Let’s have some real talk about carbs. Rule number one: no blanket statements. It’s wrong to say “carbs are good for you” and equally wrong to say “carbs are bad for you.” Here’s an awesome infographic explaining the truth about carbs.
My Carb Rules To Learn & Live By:
- Carbs are your body’s first reserve of energy. They provide quick, efficient calories to convert into glucose. This is especially important for high-intensity or sustained efforts.
- Your body uses carbohydrate sources for energy first, then fat reserves.
- “Carbohydrate” is a biological term for “sugar”; single-molecule strains or “simple sugars” are what you know as glucose and fructose, the double-molecule strain is “sucrose” (aka table sugar) and more complex carb chains are strung together with starch and fiber.
- Simple sugars are the enemy. Skeptical? Put this in your head now.
- The more complex the carbohydrate chain, the slower it takes to absorb into the bloodstream.
- The speed at which a carbohydrate is absorbed by the body and converted into energy is measured by the glycemic index and glycemic load. Get the DL on GI and GL.
- Stop villainizing carbs. Instead, if you’re going to eat carbs limit them to whole grains and complex carbs. This will help you avoid sugar crashes, insulin sensitivity, and possible addiction (don’t scoff, it happened to me).
- Some people’s bodies use carbs super efficiently. Some bodies convert carbs to fat more efficiently. This is determined by your genetics, metabolism, and activity level. Thus, low-carb or paleo diets make sense for some people, but not others. (Remember rule #1?) Experiment and find what feels best for your body.