Are carbs bad for you?

By Sam Witter on 17th May, 2016

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Carbohydrates have had a lot of bad press in recent years, and we know that eating too many carbs leads to fat storage but carbohydrates are not always the enemy!

Yes, carbs do lead to fat storage but only when eaten to excess, at the wrong time of the day and when eating the wrong type of carbs.

Another factor to consider is your carbohydrate tolerance. Everyone digests carbs differently, some people have a ‘High Carb Tolerance’- this means they burn the energy from their food quickly. Others burn the energy slower and this will lead to a higher fat storage.

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Think of a carbohydrate as a molecule of energy, it is what happens to that energy once it is inside the body that is important.   Below are some tips to consider when thinking about your carbohydrate intake :

  • How lean are you? The leaner you are the better your body will tolerate carbohydrates – if you are trying to lose fat keep your carb intake to a minimum.
  • What is your goal? Looking to build muscle? You need to use carbs carefully! It is not an excuse to eat what you want, but eating some carbs before and after training will help you to gain muscle quickly.
  • The type of carbs you eat. When you get to the stage that you want to add carbs back into your diet make the right choices! Try to avoid highly processed carbs such as white pasta and bread. Go for organic natural carbs such as quinoa, sweet potato and wild rice.

  • When to eat carbs? The timing is also important- try not to eat them before you go to sleep as you will not use the energy carbs provide. Instead it is likely it will be stored as fat. The ideal time to eat carbs is before or after a workout or before noon.
  • Portion size – Try not to over eat! Your body will only absorb a certain amount of carbs in one sitting (this will differ depending on your size, metabolic rate and how much exercise you do). Sports science research says 1.5g of carbohydrate per pound of body weight should be consumed pre exercise. I am 160lbs therefore I would need around 240g of carbs before working out.

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After spending time looking into the use of carbohydrates for fat loss and practising these methods with my clients, I still believe that limiting carbs to under 80-100g works best for fat loss. If you are trying to add muscle or participate in endurance sport your carb intake needs to be increased, as well as taking into consideration the points I have discussed.

About Sam Witter

Sam Witter

Sam Witter is a personal trainer and nutritionist who has helped celebrities such as Coleen Rooney and Mel C achieve their health and fitness goals.

A love for sport and fitness growing up led him to pursue a career as a personal trainer. As he developed his knowledge of the way the body works, he became more and more interested in hormone and bio-signature analysis and the different hormonal effects of certain foods on the body.

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