OK so in today's lesson >> Carbohydrates for dummies
Now hold your horses, I am not calling you a dummy!
However, we do not get taught this stuff at school, so I am helping to educate you myself.
Poorly educated choices explain why I was overweight until I was in my late twenties.
Carbs are another nutrient that has come under a lot of stick over the past few years... and it's completely wrong to categorise a whole nutrient group as bad.
The question is are they naughty or nice....Are Carbs The devil Wearing Prada?
What is a carb?
It’s a type of macronutrient, it sits with fat and protein.
A carb typically consists of starch, sugars or fibre.
Yep that means sugar is a type of carb, if you look at the side of any food label it will say carbohydrates followed by 'of which sugars'
So if its 50g carbs of which sugars 25g
...half its carb content is sugar.
What foods are carbs
There are loads of crap quality carbs (simple carbs) out there that I would recommend you try and drastically reduce or avoid completely.
Things such as:
- Sausage rolls
- White pasta
- Garlic bread
- Normal bread
- Breakfast cereals
When you eat the above they are broken down by your body into glucose REALLY QUICKLY - not good.
They are processed (not many good quality natural ingredients) and some of the energy is broken down and stored as fat.
So yeah they may look nice and taste nice but they are really simple carbs dressed up in fancy clothing.
Then you have the good quality carb group (complex carb) which are actually ok for us.
- Sweet potato
- White potato
- Brown rice
- Beans (not heinz)
Why do we need carbs?
Carbs are ENERGY, nothing else, literally just energy.
You can not use it for other stuff
Cool fact: We can turn protein and fats into carbs but we CANNOT turn carbs into protein and fats
Carbs can go one of two ways
To be used.
To be stored
It's a bit like money, if you do not spend it, it's left in your bank.
Where are my banks?
Good question. 2 places, fat cells and muscle cells.
Muscle cells, we store carbohydrate in the form of glycogen in muscles ready to be used.
Once we use it all up we get fatigued.
This why you WANT carbs for optimal performance
More muscle = more storage of carbs
This is why bodybuilders can eat a lot of junk food and still look lean.
The other place.
So if you're Mr Cardio getting your sweat on each day and you do not have much muscle mass you have limited storage capacity in those muscles and you'll store it in fat cells.
Also if you're a couch potato and eating too many carbs you're forcing your bodies ability to store it.
Moving more empties muscles and allows space to put that stored stuff!
Are all carbs equal?
Nope, they affect our blood sugar level differently. They have been given a GI index which is how fast they spike our blood.
To keep it simple, we do not want to spike it too fast.
Sugary foods do this, avoid them when you can.
I'm not saying you can't have a slice of pizza or chocolate ever again. What i'm saying is just don't overkill it especially around a fairly active lifestyle. Lean towards better quality carbs.
Bottom line: Stick to veg carbs! Green leafy veg, potatoes and rice are the best bets.
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I hope you found this useful, if you did please share with friends, family, work colleagues or anyone you feel will benefit from it.
Coach @ The Perth Fitness Camp
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