Carbs are one of the most, if not the most, misunderstood macros. They have been demonized and tossed under a large umbrella of being “unhealthy”.
The initial craze around cutting out carbs occurred when its associations with diabetes and weight were brought to the public. However, like anything in our body, it’s not that simple.
When looking at foods in general, but especially carbs, it’s about context. First and foremost, carbs are not bad for you. Carbs are the body’s source of fuel and shift as a primary source during anaerobic exercise (lifting weights and higher intensity training).
On that note, your body is still burning carbs, even when you are at rest. Blood glucose is what we call your “blood sugar”. Excessive spikes in blood sugar from foods that are high in carbs that are absorbed and processed fast are what started the major concern about carbs-diabetes and overweight associations.
However, not all carbs cause this kind of spike (more refined and processed foods do) and this spike needs to be taken in context - glycemic load versus glycemic index which we will discuss in a future post.
In short, not all sources of carbs are created equal. Because carbs are fuel, they need to be understood in the context of your goals, your training and how you feel. Certain strategies may help you get carbs around “important” windows of training (before, during and after).