That 5 letter word that keeps me awake craving – CARBS!
I honestly sometimes think that my soulmate might be carbs.
Yes, carbs get a bad rep since they are considered the main enemy to losing weight and getting fit.
As keto and low carb diets became popular, carbs got on the blacklist as the #1 food that causes gain weight.
They are accused of being the number one cause of obesity, and sadly that’s not that far from the truth 🙁
However, this short love story won’t end tragically, and all of you carb lovers out there, you’ll be happy to get today’s facts.
Not all carbs are equal. Actually, a good amount of them are good to go and can actually help you lose weight instead of gaining it.
Yes girls, carbs can be healthy too, as long as you make the right choice and eat them the right way.
In my nutrition guide, I dedicated a whole chapter to carbs, and today I’ll try to break down this carb mystery once again for you.
To carb or not to carb – the question is now.
Let’s get started right away!
What are carbs?
These little molecules we refer to as carbs are actually macronutrients almost any food’s made of.
The main purpose of carbohydrates in a diet is to provide energy, as they are the energy and the fuel our body actually runs on.
And most carbs get broken down or transformed into glucose, which is used as energy. However, if they are not used as energy carbs turn into fat – aka stored energy.
And this is the main reason why they are bad – if they are not used for energy they’ll end up as fat.
Dietary carbohydrates can be split into three main categories:
Fiber is an exception in the whole carb story – because it doesn’t provide energy directly and the more fiber the longer it takes to digest and the healthier the carb is.
Fiber feeds the friendly bacteria in our digestive system so we need them in order to keep a healthy gut. That’s why some would say (including me) carbs are not essential for life, fiber is.
Okay, so carbs are not that bad right? They provide energy and keep our digestive system healthy.
Well not so fast…
The problem with carbs is actually in the sugar part.
This part is not essential for life and is needed in small amounts for a body to function well.
Since sugar is everywhere around us these days, in almost every product, most of us are getting more than our systems can handle, and we are doing it on daily basis.
HOWEVER, if you are on balanced diet carbs can be healthy and I’m going to guide you through them.
If Carbs Are Not That Bad, Why Are So Many People On A Low Carb Diet?
Well, because ditching carbs can help you lose weight. At least at first. However, I don’t believe that’s the smartest way to lose weight.
This “all carbs are bad” mantra set by Dr. Atkins has left many people confused about carbohydrates. What’s even worse we forgot about the importance of carbs for our health, including maintaining a healthy weight and balanced life.
We don’t want only to lose weight fast, but to get healthy along the way too, right?
So, yes, we can survive without sugar, but carbohydrates are not by any means bad for health. In fact, they are the body’s main source of energy and in their absence, your body will use protein and fat for energy. And replacing carbs with fats and higher fat sources of protein could increase the intake of saturated fat, which can raise the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
It may also be hard to get enough fiber, which is really important for a healthy digestive system and to prevent constipation.
So what should we do?
The truth is, carbohydrates are a broad category and you have to know that not all carbs are the same and it is the type, quality and quantity of carbohydrate in our diet that matters.
And yes you can lose weight if you eat carbs, and you can get your dream body if you eat carbs on daily basis.
Stay with me to see how to eat carbs the right way.
It’s all about balance and it’s all about choosing the right timings, amounts and of course the right sources.
Let’s get started!
Choose Carbs From Real Foods
Everything that’s considered as junk food and highly processed food is not healthy, nutrition poor and should be avoided.
So, focus on carbs that come from real foods, contain less sugar and more fiber, which we need.
Lentils, beans, peas, legumes, turnips… In other words, the foods that grow on earth (or inside it:)
Also, fruits. Since they’re packed with fiber they take longer to digest and have a lower glycemic index (we’ll get back on fruits later on.)
Some Carbs Are Better Than Others
Indeed. For example, it’s widely known that sweet potatoes are healthier and provide much more nutrients than white potatoes.
Although the numbers are not that different, our body reacts to them differently.
While white potatoes are lower in fat and sugar, sweet potatoes have fewer carbs and calories, plus a bit more vitamin A and vitamin C.
