It's Upper Body Day

Carbs: Too Little or Too Much

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Fitness Tips

Making sure your diet is balanced with protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fats is important, but what happens if we don’t eat enough or too much of these important foods? How does it affect our bodies? We’ve already reviewed protein, so let’s take a look at carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are our body’s main source for energy. There are simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs are foods with single and double sugar molecules. This includes glucose, fructose and sucrose. Common simple carb foods include milk (also a protein), table sugar, and fruit.

Complex carbs are foods that contain multiple sugar molecules linked together by “starch.” Foods high in complex carbs include legumes, grains, starchy vegetables like corn/peas, pasta, and bread.

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how much blood sugar (fuel) increases based on carbohydrate intake. The higher the GI number, the more blood sugar goes up. The Farrell's nutrition plan was made to provide members with a low glycemic load that keeps them in “burn mode” throughout the day, warding off cravings and overeating.

Too Little Carbs

Carbs are an essential macronutrient. Removing or reducing carbs from your diet can have some side effects that we’ve shown below.

Energy Loss & Fatigue—Carbs are our primary fuel source. Not eating enough healthy carbs reduces the body’s fuel source. If you don’t have enough glucose from healthy carbs to burn, the body will begin burning fat. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but for active people, weakness and energy loss will settle in quickly and long-term effects could mean reduced performance.

Constipation—Our dietary fiber comes from complex carbs and is important for bathroom regularity. A low-carb diet can cause constipation, so it’s important to be certain you’re eating enough healthy fiber, or “roughage” as they used to say, to remain regular.

Mood Changes—Carbohydrates have been connected to the release of serotonin in the brain, which is the chemical responsible for making us feel happy. Not enough healthy carbs can mean a drop in serotonin levels, possibly producing mood changes like anger, sadness, and even mild symptoms of depression.

Hypoglycemia—Not enough carbs can mean low blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, weakness, and difficulty speaking.

Ketosis—Ketosis is a natural metabolic action. If you don’t have enough glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is referred to as ketosis. During this process, your body makes ketones for a fuel source. If you’re following a balanced diet, this isn’t an issue and your body gets used to to your levels. Where ketosis can become unhealthy is when your body builds up too many ketones from lack of energy, which can lead to dehydration and a chemical imbalance in the blood. Many individuals use a low-carb ketogenic diet for weight loss, but it needs to be balanced to assure you’re still getting enough of what your body requires to function normally. Learn more about ketosis here.

Too Many Carbs

What could happen to your body if you eat too many unhealthy carbs?

Sugar Crash—We’ve all gone through it. The blood sugar roller coaster of eating too many refined carbs and then suddenly crashing and feeling tired. Eating carbs high on the glycemic index can cause an increase in blood sugar because they are quickly absorbed versus carbs that are high in fiber that digest at a lower pace, discharging energy over time. When this spike happens, our bodies release hormones to regulate blood sugar, which causes the crash. Carbs that are complex and rich in fiber will help block the carb spike and crash.

Type 2 Diabetes—While not an immediate cause of eating too many high-glycemic carbs, a high-carb diet can heighten your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Eating the right portion size is essential for reducing the risk of ending up with type 2 diabetes. While carbs, and the sugars from carbs, are important for proper function, they need to be the right size for what is needed. Excess from sugary drinks and foods is what puts you at risk.

Adding just one serving of a sugary soda to your diet every day increases your risk by 15 percent, according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health, published in November 2010 in Diabetes Care.

Weight Gain—Taking in too many refined carbs or high-glycemic carbs can also lead to weight gain, which could lead to becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to a number of additional issues like stroke, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Eating too many carbs, like any macronutrient, means we have an excess in our bodies. When we have this overload, our body stores the excess as fat.

Farrell's Good Sources of Carbs

When planning meals and grocery shopping, make a habit to review the nutrition label. Stay away from foods that have added sugar and sweeteners and stick to water as a substitute for sugary drinks and sodas.

If you’re applying your Farrell's nutrition plan, you’re already taking in the correct, balanced nutrition your body needs to work effectively and efficiently to be your best in and outside of the gym.

If you're currently not a member of Farrell's and not meeting your fitness goals, reach out to one of our locations or join our next session to experience a real fitness transformation! We also offer free trial classes!

Sources:

  1. LiveStrong
  2. Everyday Health
  3. LiveStrong
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