Alex Larkins



-  Carbohydrates and Fad Diets

November 2016

When we look to lose weight we think of the two options, exercise and food.  


As we are all aware, our food is one of the most important factors in deciding how our bodies are going to change.  In fact as a proportion, food is roughly 70% and exercise is 30% of how the body will form.


In this piece I am going to explore nutrition, FAD diets and explain why restricting a nutrient is not the way forward.  


I hope to give you all a better understanding of how you can make changes to see success.


As a fitness professional I hear the word diet several times a day, with each person believing they have found the SOLUTION to losing weight.  

FAD Diets.

In todays world there are so many diet options and a shed load of advertisements claiming they are a sure thing.


‘FAD’ diet is the word we use to describe most of these so called diets.  A FAD diet is an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived i.e. a craze.  


Do FAD diets work you ask? In the short term maybe, depending on your body they may have some effect, but we need to look long term and what these diets are actually doing to our bodies.


When you diet, you typically cut out a nutrient hoping that it will work.  


In my experience most people cut out carbohydrates.  


People see carbohydrates as food that bloats them and makes them fat.  It is important to remember that there are several different types of carbohydrates and that they share several roles in the body.  


When you cut out carbohydrates you will find that over the coming days, you become jaded, fatigued and angry.  That is because most carbohydrates are ultimately sent to the liver, muscles or used immediately as a fuel.  So when you cut that out it’s no wonder they act that way, without the fuel they need to maintain a normal functioning body.


I know that there will be individuals who are sceptical still about carbs so I will break it down in an easier way to identify the benefits.

Carbohydrates can be broken down into three basic categories:

- Simple Carbohydrates (SC) Referred to as ‘Sugar’

SC comes from two sources; the healthy i.e. fruit, and the unhealthy i.e. biscuits and confectionery.


The important factor to learn from SC is that it requires Vitamin B, as that helps to release food and utilise it for energy.


Fruit provides its own requirements for the body, but prolonged use of those unhealthy carbs that contain high sugar levels and low quality fats and supply no vitamins or minerals, and will start to have a negative effect on the body.

- Complex Carbohydrates (CC) Referred to as ‘Starches’

CC is based on refined and unrefined carbs.  Refined carbs are considered your unhealthy choice as they contain excessive sugar, low quality fat and contain little or no vitamins and minerals.

These products are white bread, white pasta, white rice etc..  

By changing to unrefined products such as wholemeal or wholegrain products you’ll see more benefits, including a higher level of dietary fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

- Non-Starch Polysaccharides (NSP) Referred to as ‘Fibre’

Finally your NSP products. These help the transportation of food through the digestive tract and are commonly found in fruit, vegetables, grains and beans.  


Although fibre doesn’t provide any energy, scientists believe they are vital for a healthy body.  Not only are they healthy options, but they also help with reducing cholesterol by binding with fats in the digestive tract and carrying them out in the stools.


From the breakdown of carbohydrates you can clearly see that there are right and wrong types of food to consume.


Remember it’s not about cutting out the nutrients completely, it’s about choosing the right ones.

You need to follow the same principles for the other macronutrients, protein and fats as they also have their own positives to how the body operates.

I hope that this article has been helpful and that you retain some of the information I have given.


Just by breaking down this one macronutrient you can clearly see that you don’t need to cut it out, you just need to evaluate different options of food in that category.


You also need to remember that everybody is different, you all have different needs.


You may be reading this thinking of the festive season ahead, and all the food that you would naturally expect it to include, so I will end this article by saying a phrase I have drilled into my clients - everything in moderation.

Further Details:
Alex provides personal training on a one-to-one basis, with a partner, and in groups. With a personal trainer you can do amazing things, not just for your body, but also for your mental being.



Tel: 07923367809


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