November 26, 2015
The Amount of Carbs We Eat Differs For Everyone – And That’s OK!
Hey guys! Today we’re going to talk about everyone’s favorite macronutrient!
Before we even begin talking about why some people can eat more carbs than others, let’s talk about what a carb is. Carbohydrates are required in your diet because they provide you with energy not only for your workouts, but also for you to live your daily life. You need them to walk, think, talk and simply exist. The concept that carbs are bad needs to be put to rest, and I can help do that by simply telling you that every fruit and vegetable is a carb. Did you know that? Carbs are HEALTHY and they are part of a HEALTHY diet.
The trick is to find your balance between the healthy carbs (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) and the not-so-healthy carbs (cakes, cookies, processed food). You need to find the balance between eating food you enjoy and eating food that’s good for you.
Okay, so now we know and understand that carbs are not evil and they can be part of a healthy diet because they include many types of food. But, carbs can be digested differently for each person. For example some people who have gluten intolerance’s experience inflammation from grain products, especially bread. Obviously it would be realistic for these people to limit certain carb products to reduce their symptoms, BUT in many cases people experience inflammation and uncomfortable bloating from eating carbs even if they aren’t allergic to them. Why? Because they probably went on a strict low-carb diet, lost weight but then realized that they were hungry, tired, and unsatisfied.
What happens next? You’re likely to start eating carbs again, but now they are starting to make you feel sick and bloated. You step on the scale and see that your weight has increased! OH NO! Your first thought is that “carbs are bad” “carbs are making you fat”, but in reality, the weight “gain” is just your body’s reaction to eating carbs after having removed them for so long.
How do you fix this? Don’t remove carbs from your diet! Stick to nutrient dense, healthy carbs for the most part, while still allowing yourself “treats” every once in a while. This will balance out your body and you’ll be less likely to experience uncomfortable reactions when eating carbs.
Now, why can some people eat more carbs than others and not gain weight? Well, everyone’s body reacts different to the amount of food they eat. It’s that simple. This is often controlled by insulin (which is the storage hormone). The less body fat you have, the better your insulin sensitivity is. This means your body won’t bloat up or become inflamed after eating carbs, as compared to other people. You will respond better to eating a higher carb diet. On the other hand, if you’re insulin resistant, then eating more carbs may feel like it’s going straight to your fat cells.
It’s quite difficult to determine your insulin sensitivity and actually requires blood work, but you can test out your body’s reaction by eating carbs after a workout. Then see how eating them made you feel. If you felt tired and bloated then you may be insulin resistant and be better off eating a moderate-carb diet.
Determining how many carbs you eat also comes down to personal preference and your fitness goals. If you’re a carb-lover then eat your carbs! There’s no reason to remove them – just don’t go overboard. The problem with a carb-less diet is if you remove foods that you love. This just sets you up for failure. Eating and dieting shouldn’t make you miserable. If you are looking to gain muscle, then a low-carb diet will slow down the process. Eating more carbs before and after your workout (an extra slice of toast, one more serving of oatmeal or adding some fruit) will help you build lean muscle and reach your body composition goals. Your body needs the carbs to grow and repair itself!
Think you might not be eating enough carbs? Here are some common symptoms:
-Your energy level drops quickly
-Unable to focus and concentrate
-You find your workouts are draining you instead of energizing you
-You seem to get mad or irritable easily, and experience mood swings
-Constipation/Irritable bowel syndrome (not enough fiber in your diet!)
If you’re experiencing many of these symptoms, try adding some more healthy carbs into your diet and see how you feel – you may be surprised!
Overall, just be practical when eating carbs. I’m telling you that carbs are healthy, but that doesn’t mean you should go crazy and eat all kinds of cookies, donuts and pastries all day. Instead, be smart about your choices. As I mention over and over, your best carbs are fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Finding a diet that works best for you can take some trial and error, but focus on eating in a well-balanced way that makes you happy and is SUSTAINABLE. That will lead to ultimate success.