Sadly, I too was once fooled by the myth that carbs make you fat and that most carbs are bad for you. For a girl, this seems to be one of the most common false and unhealthy beliefs about ‘healthy eating’. Before last year I avoided carbs at dinner, tried to limit them wherever possible and would stop my mum from cooking them for me at home. — To clarify – by carbs I am referring to pastas, rice, bread, potatoes etc. and not vegetables (which are carbohydrates too!) — This only caused me distress: I experienced huge hunger pangs, and most importantly I would feel jealous and saddened that my brother, dad and male friends could seemingly shovel carbs down themselves and not worry about weight gain.
Last year I read up on some nutritional advice as I was getting more into the gym and wanted to make sure I was fuelling my body in the right way to help with recovery and muscle growth. The most reliable sources I looked at all had the same message: Keep calm and eat carbs. So, I decided to give it a go.
Even though I had the desire to lose weight, I actually ended up increasing my calorie intake by 300 calories, and used MyFitnessPal to help me track I was eating the right proportions of food groups (Macros), particularly carbohydrates. At this point half of my diet was carb filled, and this may come as a shock to many, but I felt absolutely great.
Carbs are the most important source of energy for your body. By restricting yourself you will experience increased fatigue and hunger due to lowered blood sugar levels. I found that despite being far more active throughout the day I had so much more energy (which is what a lot of people claim happens to them when they take carbs out of their diet… which I find quite hard to believe).
If you are someone who thinks that carbs ‘bloat’ you – well, you might be right. BUT it is likely you are not eating the right ones. I do allow myself to have a lot of bread, I find this works well with my body, however most of my carbohydrate intake throughout the week will come from rice, quinoa and sweet potato. The more natural and unrefined the carb, the easier it is for you to digest and you will feel a lot better afterwards.
I’m not saying that everyone’s diets should consist of half carbohydrates, half the other macros (protein and fats), this is what works for my body with the activities I do and what I like to eat. You have to find out what works for you. However, it is a huge error to completely cut out carbs. Obviously if you are wanting a last minute week of cutting before a holiday, then go for it, but ridding carbs from your diet is not a sustainable way to achieve the results you want.
So really my main point of this post is to try to get people to stop fearing carbs and be their friends. Why not try out my Overnight Oats, Sweet Potato Fries or Egg Fried Rice recipes and give it a go?