Carbohydrates! Good? Bad? or Ugly?

Are they good or bad?! On the internet for every diet guru who is believes carbohydrates are fine and dandy, you will find one who thinks carbs are evil and cause cancer. The truth is, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Excess carbohydrates that you do not use and burn are stored as fat, while if you are deficient in carbohydrates you will feel lethargic, flat, and irritable. With that being said, if you want to maintain intensity in your workouts, feel energetic, and be alert carbohydrates are your friend! Let?s dig into the science so we begin to understand carbohydrates even more.

The preferred energy source your body uses is called Glucose, which is in fact a sugar. (think about how diabetics frequently check their blood sugar? makes sense right!) Some examples of carbohydrate dense foods are potatoes, pasta, bread, oatmeal, and fruit. When these foods that are rich in carbohydrates are consumed, your body breaks them down until they are finally turned into your preferred energy source, glucose. So remember that, no matter what carbohydrate source you eat, it will eventually be sugar in your bloodstream. This is probably a bit mind blowing to some, as they were led to believe sugar is the devil, when in reality your body relies on it. The difference between carbohydrates in the digestion process to put it simply is, the rate at which it takes them to be digested and end up in that usable form of energy, glucose.

Complex carbohydrates: These are the slowest digesting and most filling type of carbohydrate. They also have a low-glycemic index, meaning due to its slow rate of digestion it keeps your blood sugar nice and stable. These are generally speaking the best sources of carbohydrates throughout the day because they will keep you full and give you a steady supply of energy. Examples: sweet potatoes, oatmeal, vegetables, and whole wheat.

Simple carbohydrates: The opposite of complex, they are not filling at all and have a high glycemic index meaning they will cause your blood sugar to rise quickly. So think about that, a higher blood sugar meaning high glucose which we know equates to energy. What do you think this means for the 6 year old who snuck into the cookie jar? That?s right, he will be bouncing off the walls because those high sugar cookies will convert to energy almost instantly, along with a dramatic crash soon to follow that. With that being said, if used correctly these sugars can be used to your advantage like before, during, or directly after your workout! Examples: anything sugary, white flour, white bread, and white rice.