Shaping Up: Six common mistakes with carbs

This berry and mango smoothie is a good healthy option.
This berry and mango smoothie is a good healthy option.

We all know there are good carbs and bad carbs, but often people get confused and end up eating the wrong type.

First of all, carbs are energy. You need them to survive. But you need to make sure you're getting yours from the right sources, and for the right reasons.

Here are the worst carb habits you can fall into, and what to do instead.

1. You Eat Refined Carbs: White breads, pastas and grains give carbs their bad reputation. They are simple and refined, they burn up fast, spiking your blood sugar and causing it to crash, leaving you with a craving for more carbs!

For slow-burning, clean sources of energy, choose complex carbs such as whole-grain sprouted breads, grains like brown rice and quinoa, and vegetables and fruits. But eat them in moderation. This is not a licence to binge!

2. You Fear Fat: You have to eat fat to lose fat. Our bodies need good fat in order lose weight and function properly. Healthy fats satisfy hunger and boost your metabolism. But when you cut out all fats, you end up replacing it with carbs, which are less filling. That’ll lead to you consuming more and more calories in search of satiety.

You can get your healthy fats from foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, oily fish and plant based oils, like olive oil, flaxseed oil and coconut oil.

3. You Don’t Eat Carbs Before You Workout: Remember: Carbs are energy. Going into a workout without them is like going on a long car journey without a full tank of fuel.

Starving yourself of energy makes it very difficult to complete an intense, calorie-blasting workout. The best foods to eat before a workout are:

• Bananas

• Wholegrain Rolled Oats

• Grilled Chicken, Broccoli & Sweet Potato

• Dried Fruit

• Wholegrain Bread

• Fruit and Green Yoghurt

• Trail Mix

Eat your pre-workout meal/snack about 30-60 minutes before your workout so that you don’t feel bloated.

4. You Drink Smoothies That You Don’t Make Yourself: Avoid the smoothie bar at the gym or in the main shopping centres. They are normally full of sugar. Yes, they contain fresh fruit, but that just masks all of the sugary syrups and juices that contain loads of calories.

Make your own instead. Try this juice and syrup free smoothie recipe:

Berry & Mango Smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients:

• 100g frozen blueberries and strawberries

• 100g frozen mango

• 2 bananas

• 200ml water

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients in a powerful blender and blitz until smoothie.

2. Serve immediately, enjoy!

5. You Drink Flavoured Coffees: A coffee-a-day can be great for health and weight loss: It boosts your metabolism and is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. A black coffee that is! But the flavoured coffees you can get in cafés are full cream, sugar and flavourings which contain the same amount, if not more calories and carbs as a dessert.

Some of those can easily reach 50 grams of sugar per cup — more than half your daily recommended amount! Stick to black coffee — it's calorie free!

6. You Drink Fizzy Drinks – Even the Diet Ones: Cutting calories and carbs from fizzy drinks is a no-brainer. At 150 calories and 39 grams of sugar (8 tbsp) per can, those can add up to some serious weight gain! Diet fizzy drinks are just as bad too. Artificial sweeteners affect our sense of satiety so diet drinks can actually make you eat more high-cal, high-carb junk. Stick with water, and if you must have it flavoured, then just use a little bit of cordial.

YOUR TRAINER

Your Trainer: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award winning personal trainer based in Seaham.

The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year.

Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012.

For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email graham@eastcoast-fitness.com or click here.