Cutting carbohydrates has become popular for losing weight but this can make dieting difficult, limiting and restrictive. Please note that eating carbohydrates doesn’t make us fat, eating TOO MANY carbohydrates will make us fat.
Carbohydrates are our bodies primary and most easily available source of energy. The mechanical and chemical digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth, so please take your time to chew. Once carbohydrates are digested they turn into glucose, this then circulates in the bloodstream to fuel muscle contraction. Carbohydrates are then stored in our muscles as glycogen, the purpose of glycogen is to fuel physical activity as it releases a great amount of energy.
(enough of the science words now, they bore me too!!)
Benefits of carbohydrates:
– The main source of energy to fuel our brain.
– Carbohydrates in our body have a muscle sparing effect keeping our body from burning up excessive protein for energy.
– Muscle size increases when the body stores glycogen and water in muscle cells.
– Fuels exercise.
– Promotes rapid post exercise recovery when eaten after training.
– Can help boost your mood (can promote the production of serotonin, a feel good brain chemical)
– Can help prevent weight gain (many carbohydrates contain fibre)
I feel there is a problem with some peoples mistaken understanding of the sources of carbohydrates. Please keep in mind we get carbohydrates from doughnuts, cakes, ice cream, pies, pastries and other snack foods. But none of these should be used to provide our primary source of energy. We need to get our carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, whole grain products, seeds and nuts.
One of the main reasons why I think people fail with their own nutrition is portion control. Please be careful with the amount of food (in this case carbohydrates) you are eating per meal.
Buy some food scales and ‘play around’ with your food for at least a few weeks. Check the food labels so you understand how many carbohydrates the food you are eating contains. Over time you will start to learn just by looking at your plate whether or not you have too much or too little.
We should aim to create the highest energy turnover that we can. The more active we are, the more calories will be used for our muscles to grow and repair therefore less calories will be put to fat cells for storage.
Some good carbohydrate examples:
– Brown rice
– Whole grain pasta
– Whole meal bread
Like everything else, I will go much further in detail with carbohydrates at a later date. For now I am aiming to keep everything as simple as I possibly can. I hope this has helped you in some way.