Here’s the skinny on carbs (see what I did there =D) they are not the devil. Here’s how eating carbs can actually help you lose weight and increase performance.
There’s a popular misconception that carbs make a person fat
That is a myth. Fat, Protein, and Carbs are used by the body as necessary. An excess of ANY macro will be converted to fat. Meaning an excess of any macro can lead to weight gain. A common argument against carbs is that when a person reduces carbs they lose weight. Leading a person to believe carbs are the cause of them gaining weight or not being able to lose weight. More often than not the initial weight loss by reducing carbs is calorie reduction and loss of water weight.
Drastically reducing carbs from an eating lifestyle usually means consuming less food (less calories) and for every gram of glucose removed from glycogen removes 2.7g of water. Over a period of time, however, studies have showed individuals consuming a high protein low carb diet and a high carb low protein diet have lost a similar amount of weight.
It’s important to note not all carbs are of the same quality
To simplify things lets place carbs into two categories, simple and complex. The difference is how the body breaks down each one and how nutritionally dense they are. Simple carb examples are pastas, doughnuts, bagels, white bread, just to name a few. Complex carb examples are vegetables, oats, sweet potatoes, brown and wild rice, quinoa, just to name a few. Due to the molecular nature of a simple carb (single molecule) the body breaks it down quickly flooding the body with glucose. This can lead to spiked sugar levels and fatigue afterwards. Complex carbs (multiple molecules) taking longer for the body to break down providing sustained energy and help keep sugar levels stable. Complex carbs are also more nutritionally dense, often providing a range of victims, fiber, and other nutrients. Complex carbs can help you feel fuller and have more energy throughout the day.
Carbs can help you increase performance
Carbs (either simple or complex) will always be the bodies preferred energy source. Carbs are broken down anaerobically, meaning oxygen is not required for a carb to be converted to energy. Conversely fat yields more energy than carbs, but requires oxygen to be converted into energy. Carbohydrates fuel the brain, central nervous system, and muscles.
By including carbs into ones eating lifestyle a person can increase performance by having energy on ‘tap’ for the body to use as needed during highly intense forms of exercise. Even during exercise when fat is being used for energy the process that fat is converted to energy depends on there being a sufficient amount of glycogen, which comes from carbs.
Keeping carbs in one’s diet also makes it more sustainable, contributing to a healthy eating lifestyle that and ultimately a much happier, healthier, highly performing individual.