Are carbs bad for you? There has been a rash of diet fads over the past few years, with many claiming that carbs are bad for you. I also get people asking me all the time…”Jonathan, are carbs bad for you?” There’s a lot of these diet gurus out there who believe we should almost completely cut carbohydrates out of our diets and eat only protein and fat. What they’ve failed to realize is that there is no one-size-fits-all carbohydrate. They’re all different, and some are better than others.
So…Are Carbs Bad For You?
Are Carbs Bad For You?
Absolutely not! Your body NEEDS carbs. Carbs give you the energy you need to do what life and your workouts demand. You can try to live without them, but your body will just burn everything else for energy instead. It really comes down to efficiency. It’s much more efficient for your body to burn carbs than to burn your body’s muscle and fat stores. Carbs keep you awake, alert, and energetic.
If you go without carbs for awhile, you’ll notice a few things. First, you’ll have very little mental and physical energy. Tasks that require concentration will be much harder to accomplish. So will tasks that require you to exert yourself physically (i.e. your workouts). The point of working out is to push yourself as much as possible so you grow into a stronger person. If you lack the energy to push yourself, you’ll never grow.
Not having carbs can also put you into starvation mode. Your body will actually slow down its metabolism because it senses a lack of energy-providing food. That’s why these super low or zero carb diets don’t work. Your body doesn’t burn your fat stores faster when you don’t get carbs. It burns everything else (your muscle and your fat) much much slower.
If you want to burn fat, you need to fuel the fire with carbs. So again, to answer the question “are carbs bad for you,” the answer is absolutely not!
The 2 Types Of Carbs – Are Carbs Bad For You
Carbohydrates can be broken down into two different types- simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs give you a quick jolt of energy, and complex carbs provide a more long term burn. Both are totally necessary for your health, but we have gone a little too far in the direction of simple carbs recently. People are drinking too much soda and eating too much sugary convenience food. These foods give us a quick jolt, but they ultimately leave us with zero energy later on in the day.
Most of us should be switching over to complex carbs for the majority of our carbohydrate consumption. These include whole grain breads, potatoes, brown rice, steel rolled oats, and whole grain pastas. If you’re eating sugary cereal for breakfast, make the switch to oatmeal with fruit. At the dinner table, consider replacing your white rice with brown rice.
Complex carbs also have lots of fiber, and fiber does a few important things. First, fiber makes your digestive system slowly absorb the sugars in the foods you eat, giving you consistent blood sugar levels (a.k.a. the slow burn). Second, fiber cleans out your digestive system. It helps you get rid of bacteria and other buildup that can sometimes cause colon cancer. As you get older, this becomes more and more important.
What About Simple Carbs? Should You Avoid Them? – Are Carbs Bad For You
Now am I saying we should get rid of simple carbs altogether? No way Jose! Simple carbs (things like honey, the sugars in fruit, etc.) are important too. They’re very useful after a good workout when your muscles need to refill their glycogen stores. If you eat simple carbs after a workout, the sugars will go straight to your muscles and help you recover faster for your next workout. The P90X Recovery drink is a great post workout drink to have that has the perfect combination of simple carbs and protein to help reduce muscle soreness.
In case you’re wondering what glycogen is, it’s a special kind of sugar that gets stored in your muscles. Whenever you do really quick movements, your body burns glycogen to give your muscles that extra push. Athletes are always very concerned about keeping their glycogen stores up. With high levels of glycogen, they can do the movements that make them excel at their sports.
It’s All A Matter Of Timing.
The problem with most of us is that we don’t eat simple carbs at the right times. We eat them whenever we feel like it. When you eat simple carbs at the wrong times, you get lots of energy right away, and then you lose it in a few hours (or sooner). You can also end up fooling your body into thinking it’s starving once it runs out of sugars. At that point, your body will slow down its metabolism, and all that sugar will get stored as fat.
So you’ll want to eat complex carbohydrates most of the time. Eat a lot of them for breakfast as that’s the one time of the day when you really need to fill up the tank. Then slowly ratchet down your carbohydrate consumption as the day goes on. If you’ve had a big workout, eat some extra carbs (both simple and complex) to refill your energy level so you can push it the next day.
Carbohydrates aren’t bad for you. They’re totally necessary. As long as you know when it’s a good time to eat certain kinds of carbohydrates, you’ll keep the fat burning fires going so you can achieve your results.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post answering the question, “Are carbs bad for you” and that you maybe learned a thing or two. If you did enjoy it, then make to share it!