Could Carb Powders be the Key to Meeting Goals?
Every day, more and more people open their eyes and learn that the age-old, media-perpetuated lie that carbs are the enemy is absolutely false. It can be challenging to get over the hump and commit to fueling your body with carbs when you’ve always been told you should limit them, but we’re here to guide you and help you mend your relationship with carbohydrates.
By the end of this article, you’ll know why you should learn to get over your fear of carbs, whether carb powders are the nutritional supplement you’ve been missing, and the best carb powders on the market.
A History of Carbs in the Media
If you’re over twenty-five years of age, you, like many others, have likely been brainwashed by the media into believing that carbohydrates are the enemy, or at the very least, cutting carbs is the best way to lose weight.
Thanks to Dietetically Speaking’s handy graphic, we can see that Greek Athletes consumed primarily high protein foods and limited carbohydrates as early as 776 BC.
Then, in 1972, a cardiologist by the name of Robert Atkins published a book. In this book, Atkins detailed the benefits of reducing carbohydrate intake and focusing on proteins and fats. There are four phases to the diet, now dubbed the Atkin’s Diet.
With the help of the media explosion (thanks to televisions becoming a household item), the Atkin’s diet rocketed into popularity by the late 90s.
Since then, the fad diets that come and go are usually some variation of the Atkin’s diet. Even the currently super popular ketogenic diet is, in essence, a low-carb diet like Atkins.
Why Did Low-Carb Succeed?
Low-carb diets became the norm for anyone looking to shed a few pounds, and it happened for a couple of reasons.
- The media became saturated with not only ads for the diets, but celebrities and other people society holds as a beauty standard all started sharing their slim-body secrets—low carb!
- It works. Yes, as much as it pains us to say, cutting out carbs does help people lose weight. What’s more, the weight typically falls off fast, too.
The problem is that cutting carbs typically isn’t a long-term solution, and once you start consuming carbs again, the weight will come right back. This is why, in general, we don’t believe low-carb diets are the answer, regardless of your fitness goal. Of course, the obvious exception is if you and your primary care physician decide that it is, indeed, best for you.
The Reality of Carbs
The food we eat is broken up into three groups known as macronutrients, or macros for short.
The three groups of carbohydrates are:
Each macronutrient has a host of jobs within the body once consumed, and all are important. Ideally, we would eat a healthy balance of all three macronutrients every day. However, eating protein every day is of the utmost importance; of the three, it is the only macro that can’t be stored for later use.
Carbohydrates are responsible for providing energy and storing energy, among other things.
How Do Carbs Provide Energy?
When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, they’re broken down into a substance known as glucose after they pass through the digestive tract. The glucose enters the bloodstream, where it travels to the cells throughout the body.
Once the glucose reaches its destination, it is used to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), also known as cellular energy. If the body already has enough glucose to carry out its current tasks, the glucose is converted to glycogen, where it’s stored in the liver and muscles.
The liver can store approximately 100 grams of glycogen, and the muscles can store about 500 grams. Muscle glycogen is unique in that it can only be used by muscle fibres to create ATP. This muscle glycogen content is critical for long-term, high-intensity activities.
What Happens When Glucose and Glycogen Reserves are Full?
If the body’s glucose needs are met and the glycogen reserves are full, the body converts the excess into fat molecules and stores them.
If ever in a situation where the body runs out of glycogen and glucose because of a low-carb diet or starvation, the body begins to burn stored fat for energy. This process is known as ketosis, and it’s the goal of the keto diet.
The problem with using fat as the body’s energy source is that it’s a much slower process. This means that if you like to exercise, you’re not going to feel very good doing it.
When we talk about fueling the body, the image that comes to mind is sprinting or lifting heavy weights. However, we might fail to realize that the brain requires fuel, too. Do you know what the brain uses for fuel? Carbs.
In summary, a low-carb diet presents both positive and negative outcomes:
- Lose weight.
- The health benefits associated with a lower BMI, including reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more.
- Confusion, irritability, brain fog, trouble concentrating, and moodiness.
There’s also a higher risk of digestive issues if low-carbers aren’t careful to consume enough fibre. In addition, as with all diets, there’s an increased risk for micronutrient deficiencies if you aren’t careful to eat various foods.
Better Ways to Lose Weight?
While low-carb diets are successful for losing weight (as long as you continue to eat that way), there might be a better way. We’ve talked many times about intuitive eating and learning to listen to your body and feed it what it needs.
In addition to learning to listen to and trust your body, it’s essential to prioritize nutrient-dense foods and use nutritional supplements to support your body and activities when extra support is needed.
