Carbs and weight gain: myth or fact?

You want to lose weight. Should you stop eating carbs, even if for a short time? How fast can you lose weight if you cut out on your carbs?

What are carbohydrates (carbs in short)?

The term carbohydrates is given to a food group which provides the body with energy. Carbs provide energy for the brain and the central nervous system to function. The brain in particular, needs a constant supply of glucose for it to function properly.

There are two types of carbohydrates – simple carbs and complex.

Simple carbohydrates, or sugary carbs, as they are more commonly known, are found in fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products.  They are also found in manufactured food stuffs such as cakes, biscuits, pastries and processed foods.

Starchy carbs on the other hand are more complex.   The reason why they’re referred to as ‘complex’ is because this type of carbohydrate can be sub-divided into various components such as resistant or digestible starch and soluble or insoluble fibre.

Starchy carbs can be found in foods such as bread, pasta, rice, cereals, potatoes, rye and barley.

Starchy Carbs

Are carbohydrates making you gain weight?

One gram of carbohydrate has less than half the amount of calories found in fat. There are 4 kcals in one gram of carbs as opposed to 9 kcals in one gram of fat.

Carbohydrates do not contribute to your weight gain if

  • they are consumed in the right amount, as part of a calorie-controlled diet and
  • you do not add too much fat to them.

Cooked in the right way, served in proper-sized portions and with low-fat ingredients added, carbs can be a low calorie food.

Will you lose weight if you cut out carbs?

You will lose weight if you cut out any food group from your diet.  However, knowing how important carbs are for your body, would you be ready to cut out them out long term or for good?  You may be able to cut out carbs for a few months, but it will not be sustainable in the long run.

If you cut out carbs completely from your diet, you notice you will find it difficult to concentrate.  Your brain gets ‘foggy’. You will also slow down your metabolism and when you re-introduce carbs to your diet, your slow metabolism will not cope and you end up gaining weight.

You want a long term solution to your weight management. Cutting out food groups, such as carbs, certainly does not help you achieve your goals.

Instead of eliminating carbs, go for wholegrain varieties  which keep you full for longer. Wholegrain carbs also provide you with fibre, B vitamins, iron, calcium and folate, which are all very essential vitamins and minerals.

For further reading on the benefits of including starchy carbs in your diet go to



5 Tips to prepare easy, healthy meals

Don’t know about you, but when I get home at the end of a day, the first thing I reach out for, is my supper. I try to make it a point to have food ready in the fridge, cause otherwise I nibble until supper’s ready.  I’m OK if I’m out and about, but when I get home, I’m starved! From experience, I know this is especially true of young children as well.

How do you get supper ready ASAP?

1. Get organised – plan your meals: everyone has their own way of planning meals.  You can use a physical calendar, a diary or an app.  Go with whatever works for you; the secret is, do not leave meals to chance.  Make time once a week or once a fortnight to plan your meals. If you don’t, the likelihood is you’ll go for take-outs which are less healthy and more expensive. meal-planning-ideas-and-calendar-printable

When planning your meals, choose simple recipes.  Look at your diary and check what commitments you have after work; plan meals to suit your timetable.

2. Shop wisely:  keep a well-stocked store cupboard with basics such as rice, pasta, canned tomatoes, olive oil, beans, tuna, grains and pulses, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, spices and herbs etc.  Save time on shopping by getting the non-perishables in bulk and fruit, veg and fish once a week or as you go.  Save money by preparing meal plans round produce in season; it tastes better and is less expensive.

3. Have theme nights:  make your life easier.  Work with theme nights – pasta nights, chicken nights, fish nights, soup nights, etc. – and rotate every couple of weeks to keep the meal plan varied and interesting.  Ask your family for suggestions when you’re preparing your meal plan. Involve your kids and try work around meals suitable for the whole family.7 day meal plan

4. Be flexible with your meal plan: do not be hard on yourself.  Be ready for the odd night when you do not feel like preparing what you planned. Maybe you left work late and could not stop to get that last minute ingredient.  Never mind … if you have a well-stocked cupboard, you can always whip up something quickly – a plate of pasta, an omlette with homemade potato wedges and beans or a green salad with canned tuna. You can also swap the menu from another day, unless you have leftovers to save the day.

5. Batch cooking: over the week-end, when you have a little bit more time on your hands, prepare what you can – tomato sauce, soup, casserole, pies.  Cool the food completely and put it in the fridge or freeze for another day.

Cook ahead – prepare your meals one or two days in advance.  It avoids you having hungry mouths waiting for supper when you get home and allows you to enjoy preparing family meals. Cooking ahead also allows you to have a day off, every now and then, when you can put your feet up and relax with your family.

If you’re always rushed off your feet when you get home, give these tips a go – you have nothing to lose.  Organise yourself and draw up a meal plan.  Look up some simple recipes and shop for the ingredients.  Stock up your cupboards so you do not have to run to the shops every day.  Make allowance for when things do not go according to plan and prep food ahead so you make time for yourself.

Go for it and let me know how you get on …

For further reading go to