The Truth About Carbs {Everything you need to know about Carbs}

The Truth About Carbs {Everything you need to know about Carbs}

Carbs, Carbs Carbs.... Spawn of Satan or Gift from the Gods?

Without doubt carbs are the most misunderstood & maligned macronutrient out there. At only 4 calories per gram, compared to fat which has 9 calories per gram, everyone seems to have different philosophy on them:

Don't ever eat them,

Eat them only in the morning,

Never eat them after 7:30 pm etc

So in this post I'd thought I'd clear up the confusion about this delightful little bugger once and for all.


Why do Carbs have such a bad rep?

Well, carbohydrates are sugars... and sugars are bad.. right?

Well there is a certain amount of truth to that, but this is where the first bit of confusion happens. When we think of sugars we think of the sweet tasting white stuff, not the nutritious source from vegetables, although each have a role to play in fat loss.

Simply put, carbs are the least important & non essential macro nutrient (protein & fats are essential) which is why low carb diets have become super popular.

Carbs can be broken down into 3 categories:

  • Simple
  • Complex
  • Fibrous

The Truth about Simple Carbs

These little buggers are shorter chains of of sugars. They have a noticeably sweet taste such as chocolate, fizzy drinks etc. The main problem with these is that they spike your blood sugar (sugar rush). When blood sugar is spiked, your body will release insulin to help level out your blood sugar which can cause the "sugar crash".

Insulin will do one of two things:

1 - bring the sugars to the muscles and fuel them

2 -bring the sugars to the muscles, realise the muscles are "full" (no room at the inn type situation) and store the sugar as fat.

So how do we know if the carbs we take in are stored as fat or used to help our muscles?

Great question... & I'm glad you asked. A few ways to know if you are carb sensitive (use them within the muscles) or carb resistant (store them as fat) will depend on:

  • Body fat levels
  • Lean muscle levels
  • Total calorie intake
  • Activity levels
  • Timing of carbs ingested

All in all simple carbohydrates should be avoided when losing fat, particularly in the beginning. They may be introduced later in a fat loss plan (post workout) but overall they are not helpful to a successful fat loss program.

The Truth about Complex Carbs

Complex carbohydrates are made of longer molecule chains than their simple counterparts and therefore take longer for the body to break down and absorb. These carbs tend to have a high starch content (potatoes, breads, rice, pasta etc) & give people that "full feeling" & get referred to as "comfort food".

They keep us fuller for longer without the sugar spike and big sharp release of insulin. Although the calorie content for each type of carb is the same, the volume of food you can eat is much different (due to the presence of fibre and starch) as well as the different effects they have on the body.

If you are looking to lose fat without cutting carbs, complex carbs would be the carb of choice.

The Truth about Fibrous Carbs

Fibrous carbs are definitely the least "sexy" carbs, as they are mainly present in fruit and veg. So do what you momma told you & eat your greens!!

The majority have little to no starch, which means they don't have that "comfort food" feel to them.

Fiber is a type of carb that the body can’t digest (this doesn't make it bad). Though simple and complex carbs are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber can't and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.

No matter what the goal, be it fat loss, muscle building or maintenance, fibrous carbs i.e. fruit & veg should always be present in a meal plan.

FAT LOSS TIP: Look to eat 1lb of non starchy veg per 50kg body weight. Do this for 2 weeks & see the fat fly off.

Now that I cleared up some common misconceptions & told you the truth about carbs, let me know what you think & comment below, share with your friends & tell me what you think.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Alan, and not sure whether or not to write this is the 3rd person. When I'm not helping my clients create the most amazing and profound fat loss and mindset transformations, I'm usually found teaching my Border Collie (Bertie) new tricks.