The Real Deal on Carbs, Cleanses, and Caffeine

I attended the Real Deal on Carbs seminar at the Fitness Magazine Meet and Tweet event and came back with a bunch of notes to share with you.

From Left to Right: Juno DeMelo @junodemelo, Tanya Zuckerbrot @F_Factor, and Keri Gans @KeriGans


This is the information that was in our program about the guest panelists:

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, is the creator of the popular F-Factor Diet, the only dietitian-created program for weigh-loss and optimal health that is based on fiber-rich nutrition. The F-Factor Diet evolved from Zuckerbrot's years of working with patients to help lower cholesterol or control diabetes. She found that all of her patients improved their clinical conditions and lost weight without hunger by following a lifestyle diet that was rich in dietary fiber. Zuckerbrot's second book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear the F-Factor Way-with Fiber is forthcoming.

Keri Gans is a registered dietician, a spokesperson and a media personality with a private practice in New York City. She is the author of The Small Change Diet, a past spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a past president of the New York State Dietetic Association. Gans spends the majority of her time conducting individual nutrition counseling, public speaking, writing, and consulting.


Keri and Tanya spoke freely about myths and facts related to some of the popular diets out there while Juno moderated the conversation.

There was a lot of discussion regarding the fear of carbs and how the trend occurred. The consensus was that the "anti-carb" trend came after the Atkins diet popularity.

For the most part, the discussion on carbs centered around portion control. It's important to note that all carbs are not created equal (ie. vegetable vs. cake). Both are carbs, yet one is better than the other. Keri Gans explained, "there is nothing wrong with bread . . . what it comes down to, is how much bread and what's on the bread." The sandwich is NOT THE DEVIL, but the hero deluxe is.

This reminded me of a conversation I was having with my boyfriend after having Subway's for lunch. I had a 6" sub on wheat bread - tuna, no cheese, lots of veggies. He had the Italian BMT on that Herb and Cheese bread. Curiosity got the best of us and we googled the amount of calories in his sandwich. His bread vs. my bread, a 40-calorie difference and a difference of 180mg of sodium. This was just the bread.

So why do we need carbs anyway?


Carbs are your body's primary source of energy. Carbs aren't the fat culprit, TOO many carbs is the problem. Eating beyond what your body can store as glycogen is what gets stored into fat. Your body needs "energy" for a variety of functions. Some are voluntary, like walking, running, talking, typing, etc. and others are involuntary, like the beating of your heart, breathing, and maintaining homeostasis.

Tanya used a nice analogy to explain all of this: "Think of your body as a car. If you are going to drive cross-country, you would fill up your car with gasoline. What happens if you over fill it? The gas spills over."

Too many carbs spills over to your hips, butt, and tummy as fat.

Moving on to Cleanses . . . 

Overall consensus on this topic was that cleanses are unnecessary. Our body cleanses naturally everyday - ie. bowel movements and urine.

Can a cleanse really help you lose weight and do they detox your body?

No clinical studies support that cleanses can produce weight loss. Most juice cleanses contain no protein and other cleanses lack important nutrients. Lack of protein means loss in muscle mass and a decrease in metabolism.

If done correctly, it may be a springboard for healthier eating habits.

Correct way to "cleanse": Do the cleanse and once you are done, begin introducing only healthier foods to your diet.

Incorrect way of "cleansing": Drink juice for an entire week and once you are done, return back to your regular unhealthy eating habits. What's the point?

Why torture yourself if the results aren't even sustainable?

Coffee discussion . . . 

  1. Coffee lowers the risk of Alzheimer's, basal cell carcinoma, and depression.
  2. Do not exceed whats recommended . . .three cups a day for a woman.
  3. A cup before a work out . . .does provide some burst of energy.
  4. Shun coffee if you are trying to get pregnant and if you are pregnant (no more than a cup of day).

Hope my takeaways from the seminar gave you a little insight on what the experts think. The coffee discussion was a big hit - received a loud roar from the crowd. I guess us bloggers love our coffee and laptops.

XOXO, Stay fit, Stay healthy!