Carbohydrates get an awfully bad rap in the wild world of dieting. Cast as the devil for their moreish appeal which, in moments of weakness, are completely vilified. Allow us to swiftly squash the profane propaganda pitted against this innocent food group. Carbs are a macronutrient, making them one of the three most important sustenance sources required by the body. This puts carbohydrates in bed with protein and healthy fats, the nutritional MVPs.
More than just breads, pasta, and pizza.
Now, we’re not saying your diet should consist solely of carbohydrates, however moderate amounts are an absolute must on the daily if you want to feel energised. Perhaps now would be a good time to highlight the fact that carbs are not just your dribble triggering breads and pastas, they are a composite part of most fruits and vegetables too; and we hardly think you’ll be casting those bad boys aside in pursuit of that elusive summer bod. The truth is you’ll be sporting that aspirational Brazilian cut bikini bottom far faster when armed with the facts on how best to keep carbs on the menu.
Let us talk nerdy to you. When carbs are eaten alone this can spike our blood sugar levels (blood glucose). The body breaks down carbohydrates and transforms them into glucose, when glucose enters the bloodstream, the pancreas releases insulin which transforms the glucose into energy. The energy output is either used straight away or stored as glycogen. Glycogen is known as your reserve. When you are exercising you are burning glycogen. If you accidentally skip a meal, your body will use up its glycogen stores. The most important take away from all of this is to effectively manage your intake and energy expenditure. Where so many go wrong is overindulging in carbohydrates with little to no exercise, which results in greater stores of glycogen in the fat cells and ultimately muffin tops.
Following this we cannot stress enough the importance of pairing your carbs with protein and healthy fats. This will not only keep you fuller for longer, it will also ensure consistent energy levels throughout the day – so you can evade that pesky ‘afternoon slump’ and it’s asshole sidekick, better known as ‘the kit-kat break.’
Still fearing carbs? Here’s our 3 steps to help get you through the day and avoid excess fat storage.
The Carb Lover’s Play Book
Post morning workout, go nuts with low GI carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it provides you with long lasting energy whilst also replenishing the glycogen stores that you have just burned.
To snack or not to snack?
Everyone is different, eating consistently throughout the day works for some whereas for others it’s not a vibe. If you are into five meals per day then we suggest eating nutrient dense snacks morning and afternoon, every 3.5 – 4 hours. Think carrot sticks and hummus, a boiled egg with spices, Greek yoghurt with berries, one of those cute little bliss balls, and hell why not throw in the odd piece of dark chocolate with peanut butter here and there. This will ensure stabilised blood sugar levels and consistent energy throughout the day.
So, you’ve made it this far, somehow surviving that monstrosity of a day at the office and perhaps your thinking a big dirty bowl of pasta is just what the doctor ordered. Totally cool, no judgement here. We love pasta as much as the next, however, IF you want to lose the kg’s then we kindly suggest you put the pasta down and step away from the weapon. We promise, reserving your evening meals for very small amounts of low GI carbs is your ticket to a tight toosh. And before you jump down our throats in outrage, please allow us to explain! Remember earlier when we discussed your glycogen stores? Since you are now home and no longer moving your body, any food consumed will be digested and stored as glycogen this is especially true if you have a very heavy carb meal. Following this we recommend you swap out the spag bowl for meals loaded with vegetables, protein, and high fibre. This will allow for a healthy amount of glycogen to be restored, meaning you’re in for a restful night’s sleep and your body can burn fat for energy the following day.