It’s almost Bikini season- are you wondering if you should break up with carbs?
Women love the all-or-nothing mindset. We often think more is always better (more dieting, more exercise, etc), when often, it’s just more. One of the most common questions asked is “Should I just stop eating carbs to lose fat?”
Especially for women, carbohydrates are hands down the most individual and necessary macronutrient. Our bodies love homeostasis. Balance is not only necessary for survival, but for achieving physical goals. While it may seem tempting, dropping carbs completely isn’t the smartest idea.
At their simplest, carbohydrates are long strands of sugar molecules linked together. These sugars actually assist in burning fat and protein synthesis. Simply put, the body loves glucose as its main source of usable energy. So, how much should you love them?
Women need to intuitively asses their carbohydrate individuality in several ways:
1.Stress: As females, our bodies are made for survival and reproduction. Eating an extremely low carbohydrate diet plus enduring a stressful life is a recipe for disaster. Ask yourself: Do I have issues sleeping and recovering? Am I weak during workouts? Am I experiencing menstrual irregularity? Am I irritable & craving carbs like a madwoman? If yes, it may be time to bump up your complex carbs a bit.
2. Activity level: If you are an active women, there is no question your body NEEDS carbohydrates to maintain homeostasis, stamina, recovery and fluid balance. Imagine your metabolism like a seesaw. Your activity level should match your carb intake. Simple. The more active you are, the more carbs you need. The more sedentary you are, the less carbs you need. For an athletic women, I suggest between 70 and 130 grams/carbs per day.
3. Body type: Your body’s ability to tolerate carbohydrates all comes down to your body’s insulin sensitivity and its ability to efficiently shuttle carbohydrates to lean tissue and not fat. The key is to discover the right amount for YOUR body type. 3 main body types: Ectomorph: Often called a “hard gainer” with a very fast metabolism. If this is you, you have a greater carbohydrate tolerance. An ideal daily carb percentage for this body type would be 45-55%. Mesomorph: This body type is naturally more muscular. They hold on to muscle easily and are often very athletic and strong. An ideal daily percentage for this body type is a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats (40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat). Endomorph: Displaying the opposite characteristics from ectomorphs, they often have a sluggish metabolism. They tend to gain weight easily and be insulin dominant. Endomorphs typically do best on a high fat, high protein and controlled carbohydrate intake. Carb-cycling is a fantastic tool for the endomorph to achieve desired leanness. Assessing these 3 factors can be helpful in finding your individual carb intake.
Remember, you are your best “body detective”. Don’t break up with carbs, just enjoy them wisely!
Guest Columnist: Angie Lee
"Angie Lee is a Certified Nutritionist, Female Fat Loss Coach, Co-Founder of Thrive Meals and Founder at AngieLeeHealth.com.
Angie's infectious energy & passion for this industry transcends to all. Angie uses a unique method that collaborates female fat loss nutrition & positive eating psychology. Her mission is to help women achieve wellness by transforming their relationship with their body & food. As a coach and a speaker, her nationwide online programs inspire women to discover their unique bio-individuality & create sustainable health choices. Learn more about her Bikini Reset program at AngieLeeHealth.com. "