If you're talking about food, workouts, or diets you're almost sure to get an opinion about carbs. These days people have a very love/hate feeling towards this macro nutrient.
Low carb diets can be an effective way to aid weight loss in the short run. However, it's important to be cautious with diets that have extreme structures. Removing or severely limiting any macro nutrient from your diet is crazy. These types of diets are extremely difficult to execute and can be dangerous over long periods of time. Consistency is paramount to success. This is true in many aspects of life, and your relationship with food is no different.
Fats, proteins and carbohydrates are macronutrients, they are the building blocks for food and caloric intake. We eat to fuel this complex machine called our body and we require a balance of calories for proper function and health.
So let's cut to the chase.
1 - Carbs are not evil
So don't shun them like your "former best friend" that slept with your boyfriend junior year of college.
2 - Bucket carbs into two forms: starch and none starch
Starchy carbohydrates are what most people think of as the "evil" form of carbs: Pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, corn etc. The carbohydrates in these foods are typically medium to high on the glycemic index scale. Learn more at NutritionData.com. Consumption of these foods leads to a relatively fast increase in your blood sugar levels, the degree increasing with the quantity of food consumed.
3 - Eat starchy cars after your workout
Don't be scared, your body needs protein and carbohydrates to help repair all the trauma you created by kicking butt in the gym. Go nuts, you deserve it.
4 - Spikes in blood sugar signals fat storage
When blood sugar levels rise, your body responses by releasing insulin (a hormone produced by your pancreas). Your body begins to shuttle the nutrients from your meal into your muscle and fat tissue. This is exactly what you want during and after exercise. However, at other times of the day this hormonal response signals to the body to stop burning fat.
5 - Eat starchy carbs in the morning
Your body has been fasting for hours and now it's time to break that fast. Refilling your glycogen levels first thing in the morning is important and will help get you going with the day's activities. Similar to what happens after a workout, starchy carbs consumed in the morning won't be stored as fat. They're used to balance hormone levels and ensure that your body is in growth mode, not fat storing mode.
6 - Focus on none starch throughout the day
Fruits and vegetables to the rescue. These none starch carbohydrates are packed with nutrients and loaded with so much of nature's goodness. They are low on the glymeic index, which means they have low impact on your blood sugar levels. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables with reckless abandon! Muscles flushed with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and polyphenols are happy muscles. Happy muscles are the muscles that look great when you're naked and aren't afraid to work hard in the gym.
This simple approach to carbohydrate intake can go a long way. With stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, you'll keep your energy levels high and your body in fat burning mode.
FitSaveFun Pro Tip: Have a carb craving that you just can't kick? Sneak in a workout, make sure it's a good one, and enjoy your meal guilt free!