Tuesday, 15 November 2011


According to Helsingin Sanomat, almost 40% of Finnish people have decreased their intake of bread this year in order to eat less carbohydrates.


Now, we don’t know how much of that information is actually true, but let’s assume that 40% of the Finnish people (that would be about 2 million people) are eating less bread than before. I’m not a nutritionist, and even though the topic interests me, I must admit that I’ve never really clarified my opinion on the great carb-debate. The following “statements” are my own personal observations and opinions, and they are not based on any scientific evidence.


  • Before eliminating (or drastically decreasing) bread (and other carbs) from our diets, we need to ask ourselves: what is the essential role of carbohydrates? Do our bodies and brains need carbs in order to function?
  • There are carbs, and then there are carbs. Using common sense (a very subjective kind of sense, sorry about that), we might figure out that some carbohydrates are better for us than others. The same goes for bread. The nutritional values vary a lot between products, so being attentive to available information is a good thing.
  • Some people proudly tell everyone about their new diet – from now on they are eating NO carbs. Except some cake, and alcohol, and ice cream. And NO exercise. I wonder which the better alternative for one’s health is: eating a little bit of bread now and then and working out regularly, or banning carbs and spending all day without physical activity.
  • Now, I have noticed that a breakfast consisting of a couple of slices of rye bread with butter and cheese/ham keeps hunger away until noon when it’s lunch-time. This works for me. It might not work for you – the point is: everyone is different, and instead of believing blindly in what media tell us, we should listen more to our bodies. Especially bread can be problematic since it might lead to allergic reactions, in which case it’s obviously not a good idea to eat it.
  • Instead of banning carbohydrates altogether, one’s diet could probably be improved greatly by a few, subtle changes. Swapping sugary snacks for vegetables and fizzy drinks for their diet-versions (or even better – water) might sound like the obvious choice, but still – it seems there are still a lot of people out there who don’t understand what a big bottle of coke + a bag of candy a day can do to you.
  • Not just carbohydrates! Yeah, I think I/you/we can eat carbohydrates, but the point is also to ensure a good enough intake of fat and protein. Living on only bread is not the ideal option (not for me anyway).









Allie said...

Simply, the body doesn't need carbs because carbs break down into sugars for quick use* and if they're not used immediately, then they get stored as fat. so if you have a lot of excess fat and you quit eating carbs then you have no quick energy intake so your body starts burning fat as an energy source. That's why people who are very fat who give up carbs and start exercising, get fit in a short period of time.

*we're not the animals we used to be; very few of us have the need for a quick fuel source that won't tap into our stores (fat)

Allie said...

Also, proteins break down far slower than carbs, so if you eat 2 eggs in the morning, you're more likely to feel full, longer, than if you eat a piece of white toast. You also won't have a crash and burn feeling as proteins won't mess with your insulin.

Yet another reason more people are going no carb is to save their pancreas from the ravages of constant insulin production.