When to Eat Carbs

carbs

No fancy title today – just right to the guts. We’ve all heard about giving up carbs and eating high protein diets, etc., but do we really need to?

I don’t think so. I think all foods are important and we just need to learn what each food’s benefit is and properly incorporate them into our daily diets of what we eat – not the diets we’re on.

The first thing to know is that there are two kinds of carbohydrates – simple and complex.

Simple carbs are carbs that are sucrose, fructose or lactose. So, straight up table sugar, sugars occurring naturally in fruits and vegetables and the sugars found naturally in dairy products. It is possible that any of the above have sugar ‘added’ to them, but for the sake of this blog I am just referring to naturally occurring sugars.

Simple carbs are easy for the body to process and they usually have an impact on blood sugar levels rather quickly and are typically burned through a lot faster than complex carbs.

Complex carbs are the starchy carbohydrates, like potatoes, rice, pasta, pizza, bread, cereals, etc. The purpose of complex carbs is to provide the body with energy because of the amount of metabolic energy that is required to process them. Have you ever eaten pasta with garlic bread for dinner, having gone to bed shortly thereafter, only to get a restless sleep and wake up feeling tired, bloated and swollen? Complex carbs are not the enemy – they just work better for our bodies when we eat them at certain times of day.

Have you ever eaten a piece of protein for dinner with a side of broccoli or salad and woke up feeling light, fit and energetic? There IS a difference and there IS a best time to eat carbs and there IS a time that you should avoid them altogether.

Now that we know the difference between simple and complex carbs, when do you think it makes the most sense to eat complex carbs? Remember – complex carbs are all about energy, so putting them at breakfast and/or lunch would provide the best benefit for you during your day. Swapping complex carbs at dinner for simple carbs like broccoli, green beans, lima beans, onions, peppers, cauliflower and spinach would provide a filling component to your dinner without stuffing you into tomorrow.

If you choose to eat complex carbs, your ideal day should look like:

*Breakfast: Complex carbs/protein/healthy fat

*Example: Egg whites, avocado and sprouts on an Ezekiel (sprouted grains, frozen bread section of grocer) english muffin

*Lunch: Complex or Simple carbs/protein/healthy fat

*Example: Grilled Chicken, Broccoli and Parmesan cheese tossed in olive oil or pesto with a sweet potato on the side

*Dinner: Simple carbs/protein/healthy fat

*Example: Meat or Poultry of your choice, any lean variety, a non-starchy vegetable and some form of healthy fat.

*Important – fat gives you flavor, protein helps you feel satisfied and fiber keeps you satisfied. If an eating plan is missing the fat, then we are not 100% satisfied and we find ourselves craving other things that we shouldn’t be craving if we have been eating properly.

As you go through your days, start to examine what you’re eating and where you would categorize it with the aforementioned in mind. If you’re lacking any of the above, switch up your eating style and make some delicious changes!

GO TEAM!

©TeamJohnny, Inc. 2013 All Rights Reserved

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*Johnny Potrekus is not a registered dietician or nutritional practitioner. Today’s writings are merely based on his vast knowledge of food science and conveyed to the reader from a personal point of view of practices that he has personally used and implemented into his life based on his education in food science. Today’s writings are intended to enlighten the reader and are in no way intended to be received as a given ‘diet’ or ‘plan’ of eating.

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