Carbohydrates. A tabu word in the health and fitness world today. Sadly the wide spread dislike of carbohydrates does not differentiate and thus ALL carbohydrates are given a bad rap. Unfortunately, society has us misinformed.
Carbohydrates are KEY to your body functions, structure and overall your health maintenance and weight loss goals! When you eliminate an entire food category — a macronutrient at that, your body is MISSING major vitamins and minerals that are REQUIRED for optimal body function. This means, if your looking for more energy, you NEED to consume the foods appropriate to give you just that!
So what exactly is a “Carb” &
What do you mean by macronutrient?
Macronutrients are nutrients (nutrition) that contain essential vitamins and minerals that the body is not able to make on its own. These are items such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats that are NEEDED for your everyday survival. For example, proteins provide essential amino acids that aid in cell structure and muscle growth and development.
Carbohydrates role is as equally important — These macronutrients are the bodies primary source of energy. Have you ever heard an athlete state they are “carb” loading the night before a big game, race etc. ? You can be assured they are build up their energy stores to be successful in their upcoming event.
Not a major athlete? YES, you too, still need to be consuming carbohydrates. Your body at rest, burns energy in the form of calories, the amount of which established by the basal metabolic rate or BMR. This rate, is the amount of energy needed for your body to complete basic survival tasks, such as allow your heart to beat, your lungs to breath, and your brain to function.
Did you know you actually are using muscles within your diaphragm to breath approximately 12 to 24 times a minute. This simple act requires a steady and reliable source of fuel.
What happens if I don’t consume carbohydrate?
Because the body is truly a well equip machine, the human body has the innate ability utilize stored fats and proteins for energy to complete the daily functions, a process also known to be utilized in some of the current Fad diets widely marketed today. While in text this sounds like a great options, a thorough evaluation of the risks verse benefits MUST be completed for these diets to prove to be safe and should not be maintained for any length of time. Implications on the body during this period of using fats and proteins over carbohydrates for fuel, include but are not limited to headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and loss of muscle mass.
Why does the type of carbohydrate matter?
The “simpler” the carbohydrate — the easier it is for the body to break them down into its many parts to be used for nutrition and energy. SIMPLE = SIMPLE.. It’s pretty simple..
Adversely, complex are “complex” or hard to break down into the many different parts and pieces need to use by the body. .
This is why it is important to make sure you are choosing carbohydrates WISELY. It is HERE at this exact place where carbohydrates as a whole get a bad rap.
I ask you…
Would you realistically run your vehicle with “Just a little your gas tank” Not knowing if is would get you from point A to point B?! Of low on oil, unsure if the impact would be to cause the engine to seize? I’m thinking probably not. In fact you likely avoid these situations due to the time and cost associated with the implications of such actions. The same should hold true with the foods we ingest into our body.
Simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrate are instant gratification. Your body receives quick energy and for a very short period of time… your body is happy.
For those of you with young children, you dread the sugar rush of a birthday party, or the constant consumption of the endless bag of halloween candy… this is because the sugar consumed is quickly digested and gives the body a wonderful serge of energy and pep. Fortunately for you parents, this only lasts for a short period of time, as the body quickly breaks down, utilizes and gets rid of this type of carbohydrate quickly.
The downside it, the quick upswing of energy that enters into you blood from simple carbohydrates you have eaten, leads the body to craving more and more of these types of foods. This is what makes it so hard for me to STOP eating my halloween Oreos once I get started 😦
Complex carbohydrates. These carbs on the other hand take a long time to get through the pipes — intestines in our bodies. They have increased fiber and take their time in the gut, collecting all the bad stuff along the walls on its way by. Complex carbohydrates promote the intestinal walls to move, prevent issues such as constipation and bowel obstructions, an decreased the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure because of these functions. The scratching of the walls is similar to that of a Brillo pad, and plays a role in cancer prevention, pockets and inlets of the bowel that can cause pain and infection.
Trying to Lose weight?
Complex carbohydrates give you the feeling of satiety for a longer period of time. The naturally slower digestive process of complex carbohydrates, keeps your blood sugars at a neutral level (similar to cruise control), the need to fulfill cravings or hunger is significantly reduced.
How to determine one from another.
Simple carbohydrates are often found in things that are white. Example of such are white bread, white rice, white pasta etc. Baked products and sweets such as holiday pies and candy fall into this category as well as healthier sugar options such as honey, agava, and maple syrup.
In white grain products the wheat bran and germ is removed, leaving only the sweet endosperm, a process known as refining. Refining is also completed for “Enriched” grain products, however some of the removed bran and germ are added back in, to create a more nutritionally dense product.
Alternatively, Complex carbohydratesthat are grain based in nature, use the entire wheat kernel, creating a greater density and higher nutritional quality then it’s refined counter part. Maintaining the intact wheat kernel allows the product to maintain a larger number of phytochemicals, vitamins and fiber all essential for the body to run at its highest capacity.
Many fruits and vegetable are encompassed into the category of complex carbohydrates. For these items the skins and fiber that is naturally found within the product provide expansive nutrition, density and delayed absorption and release of sugar into the blood supply.
Simple example of complex carbohydrates. Food sources the are naturally brown. Food labels also indicate these products by listing WHOLE WHEAT as the very first ingredient on the food label. These items are whole grain breads/bakery items, brown rice, whole grain pastas, oats, quinoa, and fresh fruits and some vegetables.
Where you health and fitness goals are to lose weight, sleep better, have more energy or just to embrace feeling better, eating the right carbohydrates are essential to meeting your long term goals. If you find yourself going up and down the mountain of health and are tired of doing so, choose a lifestyle, over a diet. Need help, reach out and set up an appointment with us to help guide you in the right direction.
~ Refocused Fitness & Nutrition.