The short answer: an emphatic no.
There is, however, a lot of misinformation out there and it’s difficult to determine what you should and shouldn’t eat.
Our advice is that your carbohydrate intake depends on you as an individual. Forget the articles on the internet. Forget high protein and low-carb diets. You need to assess how your body reacts to different types of food.
Just like cars need petrol to keep them running. We need carbohydrates to fuel our bodies. It’s clear that when you are training, you have to ensure that you have the energy to work out and still get through the day. This does NOT, however, mean you should be guzzling inordinate amounts of pasta.
It’s about balance.
If, for example, you are training for a marathon, then you will need slow-burning carbs, to give you the energy you need to slog out those miles. But, carbs can come from other sources: sweet potatoes, grains – quinoa and oats. Choose wholegrain rice and pasta, rather than white rice and pasta which the body can burn over a longer period of time. They contain more fibre which is better for digestion.
Stay away from sugary carbs – especially energy bars which are packed with sugar even if they don’t contain refined sugar, they will contain things like date syrup or rice syrup which is, at the end of the day, sugar. Instead, eat a piece of fresh fruit and a very small handfull of nuts – the protein and fats in nuts will help keep you fuller. Have a piece of sourdough bread with a small amount of some almond butter.
Don’t go overboard.
That’s our biggest takeaway. Everything in moderation is the best way to go. Don’t deprive yourself because you’ll just want to dive into a bowl of pasta or devour a box of chocolates. Equally, don’t chomp on rice and pasta until the cows come home, thinking you are an uber athlete fuelling your body. It’s about balance.
And, it’s about you. Our bodies react to different types of food. At GF Fitness we do a DNA test to analyse what kind of diet is suited to you. Where one person might be more suited to endurance type exercise and a higher carb diet, the next may be more suited to explosive movements and a lower carb diet. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all. You will need to tweak your diet here and there.
Small tweaks lead to big changes.
You know your own body. You know what feels right. It’s about being honest with yourself. Noting down your food intake is a good way of assessing your carb intake and if you’re not getting the results you need, it could well be down to your diet.
But one thing’s certain: it’s not about cutting out the carbs completely. It’s about tweaking your diet here and there. It’s about the small changes which can make a big difference.
By Gerrard Finlayson – GF Fitness Owner