Carbohydrates are one of the biggest sources of confusion in the muscle building and fat loss world.
I'm sure you've very confused about “carbs” as most people are.
The fitness and health industry has done a great job of confusing everyone.
Let's start with the basics…
Carbohydrates, or “carbs” for short, provide your body with fuel. If your body had a gas tank, this is where the carbohydrates would be stored.
You can buy gas for your vehicle in certain grades. Every time you go to the gas station you have to choose between grades of fuel. The best fuel is always premium and costs more than the other grades of fuel.
Well, when it comes to carbohydrates, you've got to choose the carbohydrates that provide the best fuel for your body.
And the best fuel for your body usually doesn't cost you any more as it does with your vehicle.
With the WLC System, you're never going to limit carbohydrate intake for long periods of time.
Why would you?
You're trying to build muscle, and you need the proper fuel for your weight lifting workouts. When you limit carb intake, your muscle building efforts will suffer.
Even if your goal is fat loss, you will never go on a low to zero carbohydrate diet for long periods of time.
Low to Zero Carb Diets — The Truth
Low to zero carbohydrate diets will cause muscle loss, and that works against our goals on this program or any program.
Carbohydrates are the body's primary source of energy and the most efficient fuel source.
When you restrict your carbohydrate intake, your energy levels will decrease. This means your workouts will suffer along with any other activities you do.
You can lose fat very quickly without low carbohydrate diets.
You can build muscle much better without low carb diets. Why choose a low carbohydrate diet?
There's really no good reason unless you are a bodybuilder in the last few weeks of a competition. The bodybuilders that do go on low carb diets will tell you they are sacrificing muscle mass for those last few pounds of fat loss.
If they did not have to compete, they definitely would not sacrifice muscle to lose those last few pounds of fat.
You will never use a low to zero carb diet for long periods of time — a few days of low carb eating can be strategically used BUT that is for more advanced fat loss programs.
Make no mistake about this — with carbohydrates in your diet, you can maximize muscle gain and still burn fat at a very fast rate.
I really can't think of a good reason to go on a low carbohydrate diet especially if you are lifting weights and doing cardiovascular exercise.
You need fuel to workout.
You need the best fuel to push yourself in the gym. Pushing yourself in the gym is required for building muscle and strength. This means you definitely need the best fuel and that fuel is carbohydrates.
Only the Best Sources of Carbohydrates Are Allowed
You will eat only the best sources of carbohydrates for your body. Carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation due to all the processed foods out there. If you eat bad carbohydrates and enough of them, you will get fat.
Good carbohydrates will never make you fat unless you have a huge calorie surplus that you just don't need for building muscle.
Characteristics of Good Carbohydrates
- The absolute best fuel
- Supplies you with long lasting energy
- Supplies your body with nutrients
- Helps you build muscle
- Helps you burn fat
Characteristics of Bad Carbohydrates
- Garbage in the fuel tank
- Lowers energy levels
- Lead to fat storage
- No nutrients
- Robs you of muscle building opportunities
Controlling Blood Sugar Levels
Some carbohydrates can cause a large and fast increase in blood sugar.
When blood sugar levels rise quickly, the body releases insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone responsible for getting this blood sugar to the proper location so it can be used for energy.
The huge spike in blood sugar leads to an over exaggerated response from the body. The body releases huge amounts of insulin that clears the sugar from the bloodstream very quickly.
Your blood sugar levels then drop significantly.
When your blood sugar levels drop significantly, you'll feel it. You can get hungry. You can get cravings and feel weak. You can get very moody and feel tired.
When there's too much insulin being produced by the body, fat storage is at a maximum. High levels of insulin allow fat to be moved into the bloodstream for storage and keeps fat from being used as an energy source.
Because of all of that, you want to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day to prevent the production of too much insulin.
There is a time during the day when you need this over production of insulin, and you'll learn more about that later.
But, for 99% of your diet, you want your blood sugar levels to stay even keeled and balanced. This keeps you feeling great and burning fat all day long.
So, what types of carbohydrates cause your blood sugar levels to rise and release large amounts of insulin?
Well, let's learn about all the different types of carbohydrates, what types you should be eating, and when you should be eating them.
Simple and Complex Carbohydrates
You need to learn more about the different types of carbohydrates so you can strategically place them in your diet.
You can properly fuel your workouts, muscle building efforts, and fat loss efforts when you place the correct carbohydrate sources in your diet at the correct times throughout the day.
