Carbohydrates. It’s that scary word everyone thinks will make them fat by merely saying it! Well no. I am going to explain why we need carbs in our diet, especially those of us who train! I’m going to try to keep this as simple as possible for everyone to understand. Further down the line I will be going further into this topic.
So, what are carbs? Carbohydrates are primarily a source of immediate energy for all of your body’s cells. We need carbs for energy basically. Why?
They fuel maximal exercise performance. By not eating carbs over time, do not think for one minute that you will perform optimally either in the gym or in your chosen sport.
Carbs help keep your metabolism in tact by maintaining your Thyroid. Restricting carbs too drastically can lead to decreased thyroid output, which, in turn will lower your metabolism. As you can guess this isn’t good for fat loss.
Eating an appropriate amount of carbs can actually help you look, feel and perform better. They are needed for recovery, so you need them to replace what is lost during training. As exercise is glycogen depleting, carbs are essential for refuelling this along with protein.
When it comes to what type of carbs should you eat, the majority should be from fruit and veg, with some starches as well. When I say starches I am referring to healthy sources such as oats and sweet potato/white potato (a whole other blog will follow on white vs sweet potato) as opposed to bread and pasta. You should consider this when planning your meals.
To put it into perspective, carbohydrates are essential in the diet, especially for those who exercise. If you reduce your carb intake drastically over a long period of time this is what can happen: it can lead to decreased thyroid output and decreased testosterone, increased cortisol output, inhibited immune function, mood swings and muscle catabolism (break-down).
AKA your metabolism may slow down, stress hormones go up and muscle building hormones go down. No-one wants that!!
You must listen to your body. Experiment! If you find your body functions very well with starchy carbs, of course have more in your diet at each meal, for those who don’t function so well on them, have your carbs when you need them, i.e. after you exercise.
When you think on carbs, I know a lot of people automatically think pasta! Refined carbs. We want to reduce these in the diet so I will upload a sample meal with a pasta substitute later today to give you an idea of what you can replace pasta with so you can continue having your favourite meals 🙂
Any questions or if you didn’t understand something then feel free to comment or message me.
**Next blog post will discuss calories and helping you figuring out how many calories you NEED in your diet to stay healthy**