The Truth on Macronutrients, Part II: Give up carbs? Over my bread body!

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Let me set the record straight here… Carbs are NOT the enemy!

 

Ever since some guy called Atkins started selling his message, we’ve blamed carbs for everything ranging from muffin tops, shrinking thigh gaps and climate change.

 

Carbs come in a variety of forms. Some of them are essential, and others, at particular times in your journey, may need to be reduced or monitored.

 

However this doesn’t mean carbs are evil. In fact, they are necessary for the body to burn fat. They’re also delicious J

 

So let’s look at the different types of carbohydrates.

 

What are they?

Carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules, which your body uses as fuel. The basic forms of carbohydrates are sugar, starches and fiber.

 

How much do I need?

Once you have determined your protein & fat requirements, you should feel free to fill your remaining calories with further fats & carbs, as per personal preference.

 

Why do we need them?

▪   They are the body’s main source of fuel.

▪   Easily used by the body for energy & stored in muscles/ liver to be later used as energy.

▪   All of the tissues & cells in our body can use glucose for energy.

▪   Needed for the central nervous system, kidneys, brain & muscles (including the heart) to function properly.

▪   Important in intestinal health and waste elimination.

 

Where can we find them?

  • Starchy sources such as sweet potatoes, potoatoes, rice, pasts
  • Oats, oatmeal and cereals
  • Popcorn, bread, tortillas and wraps
  • Fruits, beans, and vegetables
  • Simple sugars from lollies, glucose, soft drink

 

Fibre Plays A Role

Fibre refers to certain types of carbohydrates that our body cannot digest. These carbohydrates pass through the intestinal tract intact & help to move waste out of the body.

 

Diets that are low in fibre have been shown to cause problems such as constipation & hemorrhoids & to increase the risk of cancers such as colon cancer. Diets high in fibre have been shown to decrease risks for heart disease, obesity & help to lower cholesterol.

 

Foods high in fiber include:

Quest bars, beans, whole grains, brown rice, berries, some fruits, bran cereal, oatmeal, vegetables (the crunchier the better), avocado.

 

The important thing to remember is that your body needs carbs, even if some of the fad diets tell you otherwise. Without carbohydrates, your body will begin to break down your muscle tissue to fuel your body, which will sabotage your efforts.

 

[NOTE: There may be times where a low carb approach is needed, however this should only be for the very short term. Such as 7-10 days.]

 

For fat loss, I would generally reduce or control carbs for clients. As a general rule, I like to have people eating in the area of 100 grams of carbs per day.

 

If they respond well, we would increase them. Often times to 200 or even 300 grams daily very soon. However an individual approach is needed.

 

Getting more specific, I like to set carbohydrate intake at around .5 to .75 grams per pound of lean body mass.

 

As for energy: carbs yield 4 calories per gram.

 

Why do we need them?

▪   They are the body’s main source of fuel.

▪   Easily used by the body for energy & stored in muscles/ liver to be later used as energy.

▪   All of the tissues & cells in our body can use glucose for energy.

▪   Needed for the central nervous system, kidneys, brain & muscles (including the heart) to function properly.

▪   Important in intestinal health and waste elimination.

 

NOTE: Here is a quick link jump to the entire series:

The Truth on Macros Part I: The Power of Protein 

The Truth on Macros Part II: Give up carbs? Over my bread body! 

The Truth on Macros Part III: The Skinny on Fats