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  • Writer's pictureJillian Tedesco

Carbs, carbs, carbs!


It’s that time of year where WAY too many people are “cutting carbs” to lose weight. I hope this blog helps you learn something you need to know about carbs.


I know when I studied nutrition it was always very science. I loved learning from people who could explain it in a fun way.


Are carbs bad?

Can I eat carbs if I want to lose weight?

Do carbs make me fat?


Common questions that are associated with carbohydrates! Why the bad rap? My guess, the Atkins diet scared the shit out of everyone. Then there was this stigma around carbs cause everyone on Atkins lost weight quickly by eliminating carbs. Today's diet that is similar but not the same is Keto. People are getting great results, but the issue is most people can’t keep it off or stick with the diet Why?


Following the Keto or Atkins diet isn’t sustainable for 95% of people on this planet due to its restrictive rules. These types of diets are more fitting if monitored by a dietitian for someone who may have a health condition.


Now, let’s talk about carbs. I think to truly have this conversation you have to understand how carbohydrates work in the body. Most people don’t know and can’t explain it. It’s science and it’s complicated. But if you don’t want to be scared of carbs, keep reading.


Carbohydrates are a fuel source. There are 4 calories of energy per 1 gram of carbohydrate. So if in a day you consume 100 carbs, which sounds like a lot but it’s not, that only equates to 400 calories. Think about that. Even restricted caloric intakes of 1300-1500 calories would be getting less than a ⅓ of its calories from carbs. So why do people say I can’t have carbs? They just don’t get it! The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories.


So, if you get 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should be from carbohydrates. That translates to between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day. If you want to know your range, get with a Registered Dietitian to help you. Trust me there is more to it than just hitting a number. I promise!


Carbohydrates are our bodies #1 fuel source and they are categorized as starches, fiber, sugar alcohols, natural sugar and added sugars. When we digest carbohydrates they are broken down into simple sugars and absorbed into our bloodstream. That is where you hear the term blood sugar. Our blood sugar is what rises when we eat sugary foods. So the types of carbohydrates we eat will determine how quickly they are broken down and converted to blood sugar. If we don’t use those simple carbohydrates as energy some are stored in the liver, our muscles or converted to body fat. If we can stick to eating more complex carbs, meaning they are more complex in their molecule structure, they take longer to digest vs a simple carbohydrates. Then we have a greater chance of burning them off as our fuel source. In conjunction with choosing the right carbohydrates, we must also consider our portions. If we don’t over eat the portion of carbohydrate, it’s a healthy amount our bodies can process and utilize, too much means we have to store it in the liver, muscles, or body fat stores. If our muscles and liver are full, that’s how we can put on weight from carbs. Not by eating carbohydrates, but by eating the wrong ones and too many.


Think about it, if you eat slow digesting carbs, in moderation, throughout the day, are active and try to get fiber in and keep sugars low, you're 90% on your way to success. Don’t complicate it and try to give up carbs, it’s not the way to live.


Some great carbohydrates I love daily are…


High fiber fruits: The fiber helps them digest slower since they are typically full of natural sugars which makes them a great choice if you want to consume more fruit. Best fruits to eat that are higher in fiber are berries, apples, pears, dried figs, avocados, and oranges.


All veggies: Bring them all on, ain’t nobody ever got fat from veggies!!! They are full of micronutrients and fiber. They fill you up, keep you regular and you can have fun with them.


Starches: Old fashioned oats, brown rice, white or brown basmati rice, quinoa, potatoes (with skin is better). Never instant rice for me, strips away all the good stuff that helps the rice digest slowly. The longer it takes to cook, the longer it takes your body to digest.


Natural sugars : Honey & Maple syrup


Artificial sweeteners: Monk fruit sweetener, I love it, comes in white, brown, powdered options. Great for baking.


Snacks: Tostitos chips are my fav, I typically will have 1-3 servings, not gonna lie. Love BoBo’s oat bars, I will do them with a protein shake if I’m on the run. Dried fruit for a sweet treat. fit-flavors chocolate chip muffins and the PB bliss bars, both have a balance of all the macros which is great when you're snacking.


The moral of the story: eat balanced meals. That INCLUDES carbs!! I promise you’ll feel better and you can reach your health goals without cutting out an entire macronutrient.


Yours,

Jillian Tedesco










 

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