If you're seeking diet advice on the internet, you've almost definitely heard/read this before. "If you want to lose weight, lose the carbs." But are carbs really making you fat?
Carbohydrates are simply macronutrients which provide the body with Glucose, it's preferred source of energy. Carbs can be found in various forms. Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, candy, and soda are all examples of high carbohydrate foods.
Although those foods may not seem like they have much in common, they can all be utilized to provide the body with energy.
Carbs have had a bad rep for a while, mostly due to the fact that many popular diets are low carb. The primary fear associated with carbs is that excess carbs will be converted to fat. While it is true that the body has processes by which it converts non fat nutrients into fat and stores it (de novo lipogenesis), such processes are not particularly efficient and your body will do it’s best to avoid them.
Generally speaking, you would have cut your fat intake quite significantly (to under 10% of total food intake) in order to increase your body’s willingness to convert excess carbs to fat.
If you workout regularly, and try your hardest every time you workout, you really don’t need to be too concerned about taking in too many carbs. Your body will happily use all the carbs it can get to fuel those workouts.
This is prime example of how an active lifestyle can allow you to relax your diet.
Although we often lump all carbohydrates into one category, there are actually important distinctions which make certain carbs healthier than others.
Complex carbohydrates are more slowly digested and tend to raise blood sugar levels more evenly over time, rather than a quick spike. These types of carbs are ideal for maintaining Insulin Sensitivity and providing sustained energy.
Examples of complex carbs are whole grains such as corn, wheat, brown rice, and lentils.
Simple carbohydrates, or carbs that are quickly broken down into sugar upon consumption, are usually worth avoiding. The exception would be just after a rigorous workout, when the body's glycogen stores have been depleted and some simple sugars can quickly replenish them.
Examples of simple carbs are sugar, white bread, pasta (from white flour), and fruit juice.
If you lead an active lifestyle and consume mostly complex carbohydrates in your diet, you don't need to worry. If you're constantly guzzling soft drinks and eating cookies, you're screwed and you need to make some changes.