I help one of our members who runs a preschool with the wellness program for her employees. I received a question from one of them that, I think, is a common source of confusion for many people. Here it is, along with my answer.
If you’re trying to lose weight as an older woman should you eat carbs at dinner or only have protein and vegetables? Also, is whole wheat making us fat? Should we avoid it to be slim?
This is a very common question and one that creates a lot of confusion for many people.
First I want to go over some basic facts.
Weight loss is determined by calories. In other words, to lose weight you must eat fewer calories than you burn.
Many studies have shown that the macronutrient (carbs, proteins and fats) makeup of someone’s diet doesn’t really matter for weight loss.
It really doesn’t matter when you eat for weight loss. The only thing that matters is calorie intake. In other words having carbs at breakfast or dinner makes no difference.
In other words eating carbs at dinner is perfectly fine as long as the overall amount of calories you are taking in is less than what you are burning.
Having said that, cutting down on carbs can be a perfectly legitimate and simple way to achieve the caloric deficit necessary for weight loss. The main issue with this, however, is that a low carb approach can be difficult to sustain for people. In fact, many studies have shown that people who resort to low carb diets don’t stay on them for very long, even if they have success with the diet!
My opinion is always that the most important thing to consider when dieting is sustainability. Simply put, you should not go on any diet that you can’t see yourself on for a long time. That is the only way to truly achieve and sustain weight loss.
Lastly, whole wheat is not making us fat unless it’s eaten at a caloric surplus. Really, any food eaten at a surplus will make us gain weight.
Mitch Rothbardt, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach Castro Valley Fitness 2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley 510-755-9191