By Dr Megan Chircop
Perhaps the second most reviled macronutrient in history - carbohydrate. But, not all carbohydrates are "bad". And, as is often the case, the dose makes the poison.
Carbohydrate is not the enemy, it is essential and provides the body’s “rocket fuel”.
- carbs fuel your body to generate intense/rapid movement.
- carbs are the brain’s preferred fuel.
How do you know if you are eating enough carbs for your body?
If you answer YES to any of the questions below perhaps you are not eating enough carbs to fuel your body:
1) Do you experience brain fog? unable to concentrate?
2) If your energy and appetite levels off?
3) Are you unable to complete your workouts?
4) Are you tired throughout the day?
5) Do you wake up throughout the night hungry and unable to sleep?
6) Do you get headaches, the “shakes”?
7) Are you irritable? HANGRY?
8) Have you noticed that you have a reduced sex drive, and/or mood disturbances such as anxiety and depression?
Are you eating too much carbs, especially in the form of sugar?
The western diet is heavy on carbohydrates so most people fall in to this category.
Consuming relatively high levels of simple carbohydrates, like sugar, can produce similar symptoms and you would have answered YES to many of the questions above.
The main difference is that, initially, energy levels might seem quite high. However, as insulin secretion catches up with carbohydrate absorption, the energy levels come crashing down. AND YOU FEEL LOW, perhaps lower than before you consumed that sugary snack.
How much carbs to eat, without gaining weight but still have energy all day?
* Portion-control (Read Understanding portion sizes for a good place to start).
* Structure your consumption of carbohydrates at specific times during the day.
BREAKFAST - This is the most carbohydrate-fuelled meal of the day.
* replenishes your depleted stores after sleep.
* provides energy for your brain and muscles to fuel the day - run to the bus stop, drop your kids off at school, write that report and more.
Pre-WORKOUT - Also another time during the day to fuel your body with carbohydrate. WHY?
* to complete your workout.
* to workout at maximum intensity without flaking out! Result - more calories burnt, build stronger muscles - achieve your body goal sooner.
* refills muscles with energy stores. This reduces the amount of carbohydrate available for conversion to fat compared to consuming carbohydrate during other parts of the day, e.g. when sedentary and not using much energy.
DINNER - This is a debatable topic. To include or not to include carbs during your evening meal. We believe that a small amount of carbohydrate is required.
* for many people, carbohydrates aid in optimal sleep that is undisturbed by hunger, sweats, and bizarre dreams. And in turn, sleep reduces stress, which aids in weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.
HOW MUCH AT DINNER? Don't over do it. About 20-30g of carbohydrate during dinner is sufficient and most of this can be obtained from non-starchy vegetables and/or a small potato. Leave the pasta, rice, etc for lunch.
If you really can not do without grains for dinner, then read Lose weight and be healthy without feeling hungry for how to include these starchy carbohydrates in your evening meal without affecting your weight.
Combine carbohydrates with fibre, fats and protein in your meals. This will slow the rate of energy absorption.
Reduce fluctuations in energy levels.
Reduce cravings for more carbohydrates.
Assist weight loss/weight maintenance.
The Body Sculptors Australia team prides itself on developing nutritious recipes that are absolutely delicious. You will wonder why you have not eaten like this your whole life when food tastes this good.
Our mission is to help as many people as possible achieve their ideal healthy, lean and active body to have confidence and happiness in their everyday lives.
Do you know...
How much (carbs) you need to eat to achieve optimal health and energy?
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You might also be interested in the following articles:
8 reasons why meal planning will ensure you lose weight and keep it off for good
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How to beat food cravings?
Nutritional optimisation for weight loss
The secret to eating for weight loss
Top 5 delicious potato dishes you can enjoy whilst losing weight
Understanding portion sizes
The low-GI and gluten-free answer to pasta
Transform your life, health and body today
Feel fantastic again in your own skin by learning what foods your body needs to nourish itself
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