For years, fat was the number one public enemy. Nowadays, it’s carbohydrates getting the bad rep.
The truth is, carbs aren’t really as evil you think. Loaded in plenty of healthy foods, carbohydrates are a vital micronutrient, along with protein and fat, and play a very important role in your health, productivity, and weight journey. They’re essential to fuel your brain, maintain our metabolism and to boost energy levels.
We’re here to debunk some myths about carbohydrates.
Myth 1 - All carbs are unhealthy
Not all carbohydrates are created equal, although some are a lot healthier than others. There are two types of carbs - simple (found in fruits, vegetables, as well as refined grains, cakes, baked goods) and complex (found in whole-grain bread, pasta, potatoes, legumes). The carbs you want to include in your diet are nourishing, unrefined, whole grains that are filling, as these give the body necessary nutrients, such as fibre, to digest and sustain energy.
Myth 2 - You should stay away from carbs before exercise
Carbohydrates are the building blocks of our energy source and the right kind of carbs can give a great boost and improve workout performance.
Ideally, fuel your body 1-2 hours before you exercise with healthy carb choices, such as whole-grain cereals, whole-wheat toast, low-fat yoghurt, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, fruits or vegetables.
Myth 3 - Carbs make you gain weight
This ones a biggie. While it’s true you may notice weight-loss when you cut your carbs intake, this can actually just be water weight. Carbs can actually help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight if you’re eating high-fibre, whole-foods. The fibre content in whole-food carbs is what keeps you full and energised (and less likely to snack on high-calorie foods!).
Any food can make you gain weight if you eat too much of them, so be wary of your portion sizes and identify if you’re consuming more energy than your body uses. THE BOD Macro Calculator is a great tool to help calculate your daily nutrition goals.
Myth 4 - You shouldn’t eat carbs with every meal
Carbs are needed throughout the day to keep your energy levels and to help your metabolism rolling. A healthy and wholesome way to have carbs with every meal is choosing unrefined, whole-food sources of carbs and not overloading your portion sizes.
Tracking your macros (carbohydrates, protein and fat) is a great way to keep on top of your daily intake and allows you the freedom to eat the foods you enjoy, while still maintaining your health and fitness goals. To find out more information about flexible dieting, check out this guide.
Myth 5 - Carbs shouldn’t be eaten in the evening
Your body processes carbohydrates the same way, no matter what time of day it is. Just remember to choose whole-food carbohydrates and don't overload.
At the end of the day, carbs are your friend. They play an important part in your overall health and choosing whole grains, fruits, and beans helps to reach your daily intake of fibre, vitamins and minerals which are needed to maintain a healthy weight.