I shall not go in to too much detail of the science of carbohydrates and what the texts books say, lets get straight to the point.
The fact is, we need carbohydrate to function in every day life, your brain relies on it and your body utilises it for energy. Therefore, for general health purposes and trying to lose body fat it is completely idiotic to try eliminate carbohydrate from your diet.
If you struggle to maintain your weight then the amount of carbohydrate (and calories) you consume within your current eating habits is likely to be excessive or erratic. If you are having to do excessive amounts of cardiovascular training and the waistline/body fat measurements are not changing then you need to address your carbohydrate intake - don't be a warrior in the gym and a wimp in the kitchen.
You should consider the Glycemix Index (GI) when choosing your carbohydrates:
The GI of carbohydrate refers to how quickly your blood glucose increases when eating carbohydrates. Generally speaking, the 'simple carbohydrates' raise your blood glucose levels quicker. Whereas, complex carbohydrates release glucose slower. The scale of GI works between 0-100 (100 being the highest). Here are some common foods GI's:
Lucozade - 100
Cornflakes - 93
White rice - 89
White potato - 82
White Bread - 71
Sweet Potato - 70
Special K - 69
Banana - 63
Grapes - 59
Brown bread - 51
Brown, long grain rice - 50
Baked Beans - 40
Orange - 40
Apple - 39
Carrots - 35
Food for Thought:
However, you need to consider the Glycemic Load; the amount of carbohydrate you consume in relation to the GI. A very small portion of high GI food may not elevate your blood glucose to the extent that a large portion of low GI food can.
Eating a banana (which has a lot of more carbohydrate and a higher GI than most other fruits) then sitting at a desk for two hours. The banana will substantially raise your blood glucose, if this glucose is not then burnt (it won't if you are sedentary) then this will store as fat. Hopefully now you can begin to understand why unnecessary sugar, such as that from sugary drinks and chocolate, is not ideal for fat loss.
My Top Three Tips to Take Control of Your Carbohydrate Intake:
1) Weigh the carbohydrates you consume - Porridge oats, rice, pasta etc. you will be surprised how small the portions really are.
This is 60g of uncooked brown, long grain rice (there's not an awful lot there, right?), this has a carbohydrate content of 42g (when cooked it weighs 140g - which is also very small!). Overall, this small portion of brown rice has 200 calories (when considering the other macronutrients). I believe a lot of people would pile the rice in to a pan without weighing the quantity and therefore being unaware of what you are actually consuming.
2) Eat more protein - Devote less of your plate to carbohydrate as protein has a higher satiety (fills you quicker and for longer) and will therefore discourage a high carbohydrate intake and further unnecessary snacking between meals.
3) Track your daily calorie and carbohydrate intake - However, you have to be consistent (for a good 7 day period) and honest with your values of intake to measure the effectiveness of your consumption. Ideally you would gage the effectiveness of your intake with accurate measurements being taken; please consult a member of staff for this. If you haven't achieved the desired results then you need to tweak your macronutrient (protein, carbohydrate and fats) values. Download the free app 'My Fitness Pal' to assist you when tracking your consumption.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article, I hope you found it beneficial.
If you are interested in further dietary information then please see my other nutrition articles:
Gaining muscle mass:
Five great and simple dietary tips to kickstart your healthy eating: