Why Should You Eat Carbs

  • Along the whole dieting spectrum Carbohydrates (carbs) seem to be the enemy! Unless you know how to manipulate your lifestyle enough to deal with excess carbs they do not sit on your body as fat.  The aim of this blog is to help you understand carbs, why you need them? The different types of carbs and most importantly how to make them work for you.

    (Generally speaking it is never wise to overly restrict any of the main food groups Fats/Proteins/Carbs as it makes it difficult to achieve a balanced diet and good overall health)

    Energy

    When you experience a surge of energy this is your carbohydrate store at work, your body loves them so much it is the preferred source of energy.  If you have a hands on active lifestyle then you will more than likely see carbs as your friend.  Body Builders use Carbs and Proteins after a heavy lifting session for muscle repair and growth.  If you do not have an active lifestyle then you may see carbs as the enemy because eating them if your body is not going to utilise them will end in you gaining fat (this is why people believe having a carb deficient diet is the best way to lose weight.)

    What do we need carbs for?

    ‘All Carbohydrates will be converted to glucose which can be used by our body as a source of energy, to keep our muscles and organs working.’ ~ Quoted from The Association of UK Dietitians

    A lack of Carbohydrate in the diet encourages the body to convert fatty acids into energy to meet the demands of our brain this results in ketone increase.  It is however rare that one would have insufficient carbohydrate in their diet. When our brains switch to using ketones the body breaks down proteins which could lead lo muscle loss.

    How do I know I’m eating enough carbs?

    The Association of UK Dietitians say ‘as a general rule a portion about the size of your fist is appropriate at mealtimes’

    This amount is adjusted if you are active, it is believed that half out total energy intake should come from Carbs.

    Carbs and weight Loss?

    Information from the UK association of Dietitians state ‘There are no clear definitions on what ‘low carbohydrate’ diets are. Some people claim this is an effective method of weight loss, however they are rarely sustainable and most of the initial weight loss seen is often associated with water/fluid losses’.

    Types Of Carbs

    There are three types of carbs, Simple, Complex and Fibre. Your body will use all three to run efficiently at its peak.

    Simple Carbs

    Simple Carbs are also known as simple sugars. Sugars are found in foods across the board and they raise blood glucose levels (energy spike).

    Sugars from carbs are further categorised as Single Sugars or monosaccharides, which include Gluecose, Fructose and Galactose and Double Sugars or Disaccharides which include table sugar, lactose and maltose.  It is advised in the UK that men consume no more than 70g of sugar and women no more than 50g of sugar per day.

    People with diabetes will benefit from better blood glucose levels if sugar intake can be limited to lower levels.

    Sugar provide no nutritional value they are a simply a source of energy for the brain/body. People looking to lose weight benefit from a lower sugar intake.

    Complex Carbs

    Complex carbs are also known a polysaccharides, this simply means they are longer chain molecule than simple carbs or sugars, it also means they take longer for the body to break down.

    Strictly speaking when talking about complex carbs we are talking about starch relate carbs such as:

    • Bread
    • Cakes
    • Pastries (in most cases)

    If a nutritionist or dietitian advises you to consume complex carbs they are referring to a non-refined or Wholewheat version of the above or root/starchy vegetables.

    It is good to be aware that eating larger portions of starchy carbs will still spike blood glucose levels, keep your portion sizes in line with your needs not your wants.

    Fibre

    Fibre is arguably the fourth food group but it is present in carbs specifically, there are two types of fibre Soluble and Insoluble. Soluble fibre attract water and insoluble fibre adds bulk to stools aiding its passage through the intestines.

    • Soluble fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. This slows digestion. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables. It is also found in psyllium, a common fiber supplement. Some types of soluble fiber may help lower risk of heart disease.
    • Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. It adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines. – Medicine Plus

    What is GI?

    Glycaemic Index (GI) classify carbs by numbers. Based on the concept that is it better to opt for carbs with a lower GI as they are absorbed into the bloodstream at a slower rate than High GI carbs. High GI carbs would be used for performance athletes to delay muscle fatigue.

    Take Away Notes from this blog

    • Keep away from processed/refined sugars.
    • Be aware of your sugar intake
    • Be aware of your GI

    Take responsibility over the foods/drinks you consume if you have fitness and weight related goals or if you are struggling with ailments or diseases, Food can be uses as medicine, this is an area of research of mine and I am regularly sourcing courses and good information based on this, science and pharmaceuticals are slowly adapting to the practice of food as medicine.

    Be sure to bookmark us to keep upto date with our research lab my primary focus as a Personal Trainer and Coach is Posture, Physiology, Psychology and Food.

     

    You can find us across Social Media

    References for this blog came from