If you were doing an online search to find a new diet or training regiment for losing weight, you might have come across some contradicting stories. Lots of personal trainers or articles talk about all sorts of things, either because they don’t really know or in order to promote other products. As a result, a lot of people are confused specifically on the topic of carbs and whether they are good or bad for you. Unfortunately, the simple answer is just – Yes, and it does make things more confusing. Luckily, we will go over the pros and cons of carbs and give some tips on their intake.
What are Carbs
Carbs are short for carbohydrates and they are a collection of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon molecules. Given their similar structure, foods with sugar, fibers, and starches are basically all referred to as carbs. There are 3 subcategories based on their complexity:
- Monosaccharides (simplest)
- Polysaccharides (most complex)
The more complex they are the more difficult and time-consuming it is for our digestive system to break them down. Once they are broken down though we get glucose which is then stored in liver and muscle tissue.
So, they are a necessity for our bodies to produce energy, but at the same time eating highly concentrated carbohydrate food can be bad. So, you should minimize the intake of:
- Baked goods
- Sugary drinks
The reality is carbs are in almost all food sources, it’s just their concentration that varies. The only reason we refer to certain foods as carbs is because of the high concentration of carbohydrates.
Reasons to Avoid Carbs
You should avoid carbs or significantly reduce their intake if you wish to reduce cravings. This food is likely to make you crave for more which leads to gaining extra fat. Moreover, it stimulates incline production and your body will gradually build up resistance to insulin which could lead to further health problems. Also if you avoid carbs that means you will priorities more nutrient-rich food which is overall good for your health. Finally, a low-carb meal for breakfast can indeed help you with weight loss. This is because your blood sugar is usually low by morning and taking carbs can jump-start your metabolism in a way.
Reasons to Take Carbs
If you have intense training and need to push your muscles to the extremes carbs can help you. They are the primary fuel for our muscles so it’s not always wise to avoid them. If you try to build muscle mass without a sufficient intake of carbs you won’t see many results. In fact, avoiding carbs can actually result in loss of muscle mass.
Moreover, carbs are a vital part of your metabolism, and if you avoid them you can also create a chemical disbalance in your body. It is going to become increasingly difficult to fall asleep as your brain needs carbs to create melatonin.
So the obvious answer is clearly balance. You need a balanced diet that is specifically designed to help you achieve your fitness goals. This is why nutritionists are often consulted as each body is unique, and there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to a balanced diet.