Fruits and Vegetables

Low Carb Diet vs. High Starch Diet: Which One is Better? The Answer May Not be so Obvious

Probably the most confusing part of nutrition is just trying to figure out how to eat healthily. This is difficult because you have doctors, trainers, and nutritionists who all say different things, which just confuses all of us, including myself.

Just for fun, I asked the general public using Quora what the pros and cons of high starch (high-carb) diets are. Generally, we accept that a low carbohydrate diet helps with weight loss, so I wanted to see what people thought about a high starch / high carb diet. The answers I received were very different from one another. One “advocate of low carb lifestyle” explained that a high starch diet is the cause of obesity, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease, and cancer, and these occur because of the lack of human adaptation to an agriculturally based diet. An athletic trainer commented saying there are absolutely no pros to a high starch diet and that the whole idea is a fraud. A food security consultant countered that viewpoint saying complex carbohydrates like what are found in starches are not the problem, simple carbohydrates such as sugar is the problem. There were a couple comments that I would consider to be the ‘voices of reason’ that explained the conditions of each diet, and how it depends on what you need individually. Then someone posted saying the only cons to a high starch diet are that “people love to eat what they have always eaten. You will be made fun of and ostracized by the ignorant…Eat starch be healthier and live better.” With only 12 answers to my question, I got a full spectrum of answers.

 

 

 

Here’s another good example of this spectrum of opinions. Both of these books were written by very intelligent doctors, and both books are highly rated best sellers. The difference is one book is telling you to eat zero grains to lose or maintain your weight, while the other book is saying you should eat predominately starches, which include grains, to lose or maintain your weight. So hold on a second, no wonder everyone is confused, these books are telling you to do two completely different things to lose weight.

It turns out there is a very simple reason why people have seen such great successes and such great failures with both diets. Losing weight is more of a factor of energy use and consumption rather than the kinds of foods you are eating. So 1000 calories of starches are pretty much the same as 1000 calories of beef in the context of weight loss. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other health benefits besides just weight loss. The general consensus believes that a plant based diet is healthier than a diet based on animal products. That should mean a starch based vegan diet like what is described in the book The Starch Solution should be healthier than a no-grain diet as described in The No-Grain Diet. Nonetheless, people are living healthy lives on both of these diets. How are both of these polar opposite diets allowing us to stay healthy?

I believe the answer is simple, both diets allow you to eat fruits and vegetables and encourage a vast majority of your calories to come from them. A typical meal on a high starch diet, according to the book, will consist of mostly fruits and vegetables with perhaps some dish with beans, corn, rice, and/or potatoes. A typical meal on the no grain diet, according to the book, will also consist of mostly fruits and vegetables but will also include a portion of meat. When eating a diet with a large focus on fruits and vegetables it’s hard to go wrong. Where people begin to see problems with their no-grain/low-carb or high-starch/high-carb diet is they will not base their diet on fruits and vegetables, but rather eat other foods that fall into their diet category. For example, someone may begin a low-carb diet and only eat beef, pork, and chicken with no other food groups.

Regardless of what diet you choose, if you want to be successful, start by filling your plate with the fruits and vegetables your diet allows.  The remaining calories you can fill with anything. The high carb high starch diet says to fill it with rice, pasta, and potatoes. The no grain diet says to fill it with meat and dairy. One or the other may fit you better, but both, when prioritizing fruits and vegetables, can help you lose weight and stay healthy. That is why both books, although contradictory to one another, are highly rated by the readers. There are many ways to reach your goals, so if one way doesn’t work for you, try another and you may be surprised that something you once believed to be the cause of weight gain can actually help you lose weight.

Advertisements

5 Surprising Reasons That May Prevent You From Losing Weight

2 Weeks to Health recently surveyed 226 people who have attempted to lose weight. Of the 226 people, 38% claimed they reached their weight goal and were able to keep the weight off for at least a year. The other 62% were unable to reach their goals and keep the weight off. 2 Weeks to Health analyzed the differences between those who were and were not successful and found 5 surprising methods that actually hurt your chances of reaching your weight loss goals. All of these methods have worked for many people under certain conditions, but based on our survey doing any one of these make you at least 10% less likely to achieve your weight loss goals.

1. Signing up for a gym membership

percentage-of-successful-weight-losers-that-had-a-gym-membership
Only 29% of people who successfully reached their weight goals had a gym membership.

We all know that there are tremendous benefits to buying a gym membership. However, our survey showed that you are 10% less likely to reach your weight loss goal if you have a gym membership. Only 29% of people who achieved their weight loss goals had a gym membership. Why is this? Usually one of the first things people will do when they decide to lose weight is to purchase a gym membership. Whether or not the gym membership is used is a different story. By just owning a gym membership, statistically you are less likely to lose weight, but consistently using what the gym has to offer will inevitably help your weight loss goals.

