Low carb or plant carb ?

At a time when it seems everyone in the First World is obsessing over carbs, you may wonder why grains, legumes, rice and starches are so prized in a plant-based diet.

It’s simple. When you adopt a low-fat wholefood plant-based diet, there is no need to focus on the macro-nutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fats. A varied diet provides the magic symphony of nutrients you need to stay fit and healthy.

So won’t you gain weight on carbohydrates?

Not necessarily. Not if you stay away from processed carbohydrates such as cake, sweets, refined white breads and flours, white rice and refined pastas. If we are honest, we all tend to sway towards comfort food especially under stress, or when on holiday or a myriad of tempting situations!

When you stay with whole grains (and that doesn’t mean a loaf of wholegrain bread a day – think smaller portions, and plenty of green vegetables), you can adjust your taste buds and thrive on a varied diet. Dr John McDougall MD turned starch on its head when he released The Starch Solution diet. Now droves of dieters are finding they can have potato again – just hold the cheese and sour cream!

As a good voice of reason, T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, weighs in to the argument in his argument: The Low Carb Fraud.

Campbell says: “Because fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are all high in carbohydrates , lumping all carbs together as unhealthy means demonizing plant-based foods as well as simple sugars”.

“A diet low in carbohydrates is unavoidably a diet high in fat, especially saturated fat, because eliminating carbohydrates means relying on large quantities of animal-based products for energy and other nutritional benefits”.

“A low-carb diet emphasizes the consumption of animal-based foods, while a low-fat diet emphasizes the consumption of plant-based foods”.

“Not only does shifting to a diet low in carbs severely minimize our intake of antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, vitamins , and certain minerals, it also shifts our dietary source of energy from carbohydrates to fat and it also shifts our dietary source of energy from carbohydrates to fat and encourages consumption of protein far above the required amount.

Why is this such a terrible thing?

Because the foods we choose to meet our energy needs make a big difference in whether we experience good or ill health.

The best advice is to stop fretting over “carbs or no carbs” and as most dieticians say, never toss out a whole food group.  – HEATHER FLETCHER

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