Following on from my previous posts on protein and> fat, I wanted to write a post focusing on carbohydrates. Another macro nutrient with a bit of a bad reputation, but one that we need in our diet. Carbohydrates are the bodies main energy source, but have been seen as the devil when it comes to weight loss recently. This is mainly due to the popularity of low carb diets such as Atkins, and> the No Carbs before Marbs mantra! It is important you do not cut carbohydrates out of your diet completely but look to choose the right types of carbohydrates, and> as with anything ensure portion sizes are appropriate for your goals.

So what classes as a source of Carbohydrate, and> which are the best sources to go for? There are what we call Starchy Carbs, found in bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and> some vegetables. And then there are Sugars, Fruit and> Milk contain naturally occurring sugars (Fructose & Lactose) or there is added sugar (Sucrose) found in foods like Cake & Biscuits (the naughty but nice foods!). Based on the above, you could get a large proportion of carbohydrates from Fruit & Vegetables and> this should be your main source if you do mainly Cardio exercise or no exercise at all! But we don’t advocate that do we, so if you are lifting weights and> doing resistance training then you need Starchy Carbs in your diet as well! In general you should be eating lots of vegetables and> fruit and> opting for starchy carbohydrates with meals. When it comes to starchy carbs I suggest you go for whole-grain options, like brown rice, sweet potato, oats and> pulses.

So now we know that Carbohydrates are not the devil, and> hopefully I have persuaded you that you do not need to cut them out of your diet completely, the next question is bound to be how much should you be eating? Portion Sizes are so important and> I think this is where the majority of people go wrong, so my biggest recommendation is Check the Packet! A usual recommendation on a packet of rice or pasta, is 75g per person, measure this out and> see how much a portion size is. When it comes to fruit and> vegetables, a serving is 80g, and> we are advised to eat around 5 portions per day so that gives you a rough idea of how much to eat when it comes to fruit and> veg, but to be honest you could get away with eating a little bit more as I do feel this is quite a conservative estimate!

Hopefully you now have more of an understand>ing on Carbohydrates and> how to include them in your diet, I for one will be happy when I no longer hear the words “No Carbs before Marbs!!”