  • Which carbohydrates are part of a healthy diet and which are best "kept to a minimum".
  • What the ketogenic diet is and why it leads to misconceptions about how reducing your carbohydrate intake is the secret to losing weight


Transcription of "The Truth About Carbohydrates and Weight Loss"

Please note this transcription is generated by software. There may be some errors. I hope you find it useful.

Hello. Hello. Hello, and welcome to Fit and Fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena, I hope that you are feeling amazing. Okay. I'm just going to jump right into it today and to talk about carbohydrates.

Common Misconceptions About Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can be a bit confusing. There are some common misconceptions that people like to talk about on the internet.

Myth: All Carbohydrates are Bad for You

So hands up, if any of these sound familiar?

  • I need to go on a low carbohydrate diet
  • carbohydrates are the villain.
  • I need to cut out all carbohydrates. 
  • Carbohydrates contain too much sugar. 

That's interesting because carbohydrates are sugar. So we will talk about that in a minute, but there's, there's loads and loads of these different myths that you can find on the internet and basically vilifying carbohydrates and saying,  you need to do is cut out carbohydrates to lose weight.

There's good news and there's bad news.

There's an element of truth in what is going on here.

However, there's a really, really huge misconception, which we just need to clear it. Because here's the big thing, you know what I'm always going on about vegetables, vegetables, vegetables.

My favorite saying is: “The best thing you can give your children is your own happiness. And the second best thing you can give them is vegetables.”

Myth: You Need to Exclude All Carbohydrates to Lose Weight

And you may have heard me mention vegetables one or 2 million times before, but I truly believe that vegetables are the secret sauce. They are the key to "easy weight-loss leading a long and healthy life".

I think vegetables for me really sum it up as being easy.

But here's the tricky part. Guess what? Vegetables are... You've got it. Vegetables are mostly carbohydrates. They may have fiber vitamins things called "phytonutrients:. Some vegetables contain protein as well. So there are plants, sources of vegetables, such as lentils legumes, some contained fat avocados contain fat.

Vegetables Contain:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein (depending on the vegetable)

  • Fat (depending on the vegetable.)

  • Fiber

  • Phytonutrients (good things that help us stay healthy)

  • Minerals, vitamins, 

  • Water

The vast majority of vegetables are carbohydrate and the really big thing that's going on here...

Not all carbohydrates are created equally.

There is a huge difference between eating carbohydrates in the form of vegetables or carbohydrates in the form of highly processed foods.

Grab this free handout "How to Eat 30g of Fibre a Day": 

Myth: You Need to Go into Ketogenesis to Lose Weight

Why do people always talk about "low carb" being the key to weight loss. In order to understand this misconception, we need to take a look at the ketogenic diet.

IMO this is where all the confusion stems from.

Some people say ketogenesis is the only way that your body loses weight and you need to go on a ketogenic diet to lose weight. They say if you don't allow your body to go into ketogenesis, then you're never going to lose weight.

This is not true. Yes, you can lose weight on the ketogenic diet, but it's not the only way to lose weight.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

Let me just sidetrack and explain what ketogenesis is, why it causes a lot of controversy and why some people will enjoy the ketogenic diet.

Our body needs fuel. Like any vehicle, you need to put fuel into our bodies. We can get fuel in different forms. We can use carbohydrates, fats (or lipids) or protein as fuel.

Our body uses carbohydrates as its main fuel. (Unless you're on a ketogenic diet)

Carbohydrates are made up of sugars.

Normally our body is busy running on different sugars. There are different sugars. You'll have heard of different ones like glucose and fructose. The main one is glucose.

What is a Starch?

Starches are complex carbohydrates. It's a string of glucose molecules joined up together.

Starch gets broken down into glucose.

So glucose carbohydrates are what our body uses as its main source of energy.

What is Ketogenesis?

However, we have this amazing backup system. If your body can't get carbohydrates we have this system called ketogenesis that we use in case of emergencies.

What Happens if You Stop Eating?

  1. We use up all the available glucose in our blood,
  2. We use stored glucose. E.g glycogen in our muscles and liver is a store of glucose.
  3. When all the other stores are used, your body turns on the "ketogenic" pathway. (Normally this takes 2 or 3 days.)

Our Brains Need Fuel All the Time. Either Glucose or Ketone Bodies

If your brain runs out of energy, it's lights out. Brains can use glucose or ketone bodies (which come from the ketogenic pathway.)

Ketogenesis is this fail safe that we have where our body starts breaking down stores in a different way in this pathway called ketogenesis.

What are Ketone Bodies?

Ketone bodies are formed in the liver. They're a source of fuel that our brains can use.

When our body runs out of glucose, it turns to ketogenesis to keep our brain alive.

Where does Fat and Weight Loss Come into this?

The process of ketogenesis breaks down fat to create ketone bodies.

This is why people get a little bit confused because people say, "oh, well, we're burning fat so therefore we must be losing weight".

People on the ketogenic diet is put their body into this state of ketogenesis. They're constantly using this different pathway and they're not using the normal carbohydrate breaking down pathways.

