Why Carbs Should Never Be a Dirty Word
Load Up or Fade Out...
Carbs have long been given a bad reputation, with many people claiming that they should be avoided at all costs. But as trainers obsessed with nutrition, we're here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
Here's why carbs should never be a dirty word, especially when workout diets are concerned:
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CARBS IS KEY
First, let's talk about the difference between complex and simple carbs.
Complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are rich in fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. They take longer to digest and can help keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer.
On the other hand, simple carbs like sugar, white flour, and processed baked goods are quickly digested and can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes.
YOU NEED 'EM FOR NUTRIENT ABSORPTION
Believe it or not, carbs are actually necessary for the body to process other nutrients too. Aside from carbohydrates being the body's main source of energy, they're also essential for proper metabolism and the absorption of other nutrients un your digestive tract.
When you consume carbohydrates, they're broken down into glucose, which is used by the body as fuel for the brain and muscles during physical activity. This process also plays a role in the absorption of other essential vitamins and minerals. For example, carbohydrates help the body absorb calcium, essential for strong bones. They also help the body absorb vitamin C, which is critical for a robust immune system.
Additionally, complex carbs also provide fiber, which helps to keep your digestive system healthy and regular so you can properly absorb all the other nutrients you're eating. As you can see, including a variety of complex carbohydrates in your diet is a fast-track to complete nutrition to fuel your burn.
DON'T FORGET THAT GLYCEMIC INDEX
Another important factor to consider is the glycemic index (GI) of carbs. The GI is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels.
Low GI carbs, such as whole grains and most fruits and vegetables, are absorbed more slowly and have a lower impact on blood sugar and insulin production. This helps to regulate your blood sugar levels, which is crucial for maintaining energy levels and preventing blood sugar crashes.
High GI carbs, such as white bread and sugary snacks, are absorbed quickly and can cause your blood sugar to peak - this results in a quick burst of energy, but it's short lived. As with all things, what goes up must come down.
WHY THESE DIFFERENCES MATTER
So, why should you care about the difference between complex and simple carbs, and the impact of low vs high GI carbs?
For one, consuming a diet high in simple carbs can contribute to weight gain and increased risk of chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. In contrast, a diet rich in complex carbs can help with weight management and improve overall health.
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WORKING OUT? YOU NEED CARBS, PERIOD.
When it comes to working out, consuming complex carbs before and after exercise can help provide the energy you need to power through your workout and aid in recovery afterwards. Complex carbs also help to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.
Did you know that eating starchy foods can actually reduce post-workout muscle aches? If your training sessions have you walking like a gunslinger afterwards or battling DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), be sure to check out our post-workout food guide, Recovery Nutrition: What to Eat to Help Sore Muscles.
So, let's stop the carb-shaming and embrace the importance of carbohydrates in our diets. Complex carbs and low GI carbs are essential for maintaining a healthy weight, improving overall health, and powering our workouts.
Don't be afraid to indulge in a sweet potato or a bowl of whole grain pasta, your body will thank you for it.
The bottom line: Carbs are essential for the human body and should never be considered as a bad thing.
Complex carbs are the best source of energy and they help in weight management while fueling your body's glycogen stores and slow-burning energy production. Low-GI carbs are easily digestible and they help in maintaining blood sugar levels, while giving you sustained energy to get through the toughest sweat sessions without flagging.
So, next time you feel guilty about eating carbs, remember they play a vital role in keeping your body functional and strong. Choose your carbs wisely, and go forth, warrior.
Fefe | MME Lifestyle Contributor