Have we got it all wrong about CARBS?

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pancakes with maple syrup and bananas

Can carbs be a useful part of your diet? It depends…

One of the best things the average overweight sedentary person can do for their diet is cut down on carbs.  For most of those people, carbs are coming in the form of French fries, greasy noodles, squishy white bread, and maybe some fried rice.  It’s hard to argue that eliminating those foods will cause weight loss! Grouping all carbs together in the same category is where most of us have gotten into trouble.

Sure, reducing your intake of any of the above mentioned carb sources will assist with weight loss, but much of the trouble with those foods is the additional processed fats and sugars that are added to them.  This results in a big increase in calories and affects how your body copes with the food.

It’s not as easy to vilify other uncomplicated carbs such as plain potatoes & sweet potatoes, plain rice (white or brown), or fruits and vegetables.

All of those other foods are also sources of carbs, but will the effect by the same? Probably not. Keep in mind that we started off this message by saying that cutting back on carbs is useful for the overweight and sedentary.

What if you don’t belong to those groups? 

What if you exercise several times a week or you’re a hard-gainer who’s trying to put on muscle mass?

In that case, carbs are going to be an important tool for helping you achieve your goals.

Everyone also has an individual tolerance to carbs and this needs to be accounted for to determine what amount of carbs you need to be eating. In any case, timing of carb intake is important.  The best time to have carbs is immediately after your workout, so that they can assist with recovery, repair, and muscle growth.  This is also the time when those carbs that some people consider “bad” (like potatoes, white rice, and juices) are actually better than low glycemic carbs as they raise insulin and assist with muscle building.

This won’t work for everyone though, and if you’re overweight or very intolerant to carbs you may not need them at all post-workout.

Carbs are not evil. We all need some carbs, but the amount varies considerably from person to person. Many people can’t function well without high levels of carbs and some find they need very few carbs to feel good and have the physique they want.

Find out what works for you!

Ivana Chapman 

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 5-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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