Does the word make you shudder in half excitement and half dread? The ‘naughty’, delicious nutrient that is always given a bad reputation, for all the wrong reasons. When actually, contradictory to what we have been conditioned into thinking, through years of false claims – carbohydrates are needed, great, and utilised by our bodies in a best way – for ENERGY! Want to grab the extra few km on your run? Your body needs carbs!
You don’t have to banish carbs to lose weight either. In fact, some may even aid in your weight-loss efforts. Fruits and vegetables have carbohydrates and as we know, they are a couple of the best food groups out there! The crucial part is choosing the right carbs to consume & when!
One of the great slow release carbs breakfast Michiel enjoys before working out!
Overnight oats, mango, seeds, nuts.
Healthy carbs help you feel full. But, muffins, cupcakes, biscuits, processed white bread, are refined and processed carbohydrates, and have very little nutritional value, (and wont do anything for your waistline). They also are high glycemic – which means they have loads more sugar, which break down quickly in your gut, sending a surge of sugar into your bloodstream and raising your blood glucose.
Carbohydrates that are 100 percent whole grain and fibre rich help you feel full because they get absorbed slowly into your system and keep your blood sugar balanced (low glycemic) – they will also let out the energy gradually (great for before working out)! Look for non starchy carbs – vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains like quinoa, oats, wild rice, rye bread & oats…
Our bodies NEED carbs. Limiting them will never work long-term because our bodies crave and need them. Depriving yourself of a major food group is not a manageable plan because it wreaks havoc on your system.
They even help to fight disease! People who eat three servings of whole grains a day are 30 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The right mix of healthy carbs is the best way to control your blood sugar and avoid diabetes. They’re also the vehicle for many of nature’s disease fighters, like phytochemicals (plant goodness!). Without carbs, we can also be more prone to cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, chronic inflammation, and digestive problems! Phew!
Carbohydrates are always the bodies go-to fuel source if available (where your body will take energy from them first). Try and time them when you need them and can utilise them. If you train at lunchtime, add in some lentils, beans, brown bread, brown rice, oats mid-morning to fuel your workout.
Bottom line: We just need to understand that we need only take in as much as we need to fuel the day, and stock up our glycogen stores. Any more than that, will be stored as fat. So binge on the processed carbs with no exercise – not good. Have enough and plenty of the healthy carbs when training – great! Carbs are friends!