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This Month In Diet
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  • The Time Is Right for Carbohydrates!
    Have a carb craving? You don’t have to ignore it. Here are three times during the day when eating carbs is helpful. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

The Time Is Right for Carbohydrates!

Is there a time when it’s good to eat carbs?

Nutrients found in grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, carbohydrates provide your body with energy. Eat too many, though, and the excess energy is stored as fat.

But if there’s a time for everything, there must be a good time to eat carbs—right? Many diet plans limit the consumption of carbs or at least certain types of carbs. Evidence clearly shows eating too many carbs or the wrong kind of carbs leads to weight gain, but extreme elimination of carbs can throw off your metabolism, cause muscle loss, and zap your energy.

If you’re wondering when it’s ok to eat carbs and what type of carbs you should eat in your quest to lose weight and stay fit, hang tight. Just remember that if you want to get the most bang for your fat-burning buck, always pair your carbs with a source of protein. Doing so helps slow digestion, keeps you feeling fuller for longer, and makes sure protein reaches your muscle cells.

Have a carb craving? You don’t have to ignore it. Here are three times during the day when eating carbs is helpful.

The Morning

Breakfast is an ideal time to eat a few carbs. After fasting all night, your insulin levels are lower, so your body’s less likely to store carbs as fat. Besides, when you first wake up, your energy stores are used up and need replenishing. What better way to fill them up than with some carbs? Break your nightly fast with complex carbs and a protein source. Good choices include oatmeal with low-fat milk, a slice of whole-grain toast with an egg, or a piece of fruit cut up in Greek yogurt.

Pre-Workout Snack

Because carbs are your main energy source, eating them before exercise is often recommended. Whether you’re lifting weights or swimming laps, you will want to fuel your body for energy to power through your workout, burn fat, build muscle, and recover. You could use the carbs you ate for breakfast as your energy source or eat a small snack 45 minutes to an hour before exercising. Great pre-workout snacks that include both a carb and source of protein are fruit smoothies made with fruit and milk or yogurt, energy bars that contains nuts, and apple slices with peanut butter.


You don’t just need energy before working out. You also need to replenish the energy you used during exercise afterward, especially if your workout was strenuous or lasted longer than an hour. Eating the right foods after exercising helps maintain your metabolism as well as repair and strengthen your muscles. Include a source of carbohydrates and protein in your post-workout snack or meal. Examples of carb-friendly snacks include a protein shake, frozen grapes with a cheese stick, a banana with almond butter, whole grain crackers with hummus, and a glass of chocolate milk.

Be Picky

Keep in mind you don’t have permission to eat the wrong kind of carbs if you’re trying to lose weight. Simple carbs are sugars that are absorbed quickly by your body, cause a spike in blood sugar, and contain empty calories that lead to weight gain. Many processed foods and refined grains are made with simple carbs. A few that may be in your cabinet are sugar-filled cereal, pastries, white bread, crackers, and cookies. Get rid of them.

Complex carbs, on the other hand, are made of longer chains of sugars, are more slowly absorbed, and take longer to digest so your blood sugar stays level. These are the types of carbs you want to focus on: nuts, starchy vegetables, beans, and foods made with whole grains.