How To Eat Carbohydrates Without Gaining Body Fat

By Sam Witter on 2nd August, 2016


Carbs are a very controversial food group with so many different opinions out there it leaves people feeling confused and unsure which foods they should eat.

Carbohydrates are not all the same, in fact the foods that make up carbohydrates are more diverse and varied than any other food group. I try to help my clients understand more about carbs and hopefully after reading this article you will too.

What are carbs?

1) Sugars – are sweet, short chain carbohydrates. They include glucose, lactose and sucrose.
2) Starch – is made up of long chains of glucose molecules which are broken down by the digestive system and used for energy.

So do we need carbs in the diet?

Carbohydrates are broken down and turned into glucose to provide “energy”, lots of people think carbs are essential for energy but this isn’t the case. You convert protein and fats into energy, however the process is just faster with carbs. So if you are an athlete needing to refuel due to high levels of intense exercise carbs are your go to food. If you are simply trying to lose fat and exercise moderately carbs need to be limited.

Good carbs – These are complex carbs that are not processed or refined, below I have listed my favourite “good carbs”. Remember to take the following into consideration when deciding on your carb intake. If your exercise levels are minimal and you want to lose weight eat a minimal amount of carbs. If you train regularly at a high intensity you should add 50-100g of carbs a day to your diet. For example a sweet potato will contain 25g of carbs and half a cup of dry oats will contain around 30g.

Bad carbs – These are known as refined and processed carbohydrates, these foods are stripped of fibre and often contain added sugars, sweeteners and additives. This makes them easily digested which spikes insulin levels causing you to store the energy as fat. Refined carbs also trigger reward pathways causing you to overeat on these high calorie high sugar foods.

My top 5 good carbs to eat

1) Sweet potato- packed full of fibre, antioxidants and vitamins.
2) Quinoa- Is nutritionally balanced and great in your post workout meal.
3) Squash- Low in carbohydrate content, high in vitamins and fibre.
4) Lentils- Nutritionally balanced, high in fibre and packed full of phytochemicals.
5) Bananas and other whole fruit- Rich in probiotics that help aid gut health and antioxidants.

Are you eating too many bad carbohydrates? See how you measure up with our free health checker.

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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