Opinion: Simon Says. . . dispelling the carb myths
Simon Goswell - owner and Head Coach of Full Circle Fitness in Dry Drayton, and a hands-on Dad to two children and a dog – dispels some myths on carbs. . .
I’ve been asked today by two different clients what carbs are good and what are bad and should they eat any or completely avoid them.
Like everything, there is no completely right or completely wrong answer.
SHOULD I EAT CARBS?
Carbs are much like politics, religion and block eyebrows - everyone seems to have an opinion.
Some suggest completely eliminating them whilst other say they’re essential. My view is that like so much of health and fitness, you have to find what works for you.
Here’s what I have found works most of the time (with myself and with my clients).
1. Eat carbs, don’t drink them.
2. Avoid white ones where possible.
3. Eat slightly less if you’re trying to lose body fat, slightly more if you’re trying to put on muscle.
4. Have slightly less if you’re short and stocky but more if you’re tall and lean.
My experience is that avoiding carbs works for so long but after a while, at around 21-28 days (from what I’ve seen) you can crash like a Frisbee made out of pizza – particularly if you are training regularly.
WHAT TYPE OF CARBS?
You may have heard of the Glycaemic Index List (GI).
GI is a number that is assigned to food items and represents how much of a disturbance eating that food has on your blood sugar levels. The GI rating looks like this:
Less than 55 = Low
55-69 = Med
Over 70 = High
Glucose = 100
Avocado = less than 15
When we eat lots of high GI Carbs, our blood sugar shoots up. This result is the tendency to store more fat. We then get the sugar crash after and crave more sweet foods and thus the cycle begins again.
Ideally, sticking to low/medium GI carbs means that the energy is converted and released slower than high GI variations.
WHAT DO LOW GI CARBS LOOK LIKE?
Here you go:
LOW/MED GI FRUITS:
LOW/MED GI VEGGIES:
MISC LOW/MED GI FOODS:
-Rolled porridge oats
WHAT FOODS ARE HIGH ON THE GI LIST?
Well, it’s all of the stuff you’d expect.
White carbs, sugary snacks, fizzy drinks, pastries, potatoes (not sweet potatoes) and many breakfast cereals.
Essentially if you like eating it, it probably has a high GI value!!!
I would also recommend keeping an eye on how much wheat you eat (that rhymes). We have seen excellent results when significantly reducing the wheat intake for many of our clients.
SO WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT?
It’s actually not as hard as you might think.
I believe the two biggest barriers to eating well are often organisation and imagination. Personally, I love cooking but for those who don’t, simply chuck the following search into Google:
‘Quick low GI recipes’. There’s some great recipes such as Barley Chicken and Mushroom Risotto, Prawn and Tomato Stew with Gremolata Topping, and Jerk Sweet Potato and Black Bean Curry at bbcgoodfood.com
Some people get awesome results on low carb diets and if it works for you, then fabulous. The way I see it, it’s a lot like wearing Crocs slippers – some people like them, but they’re not for me.
We often see clients who move from a low carb diet to one that includes carbs, and see better results in terms of intensity in their training and body composition.
Often where we go wrong is eating too many and the wrong types.
I’d be very interested to hear what works for you and would love to help if you want more on this.
Tip: If you are struggling to reduce your carb intake, focus on increasing how much protein you eat. We often see with new clients that carbs in their diet can often make up more than double the amount of protein.
Full Circle Fitness is at Unit 29, Dry Drayton Industries, Scotland Road, Dry Drayton, CB23 8AT. Find out more at full-circle-fitness.co.uk
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More by this authorLouise Cummings