Need to cut some body fat? Try stocking up on carb-heavy foods. Yes, you read that right: go high-carb and lose body fat! After years of us buying into the idea that carbohydrates equate to weight gain, studies are now showing that increased carbohydrate consumption paired with low-fat foods may aid in body fat loss. Here is why the high-carb lo- fat (HCLF) lifestyle may be more than just your dream come true.
Debunking the low-carb myth
In a recent study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the low-carb-leads-to-fat-loss concept was overturned. According to the study, subjects on a low-fat but relatively high-sugar diet lost more body fat than those on an equal-calorie low-carb and low-sugar diet.
For so long, carbs have been getting a bad rap for increasing blood sugar levels and thus leading to weight gain. Harvard Medical School professor David Ludwig himself is a huge proponent of the theory that a high-carb diet leads to fat absorption by the body’s cells. But it now seems that the theory’s conclusions are not so clean cut and that embracing a high-carb lifestyle can also lead to effective and efficient fat loss when paired with a low-fat dietary lifestyle.
The necessity of carbs (conditionally speaking)
Carbohydrates are a source of energy for the body and are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, grains (yes, breads, pastas count), and some dairy products. The body uses carbohydrates to make glucose, the body’s main energy source. The body needs carbohydrates to function properly. Bottom line.
In a study published in The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences, researchers found that during the 6-month study period, vegan participants lost an average of 16.5 more pounds than those who enjoyed a diet that included fish, red meat, or animal products, despite the vegan diet being higher in carbohydrates.
But that does not mean all carbs are created equal. The carbohydrates consumed by the vegan group were free of refined sugars and flours and instead full of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. And to lose body fat on a high-carb diet, meals must also be low in fat.
The high carb low fat lifestyle buzz
I initially caught wind of the HCLF lifestyle when I began following Freelee the Banana Girl on Instagram and then began to watch her YouTube videos. Her boyfriend and HCLF partner in crime Durianrider are huge proponents of the HCLF lifestyle, only with a mostly raw, non-negotiable vegan twist. They derive 80 percent of their calories from the carbohydrates of fruit, 10 percent from fats, and 10 percent from protein. Freelee is famous for eating 51 bananas per day whilst retaining washboard abs. To those who even shun fruit because of its natural sugar content, the video of her performing said act will leave you speechless.
For all intents and purposes, Freelee, and those who live the HCLF lifestyle, even to the relative extreme, are living emblems that a high-carb lifestyle can indeed work - they are fit, thin, and happy.
Meanwhile, no conclusive studies have been conducted on the long-term results of such a lifestyle and the backlash to the lifestyle is rife. Even so, the HCLF lifestyle is worth our collective curiosity, even if it just means we do away with our fear of, gasp!, carbohydrates.
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