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No Carb Diets – Do they Work?

Posted by Liza Muravyeva MS RD LD/N on May 21, 2012 7:17:00 AM

You have heard about, and maybe even tried the Atkins or South Beach diet. Did you find yourself dropping weight during the first 2 weeks? Then as soon as you stop; you put it all back on? There have been plenty of diets on the market that have cut out carbohydrates completely. While people might find they could lose some weight that first week, the results wouldn’t stick once they incorporated carbs again. This is because most of that weight is water weight, not actual fat loss. No carb diets are a temporary fix! You need to properly cycle food to encourage fat loss within your body.it

noCarbDiet DoTheyWorkOur bodies take unused glucose after a meal and turn it into glycogen - which we store in our liver and muscles. The glycogen holds on to water and when our blood sugar gets low (if you haven’t eaten in hours), our body begins to break down the glycogen and uses it as glucose. Therefore, if you do this process for a week, you deplete your glycogen stores and lose the water weight as well. You might wonder; is it good to cut carbohydrates out of your meals? Let’s take a look at what a carbohydrate is and evaluate its necessity.

What is a carbohydrate?

It is simply an organic molecule composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They are also known as sugars and starches. The difference between a simple sugar like fructose which is found in candy and a more complex molecule such as cellulose found in celery, is in the structure (1).  This is why a complex carbohydrate like a vegetable takes longer to fully digest than a piece of candy. Carbohydrates main role is to provide the body with energy (1).

Do we really need carbohydrates?

The answer is Yes AND No. If you’re idea of carbohydrates are donuts and cheese crackers, then NO. But if we are talking about complex carbohydrates that actually have nutrients in them such as sweet potatoes, brown rice and vegetables; then YES. Someone that is sedentary can probably get by without eating too many of these sources. However, if you’re training and working out regularly, then complex carbs will definitely add energy to fuel your workouts.

Also, active people who go days without any carbohydrates may report feeling “low” or out of energy. This is because your brain is relying on a continuous supply of glucose as its primary energy source.  If you're training hard without supplying your body with the proper amount of complex carbohydrates each day (remember: not the junky carbs), you may find yourself with low energy as your body quickly runs through its glycogen stores. As your body depletes its glycogen stores, it is important to replace them to keep up your energy for further training.  Without replacing your glycogen stores, your body will breakdown proteins before kicking into a state of ketosis. Keep in mind that the carbohydrate demands of an endurance athlete, a bodybuilder, and somebody who trains a few days a week will be very different. The important thing is to choose the right kind of carbohydrate and the proper amount for your specific style of training.

Carbohydrates Pre-workout and Post Workout

If you are getting ready for a workout, or just finishing - it’s great to consume some protein and carbohydrates. Protein Rush® RTD is a quick and convenient way to get protein - both pre and post workout. Ingesting carbohydrates before a workout will give you energy so that you're able to last longer during your workout. Ingesting carbohydrates after, will deliver the glucose your muscle cells need to start rebuilding and get stronger. Again, I am stressing the importance of taking in a high quality carbohydrate whole food or supplement such as the upcoming VPX Product Carbonx – not junk food like pizza and donuts! Quality carbs and timing makes a huge difference in your muscle recovery and muscle gains. Fast delivery of a fuel source to the muscles enables your body to recover quickly and more efficiently. Therefore, rather than waiting 2 hours to replenish your glycogen stores, do so just after you complete your workout. An added benefit of ingesting a supplement like Carbonx, is that it has been shown to deliver the nutrients to the muscles even faster than other carbohydrates - and will help you increase your Resting Energy Expenditure! (2) This is very beneficial when trying to gain lean muscle mass and burning more fat!

Disclaimer: Consult your physician prior to taking any supplements or participating in any exercise regimen.


  1. Martini. F.H., Ober W.C., Garrison C.W., Welch K., Hutchings R.T. Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology. 7th edition. Copyright 2006 Pearson Education.

  2. Shimotoyodome A, Suzuki J, Kameo Y, Hase T. Dietary supplementation with hydroxypropyl-distarch phosphate from waxy maize starch increases resting energy expenditure by lowering the postprandial glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide response in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2011 Jul;106(1):96-104. Epub 2011 Feb 22.

How do you get your carbs pre-workout or post workout? Comment below.

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Topics: health, diet, health and fitness, nutrition

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