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Carbs Are Not The Enemy!

So, if carbohydrates aren't the adversary, what role do they play?

By Liam Fox, Owner at Lindfield

In the pursuit of shedding unwanted weight or enhancing overall health, you might have encountered a pervasive myth—a whispered villain conspiring to impede your progress and discomfort you in your own skin.

Yes, we're talking about... "Carbohydrates."

But fear not, those extra kilos haven't materialised from merely mentioning them.

So, if carbohydrates aren't the adversary, what role do they play?

Carbohydrates, commonly known as carbs, represent one of the essential macronutrients alongside protein and fats. They come in various forms and play crucial roles in several bodily functions, including:

  1. Serving as the primary and readily available source of energy
  2. Supplying energy to the brain
  3. Preventing the breakdown of protein for energy, essential for muscle repair and maintenance
  4. Facilitating access to stored energy (fat) for burning
  5. Providing fibre for digestive function and promoting satiety

Indeed, carbs are indispensable to the body and have unjustly faced demonisation, despite their role in aiding fat burning. Now that we've debunked the myths surrounding carbs, let's delve into their different types and why they matter.

Types of Carbohydrates

  • Simple Sugars: Simple carbohydrates, or sugars, are easily broken down by the body for rapid energy release. However, they can cause blood sugar spikes followed by energy crashes. This cycle often leads individuals to seek quick energy fixes, perpetuating a reliance on sugary foods and drinks. Common sources of simple carbs include sweet fruits, pastries, cakes, and energy drinks. A general guideline suggests that about one-third of daily carb intake, preferably consumed earlier in the day or around weight training sessions, can come from simple sources.
  • Complex Starches: Complex carbohydrates, or starches, pose a greater challenge for the body to break down, providing sustained energy without the blood sugar spikes associated with simple carbs. Incorporating more complex carb foods into your diet can help prevent overeating and aid in fat loss. These sources include potatoes, wholemeal bread, rice, and grains. Aiming for one-third of your daily carb intake from complex sources, ideally consumed around midday, can help sustain energy levels and curb afternoon sugar cravings.
  • Dietary Fibre: Dietary fibre-rich carb sources contribute bulk to the diet, promoting proper digestion and increasing satiety. While low in overall carbohydrate content, they boast high levels of vitamins and minerals, making them essential for a balanced diet. Common sources of dietary fibre include a variety of vegetables, which should ideally feature in multiple meals throughout the day. Allocating about one-third of your daily carb intake to dietary fibre, particularly spread across later meals, supports digestive health and helps manage hunger.

Embrace Carbs: A New Beginning
Now that you understand the vital roles of carbohydrates, their diverse types, and optimal consumption timings, it's time to reconcile with them. Bid farewell to misconceptions, extend an olive branch to carbs, and embark on a journey towards a harmonious relationship. With this newfound knowledge, carbs might just become your greatest ally in achieving your health and fitness goals.

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