What Are Carbohydrates?
When you think of the word Carbs or “Carbohydrates,” the first image that might pop into your head may be a bowl of pasta, a baked potato or a plate of rice – and you’d be right!
However, there are other foods that contain carbohydrates that may not be as obvious. These include foods such as fruit, dairy and legumes, as well as foods with far less nutritional value such as biscuits, cakes and lollies.
What do Carbs do to Our Bodies?
Carbohydrates are broken down by the body into simple sugars. These sugars circulate in the bloodstream and are used by the body’s cells for energy. The brain also uses one of these simple sugars (glucose) as its primary energy source. This is why we need carbohydrates to stay alert and active throughout the day.
So if they are that important, why do we hear that we shouldn’t be eating carbs at certain times of the day?
The plain and simple answer is that it’s a myth! We shouldn’t we avoiding carbs at any specific times of the day.
Carbs have received a bad wrap in the weight loss world and many have the misconception that by eating carbs you won’t be able to lose weight or by eating them at certain times, you’ll slow down weight loss, however studies continue to show that a well balanced diet that includes good quality carbohydrates is far more effective for weight loss than a diet with low or little carbs.
Good Carb / Bad Carb?
Low GI carbs are those that release glucose or sugar into your bloodstream slowly, giving you a feeling of fullness for longer. They include many whole-grains, such as barley, oats, legumes (beans and lentils), buckwheat and quinoa, and wholegrain products such as wholegrain bread and Kellogg’s All Bran ®. That’s not to say that higher GI carbs are bad, although the best approach is to combine those higher GI carbs with lower GI carbs to help balance out the effect they have on your blood glucose levels.
The key therefore is to provide our body with a slow steady stream of incoming good quality carbohydrate, such as whole-grains and high fibre foods. An nice even spread of carbs over the day is going to help fuel your body with the energy it needs to get through the day as well as your training. The benefits of wholegrain carbohydrates on weight loss may come down to their lower GI and being higher in fibre, vitamins and minerals. So by choosing these types of carbohydrates and eating them in the right portions evenly spread across the day, your setting yourself on the right path to successful and sustainable weight loss!
There is no sound evidence to suggest that there is an ideal time of the day to eat carbs and following a well balanced approach to eating with an even spread of good quality carbohydrates is what is going to be best.