By now you have all heard of the Atkins diet? The idea behind this “diet” is to cut out carbohydrates and live on red meat to build a healthy body and burn fat; in the time following, we watched as the world became obsessed with low or no carb diets. It is a common belief that eating the same meals as you did before; just taking out the rice, pasta, bread and potatoes is the way to get thin. But is switching your lunchtime burger for a couple of pattys with a side salad going to give you the results you are striving for?
The wheat conspiracy: The trouble with wheat is not the grain itself, it is how it is made. Before we mass produced bread, it was baked with tender love and care, it had time to rise properly (twice!) and therefore provided humans with the nutrients and energy needed. Since then we have taken the wheat grain and moulded it into many different foods of various shapes, consistencies and sizes; all of which are now machine-made, plastic packaged, preservative and additive full foods, containing no nutritional value and chemicals that are engineered to make you love the product. This then causes you to eat more and more of this fattening food. The deterioration of quality has caused many humans wheat and gluten intolerance.
The “Brown” conspiracy: If a product says “brown” on the label, do not assume this food is healthy. 9 times out of 10 this means that a white carbohydrate food has been made with brown food colorant, giving the perception that it is “healthier”. If you are wanting a wholegrain product, then check the label states “wholewheat” or “wholegrain”, otherwise you are just buying the same as the “white” labelled item.
The BIG carbohydrate conspiracy: Carbohydrates, as a food group, are not bad for you. In fact they are ESSENTIAL for the body! Without eating carbohydrates your body uses up protein stores, therefore causing the break down of lean muscle; with continued non-use the internal organs begin to be affected too. If you have been on a low or no carb “diet” the first thing you notice is your lack of energy, a foul mood and an intense head ache; this is clearly a warning from your body that you are not providing it with the nutrients it needs.
EVERY food type will make you FAT if you eat too much of it, anything your body doesn’t use will turn to fat in the body. The problem we have with carbs in the 21st Century, is everyone eats too much of them. Every meal, snack and drink is based around carbs (including sugar). So firstly, cut down on everything and look at your balance of carbohydrates to proteins. Secondly, are you eating a lot of carbohydrates late at night? Carbohydrates are a food for energy, you need them in the morning, during the day and before exercise; eating a lot before bed will cause your body to store the food, therefore resulting in fat gain.
The main problem with food: Is the nutritional value of food. People eat for taste, texture and even appearance; not for what is in their food and what they are putting into their bodies. Do you need to eat a lot of wheat based carbohydrates when you could eat fresh vegetables and fruit which are packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals as well? Do you need to eat toast for breakfast when you could eat oats which provide longer lasting energy and fibre? Is it really the one slice of bread making you gain weight or the oil and butter you cooked the meat in?
Think about the entire contents of food and read the packaging labels. You only have one body, so know what you are putting into it and if you are unsure speak to a nutritionist. Being fit and healthy is not about cutting out a food group, it’s a complete lifestyle change; you may even find you can eat more if you are eating the right things!
—Carbohydrate loading and cutting is necessary for certain sports or athletes, these are specific scientific training methods and are monitored by professionals.—
Salaams ladies! Happy eating! ❤
Safiyah Esack – 30/03/2013