Carbs has almost become an expletive in certain camps, making many suddenly fearful of the rice and beans in the bottom of their burrito bowl from Chipotle. When you ask people what they need to do to lose weight, they will most often answer with “cut out carbs.” While there is merit to their argument to some degree, there is also solid evidence that carbohydrates are beneficial to the body, and necessary for energy.
Carbs are one of the three main macronutrients that make up the calories in your food. Carbs are found in breads, pastas, vegetables – yes, even your beloved kale has carbs. That’s why it’s impossible to cut out carbs completely. And while low-carb diets may work to help you lose weight, many people find that they gain the weight back when re-introducing carbs to their diet. But, do carbs make you fat, or is it the type of carbs?
When carbs are made up of simple sugars and refined flour, they lose all of the goodness that carbs can offer. Instead of proving sustained energy to the body, they cause a sharp spike in glucose levels- meaning you’ll feel a quick rush of energy, then you’ll crash. Hard. These are the carbs that can make you fat.
Instead, opt for complex, slow-digesting carbohydrates. These are found in vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. These carbohydrates take more time for the body to digest, so they’ll provide you with longer, healthier energy. These are the carbs that will not make you fat.
Of course, anything will cause you to gain weight if you eat too much of it. Weight loss officially comes down to calories in versus calories out: you must be expending more calories than you consume in order to lose weight. but, there are certain foods that can hinder weight loss and cause health ramification in the long run (i.e., those simple carbs and sugary foods we mentioned earlier). If you’re looking to lose weight, don’t cut out all carbs – just cut out the bad ones.
Like we said before, carbs give you energy. This energy is necessary if you’re crushing it in the gym. Athletes and gym rats must have some carbohydrates in their diet, depending on their training and body type.
In addition to providing your body with energy, carbohydrates also assist with brain function and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. There are some really incredible benefits to eating these foods, and the complete absence of carbs in your diet can have a negative affect.
Of course, there are certain circumstances in which carbs are cut out and it works. Some ketogenic diets have provided amazing medical benefits when followed correctly, and can help with certain medical conditions like epilepsy. However, if your main goal is to lose weight, don’t feel like you have to go to extremes unless you are directed by a doctor. We like to promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle here at FitFluential, so find something that works for YOU – whether that includes carbs or not, that’s your call.