The nineties marked the beginning of the culture obsessed with diets and dieting, with…
Having a good read around the internet and it seems that we’re very much still in the low-carb trend; with Keto Lovers, Paleo Geeks and just about every other low-carb variation under the sun. Carbs are evil™ Carbs will KILL YOU™ etc.
The theory with all of this is that if you go super low on carbs, then you will increase fat loss. It’s also important to remember that this was the exact same (useless) theory about low-fat diets in the nineties, but I digress.
The problem is, the research does not back this up at all. BIG problem.
Note: Check out Omar Isuf on Youtube – great resource for training and nutrition.
Now, the main benefits of low-carb diets, are that they kind of force people to eat more protein. This is incredibly helpful if they weren’t eating enough protein to begin with.
They also force people to cut out sugar, obviously. So this is great. Lovely stuff. Fantastic.
But the answer (as I’ve been screaming my head off about for a while now), is not to go to the extremes with this stuff. The solution is to raise protein intake (for those who need it – not people who are already within the fitness circle), and cut out sugar.
Not go into full-blown, completely unsustainable ketosis. And then bounce back and become depressed.
Those who actually go to the gym regularly (and lift weights) are already indoctrinated by the protein industry and already consume more than enough protein. Keto and other low-carb variations really have no value under these circumstances.
If you want to lose weight sustainably, keep the “Good Carbs” – you’ll maintain strength and performance far easier:
Number 1 – Happiness
Eliminating sugar makes everyone happier in the long-run. It’s addictive, and provides the nonsense instant gratification that our current world is full of. Doesn’t make you happy though.
So yes, you go on Keto and remove sugar, and you feel GREAT!!
“Wow I’ve found the miracle diet!”
“Oh wow I’m SO MUCH MORE FOCUSED ARGHHH!”
No, you just removed sugar. Well done.
Eliminate the good, sustainable, day-long, stable energy release from low glycemic carbs though, such as oats, brown rice, potatoes etc. and you will become less happy. Why? Because you need them.
Low carbs = high stress.
Number 2 – Lower Recovery
You will absolutely not recover from your resistance training as effectively as a diet that includes necessary carbs.
You will lose fat very quickly (and later bounce back – wohooo!), but it’s a terrible way to maintain muscle and strength.
If you want to lose muscle, go and do Keto.
Number 3 – Social Reasons
Keto can work (temporarily) if you cut out your social life. But, if you want to interact with other people whilst you’re dieting, then you are going to need to allow yourself to go over 50g of carbs (hahaha).
Last summer, I managed to get below (a legitimate) 10% body fat on 350g of carbs. Granted, older guys will need to lower this a little (and raise protein a little), but the point is, this is a whopping:
7 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF CARBS YOU ARE ALLOWED ON KETO. AND I GET FAR LEANER THAN 95% OF KETO USERS.
Number 4 – Freedom
I’ve explained before (see first links above in the introductory paragraph) that restrictive diets remove freedom of choice. Restrictions can feel great in the short-run. They give the illusion of discipline. They DO give results.
But if you want a lifetime of success, good health and lower body fat…
You absolutely cannot go down the path of extremism. 50g of carbs a day is 100% extremism. It won’t sustain your results. Once you inevitably fall of that track (which you will, I don’t care how “bad-ass” you are), you will be lost and won’t know what to do.
A solid maintenance period may actually save you, but that requires extreme willpower, planning and coaching. Most people won’t be able to do this. Especially coming out of an extreme diet.
Guys, if you get anything out of this, I want you to remember this key takeaway:
Cutting out sugar is what gets results in a diet. Not eliminating the entire (essential (in the long-term)) macronutrient.
If you enjoyed this article and are motivated to lose weight, feel free to check out my coaching services here. Thanks, I appreciate it.