To Carb or Not to Carb 

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Any of these sound familiar? “Carbs make you fat!”, “No thanks, I’m cutting carbs” and “Oooh no, eww, carbs!”

You won’t believe how often I hear this! And – No Karen – carbs don’t make you fat; excess calories do!

These mere statements about carbs, which are absolute fallacies, I might add, break my heart. We’re putting all the wonders of a delicious, and often very nutritious, food group straight onto the ‘naughty list’ when they have no right being there. Surplus calories (from any food group) will ultimately make you gain weight and thus store excess adipose (fat) tissue – not the mere inclusion of carbohydrates in your diet.

Did you know carbohydrates have the same calorie conversion as protein? Both 1g carbs and 1g of protein equal four calories. The quality of your carbs also matters, and you definitely want to invest in more complex, fibre-rich carbs rather than simple, insulin spiking ones. But at the end of the day, it’s not just about carbs and calories; it’s also a combination of your goals, weighing up of fitness and food options, making educated decisions and the action plan in place to achieve these.

Sometimes calorie-dense foods are nutrient-dense, so instead of grabbing the quick go-to energy bar sitting at 200 calories, for example, fuel your day with a bowl of oats at 307 calories. For that extra 107 cal you’re getting a good complex carb plus a decent protein injection. The oats, besides having more nutrition than an energy bar, will digest slower keeping you fuller for longer plus will get your metabolism kick-started for the day. That’s not to say the energy bar is off-limits, if it fits into your daily calorie budget per what you want to achieve, smash that bar in all its glory, it’s more about knowing the value of fuel you’re getting in.

In everything, balance and moderation are key.

So, if your calorie budget is 2000 cal, eating 2000 calories worth of energy bars alone won’t contribute to moderation, or balance for that matter.

Bottom line: We need to understand the for the body to functioning optimally, we need to think quantity and quality. Easy how to: make sure our plates are as colourful as possible. Just like our grannies taught us, I tell everyone to “eat the rainbow” – in a balanced moderation, which, yes, includes good carbs.

Imagine your body is a car – carbohydrates are the first line of fuel, then comes protein and then fats. (Remember, fat can be stored, which isn’t always ideal, but it also plays a vital role in hormone production, a backup energy source and as a means of protection for our skin and organs).

Therefore, we need to put the right fuel in and at the right time. In a balanced, moderated way.

“Carbo” – “Hydrate” is literally ‘fuel’ and ‘hydration’ for our bodies. These supply the different engines (muscles) around our bodies with glycogen – the fuel stored in our muscles converted from carbohydrates to perform a given task. And if you are starving (ie in massive calorie deficiency or simply just consuming very low-quality foods), your body won’t have adequate fuel in the tank and won’t be performing optimally.

Carbohydrates play a fundamental role in energy production, especially for an active person – the minute you stop eating them, you’ll feel sluggish, tired, and unmotivated because you’re forcing your body to work harder to convert muscle to fuel or break down fat for energy. Not to mention the hormonal imbalances that pop up when one avoids carbs completely.

“Evidence suggests that women’s hormones are sensitive to energy availability, meaning that too few calories or carbs can cause imbalances. Such imbalances can have very serious consequences, including impaired fertility, low mood, and even weight gain,” suggests in a published article on 02 Apr 2020.

With all the talk, I am not saying smash a plate of deep-fried slap chips here, I am saying: pick your plate – complex carbs, lean protein and a rainbow of veggies.

Lastly, nutrition also needs to be sustainable rather than unattainable. Being in a calorie deficit while eating the same meals day in and day out will inevitably lead to a micronutrient deficiency and over time, and your body will not function optimally. I get it, meal prep, but even a good thing can become a bad thing when balance isn’t considered. Maybe do a few different meal batches which you freeze so you can alternate. Also, it’s a touch pointless having all these health / fitness / food goals, but your action plan doesn’t consider your time and financial resources, therefore becoming unattainable. So, you want to prep: good carbs, egg whites, roast asparagus and rare salmon from Norway – but realistically, it’s beyond your reach. It can lead to discouragement and a quick fall back onto old habits… like having 3-4 of those breakfast bars in one sitting. So balanced moderation is also achieved through realistic conversations with yourself about sustainable nutrition and the food resources you have available to you.

All in all, carbs are not the enemy; our mindsets are. It’s true: we’re our own worst enemies when it comes to “thinking” we know what we are doing when it comes to food and the decisions we make about  a particular way of eating.

If you’re unsure, speak to a professional who can help you and individualize a ‘eating towards your goals’ plan. There is honestly no cut and paste to nutrition and if a “professional” is giving you that, you need to seek advice elsewhere. Your vehicle is different from my vehicle; therefore, your fuel requirements will be as well.

Luckily, our favourite recovery milk is great fuel and has the replacement carbohydrates we need after exercising. Plus, it’s a great protein source (obviously). Make sure you also get other good protein sources; here are a few suggestions:

So the next time you’re scared to “go for foods with carbs” head for the fridge and grab a HPR: it’s a complete muscle rehydration, refuel and repair and with the added protein. You’ll be satiated for longer plus the whey isolate protein in the HPR with adequately slow the GI down.

With HPR on your team, it’s a win, win!

PS *tip – if you want to slow down the GI of a meal, just add a protein. This will slow down the breakdown and digestion of the meal resultantly releasing energy in your bloodstream at a slower rate.




HPR is loaded with everything that’s good for you to push through your own limits again and again. Often the difference between good performance and average performance has to do with how you fuel your body and help your body recover. HPR helps you to Push Past Possible.



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