Carbohydrates: Are they really that bad for you?

You don’t make friends with carbs. Or at least that’s what they say. Carbohydrates often get a bad rap when it comes to picking out healthy food options but we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. They are actually really good for keeping your body fuelled but you just need to know how to pick the right option for you. We’ve listed a few questions that are pretty much always asked in relation to carbs as well as an easy summer porridge recipe you can try for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Are carbohydrates bad and should I eliminate them from my diet for good health?

Poor carbohydrates often draw the short stick for being labelled as unhealthy or for promoting fat storage. However, if the right types of carbohydrates are chosen they can actually assist weight loss due to their long-lasting and satisfying qualities.

What foods contain carbohydrate and which should I include in my diet?

Carbohydrates are found not only in breads, grains and cereals, but also in dairy products, legumes, fruit and vegetables. Opt for carbohydrates that have been minimally processed and have no added fat or sugar. These include wholemeal, wholegrain or high fibre breads grains or cereals, along with fruit and vegetables with their skins left on for extra fibre (you can exclude bananas because that just weird).

I’ve heard that gluten-free is a healthier option, is this right?

If you suffer from Coeliac Disease or have gluten sensitivities choosing gluten-free grains are a great replacement. However if this doesn’t apply to you opting for wholemeal or wholegrain breads, grains and cereals are the best option. Many gluten-free (GF) products are highly marketed and as a result will be a lot more expensive to purchase. Plus many GF products have gone through significant processing and as a result lack a good source fibre, some even have added sugars or fats to enhance the flavour!

Should I use carbohydrate to fuel me for physical activity?

Most definitely! Carbohydrate is the major fuel source during exercise and day-to-day activities. However they only have limited stores and therefore need constant replenishment. Be sure to vary your carbohydrate intake based on the training type, duration and intensity. For example, taper off intake on rest days and fuel your body on days that involve high intensity or long durations of physical exercise.

Summer Porridge Emily Hartley Nutritionist

Summer Porridge Recipe

This summer porridge is the perfect way to have a quick and nutritious breakfast before starting your day. Oats are a great source of carbohydrate that have gone through a limited amount of processing. Not only will these bad boys provide you with energy to get the most out of your workout, but being naturally high in fibre they will promote a healthy digestive system and keep you full and satisfied until your next meal.


– 1/2 cup of oats
– Handful of pepitas and sunflower seeds
– 1 cup of skim milk
– Handful of frozen berries
– 100g of natural yoghurt
– 1/2 mango cheek
– 1/2 medium banana
– Sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg
– Sprinkle of shredded coconut


1. Add the oats, pepitas, sunflower seeds, milk, berries, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and place in the fridge overnight
2. Remove the mixture from the fridge the following morning and prior to eating
3. Add the yoghurt, banana and top it off with the mango and coconut


Emily Hartley is a qualified Sports Dietitian and Accredited Practicing Dietitian* (APD) and Nutritionist from Improve Performance.




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