Friday, May 22, 2015

The Truth About Good and Bad Carbs

Is it just me or does it seem like almost every fad diet out there either lowers your carb intake or forbids them completely??

Carbohydrates have gotten such a bad reputation over the years when in actuality, they are a very useful macronutrient that is vital to shaping your body. 

Eating an abundance of carbs can fuel your training and help grow your muscles efficiently. Not eating enough carbs can leave you feeling fatigued or sluggish and can hinder your performance during a workout.

There are two types of carbs: simple (also known as bad) and complex (also known as good). 

Simple carbs have very little nutritional value and are composed of simple sugars. Typically, these foods are lower in fiber while being awfully higher in sugar content. Believe it or not, fruits and some veggies are also considered to be simple carbs.

Simple carbs to eat less of are:

  • soda
  • candy
  • artificial syrups
  • sugar
  • fruits
  • white rice, white bread, and white pasta
  • potatoes (which are technically a complex carb, but act more like simple carbs in the body)
  • pastries and desserts

The complex carbs are also known as the carbs that you should eat if you want to live a healthier or cleaner lifestyle. They are made up of fewer sugars and take much longer to digest, leaving you feeling fuller longer. This benefit usually cuts down on the tendency to overeat or snack.

Complex carbs to eat more of are:

  • whole grains
  • brown rice 
  • some veggies
  • sweet potato
  • yams
  • oatmeal
  • milk
  • high fiber cereals
  • lentils
  • wild rice
  • couscous

So, what is the real difference between "good" and "bad" carbs?

What most people do not understand is that a carb is a carb. It does not matter if it is good, bad, pretty, or ugly-it's still a carb.

Both simple and complex carbohydrates are used in the same exact way. Carbs are turned into glucose (blood sugar) in the body and are used as energy. Glucose is used in the cells of the body and in the brain. Any unused glucose is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen for use later. Meaning, if you don't workout and burn off those stored sugars, it will convert it's ugly little self into FAT.

But, you do want to be wise with what carbs you choose. Obviously, you know a cupcake is not going to be a wise choice for a snack. However, I wouldn't spend too much of your life dreading over whether or not to make white or brown rice for dinner. Obviously white rice is slightly better than a cupcake. you get the idea.

On a final note, here are 3 tips to remember:

  1. Choose your carbs wisely.
  2. Eat your carbs in moderation.
  3. Workout at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes (the recommended amount) to burn off stored glucose and avoid excess fat storage.

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