If you are looking to lose weight, you have likely been advised at some point to cut back on your carb intake. Carbohydrates are an important part of your diet, but like fat or protein too much can actually do more harm than good. For those who do not exercise regularly, this can be especially true, as the body does not have a need to burn carbs except during intense periods of exercise.
Despite traditional teachings, carbs are actually not the most important source of energy. So, should you avoid them if you hope to lose weight? If not, when should you have carbs? To help get a better understanding of all this, it is important to get a more detailed grasp on what a carb does for the body.
The Energy Myth
For so many years, doctors accepted that carbohydrates were the number one source for energy in the body. No matter what it might be for, more carbohydrates was the answer to everything. As nutritionists get a better grasp on the human digestive system, we now understand that fat is actually the first source for ongoing energy. Instead, carbs are only used for those short-burst energy periods. In other words, they are not as important as people once believed.
Should You Avoid Carbs?
In addition to busting this energy myth, people then realized that excess carbs were simply left in the body and stored for future energy reserves. How would those be stored? Naturally, in a more efficient source: fat. This has led many people to avoid carbs altogether and in some cases a limited approach like this might actually be helpful.
Unfortunately, people took this too far. Instead of eating carbs, they created diets were you just stuck to foods high in protein, even if those same foods were also loaded with unhealthy fats and excess calories. Instead of going to this extreme, it is important that you pay attention to your carb intake and find a balanced approach. After all, some carbs can be helpful.
When Are Carbs Helpful?
One of the best times for carbs is shortly before an athletic event. Whether you are running, swimming, or playing a team sport, it is important that you give your body some carbs just a little before that activity. Why? Because in these events your body needs quick energy and though they might not be as good as fat carbohydrates can be quickly absorbed and used for energy. Since your athletic activity will use up the carbs, you don’t have to worry about them being stored in your body. Keep in mind; this is not to be confused with a long hike, which you’ll be better off keeping around healthy fats to maintain your energy level.
Always Avoid Complex Carbs
Of course, the one type of carb to always avoid is a complete carb. These unnaturally strains are difficult for the body to absorb and effectively lower your energy levels. Foods like pizza and certain breads fall into this category, as do many other complex meals.
Eating a Rounded Diet for Health
Ultimately, the body is made up of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and a whole host of other vitamins and minerals. When you are building an eating plan, it is important that you have all of these in your diet at some point. Rather than blindly avoid carbs, keep this information in mind. It will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and ensure your long-standing health and wellness.