Recently, my soapbox rants have been about the poorly misunderstood carbohydrate! Carbs are one of the most misunderstood parts of nutrition. When people think about dieting they almost instantly think about cutting carbs or being on a very low carb diet. Carbs have become the enemy when it comes to nutrition and that frankly shouldn’t be the case.
Carbohydrates are in fact an amazing ally in your weight loss battle, and here’s why.
The Low Down On Carbs
When it comes to the energy our bodies need, carbohydrates are our number one source. That’s because they are broken down in glucose which is then used by the body for energy. This means that carbs are vital for our energy and our day-to-day activities (Yoke 2010). That doesn’t sound bad, does it?
So why do people think they are all bad? This is because our food choices or our carb choices are flat-out extremely bad. For example, it has been found that half of ALL the calories we consume were from bad carbohydrates in one of these groups (Block 2004):
2. Doughnuts, pastries
3. White rice
5. Popcorn, potato chips
7. White bread, rolls, bagels
8. French fries
If your mindset is that these are the only type of carbs there are then yes, you are going to have a hard time losing weight! By anyone’s standards those are crap foods that all just happen to be carbs. Junk of that status does nutritionally nothing for you because it is low in vitamins, nutrients, and even fiber. It is mostly just full of sugar.
Eat More GOOD Carbs
In fact, good carbs can help you lose weight. Whole foods like:
- brown rice
These carbohydrates that can be absolutely amazing for you!
Whole, ‘good’ carbohydrates provide you a source of prolonged energy, amazing amounts of fiber, and incredible amounts of vitamins!
These types of carbs can be a huge asset when you are trying to lose weight because they fill you up quicker and keep you full longer! In fact, you can actually eat a larger amount of food for a smaller caloric intake if you eat good carbs.
For example, on a normal diet you may eat 100g carbs a day (4 calories/ gram = 400 calories) with by 60g of fat (9 calories/gram = 540 calories). [Note: protein is being left out of the equation because it is normally calculated based off of bodyweight.]
Alternatively we recommend eating more carbs so 170g (4 calories/gram = 680 calories) while eating less fat so 35g of fats (9 calories/gram = 320 calories).
This all breaks down to the reality that you are still eating almost the same amount of calories between the different diets (940 vs 1000) while consuming 45g more food per day in the second diet (160g consumed vs 205g consumed)! Which one will you feel fuller on? This is because we are replacing the high caloric, low volume foods (fats) with low calorie, high volume foods (carbs)! It’s just logical.
If you take one thing away from this, just remember that carbs are not the enemy; they are a huge ally in the weight loss battle because you can actually eat more food for less calories! That is a huge asset for people battling with food urges. Crap carbs are the enemy, not carbs in general!
For more at-home fitness, workouts, and nutritional tips visit Always Active Athletics: Your #1 Source For At-Home Fitness.
Block G (2004) Foods contributing to energy intake in the U.S.: Data from NHANES III and NHANES 1999-2000. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 17: 439-447.
Yoke M (2010) AFAA Personal Fitness Trainer: Theory and Practice; Second Edition ed. Gladwin LA. California.