Alright guys. Let's have a chat. A heart-to-heart, if you will. The main point of this blog post is CARBS ARE NOT BAD FOR YOU. THEY WILL NOT MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT IF EATEN APPROPRIATELY. If that's all you came here for, then have a good day! Love you! But I know there are lots of people out there who either
A) Think a diet that involves carbs can't sustain weight loss or muscle growth
B) Think carbs in general should be removed or cut down into small quantities because the body has a hard time digesting or processing.
Okay, so let's get into the science of this a little bit. When you start a weight loss journey of any kind, an equation comes into play called "Energy Input and Output" Basically this equation helps us figure out how many calories your body burns. Some people call this a REE (resting energy expenditure) equation as well. Most people need about 1600-1800 calories per day to keep their body functioning. Of course this varies by person, and we're using that number as an example, but just go with me here. This means, if you were to sit in a bed all day and just breathe, your body would need those 1600-1800 calories to maintain your bodyweight.
Now, of course that isn't a reality for most people, right? We have jobs. We have kids. We have lives! That's where your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure) comes into play. Here at Make It Macro, we use multiple factors to determine how many calories your body needs to support your lifestytle.
Once we have that number, we put you in what's called a caloric deficit. This means we're giving you less calories than your body needs every day to help promote sustainable and prolonged weight loss. If you consume less calories than your body burns every day, your body will start to burn your glycogen stores (fat.) This is THE solution to weight loss, guys. That's how it works. But there are plenty of ways people invoke a deficit.
There's a super huge craze going around right now for a high protein, high fat and low carb diet. I don't want this post to make it seem like i'm bashing Keto or think it's illigimimate. It's not. I've seen people have AMAZING success with Keto.
However, in my opinion, it's not sustainable. Let me give you the short version and then expand from there:
Your body needs energy to function. Guess where you get energy from? Glucose. Guess where glucose is found? ahhh, you got it! Carbs!
There's tons of knowledge to be gained about carbs. Which is why there are books upon books about them! I'll save you the science behind most if it, and try to explain this as quickly and efficiently as possible.
When you consume carbs, you get multiple vital nutrients. But there are three key ones I want to touch on: Sugar, Starch, and Fiber.
Sugars/Starch. I'm putting these two in the same category because they work in tandem together. We preach everything in moderation here. Starch, by definition, is "an odorless tasteless white substance occurring widely in plant tissue and obtained chiefly from cereals and potatoes." Starch is a polysaccharide, meaning its very makeup is made of a number of sugar molecules bonded together. Sugar is absolutely okay (and good in some cases) if you're getting it from natural sources LIKE CARBS. You'll find the most sugar in refined carbs like white bread or white rice. These guys come high in sugars and lower in fiber. I absolutely think it's okay to have these guys in moderation. Of course I would never tell a client to strictly eat white bread for every lunch meal they plan. That's silly. But I want them to use those sugars to get energy for their day. Typically before workouts or the morning of a competition day, I'll recommend clients eat some refined carbs to provide a more natural energy spike that their body can process easily and quickly.
Fiber: Fiber is the parts of carbohydrates that cannot be digested. Fiber is VITAL to digestion as it helps the body move food through the digestive tract. It also reduces cholesterol and helps combat disease.
You can get fiber from whole grains (Quinoa, brown rice, oats, etc) and also fruits and veggies! But guess what category all those foods fall into? Caarrrbbbsss!!
See what I'm getting at here?
If this is totally new information to you, here's a tidbit I give all of my clients about making sure you get good natural fibers and good carbs in your diet:
- Make sure your plate has color. Fruits and veggies are really low in caloric value (meaning you can eat a lot for not a whole ton of calories) and give yo the necessary fiber you need.
- Switch to wheat. White bread is so delicious, guys. I get it. And because I preach all things in moderation, if you want to eat a white bread roll sometimes please do! But try to look for whole grain products as it'll give your body more nutrients which are good for you in the long run :)
Well. That was a looot of information. So what exactly am I getting at here? Let sum it up.
Carbs are not bad for you. Just like all things, if eaten in moderation pertaining to your own personal goals, they will not make you gain weight. I could eat chicken in excess and gain weight from it. It's all about a nice balance and remembering your total energy input. Bottom line is this: if you want energy to live your life and put everything you have into training, eat some carbs. Just track them and make sure you hit your macro for them;)