One of the biggest misconceptions around today is that you should limit your carbohydrate intake when trying to lose weight. Myths like these have been given credibility due to high-profile stars like Jennifer Aniston claiming that they lost an incredible amount of weight by strictly following diets like the Atkins diet. Without going into the physiology behind this, it is simple enough to say that your body needs carbs to function, particularly those with an active lifestyle or who do a considerable amount of exercise.
When a person exercises regularly, their kilojoule requirements can often double and in some cases even treble. As carbs are the principal source of energy they are essential in all diets but especially for an active person.
The other important factor is that carbohydrates are the only fuel source that can be broken down aerobically and anaerobically (with oxygen and without oxygen).
As a rough indicator your dietary breakdown should be approximately 55-60% carbohydrates, 20-25% fat and 15% protein.
If you are going to restrict anything, you may consider reducing your fat intake or sticking to complex carbs, rather than simple, because of their low glycemic index. The glycemic index level in food indicates the rate at which glycogen is broken down for food fuel.
Foods with a low glycemic index:
- leave you feeling fuller for longer;
- steady the blood sugar levels in your body so that you don’t peak in energy and reach for the nearest chocolate bar
- Help maintain a steady and healthy metabolism