Why Carbs aren’t the Enemy
Carbohydrates are often maligned in our industry and can be made out as the scapegoats for weight gain and poor health. In reality this isn’t the case. Below are 6 our reasons why carbs aren’t the enemy and why you should include them in your diet.
They give you energy
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source. This is because this macronutrient is the fastest and easiest to be absorbed. Therefore the body relies on it to power many functions. Fuelling everything we do including movement, breathing and digestion. Having adequate carbohydrate intake helps guard against fatigue, low energy, delayed recovery and low mood.
They won’t make you fat!
Gram for gram, carbohydrates contain less than half the calorie content of fats. One gram carbs contains 4 calories. Compare that to fats (9kcals) and protein (4kcals) you can see that having a balanced diet including carbs could help stop you from overshooting your calorie goals.
Now carbohydrates is a very large food group and there are definitely some that are better for you than others. A good rule is to try and focus on more complex carbs with higher fibre content than the more simple, often manufactured, refined carbohydrates.
A great source of Vitamins and Minerals
Foods high in carbohydrates are often a great source of vitamins and minerals the body needs. Think vitamin C, B vitamins as well as calcium, iron, fibre and even vitamin D.
Charge your Workout Battery
The body uses carbohydrates in their simplest form; glucose. When we have a surplus any spare glucose is stored primarily in the muscles and liver as glycogen. This is essentially our battery and a source of energy that we can use to power our workouts, exercise or performance. If we have low glycogen stores then performance will suffer and we’ll struggle to hit those PBs.
They hold Key to Recovery
Glucose is vital to replenishing the body after exercise. We need this energy to repair tissues, replenish our glycogen stores and grow muscle. Without carbs the body will look for other sources of glucose and may start to manufacture glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. This could result in the breakdown of proteins to form synthetic glucose.
Fibre, Fibre, Fibre.
Fibre is the most undervalued and under consumed nutrients in modern diets. Diets high in fibre will keep you feeling fuller for longer, improve digestion, reduce cholesterol, help control blood sugar and are proven to reduce the likelihood of getting fat.
Carbohydrates are an important macronutrient for our bodies. Although popular diets such as Keto, Atkins and Zero Carb have had great success from a weight loss standpoint, I am always weary of demonising food groups and oversimplifying the human diet. We need a variety of foods to make up a balanced diet so cutting your choices by a third is a red flag for me.
Carbs aren’t the Enemy! Stick with carbohydrates high in fibre, minimize refined/manufactured carbs and stay within your calorie goals. This way you can make Carbohydrates work for you.