Carbs: friends or foes?

Carbohydrates are everywhere.

Totally eliminating carbs as a food group means getting rid of vegetables, fruits, grains, breads, and *gasp* treats.

Yeah. Not worth it.

What I do recommend is being smarter about when one eats the majority of their carbohydrates, of course, if you are trying to lose weight. To further elaborate, I will explain the composition of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate composition:

Carbs as we know and love them are made up of three elements:

Sugars: you’ve heard the ruckus – sugar is bad, sugar is unhealthy. Sugar is one of the major building blocks of our body composition and the brain almost runs exclusively on glucose, so eliminating sugars probably is not a wise thing to do, unless if you are diabetic or have another sort of health issue in which sugars cause complications. However, added sugars should be limited to 25g per day according to the World Health Organization. This means that you are free to fill up on fruits and sweet veggies, but you need to monitor the amount of sodas and sweetened goods you are consuming. It is advisable to eat the bulk of your sugars pre-workout or at breakfast so that your body has enough fuel to get through the day.

Fiber: Fiber is an important nutrient for digestion. It adds bulk to stool as it passes through the digestive tract undigested. Remember that if you are eating lots of fiber, you will need to drink lots of water to prevent constipation. Fiber can be eaten with every day, but remember that too much will cause gastrointestinal issues and bloating. The World Health Organization recommends 25-30g of fiber per day (adults).

Starch: Starches are complex carbohydrates and are found in most grains, potatoes, bananas, and squashes. They are nutrient dense and help to keep you full through the day. Starches help repair muscles post-workout and should be eaten later on in the day or after you’ve smashed your gym session.

If your focus is weight loss, you’ll want to eat in moderation and exercise as many times per week as your body is comfortable with. Of course, you’ll have to challenge yourself at some point, so once you get too used to your gym routine, try challenging yourself or incorporating new exercises. Breathing exercises, stretching, and relaxing are equally as important, so don’t kill yourself at the gym. Take everything in your stride and monitor your calories.

Takeaway message:

As long as you monitor your calorie intake and exercise, and ensure that you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. You do not have to eliminate an entire, clearly essential food group. Do not skimp on nutrients to lose weight. Your body will love you for it.