Don’t hate the Potato

Goal; Drop 10kgs

Plan; Cut out carbs


Pretty typical weight loss plan these days right?


But it’s a stupid plan


And here’s why….. Carbs are not your enemy


Not only do carbs provide your body with energy (the type of carb you eat will dictate how much energy and how fast it is provided), they also provide your body with a source of fibre that helps maintain an efficient and effective digestive system, and they are full of vitamins and minerals that are kind of important if you want to be healthy as well as looking great.


And if you have muscle to show, carbs help fill those muscles up so they don’t look like saggy half filled balloons.


Despite what I’ve just said though some of you will still be thinking, “But I want to lose 10kg and my neighbours Auntie’s hairdresser lost 10kg cutting carbs.”


So, to help you a little with that here’s a quick fun science lesson for you.


– Carbs are converted to glycogen and this is stored in your muscles and liver. 

– For every 1g of glycogen that your body stores it also stores 3g of water

– If you cut carbs, you reduce the amount of glycogen stored which means you reduce the amount of water stored.

– So that fast scale weight reduction the neighbours Auntie’s hairdresser had was most likely predominantly water weight


Now you’re probably thinking nasty things about me because I’ve burst your No Carb bubble a bit.


But give me a chance to redeem myself here


The biggest reason I get frustrated when people say they’re cutting carbs is because, usually they don’t understand what they are actually cutting


The word carbs includes all fruits and vegetables and legumes.   So the statement “I’m cutting carbs” is typically false. And while it may be good intentioned, I believe making an educated statement is more powerful.


Let me take you back about 40 sec to the point where I mentioned carbs provide your body with energy; the type of carb you eat will dictate how much energy. 


What I mean by this is carbs fall into two groups.  Hi and Low GI (Glycemic Index) Carbs.  These groups refer to the speed that the carb will raise your blood sugar/glucose levels.


Low GI carbs slowly increase blood sugar/glucose levels.  Think of it like a tap dripping.  The glucose provides your body with energy and this is slowly dripped into your system allowing your body to use it up as it’s received. And then any excess energy demands are satisfied by fat conversion.  This is a good thing


HI GI carbs cause blood sugar/glucose levels to rapidly increase.  Much like a tap turned on as hard as it can go.  If there is not enough of a demand for the amount of energy being supplied then the body needs to do something with the sugar/glucose, and this is where it gets stored as fat.   This is not what we want. 


And this is where all carbs typically get a bad wrap.  Because somewhere along the lines the typical Western Diet has switched to a predominantly HI GI carb diet. Breads, pastas, cereals, ice-cream, chocolates, not to mention all the fast food options that are available.  This constant fast supply of blood sugar/glucose means our body simply cannot use it all, so it stores it as fat.  


This was identified as the problem quite a few years ago, but the good old game of Chinese Whispers was played and HI GI carbs became “all carbs make you fat”


But broccoli is a carb, spinach is a carb, pumpkin and tomatoes are carbs, so are chickpeas and legumes – will they make you fat??  

Potatoes are a High GI carb and that is why they typically get a bad wrap but they’re not the devil either.


The issue is not carbs. The issue is the type and quantity of carbs that are most present in an individual’s diet. 


Having a diet that consists mainly of High GI carbs will lead to weight gain, but cutting them all together is not needed. 


Typically any diet attempt that involves deprivation or complete removal of a food leads to failure.


Instead of saying no to the potato, which by the way are not only a great source of fibre which can help keep you fuller for longer (leading to eating less calories) but are also full of antioxidants that help prevent diseases and deliver vitamins to your body so it can function properly; try to reduce the amount of potato you have on your plate.


Or even better yet, reduce the amount of processed carbs in your diet.  An easy way to do this is to eat less of what comes from a packet. These sorts of carbs are typically low in nutritional value, meaning they deliver minimal to no vitamins to your body and they are also not a great source of fibre, which is why you are hungry again within a short time – leading to eating more calories.


So taking all of this into account, how should you approach the carb issue?


1. Increase your low GI options – that being pretty much all fruit and veg; except for potatoes – they are High GI

2. Reduce your High GI carbs, but don’t remove them all together. The vitamins and minerals from these whole foods are still important.  High GI carbs, include grains and potatoes. 

3. Reduce and where possible eliminate processed carb options. This is best done slowly to make it sustainable. 

4. Bonus tip; don’t forget to eat your proteins and fats!!!