Carbohydrates are often described as the villains of the food groups. Anything from a bloated tummy to bad moods and skin have been blamed upon this type of food. Anyone wanting to lose wait knows that cutting back on 'starchy' carbohydrates can help with weightloss, but at the same time, there are so many myths and stories about what carbohydrates mean to losing weight, and the manner in which they can be cut down , That a dieter can become bewildered. However, since most dieticians and other experts recommend that carbohydrates take up 50 to 60 per cent of all calories consumed, knowledge about the right kind of carbs to eat is essential.
In the past, many dieters were advised to eat plenty of carbohydrates. They were seen as 'healthy'. Potatoes, pasta and rice were something that you should consume on a regular basis. Modern dieting suggests that carbohydrates can be divided into two different types.
Simple carbohydrates: which are digested quickly by the body. Simple carbohydrates contain refined sugars and low vitamins and minerals (although fruits are simple, and they contain plenty of vitamins) Items such as fruit juice, yoghurt, honey and, of course, sugar, are all simple carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates: these take longer to be digested, and usually contain a lot of fiber, and minerals. Vegetables, bread, Cereals such as whole grains and rice, and pasta.
Modern diet advice suggests that you should avoid eating large amounts of simple carbohydrates. Because these kinds of carbs are simple to use and usually taste good, these are the kind of carbs found in more fast-food products. So a bowl of sweetened cereal for breakfast, a break with sugared coffee and biscuits, and white bread sandwich with Coke, and then chips and burgers for tea means that you would be consuming far too many carbohydrates.
If you look at the list clearly, you can see that there are also very few complex carbohydrates there. Most of the carbohydrates eaten are simple ones: sugar, white bread, and milk (which is simple). Then consumption of a large amount of refined sugars is associated with a greater risk of diabetes and heart problems, not to mention obesity and indigestion.
Even the complex carbs have had some mud slung at them, and a modern rumour is that no carbohydrates should be eaten after 6pm (or nightfall, or after finishing a five mile fun – there is no consistent theory). This only works with people who would otherwise eat consistently, complex carbs or not. Eating a complex carb like pasta for a late dinner should cause no problems unless it is eaten with a lot of fat.
There has also been a lot of controversy in bodybuilding circles about how much carbohydrates it is advisable to eat. In general, carbohydrates are an essential fuel for the body, and no fitness expert is going to exclude them. Most experts would recommend a daily carbs / protein / fat ratio of 50/30/20. Exactly how many calories of carbohydrates you should eat is down to your BMR. However, bodybuilding also knows that people who are endomorphic (those who run to fat more quickly than other types) should be more restrictive on their carb intake than other body types. They may wish to try a diet of 40/40/20, or even 40/45/15. In general, however, complex carbohydrates are suitable for everyone to eat, and at any time, as long as they are part of a calorie controlled diet, and backed up with regular exercise. A good diet will always cut down on simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, which are the real problem when it comes to losing weight.