When it comes to nutrition, there are few topics that cause as much confusion as carbs, with many people unsure what the different types are and which ones they should be eating more of. Sweeping statements made in the media like “carbs cause weight gain” or “cut carbs to burn fat” have led to all carbs being demonized, with many food companies cashing in on the resulting low-carb craze. But the truth is, not all carbs are created equal.

Carbs are not the enemy

The key thing to understand before we delve into the topic is that – despite what some women’s magazines would have you believe – carbs are not the enemy! Our bodies use carbohydrates in the form of glucose, storing it in our muscles and liver to act as an important source of energy for the body. Our brain relies on it, which explains the brain fog and lethargy that people often complain of when they embark on low-carb diets.

These low-carb diets are a very popular solution for weight loss, but instead of just cutting out carbs, it may be more sensible to simply choose the carbs you eat more wisely. And a simple but effective piece of advice is to focus on the colour of the carbs you eat.

Eat the rainbow

Rather than shunning all carbs, the ones to avoid are the beige ones. Think processed grains, sugary cereals, white pasta and rice, bagels and bread. These are known as “simple” carbs and have been stripped of much of their natural nutrients and fibre.

Instead, fill your plate with colourful carbs like sweet potato, veggies, fruits, pulses and beans. Focusing on these foods will provide a range of health benefits, providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fibre and resistant starch to promote a healthy gut and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Unfortunately, though, it’s the beige carbohydrates that are the most popular, forming a large part of many peoples’ diets. One of the key problems with these foods is that they’re often high on the Glycaemic Index – a measure of how quickly the sugar in a food is absorbed into the bloodstream – meaning that eating them sends blood sugar into a rapid spike, which isn’t good news for the waistline or for reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Make healthy swaps

These simple carbs should be eaten in moderation and swapped for healthier “complex” carb alternatives where possible. These have not been processed so heavily and are therefore much closer to their natural state, with a higher fibre and nutrient content. Their chemical structure is different to simple carbs and our bodies have to work harder to digest them. As a result, they have a lower glycaemic index score, with energy released over a longer period of time. Think wholegrain bread (rye or pumpernickel is best) instead of white bread, barley instead of white rice, bran cereals instead of sugary ones, and of course plenty of green veggies and fresh fruits. Try to aim for half of your plate at each meal to be green or brightly coloured.

Oh, and one tip you may not have heard of before when it comes to making healthy carb choices – interestingly, reheating certain carbs can transform the way that they are used by the body. If you reheat cooked pasta or potatoes that have cooled down, or toast frozen white bread from the freezer, the molecules actually reconfigure themselves to become more resistant, which means they behave more like complex carbs. So, making small changes like freezing your bread before you toast it, could actually help to make your diet healthier.

Carbs are one of the three building blocks of our diet, the other two being protein and fat.

Similar Posts:



Creatine is not only one of the most popular supplements on the market, second to protein supplements, it is one of the most well researched. This is probably...

read more


Nutrition can feel like a bit of a minefield. With the amount of information out there it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Plus, with everything else you have to...

read more


When you’re on a quest to be the fittest, healthiest version of you, working out is only part of the equation. If you’re training hard, you need to optimise...

read more

Would you like to book personal training at Fitness Lab?

Contact us today to book your free consultation which involves meeting with one of our expert coaches, facility tour, detailed goal setting questionnaire, initial personal training and session, recap and action plan to move forward with.




    5 star review  I’ve worked with Fitness Lab (Jack & Brett) in a B2B format. They are fantastic professionals and really care about their business and how it’s operated. Every decision made is specifically aimed at the benefit of their client base. Highly recommend up to date training principles, warm and welcoming team. can not recommend enough

    thumb Josh Bicknell

    5 star review  I have MS so have limited mobility. Ash has drawn me up a program to strengthen my core and upper body using resistance bands. The exercises, their purpose, which muscles were being worked were all clearly explained and demonstrated. Very excited about getting into the routine of using the program and I'm sure I will be going back to Ash for add ons. 10/10

    thumb Steve Thompson

    5 star review  I had a couple of sessions at Fitness Lab in its previous guise as a rowing/HITT venue and I loved it then. I love it even more now! The quality of the training is superb and facilities are clean and tidy with everything you need post-workout. I have experienced gyms where form has taken a back seat when training but not at Fitness Lab. There is a real focus on doing things properly, and I can see the benefits of working towards well structured goals and a distinct plan. The trainers are lovely and friendly, there's always a warm welcome from them and anyone else there. Emily is an awesome PT, she knows her stuff. She's encouraging but doesn't let me off the hook easily, and that has pushed me to do more outside of the studio. I don't live or work any where near the studio but I'm happy to travel because this little place is a gem. I can't imagine going anywhere else whilst I live in London.

    thumb N Baruwa

    5 star review  I love training with these guys - they know how to push to always get the best out of me. Discrete, professional and charming, training at Fitness Lab is a pleasure not a chore

    thumb Robert Rackind