Carbohydrates – The Complexities of Carbohydrates!


variety-of-fruits-and-vegetables-2280569By Amy Patterson-Bocchi

ALTA Personal Trainer and Health Coach @ Active Glow Wellness Training

Before we head into this article Amy is giving a seminar at ALTA Fitness on Thursday 27th Feb at 7pm on Healthy Longevity.

Book now $25pp on 0400063 786 or

“DON’T STRESS… THEY ARE NOT EVIL.”  The story with carbohydrates is complex. Your body DOES need them. The body can operate on fat as fuel, but carbs are more than just fuel for your brain. It’s about FIBRE for your gut. 

Let’s back up a little… all foods can be broken down into categories: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Our bodies require all of these categories. All three categories have very important and numerous roles in our bodies. 

There are also different types of carbohydrates. Quite often people think of rice, pasta and bread when the ‘C’ word comes up, but carbohydrates are also in meat, dairy, nuts, fruit and vegetables in different amounts. It’s impossible to avoid them completely and you wouldn’t really want to. 

Females in particular need carbohydrates in their diet leading up to their menstrual cycles, as low-carbohydrates can affect your hormone production and fertility. 

Carbohydrates in the form of fibrous vegetables is probably one of the most important things you can do for your health. Down at the distal end of your intestines is your colon and it is HERE that those fibrous vegetables will make ALL the DIFFERENCE to your overall health. 

Your GUT health is linked to your immune system and the health of the good bugs down there create numerous chemicals that influence your health. If the microbes in your gut don’t get fed with fibre they can’t produce helpful chemicals and they will start to eat away at the lining of your gut or worse move further up your intestine in search of food. If the microbes eat away at the mucus lining of the gut then the thin wall lining will also follow and little holes will become bigger holes and then things that are not supposed to be in the blood will slip out and the immune system will attack raising inflammation levels. 

So, CARBS are not bad. I want you to get most of your daily carbs from your vegetables, preferably the lower end of the Glycemic Index if you are trying to lose weight, but still include smaller portions of the higher GI veggies like sweet potato. If in doubt, GO GREEN! Spinach, asparagus, celery, broccoli, brussel sprouts etc.  If you still want to include bread and pasta etc. I want you to think of them more as a luxury. Something, of which, you have just a ‘little’. Small and infrequent portions of bread, pasta and rice are fine, but they are high in energy and low in nutrition. So when you choose bread or pasta consider it a once off for the week if you are trying to lose weight. If you’re an athlete, they help to power your performance. 

If I can get you associating carbohydrates with vegetables instead of bread and pasta, my job will be well done.