Why carbohydrate is not the villain of a healthy diet

With the bombardment of information about diets on / low carb, it sometimes seems a crime to continue eating bread, potatoes and rice. But does this make sense even if we have a balanced diet full of natural foods? Adept of possible nutrition and without prohibitions, nutritionist Julia Marques explains that carbohydrate is very important for the functioning of the organism and that giving it up in a radical way can bring negative consequences in the short, medium and long term. To find out what carbo’s functions are and understand why making you a bad guy is not a good way out for most people’s physical and metal health. Check it out!

What is carbohydrate? How important is it to our body?

Carbohydrate is a macronutrient formed by carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. When it is “broken” in the body it gives rise to glucose. This glucose is the main source of energy for the body. Therefore, the presence of carbohydrate in the diet is important so that we have enough energy to maintain our vital functions and day-to-day activities.

What are the risks of cutting carbohydrate from the diet in the short, medium and long term?

When we cut carbohydrates, we cut our daily caloric intake sharply, which means that we have less nutrients and energy for vital functions. Thus, in the short term we see as a consequence of this lack of energy, headaches, tiredness and indisposition. In the medium term, we were able to identify a drop in immunity and the appearance of allergic conditions and opportunistic infections that start to appear more frequently. However, when we remain for a long time in severe caloric restriction, resulting from the cut of this macronutrient from the diet, a reduction in the basal metabolic rate may occur, that is, a reduction in daily caloric expenditure. This picture is also known as the ever-feared “slow metabolism”.

What are the effects of prohibitionist diets on mental health?

The cycle of restrictive diets is very clear: restriction generates frustration that generates exaggerated desire and, ultimately, generates compulsion. After compulsion, guilt comes and a new cycle of restrictions begins. For a long time, mankind has used food for the only purpose they should really have: nutrition. At the moment that aesthetics became the center of attention, some foods started to assume the role of villains of the “perfect body” and the act of eating became a source of guilt and suffering. Food should again be seen as a source of life, energy and nutrients so that people can see themselves and see food with more affection.

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Many people bet on zero carbohydrate diets for a specific period to accelerate the weight loss process. How do you evaluate this strategy?

I evaluate it as an unwise strategy. Very restricted diets or zero carbohydrate diets can even accelerate weight loss in a short period of time, however they make the patient enter that same cycle of restrictions that generates later excess consumption. So is losing a lot of weight in a short time, but getting it all back in less time is still a good strategy? In addition to the reduction of metabolism that occurs in a process of severe caloric restriction, so that it makes it much more difficult to lose more weight later.

Most people believe that carbohydrate in the diet makes it difficult to gain mass and that increasing the amount of protein is the best way out for those who want to increase lean mass. Does that make sense?

It doesn’t make sense! We already know that for hypertrophy it is necessary to be consuming more calories than necessary, that is, to be in caloric surplus, and that all macronutrients are adjusted. Being adjusted does not mean that the more, the better. The amount of protein should not be exaggerated, but in the correct measure. Carbohydrate, unlike what you think, is an extremely important macronutrient in gaining lean mass. Choosing quality carbs and the right amount is essential. It is not he who makes it difficult to gain mass when consumed in a conscious and balanced way, but the excess of ultra-processed and the training performed in the wrong way.

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