New Year goals are in full swing, and that means more people are being mindful of their nutrition – especially those who’ve joined the UN1T Project. To help you smash your goals, we’re tackling nutrition myths that seem to creep up this time of year. First up: carbs – friends not foes.
We’ve all heard the saying that ‘carbs make you fat’, to only eat ‘good carbs not bad carbs’, and that carbs are just sugar. Fortunately, none of these are true. Carbohydrates are simply a macro nutrient, alongside protein and fat, and are proven to energise us, are packed with vitamins and minerals, provide fibre and satiety, improve your gut health and help your cognitive function.
Carbs do fall into two categories: simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs fall higher on the Glycaemic Index, and are usually made up of ingredients like sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup and fruit. Complex carbs, lower on the Glycaemic Index, include vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Cue next myth: “You can only eat complex carbs, not simple carbs”.
Although on paper complex carbs are more nutrient dense, simple sugars are useful when you need a quick energy source. Whether that’s before an intense workout, during a long run or fitness event, or if it’s simply been a while since your last meal, simple carbs still have a place in your diet. And although considered both a simple and complex carb, fruit is packed with vitamins and nutrients to keep your body healthy.
As much as carbs are also a great source to fuel your training, they’re also essential for your brain health. Lack of carbs can result in “brain fog”, making a day at the office a challenge if you’re taking on a no-carb diet.
So remember, carbs are friends not foes. Sure, some may be more nutrient dense than others, but carbs play a big role in keeping you energised and sharp.