5 Reasons Why You Should Eat the Damn Carbs

Popular diets are a bit like the Dow Jones: A tip on a hot item sends everyone flocking to get in on the action. Then it cools, something else gets hot, and the market corrects itself before swinging in another direction. We saw it with the low-fat craze. Then everyone leaped aboard the low-carb bandwagon.

Now it's time for another market correction, because too many well-intentioned active people are stressing their bodies and wrecking their workouts and recovery by skimping on this essential macronutrient.

We're not talking about going back to the days when you chased a heaping plate of spaghetti with a few dinner rolls because you had a 50-mile ride the next day. That was overkill. Instead, we mean eating in a balanced way that gives your body all the nutrients it needs to perform.

"Glucose from carbohydrates is the fuel your brain uses to produce energy," says nutrition and fitness coach Rick Kattouf, OD, founder of TeamKattouf coaching in Greenville, South Carolina. "It's also your body's preferred fuel source for exercise, especially if you want to ride hard and fast or for long distances."

RELATED: The 5 Most Crucial Carbohydrate Questions Answered

Iñigo San Millán, PhD, of the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center in Boulder, puts it this way: "Glycogen is gold, and you need carbohydrates for optimum glycogen storage."

Here's what they'd both like you to know about carbs:

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