One of the macronutrients that seems to confuse people is carbohydrates.
The information out there can be difficult to decipher and apply to yourself so it can be hard to understand that most times the information is not right or wrong, its relative.
Almost everything I share has the basis that everything is relative to your needs. You apply what works for you and others apply other things that work for them but none of you are wrong and not everything works for everyone no matter how science lays it down.
The factors that affect a persons make up, fitness and nutrition are too numerous to list and can change over time.
The GI index is a great tool to help you choose the right carbs for complex, simple or a combo. The downfall I find is that it can be overwhelming and confusing for some people who rather not get into the science details and tend to plan and think more simply. So today I am not going to get into the GI index although if you are a keener, I do suggest doing a bit of a search on it and getting familiar.
Do I need carbs, do we need carbs as humans, how much carbs do we need?These are loaded questions that cannot be answered in a blanket fashion. Generally yes we need all macros balanced accordingly and further personal to our need ranges.
How much carbs and the type you want to eat is the real question. That depends on your needs, goals and fitness level at the time you are asking this question and applicable only to that point. You may need to adjust this over months as your body and goals change. Higher endurance lifestyle and sport needs more complex and starchy carbs in tandem with simple carbs and sugars. Slower moving individuals in life and fitness would go for longer lasting complex carbs in reasonable portion.
Those with health issues affecting blood sugar and metabolism have to look at carbs, with some individuals needing to use discretion or cut them and others needing more and specific types at specific times per day.
Even with general fitness, weight loss or muscle gains, carbs are prevalent. Cutting carbs is many times not needed as there are other ways to get the same effect with the right plan and timing but cutting them drastically or out completely seems to be the path many feel is easiest for them. The result though, can leave you stringy, soft and lacking umph.
The safest way to gain permanent results is to take in the right carbs at the right times consistently. Match this with your exercise regimen and you're set.
If you are seeking muscle gains and leaning, go for produce, dark green leafy green, cruciferous, alkaline and diuretic vegetables. Fill up on this and eat them at every meal. This is why you will typically see green beans, asparagus, cucumber, kale, spinach and the like, in fitness menu plans seeking drastic body sculpting or fat loss.
Fruit on these diets general stay with a serving or 2 per day and with berries being so full of nutrients they are a popular choice.
On this type of menu you need clean starchy carbs such as quinoa, yams or sweet potato, rice cakes, or legumes for those who are tolerant such as edamame, lentils and black beans.
If you are of a higher metabolism you can afford mulitgrain pastas, higher amounts of fruits but will need to combo these to keep energy level right. You stay on the leaner side and need to fill muscle as well as eat larger portions.
Greek yogurt is an excellent high protein carb that works well with almost any fitness goal menu plan.
Here is a typical idea for a lean menu focused on fat loss while retaining muscle with a few tasty recipe samples from Cleaneatingmag.com. I chose a mix of recipes, some gluten free, some vegan and some mainstream. With a slight bit of thought you can really work your options based on this layout idea. Add variety by personalizing and tweaking the food and meal choices.
For Custom menus made just for you visit lindacusmano.com