The Skinny On Carbs
Why Have Carbohydrates Gained Such A Bad Reputation?
Poor Carbs – Over the years they have been kicked around and stomped to the ground. We’ve seen everything from low-carb to no-carb diets. Unfortunately, women are bombarded by dieting gimmicks that encourage us to cut out carbs. Any diet that promotes excluding a specific macronutrient, like carbs, should be avoided at all costs.
A healthy body needs carbohydrates to function.
Why We Need Them
Carbohydrates are an important and essential part of any nutrition plan. They are crucial for many bodily functions and vital to maintaining energy throughout the day.
Carbs are the main energy source for your brain, central nervous system, and red blood cells. 45-65% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates.
The trick is choosing the correct carbohydrates and amounts. The amount of carbohydrates you should be eating is dependent on a number of factors including your goals, activity level, and your own personal biochemistry— how efficiently your body uses carbs. Experiment with different levels of carbohydrate intake and see what fits with your goals.
Outlined below are two different carbohydrate nutritional plans to consider.
Moderate Carbohydrate Diet
Moderate carbohydrate diets are optimal for maintaining your body’s condition. Carb ranges are generally in the range of 100 to 200 g of carbohydrates, or more depending on the individual. Above this is bordering on a high carbohydrate diet. Moderate carbohydrate diets can help sustain activity levels, while supporting your muscle glycogen needs, without excess storage of carbs in fat.
Low Carbohydrate Diet
Low carbohydrate diets are commonly used for weight loss and fat burning if not for an entire diet duration, or at least part of a diet. Low carbohydrates provide enough carbohydrates to sustain blood glucose levels in the brain, which means less brain fog, and less cravings then ultra low carb ketogenic diets. This balance can allow the carbs that are taken be used up efficiently, without allowing for sufficient fat storage. Carbohydrates are usually kept within 50 to 100 grams per day.
When Should You Eat Carbs
There are two times of day that are best for eating carbs— first thing in the morning when your muscle glycogen is at it lowest or immediately following your workout to refill lose muscle glycogen used up during a workout.
However, breaking up your carb up-takes into small amounts throughout the day can also be helpful to maintain a steady flow of energy!
Instead of banishing carbs, pick a few healthy carbohydrates from each list and try incorporating them into your meals.
Healthy Fibrous Carbohydrates
Healthy Starchy Carbohydrates
- Whole Grains
- Whole Grain Pasta
- Whole Grain Bread
- Sweet Potatoes
- Bran Cereals
- Brown Rice
Healthy Simple Carbohydrates
Wismann J, Willoughby D. Gender Differences in Carbohydrate Metabolism and Carbohydrate Loading. J ISSN. 2006. 3(1): 28-34.
Zehnder M, et al. Gender-specific usage of intramyocellular lipids and glycogen during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005. 37(9): 1517-24.