It's true that cutting chips, cookies, candy, and other carbs from your diet can help you uncover your abs. But if you think eliminating all the carbs is the key to reaching your weight-loss goals, we've got a few reasons to reconsider.
1. It can hurt your attitude
Going too low-carb isn't just bad for your body, it's bad for your spirit. Extreme low-carb diets negatively impact your mood, says Jeannie Gazzainga-Moloo, Ph.D., R.D., a nutritionist in Sacramento, CA.
2. It can make you more lazy
Carbs supply your muscles with the glycogen you need to hit the gym. "Without them, you may feel weaker and more apathetic about training hard," says Lona Sandon, R.D., assistant professor of nutrition at UT Southwestern.
3. It can actually make you dumber
Not eating carbs could make you dumber, according to data from the U.S. Institute of Medicine. "Going too low-carb can impair brain function and reduce your ability to concentrate properly," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., author of The Flexitarian Diet.
4. It can slow your metabolism
Fueling your muscles with carbohydrates helps you get through exhausting fat-loss routines. "Your body needs a decent supply of carbs post-workout to keep that burn going as long as possible," says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, R.D., a nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic.
5. It can make you hungrier
Slow-digesting carbs like oatmeal take longer to enter your bloodstream and help satisfy your appetite much better than junk food. "Successfully curbing your appetite is essential for weight loss," says Sandon.
6. It can hurt your recovery
After working out, your body needs carbs to repair your muscles and get stronger. Opt for a small meal of protein and carbs 30-60 minutes after training. "During that window of time, the body needs nutrients to replenish, rebuild, and repair muscle tissue for the next workout," says Sandon.
7. It isn't necessary
Eating fewer calories will let you carb-out in peace, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine. "Reduced-calorie diets, whether carbohydrate predominant or carbohydrate poor, all produce similar weight-loss results," says David W. Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.
Ultimately, your activity level should determine the amount of carbs you take in. Here's how to calculate your maximum daily allotment of the the muscle fuel:
- Beginner/sedentary guys: 1g/per pound of bodyweight
- Intermediate/moderately fit guys: 2g/per pound of bodyweight
- Advanced/highly active guys: 3g/per pound of bodyweight
Additional grams of carbs should be eaten 30-60 minutes before physical activity.