There are many diets out there revolving around regulating your intake of carbohydrates – no carb diets, low carb diets, or even all carb diets.
If carbohydrates are a major part of your daily nutrition, there are certain ways to eat them to maximize their benefits and minimize their disadvantages.
For example, one of the biggest disadvantage of eating 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 simple tips.
1. Eat The Majority of Your Carbs After a Workout
The best way to work carbs into your diet is to eat most of them after a workout session for two reasons:
- Exercising improves insulin sensitivity.
- It speeds up recovery.
During your workout, your body depletes both glucose and glycogen, which are usable and stored energy.
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 because your body’s insulin sensitivity is improved but you are also assisting your body in recovering from this muscle breaking process, while promoting muscle growth. And the more muscle mass your body can retain the faster your resting metabolism.
2. Reduce The Amount of Simple Carbs You Eat for Lunch
While you should absolutely eat carbs after your workout, you should consider reducing your intake of fast acting carbs during lunch. When they are not contributing to new muscle growth, simple carbs (white rice, fruit juice, pasta, etc.) can spike your blood sugar levels and cause you to become less alert and unfocused. And 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 help you fall asleep more easily, regulating your circadian rhythm. And instead of opting for bread or pasta all the time, try to get your carbs from starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams.
3. Never Eat Carbs Alone
A 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. And most importantly it will prevent a spike in your blood sugar levels, which prevents fat storage.
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 blood sugar to spike, which will lead to more of your calories turning into fat and cause you to gain weight. Alcohol has the same effect and it will dehydrate you.
Stick to water during your meals, and your metabolism will be able to burn more fat. Water is also significantly healthier than sugary juices and soft drinks, and drinking it more often will make a big difference.