What is the 'super carb diet' and can it ACTUALLY help you lose weight?

9th Aug 18 | Lifestyle

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There are so many different diets out there and they all seem to be telling us different things. However, many push the idea that cutting carbs help promote weightloss.

However, a new way of thinking called the super carb diet is here to challenge this common diet idea. But what is it, and will it actually work if you want to slim down?

Who’s behind the diet?

Host of the Biggest Loser TV show in America and celeb trainer, Bob Harper came up with the plan and wrote about it in his book called The Super Carb Diet.

This was by no means Harper’s first dip into the world of diet books – he’s written a few before including The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin, and Skinny Meals: Everything You Need to Lose Weight-Fast!

After having a heart attack in early 2017, Harper says he did a lot of soul-searching and eventually came up with this plan.

What does the diet entail?

As the name suggests, the plan doesn’t mean you have to shun carbs like you would do on ketogenic diets or Atkins. Harper tells Eating Well: “Carbs have gotten such a bad rap for so long. With certain diets out there, people realised that if you drastically reduce your carb intake, you would see results quickly. The problem there is that it is very hard to sustain. The key is to put balance back on your plate and eat the right amount of all the macronutrients.”

Balance is the key word here – the diet is all about making sure you have a well-rounded amount of macronutrients in your meals. Harper recommends calculating these macros to optimise your diet for weightloss.

So… can you eat as many carbs as you want?


Meal prep. #healthyfood #allthekale #SuperCarbDiet #mealsfordays #yayfood

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Sorry, but no – this is still a weightloss plan after all. Harper stresses all carbs aren’t created equal and splits them into super carbs and ‘carbage’.

The former are fibre-dense foods that fuel the body – like wholegrain bread, and he encourages including them in your meals. Carbage is carbs that cause a spike in blood sugar, leaving you wanting more and without energy. These are a no-go for Harper.

Is it just about the diet?

Not completely, although that’s obviously a big part of it. As a personal trainer, Harper recommends exercising regularly as well.

Not only this, but he tells Eating Well how important it is to keep your stress levels in check, saying: “When you manage your stress you will be more likely to make better food choices during the day because you won’t be acting on impulse.”

Even though the name of the plan seems to go completely against common knowledge in the diet industry, it’s not actually that unusual when you get down to the nitty-gritty. If you eat whole foods, have a balanced diet and calculate your macronutrients so you’re not over-eating, chances are you will lose weight.

What does an average day look like?

Unfortunately it’s not exactly pizza for lunch and pasta for dinner. Instead, it looks like a classic diet plan focusing on lean proteins, veggies and a whole lot of wholegrains. An example breakfast is scrambled egg whites with spinach with a toasted whole grain muffin and some avocado, and dinner could be an “extra big salad” with a lean chicken burger on a whole-grain bun.

Does it work?

Probably because the diet advocates balance rather than stuffing your face with cookies, the answer is probably yes. Saucony UK coach Tom Craggs agrees that carbohydrates should definitely be part of your diet, saying: “Weightloss is created by a negative energy balance and the most effective dietary approach for most people is to not exclude any major food groups from your diet when you are trying to achieve this.”

He doesn’t think the carbs should be the enemy, because “high quality complex carbohydrates provide consistent and sustained energy for most people as well as other key nutrients and fibre.”

In terms of which ones to choose, Craggs recommends: “Brown rice, wholegrain, oats and pseudo-cereals such as quinoa are all great sources. Sweet potato, root veg and fruit are also fantastic, healthy carbohydrate sources. These types of carbs might provide 50-65% of your daily calorific intake.”

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