Weight loss myths busted: The truth about carbs

May 7, 2014 - Nutrition

carbs 78321160In recent times, ‘carbs’ has become a dirty word within the world of weight loss. It’s been labelled a calorific horror, a diet destroyer – and an even bigger enemy than fat! But is it really? Here we shine a light on some of the well-known myths and fabrications around carbs and weight loss…

When it comes to carbs, sifting the truth from the myths can be tricky – so we asked our nutritional expert Dr Kelly Johnston, Head of Nutrition and Research at LighterLife, to give us the facts.

MYTH: Eating carbs causes weight gain
Answer: Eating too much of anything will make you gain weight, so it’s ridiculous to say that eating carbs specifically will do this. Certainly, we can decrease the health risks associated with ‘bad carbs’ (those are the sweet, sugary, processed ones) by eating fewer refined and processed foods that have been stripped of beneficial fibre and other micronutrients. ‘It is widely accepted that protein keeps you fuller longer and so a higher-protein, lower-carb, nutritionally complete diet, like a VLCD has greater effectiveness when it comes to weight loss and subsequent weight management, than almost all other food-based dietary weight-loss interventions,’ says Dr Johnston.

MYTH: Cutting out carbs can cause IBS
Answer: ‘A high-protein diet using conventional food generally means that the intake of carbs has been reduced, sometimes drastically. Often when this happens, the intake of fibre, both soluble and insoluble, which are vital for good bowel health are also reduced,’ says Dr Johnston. ‘However, IBS is a multi-factorial syndrome and it’s simply untrue to suggest that it is caused purely by a lack of carbs in the diet. In fact, some clinically proven diets advocate that certain types of carbs are cut down or removed completely in order to help manage the symptoms of IBS.’

MYTH: Dairy should be cut out while on a low-carb diet
Answer: Dairy is full of protein, calcium and magnesium. Not only is dairy generally healthy and full of nutrients (taking into account portion size and type), but there is some evidence that it can actually help you lose weight if you eat certain kinds; like low-fat or fat-free yogurt, cheese and milk. And according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who drink milk might even be able to lose more weight than non-milk drinkers.

MYTH: A low-carb diet can affect fertility
Answer: Being significantly overweight or underweight can interfere with your menstrual cycle. Dieting in order to become pregnant can be a good thing if you’re obese and struggling to conceive; very low-calorie formula diets (VLCDs) like LighterLife ensure you have full nutrition too, which is good for you and your baby. ‘Interestingly, for some women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who are struggling to conceive, a low carb diet has been shown to be one of the most successful dietary interventions to help improve the chances of conception,’ says Dr Johnston.

LighterLife Foodpacks contain all the vitamins and minerals the body needs, so you can still lose weight while knowing that your body is getting the nutrients it needs. To find out more, visit