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When Should I Eat Carbs And How Much Carbs Should I Eat?

Hi Friends of Oompf, it’s Alvan here. Today we will be talking about carbohydrates; if should you eat them, when should you have them and myths about carbs.

What if I told you that carbohydrates are one of the most important nutrients in an athlete’s diet and essential for achieving peak performance? Carbs, just like protein is essential for muscle growth. They are the most efficiently broken down and metabolized form of energy for the body. Carbohydrates are also your body’s main source of energy: They help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system. For instance, fiber is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion, helps you feel full, and keeps blood cholesterol levels in check. The question is, how much carbs should you be eating for fat loss and muscle growth?

It can be difficult to figure out exactly how much carbs you should be consuming as there is no hard and fast rule on how much each person should be eating. Factors like personal preference, activity levels and even how your body reacts to carbs play a role in determining the amount of carbs you should consume. A simple guideline to follow if you are just starting out would be having a palmed sized portion of healthy carbs for each meal. From here, you can track your progress for a week or 2 to access your tolerance and if the diet is moving in line with your goals be it fat loss or muscle gain.

When is the best timing to eat carbs?

Carbs can affect each individual differently. Some feel energized after consuming carbs while some feel lethargic and sleepy. Besides improving on the quality of your carbs such as having more complex carbs, you can also plan the timing you consume it. Generally, you should have carbs about an hour or 2 before a workout. Your body will use these carbs to fuel your body just before your workout to avoid glycogen breakdown and preserve muscle.

Myths about carb eating

1. Carbs make you gain weight. 
Carbs are part of a healthy diet. They do not make you gain weight, overeating does. If you are trying to lose weight, you can try decreasing the amount of carb intake and consume more carbs in the earlier part of your day. 

2. Low carb/ zero carb diets are the best way to lose weight.
Zero carb diets are difficult to sustain long-term and rapid weight gain will likely occur once carbohydrates are re-introduced into your diet. Carbohydrates are also the only fuel source for our brain. Severely restricting carbs can have a negative impact on health as the body will switch to a state of ketosis (when your body burns fat as fuel instead of glucose) which can lead to dehydration and a chemical imbalance in your blood, causing your blood to become too acidic.

3. You should not eat carbs at night.
All carbohydrates are processed by your body the same way, no matter what time of day it is so it is perfectly okay to incorporate carbs into every meal. But with that being said, it is important to consume mindfully. Opt for healthier carbs such as brown rice, or wholegrain pasta rather than fries or cereal or even cake. 

Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists, all information is based on research and advice from a fitness professional. Do consult your dietician or nutritionist if you have intolerance to any foods. 

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