5 Reasons Not To Give Up Carbs
For years carbs have had a bad reputation and still do. Don’t eat carbs they said, they will make you fat they said. But “they” are the sheep that follows one person and then it becomes a fad, like all fads I guess. When we dive a little deeper into carbs you will see there are 5 main reasons not to give up carbs completely.
Carbs, which were always called carbohydrates by the way, before the invention of the social media monster and with it our language has been shortened to acronyms now but that’s for another day!
In a video posted on our facebook page I talk about why carbs are not so much the enemy it’s what we do with them and why they are important to our over all health and well being
Carbs are the most readily available source of energy in the body and include foods like pasta, rice, potatoes, bread but also fruits and vegetables. The reason they have such a bad name is people just focus on a carb as being bread, pasta etc. and they have a tendancy to over eat on these food types so when it comes to a fat loss plan they are told to come off “carbs” instead of developing a healthy relationship with them so they can maintain long lasting results for the rest of their lives.
So why are carbs so important as part of a balanced diet?
1. Fueling Your Brain
Did you know that your brain takes up 20% of your calorie requirements for the day so a fifth of your daily calorie intake is required by your brain. It just goes to show how much energy it requires for concentration, thinking, focus, all that stuff. It is the command centre of everything in your body and needs to be fueled as such. Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for the brain and it requires approximately 120g of carbs to function optimally.
So when people go on a no-carb diet or if you have done it yourself you can get very irritable, lose concentration, lethargic, you get the idea so having carbs in your diet is crucial for your brain.
Carbs can be a rich source of fiber, especially whole grain types and is great for gut health, heart health and digestion. Fiber is an indigestible food so when it passes through the gut it picks up any excess stuff that hasn’t been broken down by the intestines and pulls it all with it until you pass it. So it helps to clean out the gut and keep a good digestive tract. It’s also great for keeping you fuller for longer so you are not feeling as hungry as often which is an important thing to remember when it comes to fat loss. Don’t forget as well that the fiber helps to reduce the sugar spikes you get in certain foods. Fruit can contain a lot of sugar but fiber, like that in the skin of an apple, can help to control that spike which means you don’t have that same fat storage effect in the body.
For a lot of people who don’t eat fruit or wholegrain foods you can look at getting a dietary fiber supplement to help give you all these benefits
3. Nutrients and minerals
I am sure you have heard the saying eat your 5 a day. There are key nutrients and vitamins that occur in carbs, especially your fruit and vegetables. There is a growing amount of people and worryingly adults who don’t eat fruit and vegetables because as children they weren’t encouraged to eat them and so the cycle continues. But we still need to take in the vitamins and nutrients that we otherwise would have if we were eating them so people can and should turn to supplements like multivitamins to help albeit they may not provide the extra benefits that will come from eating the fruit itself. Ideally we should be eating fruit and veggies and top that up with a supplement. Supplements should never be meal replacements, they are there to supplement a diet not replace it.
4. Building Lean Muscle
A common myth or misunderstanding in the fitness world is that taking protein is going to bulk you up. The main fuel for putting on size is carbohydrates. If you look at 3 stages of carbohydrate breakdown simply; it starts off with your main food type such as pasta, this is broken down into glycogen and then into sugar. Your muscles store glycogen in them so often after workouts people may go for a carb source to refill those glycogen stores in the muscle to maintain and increase size. So if you are trying to maintain your lean muscle it’s important to keep your glycogen stores topped up because without them the body starts going into the protein in your muscle for fuel and you end up losing that lean muscle and become weaker, metabolism slows down and you have a higher chance of injury.
5. Results are slowing down
With a lack of carbs you might find your results starting to slow down and the first sign is a lack of energy to be able to complete your workouts, you notice your motivation is dropping and ultimately you are not giving the same effort in your session. For the body to keep getting fitter you have to be working harder as the body adapts.
But more importantly in terms of fat loss results the process the body uses to metabolise the fat molecules into energy requires glycogen which is the breakdown of carbs so without carbs and specifically that glycogen the body will turn to metabolising that so important muscle.
So, let’s think smarter about our foods and develop better relationships with them instead of going nuclear and giving up any particular food group.
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