Meta Description – Carbohydrates are not the enemy, so let’s clear them by busting some myths.
Carbs have a bad reputation in the world of fitness, especially when losing weight because several misconceptions surround the topic. Moreover, understanding carbohydrates and how they work can be tricky. As a result, we’re going to lend a helping hand and clarify the five most common myths about carbohydrates.
Myth 1: “Only bread, pasta, or rice contain carbs”
Firstly, there are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are found in veggies and fruits, but also baked goods and refined or processed grains. On the contrary, complex carbs are found in whole-grain bread or pasta, and also in potatoes, legumes, and other starchy veggies like corn, squashes, or peas.
Myth 2: “Eat Protein instead of Carbs”
There’s no doubt that proteins are mandatory, especially for an active person. However, eliminating carbs is not going to get you any way far in your fitness journey. What you can do is balance your meal to help the carbs and proteins work in harmony. A combination of veggies, protein, and complex carbohydrates is not only a healthy way of doing it, but it also prevents spiked-up glucose levels after a meal.
Myth 3: “Carbs make you gain weight”
Here’s a century-old myth that is not true at all. According to nutritionists, the fiber in carbohydrates can facilitate and help maintain a healthy weight range if consumed the right way. If you exercise or are physically active every day, you need the energy from the fibre to keep you up and running. Of course, eating loads of burgers or pizzas is unhealthy, but limiting even healthy carbs means you’re loading up on fats and protein. These usually contain higher calories and can actually add to weight gain instead of carbs.
Myth 4: “Don’t eat carbs before exercising”
If you’re eating the right kind of carbs, it will never hinder your workout routine. In controlled and timed amounts, carbs are an essential source of immediate energy, which will only improve your physical performance. As long as you keep a sufficient gap between eating and working out, you’re good to go.
Myth 5: “Low-carbs diets are a must for weight loss”
Fads such as keto diets are quite appealing because of how it trains the body to burn fats. However, these trends will get you nowhere if you plan to lose weight and may experience the “Keto Flu” with symptoms such as wooziness, low energy, and body aches. Several studies have shown that low-carb diets rarely make a significant difference in comparison to high- or moderate-carb diets. If anything, a low-carb diet is more likely to make a difference for a person with diabetes because it helps lower insulin levels.
How do you keep your Carbs in Check:
Since we’re always here to give you a little more than basic knowledge, we’ve compiled a list of healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates that will work well with your fitness journey.
What to eat:
- Whole grains: bread, barley, oats, brown rice, and quinoa are important high-carb grains
- Vegetables: beets, zucchini, broccoli, corn, carrots, and sweet or white potatoes have tons of healthy carbs
- Whole fruits: Banana, apples, and mangoes are an excellent sources of good carbohydrates
- Beans and Legumes: Garbanzo or kidney beans, soybean, peas, chickpeas, and lentils not only keep you full longer but also are a rich source of protein and fiber.
What not to eat:
We agree that carbohydrates for a healthy body are quite important. However, we also endorse avoiding certain foods, especially in large amounts. The following list of carbohydrates must be consumed in limited amount or avoided if possible:
- Refined flour products that lack vitamins and fiber, such as white bread or white pasta
- Processed foods like potato chips, granola bars, sugary breakfast cereals, and candy
- Sodas, sweetened teas, and chocolate milk
- Juices are a concentrated source of sugar, but consuming one glass a day is alright
- Food with high fructose corn syrup
- Drinks or food with large amounts of refined sugar
A Parting Note
Your best bet with the most nutritious carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes and as a rule of thumb, packaged foods with a shorter shelf life and fewer ingredients are a comparatively healthier buy than other processed foods.
With that said, we hope you can now choose your carbs wisely and make healthier food choices during your fitness journey! If you want to know more about precise eating habits during working out, check out the Food as Fuel: Before, During, and After Workouts.