Stop with the Hate! Carbs Are Your Friends

I know that in many fitness circles carbohydrates have become the enemy of anyone who is on a quest to lose a few pounds or add muscle. It’s been pounded in our heads again and again to avoid carbs at all costs if you want to see that scale move. But before you go carb free let’s go over some key things about carbs that might have you putting them back on your plate. Very simply, carbohydrates are energy. We need carbs to fuel our everyday activities. That’s why some athletes “carb load” before an event. They are stock-piling energy for the cells to use later. But all carbohydrates are not created equal and that’s where it gets tricky. So, here’s a little information about carbs that will help you understand why we recommend and love carbs for weight loss, weight gain and increase in strength.

There are two types of carbs: simple carbs, which are found in sugar and things such as white bread. Then we have complex carbs, which are your starchy carbs, and are found in everything from apples to quinoa. The good thing about it is they give us a clue as to which ones to avoid, by the names.
The names are pretty much self-explanatory. Simple carbs are just that, simple. What do you think of when you think of simple? Easy, effortless and non-complex. Exactly, simple carbs require little to no effort to process. Sugars and refined carbs process fast, I mean really fast. Now that may sound great, but it’s not. Simple carbs enter the body and break down like an Alka-Seltzer tab that just got dropped into a cup of water. The reaction in the body is quite the same too. You bubble up full of energy and then fizzle out just as fast. Now the biggest problem with that is – pay attention here – simple carbs have high levels of glucose. When you drop that tab of glucose into your body, the body reacts by producing insulin to break down the glucose. The more glucose, the more insulin – so much insulin that it can be toxic for the body. When your body produces a toxic amount of insulin, it’s called diabetes!

Complex carbs, however, such as whole grains, are just as complex as they sound. In this instance though, complexity is a good thing. Why? Because complex here means harder to break down. Which means the process is much slower. Not only is it slower, but it’s more controlled. Think of it as a slow release tab. Something similar to one of the all-day pain relief pills that you see advertised. Since the nutrients are released slowly, the body doesn’t overcompensate. No overproduction of insulin and no crash and burn a few hours later. Instead, you get a controlled supply of the energy you need for a longer period of time. That’s why you feel full longer, the body won’t demand more energy until its running low. Brilliant, right? In short, these carbohydrates are your friend. Use them to fuel your long-term success.

But don’t take our word for it. Do your research! What it all comes down to is knowledge. Know your body, know your goals, know the food that you are eating and how it affects you. Once you know what you’re eating or not eating and why, the possibilities are endless. We spend so much time worrying what’s on our plate or not on our plate and far less time worried about what it’s doing inside our bodies. Isn’t that ironic?

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