Nope, you didn’t read that wrong—you really can lose weight with a carb diet! OK, so it isn’t exactly a diet that is solely dedicated to eating carbs but by the end of this article you’ll understand exactly why carbs are such an important part of any weight loss plan.
Out of the three macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fat, carbohydrates are often the most confusing. Why? Because on one side, you have people who tell you that carbohydrates are not only unhealthy for you, but they are contributing to your weight gain and should only make up less than 15% of your daily calorie intake. And on the other hand, you have people telling you that carbohydrates are necessary to achieve a healthy and balanced diet and should make up about 50% of your daily calorie intake!
So which is true and which is a myth?
Neither are wrong, but neither are completely right either.
Do you ever feel fat after eating carbohydrates? Like you’re bloated in all the wrong ways, not just full? That’s because you’re eating the wrong type of carbohydrates at the wrong time. If you eat the right type of carbohydrates at the right time, you’ll be able to healthily achieve an energy boost, contributing to a quicker fat loss and muscle growth. The theory that states you absolutely must eat carbohydrates for a healthy and nutritious diet (some of your organs need carbs, like your liver, brain and heart and other muscles) is true, however, trying to lose fat while you’re on a high carb intake diet is extremely difficult to do.
So, you’re wondering, how do you eat carbs the right way?
There are two types of carbohydrates: Simple carbs (like white bread and sugar) and Complex carbohydrates (like potatoes and high-carb fruits like bananas). What’s the difference between simple and complex carbs? Simple carbohydrates break down into glucose very quickly, while more complex carbs take longer and are more difficult to break down.
So, if you go and eat a huge sandwich, you know, the 12 inches sub sandwich type. When your energy expenditure is low, your body will have to deal with more glucose than it can burn, and the result is that the excess glucose gets stored as fat in your body. However, if you can balance the right kind of carbohydrates with your activity level, you can easily manage your weight loss and ensure muscle growth.
You don’t have to say goodbye to all carbohydrates once you embark on your weight loss process, and below I’ve compiled a list of steps on how you can easily eat the right carbohydrates at the right time (and lose weight):
Step 1: Limit your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates making up 50% of your calorie intake is too much, but similarly, 15% is too little. If you’re trying to lose weight, limit your carb intake to about 25-30%, but if you’re more concerned with muscle growth, you can up that to about 35-40% (anything more than 40% will usually end up stored as fat).
Step 2: Try to consume 25% of your daily carb intake during breakfast. Not only will this help boost your energy levels up and start the day energized, but it will also help get your metabolism rate on track for the day ahead. It’s best to focus on complex carbohydrates here (and keep hunger locked till lunch) so the energy you consume lasts longer.
Step 3: Consume another 25% of your daily carb intake right before you workout. I hope you’ve made time for daily exercise like any weight loss plan should! Again, focus on complex carbohydrates here so your energy levels stay high for longer.
Step 4: Consume another 25% RIGHT AFTER your workout! After exercising, your muscles are usually really hungry for glucose—so this is when you can eat simple carbs without worrying about having excess glucose to deal with.
Step 5: The last 25% of your carbohydrate intake should be spread throughout the rest of the day. Again, focus on complex carbohydrates so that your body has a higher supply of energy and you will feel like you need to eat less.
Step 6: Don’t eat carbs during your last meal of the day, or snack on them during the night. Your activity levels are low and they won’t get burned (neither simple nor complex). This is where most people go wrong!
Step 7: “But I don’t work out every day!” I can hear so many of you saying. That’s fine, but on the days when you don’t work out, try to only consume [complex] carbs during breakfast and early on in the day so that you have more time to break it down.
It’s really not that hard to achieve at all, and by following the guidelines, you’re well on your way to losing weight and transforming into a healthier, slimmer and fitter you—without letting go of the necessary carbs your body needs.
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