Common Myth—When clients are asked “how are you doing with your nutrition” often the reply is “good I’ve cut out carbs”. But in fact Carbohydrates are NOT your enemy—excess calories are the enemy .
Carbs play an important role in the human body, they are your most important source of energy, your main fuel source. Anaerobic activities like sprinting, lifting and most sports rely on sugar for fuel; this is because fat cannot be broken down fast enough to fuel high intensity activities. Carbs are needed to start the process that burns fat. Carbs are also the primary energy source for the nervous system. The nervous system relies on sugar in the blood stream to meet its energy needs, when blood sugar falls the nervous system suffers. Carbs should be the source of around 45-65% of your daily calorie intake. Many sources of complex carbs are also vital in supplying us with the essential vitamins, minerals and fibre our bodies need.
What is bad? Its simple, consuming more calories than we burn, if excess calories are consumed they don’t get consumed as such they get transferred, and if not used immediately for an energy source they are stored as fat. This means no matter what you eat, if energy input is more than the output you will gain weight in the form of fat. Look at it this way:
- 500 extra calories consumed + 500 calories not burned=1000 extra calories per day
- 1000 calories x 7 days in a week = 7000 calories extra per week
- Excess calories are generally stored as fat, 500gr of fat is roughly 3500 calories
- 7000 divided by 3500= roughly 1kg
Cutting out carbs altogether is not good, it can result in the loss of lean tissue (muscle) your body starts to tap into protein in the muscle tissue to maintain blood sugar levels if carbs are not present. Adequate carbohydrate intake helps to preserve tissue proteins by ensuring that carbs are used for energy needs and protein is left to be used for tissue repair, growth and maintenance.
As a matter of interest each KG of muscle burns approximately 77 calories per day. With each kg of muscle lost your metabolism may slow down which will have a negative effect on your long term weight loss goals.
Low carb diets can also cause fatigue and reduced performance during exercise and sport: Carbs are your chief form of energy, they are needed for all bodily functions and muscular exertion.Plant foods are our primary source of carbohydrate, and some, such as grains, are the most concentrated. The best carbohydrate foods are unprocessed whole foods, like fresh fruit, 100% juice, whole grains, foods made with whole grains and many vegetables. These foods also contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Foods made with refined grains have fewer of these nutrients. Some good sources of carbs include: Rice, Couscous, Oats Rye, Pasta, Noodles, Fruit, Dried fruit: dates, raisins, etc, Potatoes, Legumes: white beans, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans lentils Quinoa, Sweet potatoes, Carrots and carrot juice, Bread – wholegrain varieties, fruit juice, honey, nuts and nut spreads.