Knowing more about carbs is going to help you make better decisions when it comes to your nutrition/diet/weight loss.
First, let me warn you… this post is long… and I get a bit technical but I tried to break it down as easy as possible so you can understand it and make better decisions which can MAJORLY impact your results.
I really really think you will benefit from reading it in its entirety.
Ok, lets dive in!
Carbohidrates are a MACRO NUTRIENT. Which means we need to ingest them in order to sustain life, which is why completely getting rid of them in any diet is NOT GOOD.
They’re main function is to give us energy.
Both CARBS & FAT are in charge of giving us energy, but our body prefers to use carbs which is why when we eat TOO MUCH carbs and the wrong type of carbs, our body has a hard time using fat for fuel…. because it has an excess of carbs in the body and prefers and has an easier time using those for fuel.
IMPORTANT FACT ABOUT CARBS – GRAMS – CALORIES
Each gram of carb has 4 calories… that is not a problem.
But its important for you to understand that for every 1 gram of carb you eat, your body holds on to 3-4 grams of water.
So please understand that when you cut carbs…. you are losing WATER….. initially NOT FAT.
The 3 Types of Carbs
- Simple Carbs
- Complex Carbs
- Fibrous Carbs
First of all…. all carbs turn into SUGAR.
Simple Carbs are carbs that are in their simplest form…. they are the highest in sugar and have the lowest sensitivity to insulin which means its harder to burn fat.
Your body doesn’t have to work hard AT ALL to break these down since they are in their simplest form.
On the contrary, fibrous carbs, your body has to work really hard to break them down.
If you remember from my email last week, when your body is doing any kind of work, you are burning energy or calories.
Digestion takes up a lot of energy so you have the capacity to burn a lot of calories by eating the right foods…its a way to SPEED METABOLISM.
SIMPLE CARBS, your body burns no calories.
Another big thing to note about simple carbs is that they cause a HUGE INSUIN SPIKE in the body.
Whenever there is sugar in the blood, the body starts secreting insulin so that it can take it away from the blood stream and into the liver for storage, into the muscle and also into fat.
The problem is that when you start secreting a lot of insulin, the body is in a state of shock and in order to create some balance, the body starts shutting down on another hormone…. called GLUCAGON.
Glucagon’s sole purpose is to release FAT.
If you can’t release fat… you can’t burn it.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU EAT A LOT OF SIMPLE CARBS
So now imagine what eating a lot of simple carbs will do to your fat loss if you can’t even release the fat in order to burn it.
You want to keep simple carbs to a minimum.
And I’ll share with you a hack for simple carbs in a bit.
Examples of Simple Carbs
- Ice Cream
- Pre-packaged Foods
- Candy, Chocolate
- Carbonated Drinks
- Sports Drinks
- White or raw sugar
- Corn syrup
These are harder for your body to break down and turn into sugar.
And your body doesn’t get such an insulin spike because blood sugar isn’t so high as a result of consuming them.
Which means that glucagon isnt surpressed so much so you can still burn fat.
Unlike simple carbs, your body has to work harder to break these down into sugar which increases metabolism more and also increases insulin sensitivity.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T EAT ENOUGH COMPLEX CARBS
When eaten properly and in the right quantities, your body uses these as energy.
When you don’t eat carbs often, your body forgets how to use them for energy and instead of burning them up as energy, it stores them as fat.
It basically says… “oh crap, here are some carbs, and I don’t know when I’m going to get them again, so let me store them in case I don’t get them again for a while”.
You do not want this to happen… You need to train your body to use complex carbs as energy and not eating them ever is doing the opposite so if you are very sensitive to carbs.. meaning you gain weight quickly when you eat them… and you have done a lot of low/no carb diets… this is the reason why.
When you have a diet moderate to high in carbs, you will always have energy, be in a better mood because of the release of serotonin and feel better overall.
Examples of Complex Carbs
- Jasmine Rice
- Whole Wheat
- Brown rice
These are carbs that in moderation are good for you and important to include in your diet.
When I talk about carb cycling, I will explain more strategies of how to use these.
And when you learn how to eat them and how much and at what times…. you really can get the most out of them and really enjoy them as they are meant to be.
But remember…. they are a macronutrient so they are NOT to be ommited from your diet.
These carbs are actually also complex carbs but are made up of mostly water so they also help control appetite and hunger.
These carbs are even harder to break down in the process of digestion and your body actually doesn’t absorb them so you burn a lot of calories by eating them, helping speed metabolism.
They also help stabilize blood sugar and are low in calories which is why in most diets, you will see that you can basically eat as many vegetables are you want.
And this is why you want to include Fibrous carbs or vegetables in every single meal.
They are also filled with micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) which makes these incredibly good for your health.
These are the kind of carbs you want to consume more of.
Whew… that was mouthful.
But I hope that understanding carbs more will help you make better decisions when you are eating.
SIMPLE CARB HACK
I promised I’d give you a hack for eating simple carbs.
So, I always say that the best diet is the one you can be consistent with.
And to think that you will never ever eat simple carbs is just not reality.
Especially now knowing that fruits are simple carbs.
Now please note, I am not saying fruit is bad for you, they are actually incredibly healthy and good for you and full of micronutrients that your body needs.
You just need to learn how and when and how much to eat them.
And this is where my hack comes in.
The goal when eating carbs is to not have such a huge insulin spike because that causes the body to not be able to BURN FAT.
Carbs that are high in sugar are gonna create a high insulin spike in the body.
So here is where the hack comes in.
When you do eat simple carbs…. because you are human and you will.
Eat some protein with them as well.
When you eat protein with simple carbs or high sugar carbs is that your body takes an “average” of the glycemic index of both foods. Which will lower the sugar in the blood, which will cause less insulin spike, which won’t completely supresses glucagon so that you can still release fat and burn it.
I do this when I eat fruit.
I’m actually doing this right now as I type this.
I just cut up some fruit for my daughers snack and had some myself and so I had an mPower Protein Shake as well.
BTW…if you have not tried mPower yet…. you are SO missing out.
It’s sooooo good and soooo good for you.
But even if I eat something “bad”….some cookies or candy or what not…. I will take a few bites of chicken or turkey or whatever protein I have left overs of.
That helps me with 2 things.
- Reduce the insulin spike.
- Take away that sweet taste in my mouth that makes me want more.
WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER 🙂