So instead of my rants and raves I’ve decided to actually write something worth reading.. something a lot of people are wondering about.. something a lot of people don’t understand. Carbohydrates.
The reason for this post was because of last nights creep session. I was scrolling thru my instagram feed and saw a post a girl wrote and in the comments she wrote about how she stops eating carbs after 3pm and to stay away from bananas. Now.. let one thing be clear, we are ALL different and so are our bodies. So yes, what may be good for me may not be good for you. With that being said, all I want to do is enlighten one regarding carbohydrates.
A few years ago when I started personal training, I instantly began to research and ask questions. Everything from a training routine to different diets. Obviously Google is one of my best friends, but everything you read on the internet isn’t always entirely true and can be very misleading. However, any information was better than no information. So I took to researching, writing and printing all the information I found that would be useful. At this point I started training for my first bikini contest. I decided to do it on my own with no trainer like they suggest. I figured I had this shit down. Little did I know.. that I knew very little.
The closer I got to the show, the less foods I was “told” to consume. Carrots, for example, became off-limits and I started forming really bad habits. I barely ate carbs and consumed about double the recommended protein for my body weight. I worked out 6 days a week and was up to 90 minutes of cardio everyday. I was moody, tired, and my work outs began slacking. I was always used to forbidding food (I was anorexic at one time, turned into bulimia and then binge eating after my first competition), so categorizing foods as good and bad was nothing new.
It wasn’t until my second contest prep where I sought the help of a new found figure competitor at the gym I was working at. She tried explaining that in order to “grow” I needed these good carbs. Good Carbs? There is such a thing? Yes, yes there is.
Don’t be misled by fad diets that make blanket pronouncements on the dangers of carbohydrates. They provide the body with fuel it needs for physical activity and for proper organ function, and they are an important part of a healthy diet. But some kinds of carbohydrates are far better than others.
Choose the best sources of carbohydrates—whole grains (the less processed, the better), vegetables, fruits and beans—since they promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients. Skip the easily digested refined carbohydrates from refined grains—white bread, white rice, and the like— as well as pastries, sugared sodas, and other highly processed foods, since these may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.
Not all carbohydrates are created equal and there is a glycemic index (please google) for that:
The glycemic index, or glycaemic index, (GI) provides a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels (i.e. levels of glucose in the blood) rise after eating a particular type of food. The effects that different foods have on blood sugar levels vary considerably. The glycemic index estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus fiber) in a food raises a person’s blood glucose level following consumption of the food, relative to consumption of pure glucose. Glucose has a glycemic index of 100.
Now, I don’t want to confuse anyone. I know it can get that way at times, but I HIGHLY suggest you do your research. Again, what may work for you may not work for another. The reason I really wanted to get this out there is because I was misinformed. I stopped eating carbohydrates altogether. I labeled CARROTS as a BAD food for goodness sakes! You live and learn but I also learned the hard way.
As your primary fuel source, carbohydrates are important to your body. If you hope to perform to your potential during athletic activity, you must adjust your carb intake to match your energy output — too many carbs can lead to fat gain, and too few carbs can leave you sluggish and fatigued. That said, it is important to gradually self-adjust until you find the amount that works best for you and your workout.
So don’t go crazy.. EAT the GOOD carbohydrates. It’s the “bad” ones that you need to stay away from. The ones that are heavily processed and full of sugar. THAT’S what you should be “scared” of. Not bananas because their high in sugar (yes bananas are one of the highest sugar/carb count but they are FULL of nutrients). I would never completely take out a wholesome food from my diet. Instead, I know that eating a banana early in the morning gives me the best chance to be able to use its nutrients instead of being stored as “fat” (sugar IS sugar), or after a workout where my body will utilize it. It is all about understanding foods not giving up on them.
Here is a great article from live strong that I will leave you with:
Refined and Unrefined
The Merck manual explains that refined carbohydrates are highly processed. The fiber and many nutrients in refined carbohydrates have been stripped out. Refined carbohydrates–such as white bread, cake and candy–are essentially empty calories, which may lead to excess weight gain. Unrefined carbohydrates–such as brown rice, fruits and vegetables–contain fiber and many vitamins and minerals. They tend to stabilize blood sugar levels and promote a healthy weight.
Whole grains include 100 percent whole wheat bread, whole grain barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, quinoa, oats and corn. The National Institutes of Health recommends that 40 percent to 60 percent of a person’s diet come from carbohydrates, mostly unrefined carbohydrates containing whole grains. Whole grains include all three parts of the grain: the bran, endosperm and germ. Each part has distinct nutritional benefits.
Fruits such as bananas, apples and berries are simple carbohydrates in that they are digested fairly quickly by the body. Fruits are unrefined, though, so they contain many important nutrients. Fruits are considered to be a good carbohydrate because they are packed with vitamins and minerals and have fiber to help you feel full.
Beans, lentils, dried peas and peanuts are all examples of legumes, which are good carbohydrates according to the Merck manual because they contain protein to help you feel full. They are also full of fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals. The many nutritional benefits and the fact that they are unrefined make legumes a healthy carbohydrate choice.
The category of white carbohydrates encompasses many different foods such as white bread, white rice and white pasta. These foods are considered to be bad carbohydrates, which should be limited in a healthy diet. The National Institutes of Health says refined carbohydrates such as white bread and white rice may increase the risk of diabetes and lead to weight gain.
Any foods that contain sugar–such as candy, chocolates, cake, muffins and cookies–are refined carbohydrates. These foods are bad carbohydrates that should be limited because they have no nutritional value whatsoever. They provide empty calories, and the National Institutes of Health says empty calories from refined carbohydrates may lead to obesity.