The Skinny On Carbs

BY KUDI MARADZIKA

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When it comes to carbs everyone knows the basic gist. Separate the simple carbs from the complex carbs. Simple carbs are the cabs that are easily absorbed and can be found in things like sugary drinks, juices as well as those muffins from Woolies we like so much.

Carbohydrates are found everywhere, for dairy to fruit, to grains to nuts.


“A recent study by Lancet even found that cutting carbs from your diet entirely affects your mortality”.


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Now you see why the notion of going carb-free is not only unrealistic but quarter to insane. A recent study by Lancet even found that cutting carbs from your diet entirely affects your mortality.

But back to the complex carbohydrates. The best way to sum it up is as follows. ‘Carbohydrates are made up of three components: fibre, starch and sugar. Fibre and starch are complex carbs, while sugar is a simple carb. Depending on how much of each of these is found in a food determines its nutrient quality’.

The simple carbs to avoid are the usual suspects, sugar in all its forms, baked treats, sugary drinks, fruit juice and believe it or not breakfast cereal. So what should we be swapping out for these? Anything and everything from apples to kidney beans to quinoa and whole grains.

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“Carbs get a bad rap, but when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, it’s more about calories. If you’re not eating more calories than you need, then you aren’t going to gain weight—even if your diet includes a sizable percentage of carbs.” —Emmie Satrazemis, RD, CSSD. WELL+GOOD


But the question a lot of you have is, ‘How do you know how many carbs are enough’?

Easy, count your macros. I know what you’re thinking. I just hit you over the head with a term you’ve heard numerous times that doesn’t entirely mean anything. Counting macros is simple. It means having a diet that allows you to eat optimum quantities of nutrients to benefit your body. Macronutrients are the three nutrients that give you the most energy and facilitate muscle growth and repair. These nutrients are protein, carbs and fats. So this carefully weighs the protein, carbs and fat ratios in your diet in glorified potion control.

How do you start? Most people weigh their food counting a simple ratio. 50% carbs, 25% protein and 25% fats. With the help of a nutritionist and fitness goals in mind people adjust the above ratio to suit their daily needs.

My personal needs at the moment are to gain muscle. So my macro ration is 40% carbs, 35% protein and 25% fat. All this is done making sure I stick to the recommended 1g of protein per 450 grams of body weight, but more on that next time…

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“With a macro diet, you’re not meant to be depriving your body; you’re meant to be feeding it ideal nutrition that makes it more efficient.”

More than anything you’ll be surprised at how little of certain foods you’re eating and how you’re eating too much of one food group.

SOME EXAMPLES OF MACRO-NUTRIENTS:

Macronutrient #1: Carbs

Leafy greens, whole grains, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, squash, dark leafy greens, green beans, onions, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and quinoa.

Macronutrient #2: Protein 

Fatty fish, cod, lean grass-fed beef, chicken, eggs and nuts.

Macronutrient #3: Fat

Olive oil, avocado, almonds, brazil nuts and macadamia nuts.

ONLINE TOOLS TO COUNT MACROS:

Nutritionist

My Macros+