Summer is around the corner and with it comes that desire to find our bathing suit body that goes into hiding over the holidays! These days, so many people are cutting carbohydrates (carbs) from their diet to find that body they long for so badly.
Is that really the right step to take?
What is a carb, anyway?
Carbs are the sugars, starches, and fibers found in fruits, grains, and vegetables. Carbs are often broken down into 2 categories: simple and complex.
You mean fruits and vegetables are carbs?
They sure are!
What’s the difference between simple and complex carbs?
Well, simple carbs are those with 1 or 2 sugars in them. These are often found in candy, table sugars, syrups, and soda, fruits, and dairy. Complex carbs have 3 or more sugars in them and are often referred to as starchy carbs (potatoes (sweet & white), legumes, grains, lentils, corn etc.).
Should I eat simple carbs?
There’s a time and place for simple carbs. Simple carbs give bursts of energy, but it’s worth noting that many of them, like soda, candy, & tabletop sugar, are empty, non-nutritious calories thus causing undesired weight gain and potentially further health issues. In looking at natural simple carbs, such as fruit, this is definitely your better option. Fruits can give that boost right before an exercise bout that you need or aid in replenishing glucose stores after exercise.
Keep in mind that your ‘whites’ are also simple carbs. This includes but isn’t limited to pasta, white bread, and white rice.
Are vegetables carbs?
Vegetables are definitely carbs. Green vegetables are packed with fiber but still maintain a low carb profile. They’re jam-packed with vitamins and minerals that aid your body in functioning effectively.
So should I eat a low carb diet?
A lot of people forget that fruits and vegetables are classified as carbohydrates, so when they set out in pursuit of a ‘low carb’ diet, they make changes such as eating less bread, pasta, or sugar when they should really continuing eating a healthy amount of carbs per day.
The secret isn’t always eating less, it’s often a change of choices. What if you could go day-to-day without feeling hungry simply by changing what you eat and not how much?
What if you substituted a whole grain bread instead of white? Or brown rice pasta instead of regular pasta?
When we try to maintain a low carb diet for long periods of time, we start to see the opposite effects that we originally set out to obtain. We often see our weight gain stall or sometimes, we just give up because we’re so hungry all the time which results in the weight coming back and then some.
For proper body and brain function, carbs are a staple in most peoples’ diets.
So, how many grams of carbs should I eat?
Well, the answer to this isn’t ‘one size fits all.’ The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the average person take in about 225-325 grams of carbohydrates per day. A lot of things factor into the amount of carbs you should take in (i.e. gender, weight, height, goals, etc.).
In working with clients, I’ve seen huge changes in weight when simple tweaks are made in their food choices. Very few lifestyles require low-carb or low-fat diets, and honestly, very few diet stints are successful with little-to-no carbs or fats in the diet.
Just get to the point – should I eat carbs or not?
Grains, fruits, and veggies are so nutritious for you! They mustn’t be skimped out on. Before you cut carbs from your diet, consider just changing the choices you make first and give that 30 days. In many cases, carbohydrates aren’t the problem. You should be eating carbs for your energy and for neurological function. Your body needs all 3 macronutrients to function properly, don’t skimp out on the best fuel for you!