If You Eat Carbohydrates You Turn Off the Ketogenic Pathway

The idea is that you're constantly burning fat. Now, the thing is you, in order to do this, you need to be having a very high protein, high, fat diet. The minute you start adding in carbohydrates, you switch off ketogenesis and you go into normal carbohydrate metabolism.

Some Side Effects of the Ketogenic Diet

So people on the ketogenic diet put themselves into ketogenesis and they need to stay in ketogenesis by eating lots of fat, which they then burned.

Now here's the question. They are burning fat that they are eating as well as possibly fat that's on their body.

Now the ketogenic diet is a little bit controversial and it is clear that there are side effects of being permanently on the ketogenic diet.

  • "ketoflu"
  • Not eating enough fibre
  • Not a long term solution for everyone

Alot of people talk about having a ketogenic flu and not feeling great. There are other side effects as well. In my mind, the biggest side effect is that you aren't eating enough fruit and vegetables and you're not eating enough fiber. Research shows that it's really good to be eating vegetables and fiber, and these things are good for you now, another.

Sticking to the Ketogenic Diet is Difficult. It’s Not a Long Term Solution for Everyone

The big problem with the ketogenic diet is that it is not sustainable.

Studies have looked at this and generally what happens is people start off going, "oh, hooray. I can eat bacon all day long. I love bacon. That's going to be fabulous."

But the reality is that people find it very restrictive. (Which in my mind does not address this big issue that I see, which is having a good relationship with food.)

The fundamental thing that you need to do. If you want to lose weight and lead a healthy life is have a good relationship with food and then enjoy healthy living.

One of the biggest problems is that it's not sustainable.

It doesn't really matter whether it works or not because if people can't stick to it, it doesn't work. It has to be something that you can carry on for forever.  

Have You Watched my Life Changing Video?

And on a side note, have you signed up for my amazing video, which is the five steps that I use to teach my clients how to. Have a good, healthy relationship with food, how to lose 10 to 50 pounds naturally, and how to have lots of energy to sign up for that.

Find out more: 

The Key to Consistent Weight Loss is Having a Good Relationship with Food

The key to weight loss if finding a healthy way of eating and living you enjoy and can stick to. You want to install  habits and systems and routines. You want to enjoy and love healthy living.

Then you get on and enjoy the loving, healthy living thing rather than having to find another solution.

Myth: All Carbohydrates are Equal, they Affect Our Bodies Equally

Back to carbohydrates... because people say carbohydrates are evil. You need to lead a low carb life.

And here is my answer to this question. There are two major forms of carbohydrates and one of them is what I call white refined carbohydrates.

Different Carbohydrates 

  • "White refined carbs" (could be highly processed or less processed such as pasta).
  • Vegetables (a great source of carbohydrates and other healthy nutrients)

There is a Spectrum of Carbohydrates from “Healthy Vegetables” to “Highly Processed Foods”

There are white refined carbohydrates may be highly processed foods (which you want to keep to a minimum.) Highly processed foods also contain lots of other things (that aren't good for you.)

White refined carbohydrates also may be less processed such as pasta or bread. (You don't need to exclude these entirely but it can be helpful when you're trying to lose weight.)

Many foods are made up of more than one thing. They may contained fats and proteins as well as carbohydrates.

Vegetables are Healthy Carbohydrates

Vegetables contain carbohydrates.

I'm sure you've heard me going on about vegetables before. Why do I think that vegetables are the number one thing you can do to eat more healthily and lose weight?

Vegetables are naturally low in calories. You can eat an entire cabbage without feeling guilty. (Well, actually you probably can't eat an entire cabbage!)

Vegetables are full of fibre which helps you feel full up and satisfied. (You may want to add some healthy fat in as well to help you feel satisfied.)

In a nutshell, carbohydrates are not the villain. You do not need to lead a low carbohydrate diet. A low carbohydrate is essentially a ketogenic.

Do you need to Eat Low Refined Carbohydrate Diet?

Yes, you do. You want to be cutting out the processed food as much as possible. You want to be eating vegetables because they contain loads good thing for you.

Vegetables are the easy route to losing weight, to leading a healthy life and to actually having bucket loads of energy, because you feel so much better when you're eating healthily.

I hope I've addressed some of the myths and cleared up a little bit of the confusion surrounding carbohydrate.

Vegetables help you Lose Weight and Feel Amazing

Vegetables are your friends and yes, they are carbohydrates, but they are good carbohydrates and they take much longer for our body to process. 

We have to start by chewing. Well, if you take something that's got like an orange, you have to peel it first or banana. You have to peel that you have to get to, I know it's not fat difficult, but we have to. Do that tiny bit of extra work, and then we have to chew it and then we have to break it down and get through all of that fiber.

So lots of reasons why the energy within the fruit and vegetables is released on a much slower level. So I hope that was useful to you. Let me know if you have any other topics you would like to address and go and watch that video have a lovely day. Bye-bye.

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Written By Dr Orlena

Dr Orlena Kerek (MBChB from the University of Bristol, UK) trained as a pediatric doctor. She is now a family health coach. She helps busy mums who want to feel amazing by eating healthy food, enjoy a healthy life, get back into their honeymoon shorts and teach their kids healthy habits all without thinking about it.

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