Why carbs aren't the enemy

Sam Wood says it's time to understand carbs, once and for all.

As someone with over 16 years in the fitness industry, I’ve heard countless claims when it comes to the rules that must be followed to lose weight. ‘Carbs make you fat’, ‘all calories are created equal’ and ‘low fat is the best for you’ are just a few of the most common claims.

Most of the time these myths are loosely based on fact or have simply snowballed out of control over time. No doubt, these claims lead to total confusion when it comes to what we should and shouldn’t be eating. So it's time to finally set the record straight once and for all on the particularly grey area of carbohydrates.

I’ve always been big on educating my clients and 28ers about real food. When it comes to carbs, as long as we know the right ones to eat and how we should be eating them (and the bad ones we should try to avoid), there’s no reason to eliminate them from our diet.

In fact, my new clients are always pleasantly surprised with just how much fat they can lose and how much energy they have whilst still being able to include good carbs in their diet.

But first thing's first, know your good carbs and bad carbs.

When you hear the word ‘carbohydrates’, I’m sure pasta, bread and rice are the first foods that spring to mind. I love all of the above, but I always go for the least processed option. Rye or sourdough bread, wholemeal or spelt pasta and brown rice are my picks. You can also find ‘good carbs’ in the form of fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grain rich food that take time to break down into glucose. Bad carbs are the ones you’ll find in store bought pastries and packaged goods and these are the ones that wreak havoc on your health and your waistline.

Healthy carb-filled recipes

If you’re about to embark on a weight loss journey, you can take pleasure in knowing that you don’t have to cut out carbs completely to reach your goals (because let’s face it, that’s a pretty scary thought). In actual fact, including good whole carbs in the right portions will help you reach your goals in the long run.

With this in mind, here are the benefits of including good carbohydrates in your diet.

1. They contain essential fibre

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate and is essential to aid digestion. Without getting too technical, there are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. All you really need to know is that insoluble fibre passes through the digestive system and aids intestinal health. Whole grain food, wheat, corn, nuts and bran are all awesome sources of this type of fibre. 

2. They beat the bloat

This can be a confusing one. If you think about how you feel after demolishing a big bowl of spaghetti bolognaise, bloated is probably the first thought that comes to mind. But believe it or not, the fibre found in whole carbs (rather than processed ones) are essential to keeping your bowel movements regular and frequent. 

3. They give you energy

At the end of the day, we need carbs to fuel our body. Without them, it’s a bit like our body is a car that’s running on empty. Carbs are our bodies first source of energy because they contain glucose and are one of the macronutrients that we really need.

4. They’re good for your heart

Eating carbs might tick plenty of short term boxes but also has some serious benefits in the long run. Including whole grain carbohydrates - like pasta, breads and rice - into your diet will lower your cholesterol levels and, in turn, lower your chance of getting heart disease.

5. They can aid weight loss

There are plenty of carbs that can not only help you maintain your weight but lose it. It’s not rocket science that healthy, fibre rich carb sources play a starring role in any nutritious meal plan. Oatmeal, quinoa, popcorn, brown rice and sweet potatoes are just a handful of examples of the best carbs for weight loss as they nourish you and fill you up.

6. They’re downright delicious

Last, (but absolutely) not least, they’re delicious. After all, a life without carbs would be a life not worth living, right?

At the end of the day, my 28ers have achieved great success on a low-carb, high fat meal plan, but this doesn’t mean they can’t have some place in your diet. As long as you're focused on healthy whole carbs in the right portions, they can certainly stay on the menu - and that's good news for everyone!


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