Why You Need To Eat Carbohydrates*

Wednesday, 24 February 2016, By John Carpenter

You've made the decision to lose weight, it's time to get back into shape. You get a trainer and start working out. What's the next step to achieving that body you desire? "I know, I'll cut out carbs. No more bread, rice, pasta, etc."

Well done for being proactive with your journey. However, let's look into exactly what happens to your body when you cut out carbs completely and explore some of the effects of carbohydrate restriction. Then we'll make a decision on whether to cut out carbs completely or not.

Carbohydrates are the body's number one source of energy and are responsible for brain function, building lean muscle mass and many normal bodily functions. For these very important reasons, it is crucial that we provide our bodies with good sources of carbohydrates daily. Without them, we simply would not be able to perform consistently at a high level in our work, training, social or home life.

But what happens if I do cut out my carbs you're wondering. In the short term (1-2 days) there can be a positive effect in fat loss, as the body's carbohydrate stores will deplete and force the body to use FAT as its main energy source (fat burn). Be aware that some weight loss in this short time frame will be attributed to your body's water levels dropping (each gram of carbohydrate in the body stores 3ml's of water with it).

So why can't I just cut out carbs long term too? Well besides the reasons we've already touched on such as energy requirements, brain function, building muscle mass and normal bodily functions, an even bigger reason is what we call 'Starvation Mode'.

Starvation mode is a response by the body when it detects that you haven't provided it with enough carbohydrates (energy) lately and it decides to slow everything right down in order to conserve energy. This means your metabolism (rate at which you burn energy/fat) will slow down and in turn your weight loss will slow down or even come to a complete halt. Adding to this the body will actually try and hold on to its densest form of energy for later use as it doesn't know when you'll provide the next carbohydrate (energy) hit. What's our densest form of energy?… FAT!

So long term restriction of carbohydrates slows down our metabolism (fat burn), prevents weight loss and ensures we hold onto all our current fat stores. This is exactly what we want to avoid.

OK, so we know we need to eat carbohydrates now to ensure long term success. Some tips to allow you to do this would be to eat smaller portions of carbohydrates, eat carbohydrates earlier in the day, and reduce refined and processed carbohydrates. Best options would include:

  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Brown rice
  • Oats

To learn more about carbohydrates, other nutritional aspects and even determine your individual daily macronutrient requirements to achieve your goals please contact the team at Vision Rose Bay on 9371 7659.

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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