Carbs Are Not The Enemy

You just need to know when and how to eat them

Rike Aprea
Aug 14 · 5 min read
Photo by Leti Kugler on Unsplash

Lately, there is a lot of buzz about diets that drastically restrict carbohydrates.

And yes: they work. People lose weight, but do you want to live without rice, bread, (sweet) potatoes, pasta, or fruit all your life?

I am German, and I have lived in Asia for many years — I LOVE potatoes, bread, rice, and sushi. I also enjoy fruit: mangos, papaya, apples, berries are some of my favorites.

Don’t take that away from me!

Good news: you don’t have to give up your favorite foods to live a healthy, happy life. You just have to know when and how you can eat them without experiencing blood sugar spikes (and gaining weight).

Before I talk about the “HOW,” I would like to provide you with some insights about the “WHY.”

That means I will talk a little bit about science but bear with me: I will try not to make it too boring.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are made of chains of sugar molecules (saccharides). A monosaccharide is the simplest form of sugar, and it comes in three types: Glucose, Fructose, and Galactose.

Simple sugars can form chains that can be classified as disaccharides, oligosaccharides, or polysaccharides depending on their length.

Polysaccharides are long chains of saccharides and are often referred to as complex carbohydrates.

The role and danger of simple sugars:

The problem is that a rapid rise in blood sugar will lead to a rapid fall of the blood sugar below the normal level.

That will trigger the following chain reaction: your body wants to bring the blood sugar back to a normal level, which will make you crave more sugar.

That’s why people often get hungry after eating candies or drinking juice.

However, if your body doesn’t use this excess energy, it will be stored in your fat cells.

You can find more details on this blood sugar response and its dangers in the following article:

Does that mean you have to give up gummi bears for good? NO! You will learn when you can eat them in a little bit. But before that, we have to talk about complex carbs, fiber, protein and fat, so stay tuned:

Why are complex carbohydrates different?

Examples of complex carbohydrates are vegetables, whole wheat pasta or bread, berries, etc.

How protein and fat can help you to tame your appetite:

The same holds true for fat: according to nutritionist Achim Sam, fat can slow down the release of blood sugar and thus will help to increase satiety levels. Apart from that, healthy fats like olive oil and fish oil can also reduce inflammation.

So what does this all have to do with you being able to eat bread and pasta?

If you only eat (simple) carbs, you will elevate your blood sugar rapidly, which will make you hungry again. However, if you combine complex carbs with protein and fat, you can avoid the blood sugar roller coaster.

Fiber — Your New Best Friend

According to Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., R.D and the author of “The F-Factor Diet,” fiber acts like a sponge while passing through your system that can help to absorb some of the carbs, fats, that they are consumed with.

Fiber also bulks up and keeps you full longer.

Good sources of fiber include:

  • legumes
  • oats
  • rye
  • barely
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • almonds

Meal timing

A good time to eat carbohydrates is after a workout: your muscles use their glycogen stores for the energy they need while you’re working out.

When you eat carbs after an intense training session, they will be used to refill these glucogen stores, which can also help you to grow your muscles and to enhance your recovery.

Apart from that, studies have shown that the body is more likely to use carbohydrates for energy when they are consumed early during the day.

When you eat carbs at night, the elevated insulin levels can also interfere with the release of the human growth hormone that your body needs for repair and recovery processes.

So what if you want to eat gummi bears?

*A word of warning: if you are suffering from any (chronic) health condition, please consult your health care provider before making changes to your diet.

You might also like:

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In good health,

Wellness Decoded

Increase your health and happiness —  step by step, day by day

Rike Aprea

Written by

Certified Personal Trainer & Behavior Change Specialist. Let me help you to change your attitude, your habits, and your life.

Wellness Decoded

Increase your health and happiness —  step by step, day by day

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