2. Going on a low-carb diet

Percentage-of-people-who-sucessfully-lost-weight-on-a-low-carb-diet
Out of everyone who successfully kept their weight off for a year, only 18% claimed to have lost weight using a low carbohydrate diet.

Besides purchasing a gym membership, when someone decides to lose weight they usually choose 1 of 2 diets, the low-carb diet or the low-calorie diet. The low-carb diet has become popularized by diets such as the Adkins diet, and are also on par with most ketogenic diets. While low-carb diets have been proven to help people lose weight, a crash low-carb diet is never sustainable. Our bodies and minds need energy from carbohydrates to function normally, which means people who lose weight on a low-carb diet are usually unable to keep it off for a full year. While many people would benefit from a reduction in how many carbs they eat, a strict low or no carb diet is usually unnecessary.

3. Going on a low-calorie diet

percentage-of-people-who-used-a-low-carlorie-diet
44% of people who were successful in losing weight used a low-calorie diet, while 55% of people who were unsuccessful used the same technique.

This is the one that surprised me the most. Out of everyone who attempted a low-calorie diet to lose weight, a higher percentage of the unsuccessful people tried this diet than the successful people. Overall, roughly half of people on a weight loss mission try this, but out of everyone who was successful, only 44% of the success stories incorporated a low-calorie diet. But how? Calories in, calories out, right? Well, yes, the basics of weight loss are that you must use more calories per day than you consume to lose weight, but you don’t particularly need to go on a strict low-calorie diet to achieve this. Instead of going on a low-calorie diet, you can try exercising more often and promising yourself that you remove soda and/or dessert from your diet. You can set a standard for yourself to eat only whole foods with plenty of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. It appears that most people who successfully lose weight and keep it off for a year don’t specify a low-calorie diet, but focus on eating good foods and exercising, which in return leads to a calorie deficit that leads to weight loss.

4. Being a woman

percentage-of-men-and-women-who-sucessfully-lost-weight
According to our recent survey, 62% of males achieve their weight loss goals and keep the weight off for a year while only 38% of women achieve their goals.

Almost 2 out of every 3 men who attempted to lose weight reported they were able to achieve their weight goal and keep their weight off for a year. Meanwhile, only 1 in every 3 women reported they were able to do the same. Unfortunately for women, human physiology makes it easier for men to lose weight than women. The average man has less body fat and more muscle than the average woman. This means the man’s metabolism is going to run faster than the woman’s, and the man will burn more calories. Men can naturally eat more and burn more calories than women, which means if you are a woman, you are automatically 33% less likely to reach your weight goals as compared to men.

 

5. Adopting a diet that requires a strict program such as Weight Watchers

Success-rate-of-weight-watchers

Compared to the successful group, the unsuccessful group was 10% more likely to attempt Weight Watchers to lose weight. Of those who tried Weight Watchers, only 19% were successful. Taking on a strict and quantitative meal and exercise plan like weight watchers may work for some, but the majority were unable to reach their weight loss goals using this plan.

 

These 5 reasons that may prevent you from losing weight can all be very useful for certain people in certain conditions and when used correctly. Next time you set a weight loss goal, ask yourself “does this work for me”. If the answer is no, then you have 2 options, change yourself or change your methods. While changing yourself by increasing your discipline and motivation is always a good option, it is even better to look at your methods for losing weight and ensure they are sustainable. Just because you bought a gym membership and put yourself on a diet does not mean you will see results, and based on statistics you are less likely to reach your goals. You must always put in the work and adapt your strategies to fit your needs.

Weight Loss FAQ

I get a lot of questions about weight loss. Some are more legitimate than others as you will soon see, but I want to share with you some of my favorite and most common questions I receive. These questions are based on energy consumption and energy use. The human body is amazingly complex and I receive a lot of questions about very specific diets or foods and their physiological effects.

What is the Best Diet Plan to Lose Weight?

The best diet plan for anyone to lose weight is to simply count calories! The only way to lose body fat is to have a sustained calorie deficit, meaning you consume fewer calories or burn more calories than your body needs for the day. You can start figuring out your diet plan by using this calculator to estimate how many calories you should be eating Calorie Calculator

When you calculate your calorie values, pay attention to the Calories/day to maintain your weight, Calories/day to lose 1 lb per week, and Calories/day to lose 2 lb per week. The Calories/day to maintain weight is just that, the calculators estimate for if you eat more than that amount of calories for a day, then you will begin to store fat and gain weight. Notice that to lose 1 lb per week all the calculator did was subtract 500 calories from the amount you need to maintain weight. To lose 2 lb per week it subtracted 1000 calories. This is based on the 3500 calorie rule. It’s estimated that it takes a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to burn 1 pound of fat. This divides out to be 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound of fat per week, or 1000 calories per day to lose 2 pounds of fat per week.