They both have a similar amount of fiber, however, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index which makes them a better choice for anyone aiming for weight loss.
You’ll find sweet potatoes pretty often in my meal plan 🙂
The case is similar when it comes to white beans and black beans – black beans are healthier, have less sugar and provide much more nutrients.
Also, some fruits are better than others. For example, berries are always a good idea, also green apples and bananas are good to go.
Although it seems like they have more calories than other fruits, they are loaded with much more fiber so they digest slower providing long-lasting energy.
Plus, they don’t cause big spikes in blood sugar levels compared to other high-carb foods.
Watery fruits on the other hand such as watermelon, grapefruit, orange, and pomegranate, are digesting faster and even though some of them have fewer calories they digest faster.
Check out The Best Fruits For Weight Loss >>>
So choose your carbs wisely and you’re good to go.
Whole Grain Over White Grain
Whenever choosing a bread, pasta, or rice, you should go for the whole grain and here’s why:
The white grains are basically whole grain with the germ and bran removed. That’s actually the main reason why whole grain is considered to be healthier than white – it’s the unprocessed version of the grain.
The processing leaves the grain with very few essential nutrients, plus a much higher glycemic index.
And despite the common misconception, the macronutrient and calorie contents of the two as you can see are relatively the same. The only bigger difference in numbers is actually in the fiber content. Most of the nutrients are stripped away during the refining process.
And the more fibers the more time and calories it takes for the body to process the grain.
Be Careful How Much You Eat
Always watch your portion when it comes to carbs.
No matter how healthy they are, carbs are still energy, which if not burned will be stored into fat.
So, make sure carbs are always a side dish to your meal taking no more than a 1/3 of your dish.
Fill out the other side with proteins, veggies, and healthy fats and you are all set.
Cook Your Carbs Right
How you cook your food is SO important.
Let’s take french fries as an example. Potatoes are healthy, but once you deep fry them they lose all of their nutritional value and turn to junk food.
And this stands for any carb, and any food you eat. So, oven-bake or steam your carbs to keep as many nutrients as possible.
Also, you can eat some of the carbs raw. For example, carrots and beetroot are far healthier if you grate them and add them raw to your meal or salad.
When You Eat Them Is As Important
It’s for the best to eat carbs for breakfast and lunch. This is because you need carbs to start the day energized, and fuel before your workout but you should avoid them later in the day.
Especially, if you are in the game for weight loss, keep limited intakes of carbs for breakfast and lunch, and avoid them for dinner.
Also, avoid eating fruits after working out, instead focus on proteins veggies and greens in the night hours.
However, if you want to tone or build muscles feel free to add up a limited portion of carbs for after workout and dinner too.
Check out my Meal Plan to get the right macro balance and get your dream body in 28 days.
Don’t Drink Your Carbs
Juice is a far less healthy option than a real piece of fruit for a few reasons.
First, due to the juicing process, a number of beneficial compounds and antioxidants are destroyed, along with the natural fiber content.
And a fruit without the fibers is pure sugar with some vitamins – No thanks!
Second, it takes energy to break down and absorb the whole fruit: your body burns calories to chew, swallow, churn the stomach, make the acid in the stomach, make the enzymes, and simply digest the piece of fruit.
This means that your body burns calories to digest the apple, but when you intake it in form of liquid it just enters your body without the need to be digested since it’s already been processed. This way, the sugar kicks in faster, spiking up your blood sugar levels and providing short-lasting energy.
And last, you won’t feel as filled up, because the juice doesn’t contain any fibers to keep you full.
So always reach for the whole fruit.
“I’d Quit Carbs, But I’m Not A Quitter”
Girls, I hope I got carbs out of the blacklist and solved this carbs mistery a bit.
Yes, you should be careful when it comes to carbs, but as long as you are making the right choices – you are all set.
There are healthy ways to enjoy carbs so don’t hesitate and do that!
Also, don’t forget to check out my meal plan BURN BABY BURN to lose weight and get fit tastier than ever!
Till next time babes!