Boris Johnson, whatever your opinion of him politically we can all hopefully agree he is not the man we would go to first for health advice.
He’s been in the news a handful of times regarding his diet previously; to announce he was giving up carbs for January one year and another time to reveal his food and eating habits which included copious amounts of coffee, tea and diet coke, chocolate cakes for breakfast and pastries throughout the day in addition to a severe lack of fruit and vegetables and no real meal structure.
This time however he announced he is changing his diet and lifestyle to lose weight and become healthier – great! By ‘cutting out carbs’…oh, not so great.
If you click back on the earlier blog post about keto diets you can read about why hight fat, high protein diets are not ideal and carbohydrates are most definitely not the enemy.
In this blog, we wanted to highlight some issues and reiterate previous points, in case the Prime Minister happens to be reading…
- The majority of people already do not get enough fibre in their diet, the NHS estimate average adult intake is 19g when it should be 30g. By cutting out bread and potatoes etc a large amount of the daily fibre will drop also, unless properly replaced with other fibre rich foods.
- No one likes the ‘no pain no gain’ cliché statements, but one we can get mostly on board with is ‘there is no bad food, just a bad diet’. Carbs are not evil but yes eating bread and only bread would be a terrible idea. Although similarly so would eating kale and only kale, or only Shredded wheat, etc.
- With the mindset of everything in moderation, if your diet is particularly high in calories and you’re gaining weight, in order to reduce your calories you may ‘cut’ a lot of carbs out overtime as you reduce your overall calorie intake. A large reduction in any of your macronutrients is only needed if you are eating them in large excess. Everyone’s calorie reduction and amount of ‘carbs cut’ required is relative to the individual. The average person doesn’t need to completely cut carbs from their life.
- When people are saying ‘cutting out carbs’ they usually mean bread, potatoes and pasta. Here is what is great about these three food items:
- Slow release energy – they gradually provide the body with energy without causing rapid spikes in blood sugar
- Fibre – helps to maintain normal bowel function
- B vitamins – helps the body utilise energy from the food we eat
- Particularly folate – required in pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence
- Iron – necessary to transport oxygen around the body and prevent iron deficiency anaemia
- Calcium – maintains healthy bones, teeth, muscular movements, and nerve messaging
- A terrible diet made slightly less terrible is still not a good diet. Removing chips from a diet that is based around junk food is making a step towards improving it, but it still isn’t healthy. A low or no carb diet isn’t any better for you if the body still isn’t being provided with the minerals and vitamins it requires to function and thrive.
- Further to this, any reduction is going to cause weight loss if it causes calorie deficit. Water retention and hormones will come into effect as well, sure, but on the whole if you cut the calories you consume to lower than the calories you expend – weight loss will happen. Boris Johnsons full statement was that he was cutting out late night cheese (calorie reduction), chocolate (calorie reduction), starting to exercise more (increased calorie expenditure) and drinking less red wine (calorie reduction). These things alone will cause a weight loss for him, and as long as he is also introducing enough vitamin packed fruits and vegetables to his meals and snacks and keeping on top of water consumption, this sound like the outline of a healthy lifestyle plan. No need to shout about cutting carbs as the key. Absolutely none.
We are picking on one person here yes, but this man is supposed to both represent and set an example to the country. After the insulting and contrary Eat out to help out ‘here’s some junk food discounts’ scheme followed by ‘The UK needs to lose weight’ campaign, comes this mis(non?)informed carbohydrate bashing announcement. Where are the qualified government advisors who should be stepping in and monitoring and correcting what is put out to the public?
Have a baked potato for dinner tonight and fill it with homemade coleslaw and salad. Enjoy the taste, nutrients and comfort you get from it. (Just maybe don’t have one filled with pasta, in a sandwich, with chips.) But more importantly don’t feel guilty for eating something from one of the important required food groups because Boris Johnson said so.