Why a high carb vegan diet?
Our bodies are incredibly adaptive. They are constantly adjusting themselves to meet our ever-changing situations, and yet, they work in a very complex (and sometimes frustrating) way. This is almost always to protect us. For instance, in times of a calorie deficit (when your caloric input is less than your energy expenditure), instead of burning fat from existing fat tissue to provide energy, the body can respond by slowing the metabolic rate (the rate at which it burns calories) in order to preserve itself. There are ways one can safeguard against this, such as Intermittent Fasting. See what I eat to maintain a lean, fit body while practicing Intermittent Fasting in my YouTube video, here.
To understand this concept, imagine the body like a human being whois being starved. When the captive is offered food, he will hoard it, not knowing when the next supply of energy will come.
Thus, when dieting, the body will try to synchronize output with input. In other words, low calorie diet –> slow and sluggish metabolism. On the other end of the spectrum, high calorie (particularly high carb) diet –? FAST and efficient metabolism.
The high-carb diet gets a pretty bad rap in the Western world of dieting, but as is pretty clear, thats 100% down to the profitability of the low-carb diet myth. I won’t go into too much detail in this post because there is simply too much to write (another post, perhaps?) but I do recommend you read The Starch Solution by Dr John McDougall, which talks about the history of human development and the ‘paleo myth’ – newsflash: WE AREN’T CARNIVORES.
What I will do here is provide a brief comparison of both ‘diets’.
Low-carb diets are indeed very effective at burning body fat. However, this fat burn is short-term and will come back to bite you. Low carb and low calorie diets wreak havoc on the metabolism, which is why most low carb gurus and dietitians end up gaining a significant amount of weight when they are older, whereas every high carb vegan diet ‘guru’ or figure manages to remain lean (literally, without exceptions). Don’t be a short-term thinker.
Because carbohydrates bond with water, when people adopt low carb diets, they often mistake this water-loss for weight loss. They get very excited by the speed at which they’ve shed weight, not realizing that they have merely released that water, as well as the glycogen from the liver (which houses emergency reserves of carbohydrates).
Eventually, these muscle glycogen stores become depleted. This may result in fat loss, but it will more likely result in muscle loss, fatigue and strength loss. This is because the body’s works to conserve fat, which, in times of starvation, keeps the body warmer than does muscle. Muscle is therefore first in line as an energy reserve to be burned when carbohydrates are unavailable.
Low carb diets also slow the metabolism by reducing T-3 levels. T-3 is the active thyroid hormone that directs the metabolic rate. This is one of the reasons why high carb vegans maintain such slim and fit physiques despite eating far more calories than they burn. I myself have experienced such a change. You may read about my story in more detail on the ‘About Me’ page, but in short, I have increased my calories from 900 per day – anywhere between 1500-3000 depending on my appetite and simultaneously lost 11 kg. I have incredible energy, clarity and motivation to GET STUFF DONE every day.
High Carb Diets:
The first ‘pro’ relating to high carb, low fat diets is volume. Fat is the most dense macronutrient, which means that 100 calories of fat takes up a lot less space than 100 calories of carbohydrates. After all, if you don’t eat any fat it’s hard to consume too many energy-containing calories. This is especially the case if those carbs are from natural, unprocessed sources.
Also, concentrated fats such as oils are just that – concentrated fats. Why have the extraction when you could have the real thing? Oils are not naturally available to us. It is far more beneficial to have olives, coconut and avocado in their whole form than as olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil. All oil is is the extreme extraction of fat without any of the live enzymes, minerals or fiber of the source. It is unnecessary and unnatural.
HCLF diets also decrease lipogenesis — the process given to the formation of new fat. It is far less efficient for carbs to be converted to fat to be stored as body fat than it is for dietary fat to be stored as body fat, because dietary fat already is fat. To turn carbohydrates into body fat requires energy, which burns fat itself. That is why both studies and anecdotal experience have proved that HCLF diets do not typically result in weight gain even when carbohydrates are consumed in ‘excess’.
Here is another easy-to-read article about the high carb, low fat vegan diet.
What do you think about this diet? I’d like to know your thoughts. If you’ve tried it, how did/does it work for you? If you haven’t tried it, why not? What are your concerns?
Leave them in the comments below.
Until next time,