You can categorize carbohydrate sources into two main categories: simple carbs and complex carbs.
Simple carbohydrates raise your blood sugar levels quickly and by substantial amounts so that insulin is released. These are the carbs you'll want to avoid all the time except the times around your weight lifting workouts.
Fruits are examples of simple carbohydrates that are good for you. All fruits are packed full of nutrients that your body needs. But, since they are simple carbs, you will limit your intake and watch the times that you eat them.
When I say limit fruit, I mean you'll have 2 to 3 pieces per day on a muscle building cycle and 1 to 2 per day on a fat loss cycle. You'll learn more about fruits and other foods that contain simple sugars later.
Fruits are different than other simple carbohydrates like cane sugar because they include so many other nutrients such as fiber. Fiber helps slow digestion and prevent any large insulin spikes. That's why I recommend whole fruits and not juicing the fruit after peeling. Fruit juices will spike your insulin levels.
Complex carbohydrates consist of much longer chains of sugar than the simple carbohydrates.
Simple carbs consist of one or two sugar molecules. Complex carbohydrates consist of thousands of sugar molecules chained together.
Complex carbohydrates do not raise blood sugar levels drastically because the long chains take much longer to break down. You never get the large release of insulin as you do with simple carbs.
You get a slow release of energy for longer periods of time with complex carbohydrates. With simple carbs, you get a larger release of energy quickly and then you crash.
Complex carbs will be your main source of fuel that keeps you energized at all times throughout the day.
Choosing Natural Carbohydrates
The choices you make when it comes to eating carbohydrates will make or break your results. If a carbohydrate is natural, it's a great choice. If the carbohydrate isn't natural, it's a horrible choice.
Making great choices will take you one step closer to your goals while bad choices will take you backwards. Going backwards simply means you'll have to work harder just to get back to where you started.
You can say goodbye to hamburger buns, sub sandwich bread, crackers, bagels, white bread, and anything that's made from white flour or anything that says enriched on the ingredients list.
You've got to start paying more attention to the foods you buy at the store. Always check the ingredients list for carbohydrates.
If a bread product doesn't list whole grain as the first ingredient, put it down and look for bread that does.
Your best carbohydrate choices are completely natural sources. They must come from the ground, grow on a plant, or grow on a tree. If not, you simply are not making the best choice when it comes to carbohydrate selection for your diet.
Processed and refined foods are just like simple sugars but worse.
The food has already been broken down, and your body just doesn't have to work to digest the food. Your blood sugar rises, large amounts of insulin are released, fat burning comes to a halt, and fat storage takes priority.
Start studying the ingredients of every food you buy at the grocery store. You've got to start avoiding any foods that contain any sugar that isn't naturally occurring.
For example, raw milk products will have the naturally occurring lactose — a simple sugar.
Fruits will have the naturally occurring fructose — another simple sugar. Some of these simple sugars are fine as milk and fruit are natural foods high in vitamins and minerals.
You'll still want to limit the amount of naturally occurring simple sugars, but anything natural is good for you in moderation.
The simple refined sugars you want to avoid are going to come in the following forms:
- Beet Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Cane Sugar
- Confectioner's Sugar
- Corn Syrup
- Granulated Sugar
- Grape Sugar
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- High Maltose Corn Syrup
- Muscavado Sugar
- Raw Sugar
- Refined Sugar
- Table Sugar
- Turbinado Sugar
- White Sugar
When you eat the simple refined sugars listed above, your body must use precious vitamins and minerals just to eliminate these poisons from your body.
The simple sugars above are poison to your body. Simple refined sugars rob your body of vital nutrients, promote fat storage, and work to kill you… Don't believe me?
You can survive on water alone for many days. Add sugar to the water and you will die sooner than with water alone.
In 1816, a French physiologist named Magendie experimented by feeding dogs a diet of only sugar and water. The dogs wasted away and died from the diet of sugar and water rather quickly compared to water alone.
Look on the labels of foods you buy and ensure they don't have any of the simple refined sugars listed above. If the food isn't natural, it most likely will have at least one of those refined sugars.
Don't buy it. Don't eat it. It's just not worth it.
A Great Example of False Advertising
A certain fiber bar on the market is considered by many people to be healthy because they contain fiber. They are marketed to be healthy for you. For example, they contain 35% of your daily fiber intake.