So why doesn’t it list 3 pounds of fat per week? Anything more than 2 pounds lost per week begins to become an unhealthy amount of weight loss. This is about when you begin to have a calorie deficit lower than your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of calories you need for your body to function if you were sleeping all day. Having a deficit below your BMR will make your body run inefficiently and cause you to feel weak and your mind cloudy. So the best diet plan is simply having a calorie deficit of about 500–1000 calories per day.

This deficit can come from either eating less, exercising more, or both. If your body needs 2000 calories to maintain weight, then to get a 500 calorie deficit, you can consume 1800 calories and burn 300 calories. Or you can consume 2000 calories and burn 500 calories. Or not exercise and just consume 1500 calories. It doesn’t matter how you get to your goal calorie deficit as long as you get there.

Weight loss is all about calorie deficit, so the actual foods you eat to get there doesn’t matter much for weight loss, friend.you but does matter for your overall health. So on your path to a sustained calorie deficit resulting in fat loss thus weight loss, try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, limit your fatty meat consumption, and keep in mind that carbs are not what causes weight gain, so whole grains are your friend.

What is the Best way to Lose 30 Pounds in 60 Days?

The easiest way to lose 30 pounds in 60 days is to amputate your least favorite appendages. Other than that it is nearly impossible and here’s why:

The rule of thumb is in order to lose 1 pound, you must have a 3500 hundred calorie deficit. So to burn 30 pounds, you need to burn or not consume 105,000 calories over those 60 days. You will need to have a calorie deficit of about 1750 calories per day to lose 30 pounds in 60 days. Considering the average male needs to eat about 2500 calories per day to maintain weight, and the average female needs 2000 calories, you will need to be eating in the 500–1000 calories range per day to lose weight that fast. Or you can eat 2000 calories and burn 1000 calories through exercise. Regardless the sum of what you eat and what you burn while exercising needs to be well below 1000 calories.

I would not recommend this. Your body needs a certain amount of energy through calories to properly function. Getting such little nutrition for 60 days is essentially anorexia, and is not healthy by any means. So, if you want to lose that much weight, you will need to lose it through other methods rather than just burning fat, of which none are healthy and I do not recommend them. However, high protein low carb diets can decrease your water weight and cause very quick weight loss, dieting pills on top of a diet may help (but you’re still essentially starving yourself), and of course there is liposuction.

TLDR: There is no fully healthy way to do this, but essentially the only way is to nearly starve yourself on a low-calorie diet.

What are some possible reasons as to why I’m gaining weight when I’m not even eating a lot, I’m on a low-carb diet, and I have a desk job?

A sedentary lifestyle, depending on your weight, age, and gender, can bring the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain weight down as low as 1300 calories per day. Even if you’re not eating a lot, you are still eating higher than what your body needs to maintain its weight. Also, a low carb diet isn’t helpful if you aren’t also watching your proteins and fats. All of them together make up your caloric intake, so focus on eating a low carb, low fat, and low protein diet. Choose foods that are filling but low calorie to eat, these will typically be fruits and vegetables.

If you are already eating lower than your recommended calorie intake, which can be calculated here Calorie Calculator , then you may have a thyroid issue which could be excessively be lowering your metabolic rate. If you think this is the case then contact your doctor.

How can I Count my Daily Calories Gained from Food? Is this Possible?

You can get pretty close to calculating your calorie intake by keep track of what you eat, how many servings you eat, and then referencing that with the nutrition facts on the packaging. Look for the label like this one:

Notice this label states that for every 172 grams you eat, then you gained about 200 calories. You can buy a scale to weigh your food, although most servings will have an easier measurement such as number of crackers, or 3 cookies, or something like that. If you keep track of everything you eat, just add up how many calories you consumed from each item that day, and you will know how many calories you gained from food for the day.

Follow up question: “Ya, but it is really a difficult one to weight your food & count while at the office. There is no app for it?”

If you go to Computational Knowledge Engine they have a really good database of pretty much every type of food that can offer nutritional estimates. Just search for the food you are eating and they will give estimates. But you will still need to do portion control, which will involve possibly measuring your food. I would suggest taking your lunch to the office and have it pre-made and measured so you can do all that at home.

Will Swallowing Glass Marbles Make me Less Hungry and Lose Weight?

Oh jeez no. In a similar Quora post I saw about someone asking what to do when swallowing a glass marble, some of my favorite answers were “unswallow the marble”, “it’ll pass and come out the other end”, and my favorite was a comparison how everything will be fine because the hungry hungry hippos do it all the time. But real talk, one glass marble should pass through your system, multiple glass marbles will win you a trip to the emergency room. The quote “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” comes to mind. Please refrain from eating any objects that aren’t food. If you want some real weight loss tips then ask me anything, just don’t swallow marbles.