Carbohydrates and Body Fat
by Befit Times Magazine

"My problem is that I like carbs, but they make
me fat."

This is a phrase I commonly hear at an initial nutrition
consultation. More often than not, after doing a diet
analysis and some research, I find that the latter part of
this statement is only partly true. Which is great,
because carbohydrates are a necessary and tasty part
of life.

The basic problem comes when people don't know
how much energy they are taking in, in the form of
carbohydrates, and how much their bodies are able to
use in a typical day. Since the body will store what it
doesn~t use, you need to recognize your individual
limits. I've often worked with people who thought that
they could not eat pasta because it made them fat. The
problem was that they were simply eating too much
(and too often) of this calorie-dense food. One answer
was to reduce the calories of their typical serving by
using less pasta and adding more vegetables and/or
using a sauce that was lower in fat (which typically
makes it lower in calories). This way they could still eat
the foods they wanted, while staying within a ~calorie
budget~ that works for them.

I have successfully applied this same principle to all
other foods, even very indulgent foods, which I refer to
as ~foods for the soul.~ These are foods that are
meaningful to you and/or just taste good. Although
these treats tend to be dense in calories, you can fit
them into your calorie budget by eating less of them,
and eating them less often. This is the opposite of
looking upon ~treats~ as "cheating,~ which has a
negative connotation.

I compare this to the experience of people who have
been on strict diets that yield the physical results they
are after (if they can hang in), but are void of the types of

foods they really enjoy. This often leads to a feeling of
deprivation, which creates an exaggerated desire for
the foods they are avoiding. For most mortals, this kind
of abstinence leads to varying degrees of bingeing,
labeled "cheating,~ ~being bad,~ or ~falling off the

My solution is to find a wagon that fits you, so that you
won't keep falling off.

The basic principle is to take a look at what you are
already eating, and then make some lower calorie
adjustments. Often times, people already have an idea
of what might be an excessive amount of certain foods.
The pitfall is in thinking that you have to cut them out
completely to lose body fat. Instead, one option is to
start reducing some of the fatty, starchy, or sweet foods,
and adding more lower-calorie whole foods (like fruits
and veggies). The result will be the sensation of having
the same amount of food, yet you will be eating fewer
calories. The great thing is that these types of changes
encourage body fat loss while keeping your diet
satisfying and familiar. When it comes to
carbohydrates, the key is to know how much you can
have of a good thing.
Marco Hernadnez - Staff Writer for the Befit Times