Prioritize movement as well. Learn to love exercise of some kind. An active lifestyle is the best way to improve health and wellness.
When you prioritize eating nutrient-dense foods in combination with exercising instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, you will be surprised by the difference in your body composition and how much better you feel.
How to Love Exercise?
If you read “learn to love exercise” and involuntarily rolled your eyes, bear with us. You’re not alone if you feel like you’re just not one of those people who enjoys exercising.
However, the simple fact is that the human body was made to move. So, more than likely, you don’t hate exercise; you just haven’t found the right way to exercise for you!
The first step in learning to love exercise is to try different things and find a way to move that feels enjoyable. It could be as simple as walking. Maybe cardio workouts don’t spark joy—try weightlifting if you haven’t before. You might be surprised at how enjoyable it is and how powerful you feel!
The next step? Fuel your workouts! If you hate exercise because you hate how your body feels when you exercise, that’s a good indicator that you are not properly fueling your body.
Try eating carbs within two hours before starting to exercise. This simple tweak can take you from feeling like you’re going to pass out to feeling like you could take on the world.
How Carb Powders Can Help
So, how can carb powders help you reach your goals? While nutritional supplements like protein powders are more synonymous with weight loss or muscle gain than carb powders, we think they still have a well-deserved place at the table.
Benefits of Including Carb Powder Nutritional Supplements Daily
- a better workout, which means more calories burned and more muscle gains made
- optimized workout recovery, which means your body can heal faster and experience fewer injuries
- increased muscle mass, thanks to the improved repair process and adequate fuel
- sustained testosterone hormone levels, which helps to build more muscle, among other benefits
Carb powders as a daily nutritional supplement can help achieve any goal, whether you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle. You just have to know how to use it.
Carb Powders for Losing Weight
Obviously, rule number one in losing weight is to consume fewer calories than you burn. The next rule that we preach is to prioritize protein. So, where do nutritional supplements like carb powders fit in?
Considering the benefits listed above for carb powders, we believe they can aid in weight loss by helping to increase the intensity of exercise, supporting your recovery, and building more muscle than if you were to skip this nutritional supplement.
More muscle should be a foundational goal for virtually all fitness goals. It fits into the weight loss puzzle because more muscle means an increased metabolism, which helps you lose weight faster.
In addition to increased metabolism, increasing muscle mass also creates the physique typically desired. What’s more, body composition changes acquired through gaining muscle are more sustainable and resilient than those achieved through just weight loss alone.
By this, we mean if you tone your body by adding muscle and you go on vacation for a week, you won’t notice as much of a difference in your physique. On the other hand, if you were to rely on simply staying in a calorie deficit through cutting calories alone or doing a bunch of cardio and you take a week off, you might notice a significant change in your appearance.
So, how can you lose weight and gain muscle? First, you can consume a balanced diet of carbs (carb powders or whole foods), proteins (again, nutritional supplements or whole foods) and fats, while still maintaining a calorie deficit. As long as you include resistance training, your body will put the nutrients to work and build muscle.
Use nutritional supplements like carb powders and protein supplements very strategically to support a great workout without consuming too many calories. This may mean taking half servings of the carb powder to ensure you stay within your calorie goals while still hitting macro goals.
It’s also important to avoid extra sugars or other unnecessary additives in nutritional supplements used for weight loss. Check out our favourite carb powder for weight loss below.
Carb Powders for Gaining Muscle
Using carb powders is more straightforward for gaining muscle. Similar to losing weight, the rules for gaining muscle are simple. First, consume more calories than you burn. When nutritional needs are met, the body can pack on more muscle.
Next, ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount of protein to build muscle and the carbs required to support that growth and recovery. You need approximately 1.2-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram body weight and approximately 4-7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight.
Again, as with losing weight, you can meet these nutritional goals with a combination of nutritional supplements and whole foods.
Strictly counting calories isn’t as necessary when you’re hoping to gain weight, but in general, you should increase your daily consumption by 250-500 calories. Carb powders can help in this way, too.
The bottom line is this: although we’ve been told all our lives that carbs are the enemy, carbs are an essential macronutrient and your body’s main source of fuel. In addition to fueling muscles to get us through workouts, they also fuel our brains so that we feel well overall.
While low-carb diets are effective in the short term, the long-term results are just not there. Instead, look for ways to enjoy exercise while feeding your body nutrient-dense foods.
When it comes to fitness goals, nutritional supplements like carb powders and protein supplements can help you both gain muscle and lose weight. As long as you’re staying within your caloric goals, you should be able to feel great while achieving your desired results.