In the previous decades, fats were considered the perpetrator of bad health and weight gain, but as time passed the blame shifted towards carbs. People are obsessing so much about carbs, especially those who want to lose their weight. They take it so far to the extent of cutting carb for months, without following a proper Keto diet or doing a contest prep, and they eventually find themselves out of energy, feeling like crap, and most of them end up heading to the nearest Papa John’s and binge eat a large Chicken Ranch pizza, with eyes full of tears (happiness or regret depending on their conscience). I am not judging here tho, been there, done that, but I will just state some facts for you to decide at the end of this article whether they are bad or good.
Complex Carbs & Simple Carbs
Unless you have been living under a rock, you must have heard that not all carbs are created equally, but that’s not the point truthfully. There are two types of carbs: Simple and complex. It does not mean that the former is bad or the latter is good. It depends on the amount you consume and the timing. Complex carbs can be found in oats, brown rice, potatoes, and beans. They should provide the majority of your daily carb intake, while simple carbs such as fruits, sweets, chocolates, and honey should provide a small part of your carb intake and not necessarily on a daily basis.
Carb timing is vital. If the first thing that came to your mind is: No carbs after 6 pm, then my answer is no. That is a huge myth. However, timing is essential when it comes to simple carbs. There are two slots in a day at which you should ingest simple carbs. First, in the morning, when you wake up! Having fruits can be perfect for you when you wake up, the carbs in the fruit will be processed by your body and will go to the liver and signal the body to stop consuming your muscle protein as a source of fuel. The second time is post-workout, in order to replenish your glycogen ( a stored energy form inside muscles and liver) depleted muscles and spike your insulin, which is beneficial at that particular time (I did not want to get into the geeky stuff but forgive me I couldn’t stop myself.) That is why there are companies such as this Egyptian company, Premium Supplements, sell dextrose (simple sugar) containing products such as PURE CARB in order to exploit that post-workout insulin spike.
Carbs Can Save Your Muscles
As mentioned in my last article, “Want To Lose Weight? Then You Should Never Skip on Protein And Here’s Why!”, our bodies have the tendency to use muscle protein as a source of fuel when there are not enough sources of energy. So, in order to cross counter that dreadful outcome, do not completely cut off carbs if you do not want to lose muscle.
So my take-home note would be: Carbs are not your boogeyman, just be aware of the quantities and sources of carbs that you are eating. Focus more on the complex carbs and make use of the simple carbs by ingesting them at the right time.
Hossam El Morally
A pharmacist who squeezes workouts during exam nights, and a certified Sports Nutrition Coach who will make you regret the double Big Mac that you had last night!