Updated: Feb 4
The Question I often get from clients is "Are Carbs Bad?" , "Do I need to stop eating Carbs?", "what exactly are carbs? " Firstly, let me it put out there that I am not a doctor or a nutritionists. In saying that, I certainly have spoken with many professionals and have dealt with clients for years so I believe I have a good overall understanding ...or at least enough to help us ordinary folk make a few better choices.
OK, enough of the disclaimer and lets talk carbs. Are they bad ? Absolutely not, they are extremely important. Should you stop eating carbs? Absolutely not, but you should understand how carbs are processed by the body and use that knowledge to amend your carb intake appropriately. What are carbs? There is a huge range of foods that contain carbohydrates from dairy, grain, fruit, and any product that contains sugars. There are simple and complex carbs which burn at different rates and have a different spike rate on your insulin. There is a lot of science that was covered in 4 sentences but its the last sentence that is really important "different spike rate on your insulin". You see all carbohydrates simple or complex triggers your body to release insulin which helps your body move and store carbohydrates. The key factor about insulin and fat loss is that insulin shuts down your fat cells and stops them from burning. Overall, your body cannot burn fat if your body has released insulin to deal with carbs. There is a very scientific explanation to this all (but as I'm not a scientist) I will explain it the way the smart guys explained it to me.
Even though you want to burn fat and get that body you have always dreamed of (or once had before work or kids came along), your body is exactly the opposite, it does not want to get rid of its fat stores. Your body is doing what it has evolved to do; store fat in times of plenty to keep you alive in times of famine. In evolutionary terms having a constant stream of food is a fairly new occurrence. Your body has worked hard to store that fat and would rather burn anything else for fuel before taking away its precious resource. A financial analogy would be your future pension fund its the last thing you would want to spend. So, if your body has a ready source of fuel (the body is alerted to this by the release of insulin) it will always utilize that fuel source first. To make the fat burn, insulin will not just stop your fat cells burning, it will take any extra calories and store them. Where? You guessed it.... fat cells!
In a nutshell when you work out and turn up the body's metabolism you will need nutrition. If you eat protein, fats, and vegetables (low in carbs) than you don't spike the insulin and your body doesn't shut down your fat cells and they can be burnt for fuel. If you go to the gym and blast our class and grab a big bowl of porridge (High in Carbs) you won't be burning any fat until all the porridge has been digested and out of your system. . Is Porridge bad? No. Are Carbs Bad ? No. Simply understanding the physical process associated with carbohydrates and making a few simple adjustments to your diet can make a big difference to your fat burn (If that's what your looking to do)!
Here is a chart that illustrates the process mentioned.