Many popular diets restrict or totally eliminate carbs. Keto, paleo, Whole30, low carb, high fat, and many others have no or low-carb rules.
But do carbs make you gain weight? Are carbs bad for you? Then answer is a definite NO! Your body needs carbohydrates in order to function at its optimal level. Carbs only make you gain weight if you over-eat on overall calories (just like any other food!)
Here’s just a few things carbs do for your body:
- Primary fuel for most types of exercise
- Preferred fuel for your brain
- Regulate blood sugar
- Support immune function
- Contribute to glycogen stores (which help regulate blood sugar and fuel muscle contraction)
- Preserves lean muscle by preventing your body from using it as a fuel source
- Maintain red blood cell function
In addition, if you eat less processed carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils, you’ll get some nutritional bonuses, such as:
If you’re an active person or athlete, it’s especially important to eat enough carbs in your diet to fuel your training and promote recovery! If you are shorting yourself on carbohydrates, you may be:
- Fatigued during a workout
- More prone to illness
- More prone to injury
- Missing out on training gains
Don’t fall for the convincing low-carb diets! Be sure to fuel yourself properly with high-quality carbs such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lentils, and beans. For pre-workout carbs, opt for something with lower fiber for easier digestion, such as pretzels or a white mini-bagel.
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And be sure to check out our online sports nutrition courses!
Here’s a fueling guide for before, during, and after workouts!
Also check out our online courses on fueling for training, carb loading for race day, hydration, and more!