Nutrition

The villainization of carbs

There is a lot of anti carb rhetoric I am hearing lately so I thought I would blog on my two cents. After all, carbs are my favorite macro. πŸ˜ƒ

I think there is a lot of confusion with what people think a carb consists of. When people think of carbs they think of pasta, bread, donuts, cake, bagels. Yes these are all high in carbs however they are also loaded in sugar. There is a such thing as nutritious carbohydrates believe it or not!

Now before anyone starts throwing diabetes out at me, I do myself have a medical condition in which high glycemic carbs are not in my best interest. However, some carbs are necessary and beneficial in a diet. Remember that food pyramid we studied as kids? Well, it is still accurate. Roughly 40-55% of your total caloric intake should be from carbs.

Carbs are fuel for our brain. They also are the most readily available source of our energy. They are not directly responsible for weight gain. Ingesting too many of any macro will cause weight gain. Once again, I have blogged about this before, if you consume more calories than you burn you will GAIN weight. This is the ONLY way you gain weight. And remember, carbs are only 4 calories per gram. Fat is 9. So, more volume of food can safely be consumed in carbohydrates than fat.

Now, when I say carbs I’m talking about sweet potatoes, rice, bananas, apples, green beans, brussel sprouts, peas, carrots. Whole grains, fruits, and higher carb veggies. NOT sugary drinks, junk food, cookies, cakes, donuts. They lead to excess consumption quickly and you will end up with an over allowance of calories consumed. You want to nourish your body with everything that you consume. So don’t short yourself important nutrients because you are afraid carbs will make you fat!

I personally carb cycle. Currently during my lean gain phase this means that on some days I take in roughy 35% of my total calorie allowance in carbs, some days 45%, and once every training cycle I give myself a “refeed” which consists of 62% in carbs. This also means my total calorie allowance changes slightly. On a training rest day I may have a couple hundred calories less than a regular training day. So in essence I alter my diet around how much physical activity I will be doing and how many calories I will be burning. If you want to lose weight you need to burn more than you consume, to stay the same weight you want to eat about the same as you what burn, and to gain weight you want to eat more than you burn. The key is finding your magic number of your daily total energy expenditure and working your diet around that.

Now, I realize that cutting carbs will allow you to lose weight. Predominantly it is water weight from lack of carbs and once you introduce carbs back in to your diet one day (which inevitably will happen) you will gain it all back. I truly believe that living the rest of your life severely deficient in any of the macronutrients is not healthy and not sustainable. I personally would rather be lean and healthy versus lean and lacking important nutrients. But that is just my opinion. πŸ˜€ I stay lean and I eat carbs, so you can too!

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