THE TRUTH ABOUT CARBS

Carbohydrates have a bad rap when it comes to muscle-building and fat loss.  Although they spike insulin levels which can result in your body storing more energy as fat, rather than using fat for energy, manipulating your carb intake is one of the most effective ways to get leaner.  You just need to be lean enough in this first place to deserve those carbs. Below are some frequently asked questions about carbs and some of my answers for concerns.

ARE CARBS GOOD OR BAD FOR ME?

This depends on the type, source and, in some cases, the time you consume them, based on your ultimate training goals.

SO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I EAT CARBS?

Carbs are digested and processed at different rates depending on their structure.  In basic terms, the simpler the source(such as sugar) the faster it’s digested, with the result being a more rapid rise in blood sugar levels.  This in turn prompts your pancreas to release the hormone insulin, which carries glucose-an energy source-into your bodes cells where it can be used.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CARBS?

Carbs are defined by the number of sugar monocles they contain. Complex carbs have three or more more molecules.  This means they take longer for your body to break down and therefore help to maintain a steady blood glucose level.  Simple carbs elevate blood glucose quickly.  Excessive consumption of these can cause short term problems such as excessive eating and weight gain as well as serious health issues in the long term.

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH CARBS ARE COMPLEX AND SIMPLE?

The glycemic index (GI) tells us how quickly each type of carb causes blood glucose levels to rise.  Foods are rated one to 100, with 100 causing the fastest rise and the more complex carbs below 60.  This index is only really relevant if the carbs are consumed alone, because eating protein, fats and fiber at the same time will change a carbs GI value.  So basing a diet on the GI alone is not advisable.

DO CARBS MAKE YOU FAT?

Not if you eat the right types in the right quantities.  Problems arise when too many simple sugars are consumed too regularly.  Processed sugars provide a lot of calories but few other nutrients and can block the body’s absorption of other essential nutrients.

 

WHY ARE SIMPLE CARBS SO BAD?

It’s easy to eat a lot of simple carbs very quickly and therefore consume too many calories.  In addition, eating too many simple carbs results in too much insulin being released regularly into your system.  This affects your insulin resistance and is a precursor of type 2 diabetes, when you have constantly elevated levels of glucose in your blood.  Over time, glucose builds up in your organs and nerve endings, which can have serious health implications.

ARE CARBS VITAL TO A FAT LOSS PROGRAM?

For elite athletes and those with intense training schedules, carbs have a big role to play, but for the average person wanting to lose weight, consuming the right amount of quality protein, fats, essential nutrients and fluids is for more important.  The body can metabolize proteins and fats into glucose in the absence of carbs, if necessary.

WHICH CARBS SHOULD I GO FOR?

Vegetables provide the best bang for your buck.  Packed with dense nutrients and fibre, they cause very stable and manageable rise in blood sugar.  If you’re training intensively, complex carbs such as rice and potatoes can also help energy levels.  Treat wheat with causation, many people have problems digesting it efficiently.

If you have any questions are concerns you should consult with a dietitian or a nutritionist before starting a program to see what works for you.

 

Yours in health,

 

Mikhael Ricks