Alrighty gang let’s talk about Carbohydrates aka. Carbs. They are probably the one type of food group that everyone will try to cut down on at some point in their life, and, even i’ve done it in the past. However, what does cutting down on carbs really do??
So in every 1g of carb there are 4 calories, the same as protein, fat is 9 calories per 1g. So why do we cut carbs down/out and not fat? Carbs are there to give us energy, restore muscles and are important for so many bodily functions. Do you find that carbs change your mood? Depending on how many you have? The less carbs you have in your diet the more irritable you can get, tired and unmotivated, i say all this from not just experience but science! When we use our muscles they take the carbohydrates that are in our bodies and use them for energy, if we have very little carbs it will use proteins from our muscles and essentially break the muscles down. If you are on a low carb diet, yes you will lose weight, but that won’t necessarily be from fat. Not ideal! So eating enough carbs is pretty essential to not only your bodily functions, but to your physique shape. For people on a low carb diet, their shape will look softer, not leaner. Softer is when there is still fat in the body but little muscle. Lean is when there is less fat, more muscle definition (not bulky).
There are a few different carbohydrates that we eat. Simple carbs and complex carbs, both of which you may have heard of before. Let me break this down…i hope this is making sense so far! The difference between them both is just their chemical structure and how quickly they are absorbed and digested in the body. So, simple carbs contain one or two sugars, either fructose (found in fruits) or galactose (found in milk products). They are easily broken down in the body and instantly used for energy. However, this also means that they spike your insulin levels (sugar in the blood), if the body doesn’t need that sugar for energy it will store it, possibly leading to weight gain. Simple sugars are found in fruit, sweets, processed foods, biscuits, cakes…basically all the nice things! It’s products that sugar has been added to, i know that fruit is a natural sugar, but it has the same effect. This is why fruit juices and smoothies aren’t ideal, unless you are using it as a pre workout and are going to use the energy given from those foods pretty instantly.
Complex carbs have a much slower rate of digestion and energy release. Things like whole grain rice/pasta, oats, beans and vegetables etc. The body takes a longer period of time to break down the molecules of a complex carbohydrate, meaning that the energy release lasts for longer. This is why doctors suggest that we eat more complex carbs then simple carbs, as it won’t spike our insulin levels, AND, they contain more fibre meaning we are fuller for longer. Fibre is also very important in our diets, to help with healthy bowel movements, i know no one usually talks about this, and decreases the risk of heart disease, basically because they are less sugary products we are consuming.
Realistically, we all know which carbs are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ for us. Even though i hate putting foods into good and bad groups, it’s easier to explain this way. I mean we all know that eating a doughnut is worse than eating vegetables! Simple carbs, like doughnuts and sweets, are empty calories as they don’t do anything for our bodies, except a quick energy spike. So, if you are an athlete in a competition and have to re-fuel in between rounds, something sugary might be something to opt for, in small portions, otherwise you might feel slightly sick!
In conclusion, carbs are not the enemy, they have a huge responsibility to a healthy lifestyle! Just like every other food they are used as fuel. It just depends which kind of carb you choose to eat. We all like the sugary fatty ones, but maybe just limit them slightly in your diet and you will notice some changes i’m sure! If you have any specific questions please comment below and i’ll get back to you as soon as i can!