On their website, they actually compare their product to broccoli. According to the manufacturer, broccoli just doesn't compare to their products because you'd have to eat 6 cups of broccoli to equal the fiber content of a 1/2 cup of their cereal.
Let's get real — their processed product doesn't have a prayer when compared to broccoli. Broccoli is one of the best foods you can eat.
In reality, their food is total trash! The ingredient list includes an ingredient that makes you want to eat more and isn't safe during pregnancy — chicory root extract.
Dextrose, rice flour, sugar, high maltose corn syrup, vegetable oil, maltodextrin, and high fructose corn syrup are ingredients listed on their fiber bar. You aren't eating healthy. These bars are not healthy for you. I don't care how much fiber they contain.
Don't eat an unhealthy food just to get a higher fiber intake. Eat foods that are good for you and high in fiber instead.
That is just one example. If the food is in a wrapper or package and highly marketed, it most likely isn't good for you.
So, don't buy those foods and don't eat those foods.
Always ensure a carbohydrate is natural before you even think about putting it in your diet.
So, What Carbohydrates Can You Eat With the WLC System?
Let's take a look at the best carbohydrate sources… there are 3 types you're going to learn about.
1. Natural Complex Carbohydrates
The natural and complex carbohydrates are going to be where most of your energy is derived from for this program. Here's a good list:
- Lima Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Garbanzo Beans
- Butter Beans
- Navy Beans
- Chick Peas
- Sweet Peas
- Black-eyed Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
- White Potatoes
- Red Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Black Beans
- Pinto Beans
- White Beans
You won't notice any pasta products in the list above. If the pasta you plan on eating is made from enriched wheat or white flour, I do not recommend you eat it. You can have pasta made from whole grain ingredients.
There are some foods I have taken off the list such as corn due to it being genetically modified. Corn really isn't corn any more. I also have wheat on the list above, but you might want to get rid of that as well for the same reason. Be careful what you eat and do a little research on certain foods before including them in your diet plan.
You should avoid refined carbohydrates at all times.
If you do want to buy pasta, ensure that the ingredients list contains only 100% whole wheat products. Nothing else will work.
Remember, if it's not from the ground, a plant, or a tree — it's not the best choice you can make.
If it's refined or processed, it's one of the worst choices you can make. Always make the best choices and move one step closer to your goals.
2. Natural Sugary Carbohydrates
Natural sugary carbohydrates consist of fruits. Fruits are healthy for you, but should be eaten in moderation. Fruits do contain simple sugars, so you should not eat an abundance of fruit throughout the day.
A few servings of fruit per day is a good guideline to follow.
3. Natural Fibrous Carbohydrates
We haven't talked much about fibrous carbohydrates. Fibrous vegetables must be included in your diet plan. If you aren't eating fibrous vegetables, you aren't following the guidelines of this program.
Fiber cannot be broken down by our bodies. This means when you eat fiber, you aren't providing your body with any usable form of energy. So, fiber doesn't count towards your daily calorie intake. Fiber is simply excreted from our bodies.
Fiber promotes the healthy digestion of foods and the excretion of those foods from our bodies. Fiber slows the absorption of sugars, so blood sugar levels are controlled through fiber intake.
What else does fiber do for you?
Benefits of Fiber:
- Prevents constipation
- Lowers levels of blood cholesterol
- Lowers risk of digestive disorders
- Great for fat loss diets
- Controls hunger
- High fiber foods have fewer calories
- Speeds up the excretion process
- Protects you from colon cancer
Fiber is the housekeeper of your body. Fiber will help get rid of waste products faster and keeps you clean and healthy. Follow the diet guidelines for the WLC System, and you won't have to worry about getting plenty of fiber in your diet.
Fiber is very important when you are eating a higher protein diet. So please ensure you are following the diet guidelines in this section.
What are some fibrous carbohydrate sources?
- Romaine Lettuce
- Collard Greens
- Brussel Sprouts
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Green Peppers
- Red Peppers
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Various Peppers
You've got a huge variety of fibrous veggies to choose from. Fix yourself up a big bag of mixed and raw veggies each and every day and eat a variety with every meal.
When you have time to prepare a meal, steam some broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, onions, bell peppers, and squash and have them with your meal.
Do you see all of the veggies in the table above? You don't even have to count those towards your calorie intake. You can have as many as you'd like.
Always have a variety of fibrous veggies so you get all the benefits of the different foods God has given us.