Most people can agree: Carbs are delicious, but can be problematic to energy levels when eaten in excess or at inopportune moments. As timing does matter, knowing when you shouldn't eat carbs can help you maintain stamina, keep mood and emotions balanced, and feel at your best performance during the day. This doesn't mean you should never indulge, as eating complex carbs throughout the day is super important for wellbeing and bodily functions, so have no fear. Carbs are not the enemy.
That being said, as a certified health coach, I work with clients on keeping a healthy diet, one that nourishes them from the inside and out and powers them through the day. When you're not eating enough carbs, you might notice a drain in energy levels and worsened productivity, so you should be sure to get enough in the day; however, other times eating carbs can have the opposite effect, making you feel not so hot. To avoid feeling the latter, opting for protein or healthy fats instead of carbs at certain periods of the day could improve your overall wellbeing and drive. Here are 7 times when you shouldn't actually reach for that avocado toast or oatmeal.
- When You Want To Reduce Bloat
- Before A Workout (Sometimes)
- When You Aren't Active At All
This doesn't have to do with losing weight, but rather retaining water and feeling bloated and bogged down. "People should not eat carbs if they do not want to retain water. One gram of carbohydrates binds three grams of water, so if an athlete is trying to lose water weight for a weigh in or someone doesn't want to look bloated for pictures or an occasion such as a wedding, they might want to go easy on the carbs, just taking in enough for ready energy," explains personal trainer, coach, and powerlifter (and 18 time World Champion, 33 time National Champion, and member of the AAU Strength Sports Hall of Fame), Robert Herst, over email with Bustle.
Here, it depends on the fiber count. Eating carbs before a workout can provide quick energy to help boost performance, but eating complex carbs that are too high in fiber can lead to tummy distress, says Hope Pedraza, a Certified Personal Trainer, over email with Bustle. "Choosing carbs that do not have a substantial amount of fiber are best so that your body can metabolize it easily," says Pedraza. This could be a banana or a bagel with peanut butter, for instance.
Sure, eating complex carbs before and after a workout is ideal, as your body needs it for that energy boost before the workout and for muscle recovery post-workout (along with enough protein), says Herst, but when you're not working out and you're just eating carbs at a meal, you need to be careful of the glycemic count, says Pedraza. "When you are eating a meal not centered around workout you want the carbs you are eating to be low glycemic carbs (those that are not going to cause a spike in insulin) to stabilize energy and blood sugar. These are things like quinoa, grown rice, oats and other whole grains that are full of fiber and other nutrients," says Pedraza.
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