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So what exactly does that title mean, basically it’s in regards to the need of carbohydrate when you are getting lean. In my opinion carbohydrate is the main macro nutrient that causes people trouble when they are trying to lose weight or just get cut for whatever reason. I also think people show vast difference in carbohydrate tolerance. I for one have the metabolism of a raging bull, so can eat around 200g of carbs and still maintain a good weight loss rate. Others will find this too much to get down to the low body fat region of 5-6%.

How important is carbohydrate?

They certainly are important even if your are trying to lose weight they just need to be moderated and the right sort consumed. Getting your daily carbohydrate allowance in the form of sugars is going to be well, not great for you. Firstly you will burn these sugars very quickly ultimately leading to hunger cravings later on. A lot of people struggle massively with cravings and without being to hard on them and telling them to man up, eliminating the cravings altogether  is a much better solution. A carbohydrate such as sugars found in fizzy drinks etc is known as a high GI carb. The GI is the glycemic index, essentially it characterises the rate at which a carbohydrate is burnt. High being faster and low being slow.

In fitness the phrase complex carbohydrate is thrown around as the sort of carb you need to be eating whether you want to be a bodybuilder or a fitness model. It’s slightly ambiguous because not all complex carbohydrates are in the low end of the GI. Why is this an issue? Well having a high GI food is going to cause insulin surges because the carbohydrate is broken down all in one go. When insulin levels are high, you will put fat weight on. Not only that it can also cause you to lose muscle. When insulin is released to deal with a large amount of blood sugar there can be an excess leading to low blood sugar. To combat low blood sugar bodyfat is normally used as energy but the insulin will stop this happening causing muscle catabolism. From this just take it not  to binge on rubbish low quality carbohydrate, stick with brown rice and sweet potato.

Here is a list of foods and their GI index, we want to be getting carbs that have a GI of below 60 ideally.

The glycemic index range is as follows:

Low GI = 55 or less
Medium GI = 56 – 69
High GI = 70 or more

Breakfast Cereal

Low GI
All-bran (UK/Aus) 30
All-bran (US) 50
Oat bran 50
Rolled Oats 51
Special K (UK/Aus) 54
Natural Muesli 40
Porridge 58
Medium GI
Bran Buds 58
Mini Wheats 58
Nutrigrain 66
Shredded Wheat 67
Porridge Oats 63
Special K (US) 69
High GI
Cornflakes 80
Sultana Bran 73
Branflakes 74
Coco Pops 77
Puffed Wheat 80
Oats in Honey Bake 77
Team 82
Total 76
Cheerios 74
Rice Krispies 82
Weetabix 74


Low GI
Wheat Pasta Shapes 54
New Potatoes 54
Meat Ravioli 39
Spaghetti 32
Tortellini (Cheese) 50
Egg Fettuccini 32
Brown Rice 50
Buckwheat 51
White long grain rice 50
Pearled Barley 22
Yam 35
Sweet Potatoes 48
Instant Noodles 47
Wheat tortilla 30
Medium GI
Basmati Rice 58
Couscous 61
Cornmeal 68
Taco Shells 68
Gnocchi 68
Canned Potatoes 61
Chinese (Rice) Vermicelli 58
Baked Potatoes 60
Wild Rice 57
High GI
Instant White Rice 87
Glutinous Rice 86
Short Grain White Rice 83
Tapioca 70
Fresh Mashed Potatoes 73
French Fries 75
Instant Mashed Potatoes 80


Low GI
Soya and Linseed 36
Wholegrain Pumpernickel 46
Heavy Mixed Grain 45
Whole Wheat 49
Sourdough Rye 48
Sourdough Wheat 54
Medium GI
Croissant 67
Hamburger bun 61
Pita, white 57
Wholemeal Rye 62
High GI
White 71
Bagel 72
French Baguette 95

Snacks & Sweet Foods

Low GI
Slim-Fast meal replacement 27
Snickers Bar (high fat) 41
Nut & Seed Muesli Bar 49
Sponge Cake 46
Nutella 33
Milk Chocolate 42
Hummus 6
Peanuts 13
Walnuts 15
Cashew Nuts 25
Nuts and Raisins 21
Jam 51
Corn Chips 42
Oatmeal Crackers 55
Medium GI
Ryvita 63
Digestives 59
Blueberry muffin 59
Honey 58
High GI
Pretzels 83
Water Crackers 78
Rice cakes 87
Puffed Crispbread 81
Donuts 76
Scones 92
Maple flavoured syrup 68

Legumes (Beans)

Low GI
Kidney Beans (canned) 52
Butter Beans 36
Chick Peas 42
Haricot/Navy Beans 31
Lentils, Red 21
Lentils, Green 30
 Pinto Beans 45
Blackeyed Beans 50
Yellow Split Peas 32
Medium GI
Beans in Tomato Sauce 56


Low GI
Frozen Green Peas 39
Frozen Sweet Corn 47
Raw Carrots 16
Boiled Carrots 41
Eggplant/Aubergine 15
Broccoli 10
Cauliflower 15
Cabbage 10
Mushrooms 10
Tomatoes 15
Chillies 10
Lettuce 10
Green Beans 15
Red Peppers 10
Onions 10
Medium GI
Beetroot 64
High GI
Pumkin 75
Parsnips 97


Low GI
Cherries 22
Plums 24
Grapefruit 25
Peaches 28
Peach, canned in natural juice 30
Apples 34
Pears 41
Dried Apricots 32
Grapes 43
Coconut 45
Coconut Milk 41
Kiwi Fruit 47
Oranges 40
Strawberries 40
Prunes 29
Medium GI
Mango 60
Sultanas 56
Bananas 58
Raisins 64
Papaya 60
Figs 61
Pineapple 66
High GI
Watermelon 80
Dates 103


Low GI
Whole milk 31
Skimmed milk 32
Chocolate milk 42
Sweetened yoghurt 33
Artificially Sweetened Yoghurt 23
Custard 35
Soy Milk 44
Medium GI
Icecream 62


As you can see from the table brown rice has a much lower GI than white rice, which is one of the main reasons it’s better for weight loss and muscle gain, it gives you a much more sustained energy release.

What time should you be eating carbohydrate

I’ve heard on countless occasions that after 3pm or something you shouldn’t eat carbohydrate. Up until that point however it’s fine to eat whatever. TOTAL BULLSHIT, excuse my french. The only time that carbohydrate is essential is post workout. Apart from that it doesn’t actually matter. I personally like to have 25% of my carbs for the day at breakfast at around 6:30am. Then another 25% post workout which is at around 9am then I spread it out depending on how my body is. Do what suits you and do not follow this rubbish idea. It reminds me of another silly one I heard about peoples perception of the effects of smoking, and drug taking. ‘It’s fine until you get to a certain age then you have to stop’, I hope that it is a joke but it’s gone around enough and stupidity has a way of getting through to some people. Rant over, just don’t do it.

How much carbohydrate should you eat to lose and gain weight.

This is again only guidelines, to gain weight you need to be eating 300g+ of carbs a day. To lose weight you should be eating minimum 75g of carbs with no maximum as it all depends on your metabolism etc.

Hope this was interesting leave any comments/questions you have below.


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