By: Natasha Archary
This is not, I repeat not, one of those“new year, new me” posts about eating right and sticking to your healthy me resolution. Carbs have over the years received a bad rap with many health gurus advocating for a carb free lifestyle. It’s what you have to do if you want to get serious about your weight loss goals and maintaining your progress right?
Breaking down the carb
Diets often sound like a lifetime restricting yourself from all the tasty in the world doesn’t it? And many people approach it that way, with concepts such as fasts and cleaner eating hinting that a good old fashion carbohydrate is bad for you.
How can golden roasted potatoes, tossed in olive oil and seasoned with hints of rosemary and Himalayan pink salt be bad? Consumed in the wrong quantities it can be. So, before you grab a bag of your favourite potato chippies or cave into those chocolate cupcake cravings. Woah. Let’s make sure you know which carbs are okay for you and how much you can safely enjoy without overloading your bod.
Your body type should influence your diet
Without getting too bogged down by the technical definitions and science behind it all, there are three body types.
Ectomorph– The leaner Ecto needs a carb heavy diet, with lower fats and protein intake. Don’t focus too much on precise measurements. Try to remember the carb to protein and fat ratio to be two to one. The Ecto is the type who burns a lot of calories with cardio heavy and intense, regular workouts. This is why they can get away with the bigger carb portions. As we side eye the extra pasta on their plates.
Endomorph– Naturally bigger with a stronger bone structure and a little more body mass than muscle. Endomorphs usually have a little extra padding around the tummy, thighs, arms and bottoms. It may be more difficult to lose and maintain weight but this doesn’t mean you stop eating carbs altogether.
Mesomorph– You know those people who can eat whatever they want and still look like their abs have been airbrushed on? Yup, this is where they fall. They need a macronutrient split of 40% carb, 30% protein and 30% fat. Again don’t get out a scale to weigh and measure your plate servings, this is a general guide.
Are portions gender specific?
It may not seem fair but yes they are. Men can also get away with a little more alcohol in their system than women, so yeah even by design there are gender equality battles. A man’s portion is generally twice that of the average woman in each body type diet plan.
According to our scientific experts, this is because men tend to have a lower water composition. In other words, men don’t experience the dreaded bloat quite as much as women do. That time of the month can influence water retention and this is only aggravated by too much carbs.
So women have to be a bit more cautious about the amount of food we consume more than what we consume.
A quick guide to the healthier carbs
- Vegetables:All of them. It is best to eat a variety of vegetables every day.
- Whole fruits:Apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.
- Legumes:Lentils, kidney beans, peas, etc.
- Nuts:Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.
- Seeds:Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds.
- Whole grains:Choose grains that are truly whole, as in pure oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
- Tubers:Potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
People who are trying to restrict carbohydrates need to be careful with the whole grains, legumes, tubers and high-sugar fruit.
- Sugary drinks:Soft drinks, vitamin waters, energy drinks etc. Sugary drinks are some of the unhealthiest things you can put into your body.
- Fruit juices:Unfortunately, fruit juices may have similar metabolic effects as sugar-sweetened beverages. This is true for processed as well as fresh pressed with the natural sugars still being broken down and stored as additional fat.
- White bread:These are refined carbohydrates that are low in essential nutrients and bad for metabolic health. This applies to most commercially available breads.
- Pastries, cookies and cakes:These tend to be very high in sugar and refined wheat.
- Ice cream:Most types of ice cream are very high in sugar, although there are exceptions.
- Candies and chocolates:If you’re going to eat chocolate, choose quality dark chocolate.
- French fries and potato chips:Whole potatoes are healthy, but french fries and potato chips are not.
You are what you eat they say, and scientists have been poking and prodding their way to find answers about weight gain and what’s optimally good for your body for years. We’re about as close to discovering that secret as we are to receiving communication from intelligent life forms from galaxies far, far away.
Until then, as long as you regularly workout, try to keep a balanced and health focused lifestyle, you may be able to get away with a little bit of every food group in moderation. No one should live a tasteless and restricted life.