Over the last few years carbs have become the new villains of the fat loss world with everybody trying some version of the low carb diet in the “battle of the bulge”.
A little like fat was in the 70s and 80s, carbs have become everyone’s favourite villain.
Some people say that carbs are like a drug because of what they do and how they affect the body.
But, not all drugs are bad and not all carbs are bad.
Similarly, not all drugs are addictive just like not all carbs are addictive.
The white, highly processed version that you could compare to heroin – is highly addictive and proven to be bad for your health and has a poisoning effect on the body.
Just like sugar, spinach is a carb, but it’s just that it’s good for you.
And this is where a lot of people fall into a trap: just because you label something a carb it isn’t something that’s bad for you (even if your insulin sensitivity says you should keep carb consumption to a minimum).
What are carbs?
Well, we could classify them as non-protein, non-fat foods.
As they usually don’t contain a lot of either, carbs are your main source of quick energy that provide you with glucose in its easiest form or fuel to use.
Sounds good, right?
So… where’s the problem?
Well, depending on the type of carb you eat you can end up consuming either a lot of glucose or not very much.
Sugar vs. Spinach
Let’s go back to our sugar vs spinach scenario.
First, sugar has a high volume of glucose and spinach not so much.
Second, the speed at which sugar is absorbed and delivered to your system is high.
If you want a fast uptake then you want high GI (glycemic index) foods. The higher the GI, the faster you get the glucose from the foods.
The problem is that you can only absorb so much in one go, and if you over eat more than you use then your body can’t simply eject it.
Instead, your body turns the glucose energy into fat and stores it on your belly, hips or arms: wherever there is space to put it.
So, eating carbs isn’t bad per say, but over eating will lead to your body storing more fat and your clothes feeling tighter.
Where are carbs?
Any food that is grain based is going to be a carb.
So, all breads, rice, pastas and cereals, and all fruits and veggies. Any processed sugars like in most fizzy drinks will contain carbs too, unless they use artificial sweeteners, but that’s another topic for a different blog.
Now, if you were looking to cut down on a few of these then I’d be reducing the more processed carbs than the unprocessed ones.
So, think of it this way: the more processed a food the more damaged the nutrients of that food will be.
As an example, if you eat 100g of strawberries then you’re going to receive a lot better quality of nutrition than the same amount of bread.
The issue for people who cut out all the carbs is that they also remove the bulk of vitamins and minerals along with it because these are found in fruits and veggies.
So, if you’re going to go low carb then make sure you get some professional advice about what to cut out.