Are Carbs Good or Bad?
Most people get their energy from carbohydrates. They’re cheap, convenient, and for a lot of people, they have too many cravings from carbohydrates to not include them in the diet. Anytime you go out to eat, restaurants always include breads and pastas with every meal that you order. The logic is simple; carbs are cheap and protein is expensive, so which one do you think businesses are going to spend their money on?
Carbs are also big business in the fitness and diet industry. Low carb diets were all the rage years ago and they haven’t gone away since. Mainstream diets tend to focus on extremes: they either avoid carbohydrates all together or are the main focal point of the diet. No two carbs are equal, and their intake depends on the person, the goals of the program, and the type of carb you eat. If you want to get in shape – whether it’s for a sport or changing your body – you’re going to have to cycle carbs in and out of your diet. Problems arise though when refined carbohydrates and grains make up the majority of your diet.
However, favoring carbohydrates over other nutrients can be a recipe for disaster. A study done where subjects consumed only 10% of their calories from fat (with most of their food coming from carbohydrates) was actually shown to increase fatty acid synthesis (1). This means that the subjects ate less food but their body’s metabolism took the carbohydrates and converted them to fat. I see this all the time with new clients: they claim to eat less and less but seem to be gaining weight. Little did they know that all those healthy advocates shouting about eating tons of carbs were wrong.
You can avoid this with balanced eating and healthy diet. When you look down at your plate before you eat, go through this simple checklist:
-Where’s the protein?
-How colorful is the plate (different sources of vegetables and fruits)
-Did you include a small serving of fat?
-There should be on serving of carbs (about the size of your fist)
1. Hudgins, L.C. “Effect of High Carbohydrate Feeding on Triglyceride and Saturated Fatty Acid Synthesis.” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.225(2000): 178-183