When we start talking about carbohydrates, I see two crowds: the “veggies are carbs” crowd and the people that hate the “veggies are carbs” crowd. I am not really going to pick sides on this one; obviously veggies are carbs! The question we should be asking is “Do veggies yield usable carbs? Are they an optimal carb source for fueling athletic performance?”
The answer, in most cases, is no. You need to incorporate starches into your nutrition if you want to reach peak performance. This isn’t a new concept, and we’re not alone in our support of a moderate carbohydrate diet based around glucose-dense foods. Let me give you a few examples.
In “World Class Fitness in 100 Words”, starches and fruits are listed as acceptable workout fuel. The Level 1 Certification used to teach “The Zone” diet, which is interesting because it teaches you that 40% of your diet should come from carbs. I know what you’re saying now…“But what about Paleo? Cave men didn’t eat carbs!” Well, Paleo isn’t inherently low carb, and in the book “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” Loren Cordain (author of “The Paleo Diet”) specifically mentions some very un-Paleo foods that fuel athletic performance. In a nutshell, you need carbs to fuel high intensity activity – very few experts in sports nutrition will argue otherwise.
NOTE: Just to be clear, I don’t care what diet you decide to follow (or if you follow one at all) as long as it helps you achieve your goals as an athlete. In my opinion, that is the path of least resistance if you want to lose fat, build muscle, and finding the best version of “you.”
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