If there is one word in the health and fitness industry that makes people confused and nervous it would have to be CARBS!! Mention the word carbs to a friend or work colleague and you are better get comfy because chances are you are in for an epic convo/essay. Everyone has read some glossy fitspo mag which seems to claim the secret low down on carbs. Only problem is, next months issue will probably be claiming something different.

“only eat carbs post exercise” “don’t eat carbs after 2pm” “eat carbs every second day” “low carb diets make you lose weight” and my favourite “carbs will make you fat” #lowcarb. Confused? You are not alone. There is a lot of legit information out there but there is also a tonne of not so scientifically backed up crap which probably has a ulteria motive. However it somehow convinces us to follow suit. Maybe its the banging chick in the bikini with the to die for abs or the fact that the article claims to have so much scientific proof. Girl eats loaf of bread. Stomach looks larger and bloated. Therefore carbs make you fat. That’s science right? Yeah naaaahhhhhhh.

I have lost count of how many times I have heard people say “I don’t eat carbs” or “I am on a carb free or low-carb diet“. But then find it funny how these people never actually achieve their desired goals and end up giving up and eating an entire loaf of bread (or cake) in one sitting. I have never been a fan of low carb diets – been there done that and it didn’t work. Our bodies and brains need carbs to function properly. The most important thing to know about carbs is, well to KNOW about carbs.

Carbohydrates are  are an essential part of our daily diet and should never be avoided, but rather understood. There make up one of the three main macronutrients our bodies need; carbs, protein and fat. Carbs are the main energy source for the body. They are broken down into glucose in your blood and transported around the body to give us energy.

There are two types of carbohydrates; complex (good) carbs and simple (bad) carbs. One things for sure, they are not created equally. Good carbs can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes and can even help you lose weight because they are generally rich in fiber and will make you fuller for longer. These are your oats, brown rice, beans, sweet potato, wholemeal bread and quinoa etc. These complex carbs take longer for the body to break down and use, providing us with more energy. Simple carbs, I am talking doughnuts, cakes, soft drink and refined white breads, are exactly the opposite. Simple to digest with little real value to our body, high in sugar and low in fiber leading to instant sugar spikes and energy slums.

So the verdict? Carbs are a necessary part of anyone’s diet, unless told otherwise from a doctor for medical reasons. Use them to fuel your body and eat them daily as a part of a balanced diet. As for the myths? The reason why people say carbs make you gain weight is because they are referring to simple carbs like cake and sugary processed food. Everyone knows cake will make you gain weight. Also people love carbs so much they tend to over eat them and over eating in general will lead to weight gain. So take the latest magazine articles with a pinch of salt. As long as you are eating a little bit of everything – you will have a happy bod and mind. If eating them at a certain time works for you, then go for it. Remember they are an energy source so it is no wonder pre/post exercise or first thing in the morning is a good time to eat them. 2016 is all about carbs and enjoying the heck out of them! Time to stop worrying, and start loving your body from the inside out.

Here are my favourite 5 healthy carbs that I eat at least twice a day.

1. Oats

2. Quinoa

3. Brown rice (including rice cakes, rice noodles and rice pasta)

4. Sweet potato

5. Rye or spelt bread

The bottom line; just be sensible about the carbs you chose. Don’t get too wrapped up in reading labels, cutting them out and confusing yourself. Focus on lots of healthy whole grains, fruit and veggies and when it comes to grains/complex carbs remember the darker the better. Make the swap from white rice to brown rice, white bread to rye bread and potato to sweet potato.



9 thoughts on “CARB IT UP

  1. Part of the problem is that carbs often come in the form of bread – which, often if it’s whole wheat is still highly processed.

    Also, many people have carbs in the form of breakfast cereal. Even if it’s whole wheat, and even if it’s the healthiest cereal in the world – it’s still probably not a great breakfast choice if you’re trying to lose weight. And that’s because for many people, a bowl full of carbs in the morning ends up stimulating their appetite all day.

    I eat all of the carbs you listed: sweet potato especially (my favorite). I’m a strong believer in eating starchy fruits and vegetables. The only exception is I do try to stay away from too much rice, even brown rice.

    But then again, I’ve been on my weight loss journey for a long time, and I’m no longer overweight. Earlier on, I ate much fewer carbs than I do now. I never cut them out, or counted them – I just simply felt that eating carbs isn’t very conducive to weight loss for me.

    If I eat carbs early in the day, I am 100% hungrier throughout the day. And I think this is what a lot of people experience. They just make me hungry. For people with this issue, cutting carbs can really help.

    Also – many people find carbs addicting, which I certainly do. I had to change my mindset completely to be based around veggies, with a small amount of carbs (coming from veg/fruits, not bread).

    While carbs are essential for someone who is trying to maintain their weight, I don’t think they’re necessarily essential if one has a lot of extra weight to lose. I don’t think it’s good to go for extremely prolonged periods without any carbs at all, but I do think severe restriction of carbs is helpful for many people. Much healthier than a low-fat approach. But in any event, my preferred approach is simply to eat whole foods.

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