Carbs: Friend of Foe?
Carbs get a bad wrap. First of all, they are your body's main source of fuel and if you want to get the most out of your workouts, you're going to need them (Jeukendrup, 2014).
The low carb diet explosion started in the 1990's with popularity of the Atkins Diet and remains a staple for many dieter's today. Trials show short term weight loss whether the diet is low carb or macronutrient balanced. Little or no difference in weight loss and changes in cardiovascular risk factors were found in a two year follow up studies when participants were randomized to low carbohydrate and balanced weight loss diets (Naude et al., 2014).
Lets be honest; low carb diets are hard. Any dietary plan should be sustainable in the long-term, specifically in terms of ease of adherence, availability and affordability of foods, as well as social and cultural acceptability. Set yourself up for success and fuel your body for it's intended purpose. If you plan on a high intensity work out, chicken and lettuce isn't going to cut it! It's important to note that diets aren't one size fits all, what works for one person, may not work for another...tailored nutrition is a lot of trial and error.
Stay away from refined carbohydrates like processed foods and refined sugars and stick to whole grains like whole wheat, oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, barley, and natural forms of sugar from fruit...just to name a few.
Jeukendrup, A. (2014). A Step Towards Personalized Sports Nutrition: Carbohydrate Intake During Exercise. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.z.),44(Suppl 1), 25–33. http://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-014-0148-z
Naude, C. E., Schoonees, A., Senekal, M., Young, T., Garner, P., & Volmink, J. (2014). Low Carbohydrate versus Isoenergetic Balanced Diets for Reducing Weight and Cardiovascular Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.PLoS ONE, 9(7), e100652. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0100652