Let’s talk carbs!
Carbohydrates seem to have a bad reputation for themselves and often many commercial diets will be “low carb” or try eliminate carbs all together. Often people mistake carbs to just be in bread, pasta, potatoes but are unaware that carbs are everywhere and also in such foods as fruit and vegetables! So, it is VERY hard to have a “no carb diet”. There are three different types of carbohydrates found in food: sugar, starch and fibre.
Do carbs make us fat?
Reality is, any food can be fattening if you overeat it. Whether your diet is high in fat or high in carbohydrates, if you frequently consume more energy than your body uses you are likely to gain weight. It is recommended when consuming carbs you try and choose healthy sources such as higher-fibre, wholegrain varieties when you can such as that found in vegetables, fruits, legumes and lower fat dairy products.
Carbohydrates are in fact important to your health for a number of reasons such as for energy whilst training. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. In their absence, your body will use protein and fat for energy. It may also be hard to get enough fibre, which is important for a healthy digestive system and to prevent issues such as constipation.
Higher amounts of carbohydrates are needed with increased muscle mass and increased physical activity. However, excessive carbohydrate consumption will be stored for future use as fat or glycogen.
Gylcemic Index: What’s this?
All carbohydrate sources, whether it it a Snickers Bar, a piece of pumpkin, or the biscuit you stole from the office pantry last week – all convert back to GLYCOGEN.
What makes carb choices better or worse.
- Carbohydrate Density: How much carbs is there in this “carby food” compared to other options?
- Carbohydrate Type: Is this complex / simple, or a combination of the two?
What happens if we ingest simple carbs (sugars) instead of complex: INSULIN SECRETION!!
Insulin is a transport hormone which is responsible for getting the sugar out of the blood, and into cells. Whether this is muscle, or fat – insulin doesn’t care! It needs to get these sugars out of the bloodstream so your blood doesn’t resemble a thick tar (you die..)
So the higher on the Glycemic Index, the faster the carbohydrates will convert to Glycogen, and cause a much larger insulin spike.
From a body composition point-of-view this is really important if you would prefer to accumulate fat.
From a health point-of-view, this is really important if you would prefer to not develop Type 2 Diabetes.
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a process that the body goes through daily, regardless of the number of carbs you eat. This is because this process provides us with energy from ketones whenever sugar is not readily available.
Whenever the need for energy increases and carbohydrates aren’t available to meet that demand, the body starts increasing its ketone levels. If carbs are restricted for a more significant amount of time, then the body will increase ketone levels even further.
However, most people are rarely in ketosis and never experience its benefits because the body prefers to use sugar as its primary fuel source.
(See ‘What is Ketosis’ download for more information)
Your body adapts to what is put in it, processing different types of nutrients into the energy that it needs. When you eat high-carbohydrate foods your body will break it down into a simple sugar called glucose.
Prior to cutting your carbs from your diet most energy is provided by glycogen. When they’re decreased hormone levels start shifting, causing increases in gluconeogenesis and fat burning!