Carbs seem to have received the worst possible reputation in today’s, but Carbs are not the evil villain the media makes them out to be in the fitness and healthy eating industry. Every day a new article is released stating different things, carbs are good, carbs are bad, embrace carbs, cut carbs. It’s no wonder we’re all confused when it comes to knowing what to believe.

There are tons of low carb foods hitting the grocery stores daily, everything from bread, to potato chips, can now be found with a low carb label.

A few years back it was all about bashing fats… remember?

What will it be next year… protein? We’ll just have to wait and see I guess, but they’ll think of something.

Carbohydrates are used as energy by the body; they fuel our workouts, as well as providing ample fuel to be used throughout the course of the day. Ingesting carbs also replenishes our glucose and glycogen stores to prevent fatigue.

We’ve all heard of these ‘low carb’ or ‘no carb’ diet success stories, but let me give you the one fact you need that will hopefully give you an understanding as to this miracle weight loss, and why it is not all that it seems.

  • Carbs are stored as Glycogen in the muscles and liver. But for every 1 gram of carbs your body stores, it also stores 3 grams of water. Meaning, that’s a total of 4 grams, 75% water. So when people are on low-carb or no-carb diets, the reason they think they have lost weight is due to loss of glycogen and water, not actual fat. MIND BLOWING STUFF.

So, what is important is to note the classification of carbs. A certain carbohydrates group eaten in excess can be bad for your weight loss. The most simplistic way is to divide them into 2 categories:

  • Simple Carbs (Fruit Sugar, Milk sugar, Table sugar, Honey)
  • Complex Carbs (Whole grains, Vegetables, Seeds, Cereals, Starches and Fibres)

So to continue a little more..

  • Simple Carbs are single carbohydrate molecules which are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • Complex carbs are molecules of carbs joined together which are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream.

In theory, most foods actually contain a mixture of both simple and complex carbs. It’s important not to overindulge in the simple carbs and to fill up more with complex carbs. The slower the carb is absorbed into the bloodstream, the more satisfied you will feel, and it won’t spike your blood sugar levels which can lead you to feeling fatigued, and bleugh.

This is why it’s important to follow the Glycaemic index when choosing what carbs to incorporate into our diets. It is important to incorporate carbs with a low GI index and these are absorbed slower into our bloodstreams.

Good Carbs are a thing

Now that the science is out of the way, let me give you a couple of suggestions of WHAT carbs to incorporate more of. Carbs sources like most fruits and veg, peas, beans, minimally-processed grains, quinoa, pasta, noodles, oats, low-fat dairy, brown rice and nuts and seeds.

Benefits of incorporating the above?

  • Manage food cravings
  • Actually promotes sustainable weight loss
  • Prevents energy dips and fatigue
  • Prevents a lack of concentration and mood issues

So while those are all on the lower end of the GI scale, the carbs you should try minimizing are the following as their GI is quite high on the index. White bread, white rice, white potatoes, biscuits, crackers, bagels, cake, packaged breakfast cereals, and sweets.

So notes to take away here are the following:

  • A low GI diet is important for weight loss
  • It increases satiety (feelings of satisfaction after eating)
  • Improves apetite control
  • Makes it easier to achieve a healthy body weight

So don’t do something drastic like ‘cut carbs’ because you read somewhere it works. Those initial lbs you think you’re loosing when you ‘cut carbs’ is just water weight, and will creep back on twice as fast when you start to add them back in. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not carbs that are the villain, but rather the type of carbs eaten. If you are indulging in junk food on a daily basis, then you will most likely get fatter.

Be smart, be realistic, enjoy your food, enjoy your carbs, but as always, be mindful of portions and quantities, and which end of the GI index they fit.