Should You Avoid Carbs for Fat Loss?
If your goal is to drop body-fat, and your very first inclination is to insist you need to ‘cut carbs’
YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.
Or rather, at the very least, likely doing yourself a great disservice.
Especially if you train. (non-couch potato)
ESPECIALLY if you train often.
Whether it be heavy resistance training (lifting), sport, or even all the way to the other extreme of the spectrum—distance running and ultra-endurance.
So pretty much everyone reading—this applies to you.
Fat-loss comes as a result of a deficit of overall calories. Eating less than your body burns daily.
Calories come from food (and technically from alcohol, but that’s a different discussion).
Food is made up of the three primary macronutrients:
🟦 Fat (9 calories per gram)
🟩 Carbohydrate (4 calories per gram)
🟥 Protein (4 calories per gram)
And you could indeed create a deficit by reducing carbs.
But you could just as easily reduce calories by reducing fat.
You could even do it by reducing protein—although not a good idea for the vast majority of people.
High protein during a fat-loss phase is key for maintaining muscle mass, among other things.
So it goes: we‘re left with reducing calories through either fat or carbs.
As far as fats go, a minimum amount is absolutely necessary for maintaining certain bodily functions—such as the production of hormones. An adequate amount of fat also helps satisfy hunger up to a certain extent.
Beyond that amount, there aren’t much in the way of positives of having more (for the average person).
Additional carbs, on the other hand, have numerous unique benefits that extra fats do not.
– Is the body’s preferred and primary energy source, and fuels high-intensity exercise much better.
– Replenishes muscle glycogen (stored energy within the muscles), whereas fat and protein do not. Especially post-exercise.
– Facilitates training intensity, performance, and overall energy level—especially during higher-volume sessions.
– Has been shown to be somewhat anabolic (conducive to muscle gain) as well as anti-catabolic (spares muscle loss). Both equally crucial for improving body composition.
– Promotes faster recovery from training bouts and events.
And that isn’t all.
Carbs are suspected to promote the production of seratonin, a feel-good chemical in the brain.
Potentially promoting improved mood, motivation, cognition, and restful sleep.
So yes—carbs can literally make you happy. In more ways than one.
Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that everyone attempt to eat 80% of their calories from carbs.
It’s highly individual—factors such as activity level, leanness, specific type of training, etc., should be considered.
As I said above: for anyone reading this (save those aiming for ketosis), avoiding carbs simply for the sake of avoiding carbs is likely not a very good idea—and certainly not essential to lose fat.