How many carbs should you eat in a day? Is it bad to eat carbs if you want to lose weight?
These are questions that many people struggle with when trying to make healthy changes to their diet.
In this post, we'll explore the role of carbohydrates in nutrition and weight loss and we’ll also provide some tips for how to include them in your diet without sabotaging your goals.
So, should you give up carbs altogether if you want to lose weight? The answer may surprise you!
Read on to learn more.
What Are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap in recent years, but in fact, they are not as bad as many people believe them to be.
Simply put, carbohydrates are nutrients found in food that the body breaks down into glucose, which is then used for energy.
There are two main types of carbohydrates - Complex carbohydrates, which are found in starchy foods like potatoes and rice, and simple carbohydrates, which are found in sugary foods like candy.
The difference? Well, when we eat complex carbs, they're slowly broken down into glucose and released into our bloodstream over time.
This provides a steady source of energy that helps us fuel our daily and training activities.
Simple carbs, on the other hand, are rapidly broken down and provide a quick burst of energy that can be helpful at times but is generally not suitable for people to consume all the time.
This is because simple carbohydrates lead to rapid spikes and drops in blood sugar.
Weight Loss & Carbohydrates
If you're trying to lose weight, you might have heard that cutting carbs is the key to success.
However, the truth is that whether or not you lose weight depends on whether or not you're in a caloric deficit.
In other words, if you're eating fewer calories than you're burning, you'll lose weight regardless of how many carbs you're eating.
So if you're trying to lose weight, focus on creating a deficit by eating less and moving more, and don't worry about cutting carbs.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that out of all 3 nutrients (protein, fats, and carbs) carbs are the best to reduce, in the context of creating a caloric deficit.
This is because carbohydrates are non-essential for the body, and are less important than protein and fats.
And still, that does not mean you should cut carbohydrates altogether! Just reduce them, and still, make them a functional part of your nutrition plan.
Make Carbohydrates Functional!
In case you haven't heard, carbs are back! Well, they never really left, but after years of low-carb diets being all the rage, carbs are finally getting the recognition they deserve.
And rightfully so - carbs are an excellent source of energy for high-intensity performance, especially when compared to fats!
This is simply because glycogen (stored glucose) can be broken down into energy much more rapidly than fat.
And so, whether you're trying to up your game in the gym or simply want to be able to power through your workouts with ease, making carbs a functional part of your diet is a must.
Choose Good Carbohydrates
Now, saying all of this doesn’t mean you should stack up on cake and candy!
Instead, your best bet would be to mostly rely on complex carbohydrates, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, fruits, and starchy vegetables.
These are the foods that will provide steady, consistent energy for the body!
But still, if there are any simple carb-rich junk foods that you like, you can consume them after a workout, when the body needs energy immediately.
And so, what’s the verdict? Are carbs bad for you or not? The answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no.
There are definitely benefits to limiting your carbohydrate intake (such as creating a deficit easily), but going completely carb-free may not be the healthiest option for everyone.
Much like anything else, your best bet would be to not go to extremes - keep it balanced!
Got any questions about carbs? Comment below!