Why are we avoiding carbs? They are bad for you, right? They make you fat, bloated, and down right guilty when you eat them, right? Well, this must stop! Let’s get the facts on carbs set straight!
I’m not about to tell you to sit down and inhale an entire mud cake for morning tea (that’s just silly!) I’m going to let you know how to make the most out of your carbs and the best time to eat them so they don’t end up on your arse/thighs/six pack!
When I say carbs, I’m not talking about the fruit/veg kind, they’re the good carbs and you can eat them at anytime, fruit in moderation. I’m talking about the starchy carbs like pasta, bread, rice, noodles…..and cake!
The low carb fad diet movement became popular with the Atkins diet in the late 90s and early 2000s, now most people assume that carbohydrates are inherently fattening. Sometimes, we get so caught up in fad diets that we forget to look at the evidence. But fad diets are mostly bad diets.
Here’s the thing, carb reduction costs us. You see, most of us require some level of carbohydrates to function at our best over the long term.
Sure, we can cut carbs temporarily if we need to lose weight quickly. But for most of us, keeping carbs too low for too long can have disastrous consequences.
This is especially true for those of us who work out.
If you’re sedentary, your carb needs are lower. So you might be able to get away with more of a restriction.
Most of you guys exercise regularly and intensely, so if you restrict your carb intake too drastically your metabolism might slow, your stress hormones go up and your muscle-building hormones go down.
You feel lousy, spaced-out, sluggish, cranky… and maybe even sick.
Carbohydrates are primarily a source of immediate energy for all of your body’s cells. Carbohydrates also cause a release of insulin. Insulin regulates nutrient entry into muscle cells. If insulin is seldom elevated (if you avoid carbs), the muscle growth related benefits won’t occur. If you plan a higher carbohydrate intake at times when your body is better equipped to handle it, insulin will be under your control, and the body will function better.
A larger insulin response can be beneficial at certain times like after a HIIT or intense training session-this is the best time to eat cake! But not so beneficial at certain times, like before bed- this is the worst time to eat cake! It’s hard to say exactly how long carb tolerance stays high after exercise. For most people, though, assume that carb tolerance is best for approximately 3 hours after exercise.
If we consume mainly wholegrain, unprocessed carbohydrate sources (think brown) they tend to be much better utilised. Unlike the more heavily processed starchy carbohydrate sources like breads, pastas, rices, biscuits, crackers, cereals and anything sugary (think white), if we haven’t earned them or have eaten them to excess, they will end up on our arse!
Most of us need some carbs. Most of us will look, feel, and perform our best when we balance a reasonable amount of lean protein, quality carbs, and healthy fats.
To sum it all up, keep it simple. Don’t overly restrict; don’t over-think. Enjoy a wide variety of minimally processed, whole and fresh foods.
And above all, for most active people, carbs are your friend! If you have earned them, then eat them!