What’s the Big Deal About Carbs, Anyway?

You might get the impression that the thing to do would be to eliminate carbohydrates altogether, since they seem to cause so many problems. A few diets, Atkins, the Keto diet, and others, actually try to eliminate carbs completely.  Energy, the kind that allows humans to move, think, work, play and live, comes primarily from two macro-nutrients, carbohydrates and fats. Carbs are the body’s first choice of fuel for energy. Fat is often just excess carbohydrates that weren’t needed for immediate energy when they were eaten, so the body stored them as fat. The theory behind the carb-elimination diets is, the body has an almost unlimited store of fuel in the form of fat. If we can just force the body to get to the stored fat, weight loss will naturally follow. That’s an unsustainable approach in the long run, maybe even in the mid-run.

Fat burns as fuel, but it burns in a carbohydrate fire. Without carbs to get the fire going, the body acts as if you’re trying to start a campfire with wet tinder. It just won’t burn that fat. So the trick is to have enough carbs in your diet to light the fire, but not so many that there are leftover carbs that get neatly packaged away as fat.

In the past week, I’ve added a few select carbs back into my diet. Last week I ate oatmeal twice. Oatmeal is one of the good carbs because its glycemic index is low. Oatmeal is on every recommended list of food. In my opinion, oatmeal is there because it tastes so bad that you don’t eat it. Voila! Immediate caloric intake reduction. Do that enough and you’ll lose weight. Oatmeal tastes like shredded cardboard, unless you dump a few tablespoons of brown sugar and about a half cup of cream on it. That kind of defeats the purpose of oatmeal as a low calorie, low carb food. The first time I ate it last week I used skim milk and sliced strawberries. All that did was make the strawberries taste like cardboard. The second time I mixed some flavored yogurt into the oatmeal rather than use milk. I threw about half of it out. Sunday night Nancy made chicken cacciatore, which we put over pasta. Some recipes call for cream; she just used diced tomatoes and spices. I’ve been eating leftover chicken cacciatore, minus the pasta, for lunch this week.

Anyway, for whatever reason, low carb, eating less, maybe even the dreaded “E” word (exercise) I’m continuing a slow weight loss. Here’s this morning’s result as I begin Week 4. That needle is flirting with 205, which puts me down between five and six pounds since August 1.

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