The Carbohydrate Conundrum - DIY Active

The Carbohydrate Conundrum

The Carbohydrate Conundrum

Your Crap Carbohydrate Choices are Killing You!

If you mention the word “carbs” to a group of dieters, you will get a range of emotional responses with most of the reaction being fear and avoidance. Many people automatically think they will gain weight when eating carbs; it’s instilled in their mentality! It’s no wonder; carbs can be one of the most perplexing things when it comes to nutrition!


The carbohydrate truth:

The questions I get regarding carbs are wider ranging. Eat fewer carbs? Eat more carbs? All carbs are bad, right? What is a good carb?

I’ve heard I can’t eat carbs after 3pm, is that true? But wait, I’ve heard to only eat the majority of my carbs after 3 pm? Let’s cut through the BS and get to the bottom of this.

The Carbohydrate ConundrumWhat is a Carbohydrate?

So what in the hell exactly are carbs? Well carbohydrates are the body’s number one source of energy after being broken down into glucose. Simply put, there are two forms of carbs simple and complex (we will leave it at that for now).

Simple carbs include sugars: glucose and fructose (fruits and veggies), lactose (milk), and sucrose (cane sugar). While complex carbs are found in things like vegetables, fruits, beans, bread, pasta, rice (Yoke 2010).

Carbs AREN’T Bad, Our Food Choices Are!

While many people believe that carbs are bad in general, they are flat-out wrong. We actually need more GOOD carbs in our lives in order to run efficiently. People think that a diet low in carbs is the right way to lose weight because they are eating the WRONG carbs.

For instance, Block in 2004 found that over half of all calories we consume were from carbohydrates which came from one of these eight groups:

  1. Soda, sugary drinks
  2. Cake, doughnuts, pastries
  3. White rice
  4. Pizza
  5. Popcorn, potato chips
  6. Beer
  7. White bread, rolls, bagels
  8. French fries

Well….DUH, if that is basically the only type of carbohydrates you are consuming then yes you will gain weight (and a lot of it)! If that’s all the carbs you eat then you are destined to add-on the pounds and you may want to get accustomed to treatments for diabetes.

Eating that stuff offers nothing, basically it’s just straight up crap nutritional-wise. Oh yea, stop drinking soda! It is definitely an empty carb in the form of sugar (notice it was in the #1 position).

There are other carbs out there that should be included in your diet and IN FACT carbs can make up at least half of all your calories!

What are Good Carbs?

Want to know what some other carbs are that will actually help you lose weight because they are full of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber? Here is a good list:

  • The Carbohydrate ConundrumBeans
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Brown rice

These types of carbs provide prolonged energy as they are being broken down to glucose, provide fiber (the health benefits of fiber could be an entire article itself), and a number of other nutrients and minerals. They fill us up and keep us full!

Lose Weight By Eating More Carbs?

Don’t be afraid of carbs! I personally recommend eating more GOOD carbs in your diet, why? Well because they can keep you fuller longer. Here’s how: most of you may be used to eating fewer carbs while consuming more of the other things such as fats (fats can be good as well).

So for instance, normally you may consume 100g carbs a day (4 calories per gram of carbs = 400 calories), accompanied by 60g of fat (9 calories per gram of fat = 540 calories). We are leaving protein out of this considering its usually consumed per your bodyweight and is not calculated based off of fats or carbs.

Try upping the carbs and decreasing the fat intake so while you are consuming 170g of carbs (4 calories per gram = 680 calories) you are also only consuming 35g of fats (9 calories per gram = 320 calories).

So in reality you are still consuming the same number of calories (or almost the same) between the two diets BUT you are decreasing the calorie rich stuff which has a very small volume (fats) for more volume and fewer calories (carbs) therefore keeping you fuller longer and not hungry all the time!

For the same caloric intake you can consume over 40g more food per day!

The National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board in 2006 recommended that 45-65% of your entire daily caloric consumption should be from quality carbohydrates (not added sugar)! For a 2000 calorie diet then you can be consuming as many as 1300 calories per day in carbs!

You can do this and lose weight by selecting good carbs, not crap!

Does Timing Matter?

Many people are worried about eating carbs after a certain point during the day for fear of monstrous weight gain! But in fact when it comes to eating even RIGHT before bed there is no evidence that eating healthy foods can lead to weight gain in normal weight people (Anderson et al 2004)!

The Carbohydrate ConundrumBasically, if you are eating healthy (no matter the timing and you stay within your total daily caloric consumption) then you shouldn’t gain weight!

So if you want some fruit and veggies (carbs) at 9pm go for it! If you even want some potatoes, beans, or brown rice after 4pm go for it! Be wise with your food choices and eat in moderation and you can achieve any result you want!

One method that you can try to see if it is right for you (all people have different physiologies so things work differently for them) is to try fasting from carbohydrates until after 4-5pm. Now that isn’t completely realistic because you will be eating some carbs in all the foods you eat throughout the day but save things like beans, potatoes, and brown rice until after this time.

By consuming the majority of these foods after that time, your body has sort of been fasting through the day and should then utilize the carbohydrates more efficiently and effectively!

Of course every person is different but give it a try for a month and see if it works for you!

Wrap-Up

In the end, just remember that carbs are not the enemy. The enemy is your poor food choices! Carbs can actually be an ally on your path to losing weight by helping to fill you up more quickly, keeping you feeling full longer, allowing you to actually eat more food throughout the day without consuming a ton of calories, provide valuable nutrients and minerals, and can help you stay energized all day!

You can be given the best tips and tricks ever to curb your carb eating but until you take charge of your health it could be a vicious cycle!

Carbs aren’t the enemy, your love for crap carbs is!

References

Andersen GS, Stunkard AJ, Sorensen TIA, Petersen L, Heitmann L (2004) Night eating and weight change in middle-aged men and women. International Journal of Obesity 28: 1338-1343.

Block G (2004) Foods contributing to energy intake in the U.S.: Data from NHANES III and NHANES 1999-2000. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 17: 439-447.

Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2006)Dietary Reference Intakes Essential Guide Nutrient Requirements. Retrieved 5th May 2014.

Yoke M (2010) AFAA Personal Fitness Trainer: Theory and Practice; Second Edition ed. Gladwin LA. California.

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Josh Anderson
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Josh Anderson

Founder at DIY Active
Josh is the founder of DIY Active - your at home fitness source! He enjoys blending the latest science and expert advice with health practices to help you exercise smarter at home!
Josh Anderson
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