While no/low carb is no longer the craze it was ten years ago, it remains firmly entrenched in our cultural consciousness. These days, people looking to cut out calories may not cross off carbs altogether, but they will choose salads over sandwiches or chicken with vegetables over pasta. The guiding principle at work is that carbohydrates are our energy foods – and unless we burn them off, they turn to fat. If you eliminate carb-rich foods, or at least minimize them (so the theory goes), then you’ll lose weight….
Now there is some truth in the idea. But it’s less about what you eat and more about how you feel after eating it. Here’s the skinny: carbs attract water. You don’t become fat from that water – but you may feel fat… for a few hours anyway. Likewise, a carbohydrate heavy diet may lead to retaining more water more often, so you feel fatter more consistently.
That all said, it’s calories that make you fat, not the type of food they come from. Protein and carbs both have 4 calories/gram while fat has 9. If the quantities you eat are appropriate, you will satisfy your hunger and maintain a healthy weight, no matter what foods you consume. If your stomach is stretched by constant consumption or increased quantity, you will crave and consume more calories and thereby, carry more weight.
And that’s not to mention the fact that if you cut out any food group, odds are you’ll only wind up craving exactly what you’ve eliminated, while overeating everything you haven’t! Once again, it comes down to quantity – as long as we overeat (no matter what it is we’re overeating) we’ll always be hungry for more!