Around the holidays overindulgence in carbo- loaded sweet treats may be nearly impossible to avoid, and many of us will be making a New Year’s resolution to quit consuming carbohydrates, but are carbs really all that bad for us? Obesity can certainly have a negative impact on fertility and even a 5% weight loss can cause significant improvement in metabolic parameters. Many people who are trying to lose weight however, have the misperception that carbs are the bad guys and must be eliminated from the diet. Carbohydrates are not all bad, just the refined sugars and white flour products don’t have much to offer nutritionally. A well balanced diet should include 60% of calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 10% from fat. The carbs chosen however should be in the form of complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat or whole grain products. When buying a loaf of bread, be sure that the first ingredient is whole wheat or whole grain, not just unbleached wheat flour. Fiber is very important to prevent the glucose and insulin spikes that can come with eating refined sugars/flours. All whole grain products have some fiber, higher the fiber content, the better.
My usual advice to patients is to not go on any “fad” diets that can’t be sustained for the rest of your life, because once the diet is over, the weight invariably returns. A well balanced diet composed of all 3 food groups is very important. The difference lies in the choices we make with regards to which carbs/proteins/fats to eat. Also, the bottom line is the total amount of calories consumed in a day, regardless of the form. Caloric requirements are different for different people based on their sex, height, frame and activity level, but in general if one is calorie deficient, they will without a doubt lose weight. Daily caloric requirements can be determined by going online and finding a calculator or also by having a visit with a nutritionist or dietician. So, to sum up, as you’ve heard before, everything in moderation is the best way to go for a life- long pattern of healthy eating habits.