Why you should be embracing carbs

22 August 2017 by
First published: 17 June 2015

We’ve all got the fear, but that doesn’t mean it’s a rational one – here’s why you should be embracing carbs rather than restricting them.

Carbohydrates have a bad reputation. But, fear not: used wisely, carbs will help you in your quest to lose body fat and perform your best.

When figuring out your nutrition and carbohydrate requirements, consider this: regular exercisers have very different dietary needs from sedentary people. Intense exercise changes the way your body processes nutrients and your internal physiological, metabolic and hormonal environment for 24-48 hours, and will burn through glycogen (energy from carbohydrates) like nobody’s business, so it’s absolutely necessary that you include them in your diet. You wouldn’t drive around in your car with no petrol, so don’t exercise without fuelling your own tank.

Level up
The adequate amount of carbohydrates required to fuel your brain and central nervous system is 80-110g with support from stored liver glycogen. Going lower than this may induce ketosis, which could lead to brain fog and depression. A healthy range of between 100g and 125g is recommended for most.
Athletes who engage in muscle-tearing and glycogen-depletion training sessions require more than 100g stored from the liver. Your muscles can store about 300-600g. Depending on your goals and body weight, on days you are training you might need several hundred grams of carbohydrates for your body to recover and grow. This number begins at around 3g of carbohydrate per kilo of body mass per day, and rises to 10g, depending of the level of activity.

Play your carbs right
Carbohydrate choice is of equal importance: you should fill your allowance with as many different fruit and vegetables as possible – these foods are high-carb and low-cal, so they’re perfect for fat-loss. It will also provide you with the antioxidants your body needs to help protect your immune system and fight off infections. Avoid foods that contain high fructose, as these can lead to insulin resistance and obesity. Oats, potatoes, rice and wholegrains are also good choices that are energy-dense and full of vitamins and minerals.
On days when you are more active, make sure your nutrition reflects this with adequate carbohydrates to fuel your workouts and provide you with enough energy. On days you are less active reduce this number and replace with fats such as avocado, nuts, eggs and mackerel to promote fat loss.
Bottom line, carbs are not evil. While it’s true that lower-carb diets provide many health benefits and can help with weight-loss initially, low carb does not mean no carb. If want to feel energised, cutting them out is the worst thing you can do.


For more info on training and nutritional advice, email PT Ollie Frost



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