Carbohydrates. When We Need Them, and Why We Should Not Eliminate Them

Posted: October 21, 2014

Carbohydrates are the brains preferred source of energy. Carbohydrates are also the first source your body will tap into when doing intense workouts as in strength training, power lifting and sprinting. Long endurance type events as in marathon running, swimming, or any steady state activity..rely on fuel from fatty acids.

Never limit nutrient dense carbs with a high water content. They are low in calories when compared with starchy carbs. Most green vegetables fall into this category. Limiting whole grains from breads and cereals might make you sacrifice strength, so limit if fat loss is your goal in the last few meals of the day.  Potatoes, rice, and even whole grain bread, unless consumed an hour before a workout, or within 30 minutes after a workout will contribute to fat storage in a sedentary person.  
. Beans are carbs, and they are loaded with fiber, (keeps you fuller for longer) and also contain protein..You could call this almost a “superfood”.. Beans slow down the absorption of sugars and are a great addition to any diet.

Remember, a food is either a protein, a fat, or a carbohydrate. Fat has 9 calories per gram, carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, and protein has 4 calories per gram. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram and slows the digestion of needed nutrients as the liver takes up energy to filter it out. Alcohol also brings fat burning hormones to a halt, not to mention makes us make poor dietary choices when drinking (or the day after since our blood sugar is low and we are craving sweets)

When trying to lose body fat, the first thing that should be lessened in the diet is unhealthy fats. Certain fats are necessary for hormone production. The best fats are from flax, chia. fish and fish oils, coconut oil is also a great source of healthy fats.
The biggest controversy now is people losing weight on low carb diets. This needs to be addressed as there are different forms of carbs. Starchy and non- starchy. Eliminate starchy carbs on non-workout days, and from the last meal every night if weight loss is your goal. Carbohydrates are best when consumed approximately 1-2 hours before strength training, and immediately after in the form of a simple carbohydrate drink as in maltodextrin, or glucose, mixed with 1-2 scoops of whey protein powder. This puts the body into an anabolic or “rebuild and repair” state and facilitates recovery.People forget that all vegetables are carbs and should be consumed in abundance. Vegetables are pretty much a “free food”.

Protein is the key in gaining muscle and keeping the metabolism running. Never skimp on protein. Protein should be consumed at a rate of approximately 1-1 1/2 grams per pound of lean body weight in a person engaging in strength training at least 2-3 times weekly. 1 Gram per lean lb of bodyweight for sedentary people is fine…but that isn’t us right? Protein should be split up between all meals and snacks.

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