There are many diets out there revolving around regulating your intake of carbohydrates – no carb diets, low carb diets, or even all carb diets.
While carbohydrates are an important part of your daily nutrition, there are certain ways that you should and should not eat carbohydrates to maximize their benefits and minimize their disadvantages.
One of the main disadvantages of carbs is that they can easily be stored as fat. To avoid storing your carbs as fat in the body and instead use them for energy, follow these 4 tips.
1. Eat Most Carbs After a Workout
The best way to work carbs into your diet is to eat most of them after a weight training session or high intensity workout. This is beneficial because carbs increases insulin production in your body, which is much needed in the period after your workout. You see, when you workout, your body depletes both glucose and glycogen, which are usable and stored energy.
And when you reach a point where there just isn’t enough energy to go around, your body releases cortisol (stress hormone). Basically, what this hormone does is break down your muscle tissue and converts it into more glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. So by eating carbs after a workout, not only are you less likely to store them as fat but you are also assisting your body in recovering from this muscle breaking process, while promoting muscle growth.
2. Avoid Eating Carbs for Lunch
While you should absolutely eat carbs after your workout, one time when you should consider reducing carb intake is during lunch. When they are not contributing to new muscle growth, carbs add starch to your body and can cause you to become less alert and unfocused. The worst time to become unfocused is at lunch, the middle of your workday.
Instead, you should save carbohydrates for your evening meal. That way, they will help you relax and fall asleep more easily, regulating your sleep schedule in addition to boosting your diet process. And instead of opting for bread or pasta, try to get your carbs from starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams.
3. Never Eat Carbs Alone
Another common diet myth is the idea that you should eat carbs alone so that they will digest more easily. In reality, it is best to eat carbs with protein. Some argue that eating carbs and proteins separately is beneficial because they digest differently, and eating them together can slow or hamper the digestive process.
This is false; the digestive tract is perfectly capable of digesting multiple types of food at once. Eating carbs and proteins together is good for your diet because it will make you feel fuller and more energized while putting fewer calories and fat into your body. And most importantly will prevent a spike in your blood sugar level.
4. Don’t Drink Sugary Drinks When Eating
Finally, to avoid storing carbs as fat, you should also avoid sugary drinks during meals. Juices with a lot of sugar and soda both cause your digestion to slow down, which will lead to more of your calories turning into fat and cause you to gain weight. Alcohol has the same effect, and along with coffee, it will dehydrate you.
Stick to water during your meals, and your digestive system will speed up and allow you to burn more fat. Water is also significantly healthier than sugary juices and soft drinks, and drinking it more often will keep you better hydrated.