If you answered no, then do not eat refined carbohydrates.

Sounds simple, but it may be easier said than done for most of us who have been in a long term, somewhat dysfunctional relationship with sugar and bread!

If you answered ‘yes’, well… lucky you… you are now part of a small minority group who are very blessed to not have a life of health complications associated with being overweight and are probably lucky enough to have learnt how to eat the right foods that do not lead to weight gain, perhaps you have good genes or you have already read Dr Sandra Cabot’s books!

Before you read this article, I recommend that you put down that sandwich or you may just choke on your food and also because I have your best interests at heart!

Bread causes problems for a lot of people.

It doesn’t seem to matter how much the benefits of eating high protein, low carb and high fat diets are discussed in the media, it seems that the message isn’t reaching the target audience or perhaps people are already suffering from information overload and cannot take any more dietary information on board. It is understandable. There are a lot of mixed messages out there.

Everyone seems to have a different opinion when it comes to what best suits human beings nutrition requirements and you would think that the ideal diet would be something we could all agree upon by the year 2014.

Apparently not. Instead, it seems to have become more common for everyone to have different thoughts on the subject and we now have more diets and fads than ever. Some with credibility and scientific validation, others based on moral objections and well those that are just simply outrageous.

On a daily basis, I see everything from paleo, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian being promoted as the optimal diet for humans. We are all different and we follow diets for various reasons. Some people have moral objections to eating animal products, some people have allergies and intolerances.

But the one thing that we all have in common, is that processed grains and sugars will make us gain weight if we consume too much of them and don’t exercise enough, unless you have been genetically gifted with a fast metabolism found in those with a thyroid  body type. If you would like to find out your body type – click here

No matter which diet philosophy you follow, always remember that the liver is the major fat burning organ and excess carbohydrates are linked to development of fatty liver.

A fatty liver does not burn fat efficiently and promotes abdominal weight gain. Abdominal weight gain (or central obesity) is a risk factor for development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

It is a daily occurrence to see patients shocked, baffled and questioning my sanity when I tell them to forget everything that they learned in the 1980’s about low fat diets being helpful for weight loss.

Those who successfully lived and breathed a low fat, high carbohydrate diet and attended step aerobics classes in their full length leotards in the 80’s are now commonly presenting with type 2 diabetes and wonder why their ‘perfect diet’ failed them.

Some blame bad genes, others bad luck, some blame giving up their step aerobics classes in 1989… but the truth of the matter is that if you consume a low fat diet, which by definition allows one to consume as much sugar as they would like without having any ‘fat’ at all… well, to put it simply… you’re going to gain body fat!

Even great genes are not going to help you escape the side effects of a high carbohydrate diet forever!

Unless of course, you are an athlete or a thyroid body type with tremendous energy requirements and you are using this fast burning fuel for energy.

Many of us eat like athletes, but we don’t participate in marathons.

The reality is that many of us consume far too much carbohydrate based fuel for our energy requirements. Activities such as sitting at a desk, driving a car and walking to the kitchen do not burn enough energy to justify what we are consuming.

I am not part of the tribe who recommends eating spoonfuls of coconut oil mixed with organic butter, but I am surely not going to stop you if you want to give it a go.

On the other hand, if I were to see someone I care about doing the same thing with a spoonful of sugar, a half a loaf of bread or guzzling a bottle of soft drink, I would discourage it.
For two reasons;

  1. I know how detrimental this is to the body.
  2. Self preservation. I do not want to deal with the mood swings caused by the crash and burn after a sugar high. It’s dreadful. Think of small children after a sugar filled birthday party throwing a tantrum when the sugar high wears off and apply that principle to adults. It’s not pretty!

Healthy fats don’t make you fat and they certainly don’t upset our moods. That is sugars job!

Apparently, some people believe that bread is something that humans cannot survive without… well, that is completely untrue but I am often asked the question “So, if I can’t have a sandwich… what can I eat?” And the question is a genuine one. “If I can’t put something between two slices of bread, how will I eat it?”

So, what should you be eating?

My tips:

  • Put a variety of salad vegetables into a bowl add some lemon juice, olive oil, shaved parmesan cheese, pine nuts, hommus or tahini and tinned fish or a couple of boiled eggs with salt and pepper. Make sure that you include a source of protein to keep you feeling full.
  • If you prefer food of the hand-held variety or eat lunch on the run: Roll some delicious seasoned chicken breast, avocado and salad inside lettuce leaves as a wrap.
  • Boil some eggs and put them in the fridge at work or if you don’t have access to a fridge take some tinned salmon, tuna, mackerel or sardines to work.
  • Buy some apples and seasonal fruits – Leave a small supply at home and work.
  • Keep raw nuts and seeds in your bag at all times.
  • If you crave for something sweet, there are protein bars that are sweetened with sugar alcohols to help you fill the void that sugar has left in your life (Sugar alcohols taste sweet but are not absorbed). These taste divine when you are having a moment of weakness and are tempted to fall off the wagon. Guilt Free Hazelnut bars are high in protein and very low in carbs, so you can have a sweet snack without the guilt.
  • If you do have a slip up along the way, do not let it derail you. We are human and sometimes we fail, but the important thing is to keep on trying until we succeed.

Keep it simple. Life is complicated enough.

If you want simple strategies and more information to help you lose weight and keep it off, I highly recommend reading Dr Sandra Cabot’s books Can’t lose weight – You could have syndrome X and Fatty liver – You  can reverse it.

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