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Podcast 426: Carbs Are Great For You, But This Is Terrible Advice!

I recently read an article published on Insider.com called:

"4 Physical Signs You Need To Eat More Carbs"

If you want to read it, check it out here.

Being the nutrition coach...

Knowing carbs are a hot nutrition topic...

I was had to check it out.

Let me clarify one thing...

I am definitely not anti-carb.

A balanced diet is based on a healthy proportion of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Your macros.

Yet, I also know there's a lot of bad advice online. Probably more bad and confusing than good.

Overall, the article was spot on.

The following are potential signs your diet might be imbalanced and lacking the right amount of carbs.

  • Lack of energy
  • Brain fog
  • Less energy for workouts
  • Difficulty recovering between workouts

But...

The Two Major Article Mess Ups

1. The Image of a Huge Bowl of Pasta Alfredo.

How can an image be so bad?

Because most people associate pasta with carbs.

An article where nutritionists are telling readers to eat MORE carbs, sends the wrong message.

It suggests massive bowls of pasta alfredo is not only okay...

But recommended.

Pasta alfredo is... most likely... loaded with unhealthy amounts of processed carbs.

To put it into perspective...

If you go to Olive Garden and order Fettucini Alfredo, expect to put down...

  • 1220 calories
  • 75g fat
  • 99g carbs
  • 36g protein

(Stats via MyFitnessPal)

Just the fat alone (fat should make up roughly 30% of your total diet) goes over most people's DAILY recommended intake.

And as far as carbs are concerned...

This is the equivalent of eating 2.72 Snicker's in a single sitting.

Talk about sugar overload.

All Carbs Aren't Created Equal

Images like this on a "nutrition" article give the impression all carbs are created equal.

Carbs are NOT created equal.

Let's talk a little nutrition science.

Simple carbs like those in pasta, baked goods, and candy break down fast...

There's an enzyme in your mouth that is released during chewing called amylase.

It's sole purpose it to begin carbohydrate digestion.

Because of the rapid breakdown, you get a fast release of energy, a fast increase in insulin and a body that wants to store body fat.

Because of the fast digestion, you're hungry again in about an hour.

You need complex carbs.

What Makes Complex Carbs Special?

Complex carbs... like starchy vegetables and (some) whole grains... have FIBER which slows digestion keeping you full longer.

Slower digestion means your blood sugar won't spike as high.

Complex carbs for the win!

Here are good examples of healthy complex carbohydrates:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Squashes
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Farro

2. They Recommend HOW Much!?

The other part to this article was the amount of carbohydraes suggested.

"Dr. Mark Hyman previously told Insider's Gabby Landsverk that carbs should make up to 75% of the average person's overall food intake..."

What!?

75%!?!?

No, no, no!

Yes...

We've established carbs are good but carbs should only take up around 35-45% (at most) of your total calories.

Leaving room for adequate protein and fat.

This percentage changes from person to person, but I would never recommend a client eat 75% of total calories from carbs.

75% is utter bananas.

Let's Sum This Up

Carbs are not bad.

Make sure your diet is focused on complex carbs from fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

Not bowls of alfredo.

And finally...

Keep it balanced.

The general percentages for macros recommended by dieticians is:

Keep in mind this is "general" advice. You and your body will probably be very different.

  • 45–65% Daily calories from carbs
  • 20–35% from fats
  • 10–35% from protein

How do you know where in the spectrum you should be?

That's where working with a nurition coach comes in handy.

Based on your lifestyle and goals your macros are created for you! If you need help, reach out and we can talk!

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