Carbs are held in the muscle, so re-introducing them after a period of low-carb eating will increase your weight. This is not fat gain!
Over the last 10 days I’ve been tracking my carbohydrate intake and have realised I wasn’t getting enough, nowhere near enough. I’d imagine this is common for quite a few people as new clients tend to ask whether they should avoid carbs due to misconceptions surrounding them.
For a long time people thought low fat was the way to go, and dietary fats were wrongly demonized, partly down to the media. A few months ago it was even acknowledged that recommendations to avoid fat should never have been made in the UK.
Why is this relevant? Well sadly it seems carbohydrates are now the food group to be vilified, this has been going on for some time though, a number of diets heavily restrict or even cut out carbohydrates completely. Summer time is approaching; suddenly everybody wants to go low carb – I think the saying is ‘no carbs before Marbs’.
People want to get leaner, surprise surprise they decide to go low carb, or even zero carb. Logic? “No carbs after 6pm”, “carbs are bad for you” etc we’ve all heard these sayings or similar. The ‘fat is bad for you’ bandwagon has passed, so here’s another…
In this week’s newsletter we’ll put across some facts on carbohydrates and why they, like all food groups should be included in your diet. Hopefully this will clear up any misconceptions you may have had.
Carbohydrates should be included in everyone’s diet, and have numerous benefits; a few facts for you:
1 – Carbohydrates are the bodies’ primary source of energy, so if they are present, the body will use them first to provide energy for daily activity and exercise.
2 – They play an essential role in the recovery process after exercise. During intense exercise, glycogen (sugar) stores become depleted; these must be restored post-training where your attention should firmly be switched to recovery, so that you’re ready to go again whenever your next workout is.
3 – Eating carbohydrates will not lead to fat gain, overeating on a regular basis will, so be sure to adjust your carbohydrate intake to suit your activity levels.
4 – Vegetables are very important carbohydrate sources; so get into the habit of eating them at all meals, or at least with the majority of your meals…consume lots of them and different ones too!
5 – All carbohydrates are not equal; they cause different hormonal responses in the body due to different glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL). Having said this, you won’t experience a huge change in blood sugar levels when carbohydrates are eaten along with fibrous vegetables, proteins or fats.
6 – Carbohydrates and protein when consumed both cause insulin to be released.
7 – Insulin is a storage hormone which regulates blood sugar, and is usually at its lowest first thing in the morning, since you would have gone so long without eating.
Takeaway message for this week, do not limit your options! There’s a range to choose from, oats, sweet and white potatoes, brown rice and white rice alternatives to name a few. Carbohydrate manipulation plays a key part in weight management, so take your activity levels into account.
If you want to build muscle, carbohydrates are important! If you want to lose body fat, carbohydrates are again important, it will however be a case of managing intake. Going low carb at the start of a fat-loss phase may be the way to begin, but it certainly isn’t the way to continue so make sure you’ve got a clear plan, whereby you have specific periods of going low carb, and high carb.
Whilst carbohydrates are not bad for you, higher levels of activity mean you’d have a greater turnover of glucose/glycogen; therefore it’s important you take in more carbohydrates to maintain optimal performance.
Whether you goal is muscle gain or fat loss, it’ll take you far longer to reach that goal if you’re not performing at your peak the majority of the time, and carbohydrates are vital for performance…think about this.
Remember, when it comes to weight loss or fat loss, overall calories will be the defining factor, just ensure you’ve got the ideal ratio between protein, carbohydrate and fat.
If you’d like more information or person specific advice regarding how you could improve your diet for health or performance, get in touch with us and we’d be more than happy to assist you.