Your body needs carbohydrates and utilizes them(carbs) for energy. All carbs are not created equal and long-story short you want to focus on eating slow-burning, complex carbohydrates.
Processed, packaged foods are out. This also includes any sort of “instant” foods, like instant oatmeal or rice (which is usually white rice). If you want to get into ideal shape and gain some lean muscle, you should be eating slow burning, complex carbohydrates like brown rice, steel rolled oats, and whole wheat bread and pasta to name a few.
INSIDER TIP: Try brown basmati rice if you can find it, it’s smackin.
I know that “you should be eating slow burning, complex carbohydrates” isÂ a terribly generic guidline and you probably want something more specific. Â You’re in luck, researchers have developed a rating system called the glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly or slowly certain types of carbs burn.
Here’s how foods are rated:
- Low: Foods with a GI of 55 or less.
- Medium: Foods with a GI rating of 56 to 69.
- High: Foods with a GI rating of 70 and up.
My goal is always to eat foods with a low GI rating, because the sugar is broken down more slowly than medium and high GI foods. That means that you’ll be able to maintain a steady energy level, and appetite throughout the day, rather than getting the quick spike of energy followed by a crash.
Below is a list of clean carbohydrates I like to include in my diet…I’ve also included examples of high GI foods for shits and giggles.
Low GI carbs:
- Multi-grain bread
- Whole grain bread
- Nuts and legumes: peanuts, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, cashews, etc
- Seeds and oils: sunflower seed, flax seed, etc
- Many fruits: apples, oranges, grapefruit, plums, pears, cherries, peaches)
- Most vegetables: carrots, yams, sweet potato, celery, mustard greens, artichoke, cucumber, leafy greens and salad, spinach, peas, chickpeas and many more
- Some pastas, such as spaghetti, fettuccine, macaroni and ravioli
Medium GI carbs:
- Some fruits, such as mangoes, pineapple, raisins, apricots
- Some pastas, like durum wheat spaghetti
- Boiled potatoes
- Wild rice
- Brown rice
- Some cereals such as oat bran, All Bran and porridge
High GI carbs:
- Many processed, packaged and instant foods
- White bread
- Baked potatoes
- Taco shells
- Many breakfast cereals (Rice Krispies, shredded wheat, corn flakes, puffed wheat, etc… and most of the sugary cereals).
- Some fruits such as watermelon.
- Some pasta such as brown rice pasta
- Broad beans
Fuel Your Jets
In a previous post I touched on the concept of eating to fuel your physical activity and I wanted to share some additional thoughts.
- You should eat most of your carbs in the first part of the day. This is particularly useful if you tend to do your lifting and cardio in the a.m.
- Know when to eat fast-burning carbs. Duh I know, but generally speaking, you should stick to slow-burning carbs. However, if you’re going to eat fast-burning simple carbs, then there are two times to do it. First, eat them for breakfast when your body needs to get a quick jumpstart. Second, eat them right after your workout, when your energy stores are depleted.
That’s a wrap like a Taliban cap! 😉
Cheers to your fitness!