Have you tried a low carb diet in order to shift some unwanted fat? If so did you find it hard to concentrate on work (or anything other than your next meal?). The brain only uses carbohydrates as energy so this is why it’s harder to function when your diet contains around 30% or lower of carbs.
Why You Need To Eat Carbs:
- Your body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose
- Glucose is used by your body as a main source of fuel for internal purposes as well as exercise
What Happens When You Don’t Eat Enough Carbs:
- Lack of concentration (Glucose powers the brain)
- Lack of energy / weakness / fatigue
Battle Of The Carbs: Cake vs Fruit, White Rice vs Brown Rice
The different categories of carbohydrates include: sugars, fibres and starch, each with their different properties.
Simple Carbs (sugars)
- Tastes delicious
- Gives you quick energy
- Gives you quick energy high BUT quick energy low
- Empty calories: Vitamins and minerals have been removed due to processing
- Can cause cravings, moodiness and blood sugar disturbances
Sugars: brown sugar, white sugar, cakes, chocolates, pies, sweets, biscuits, pastries
Refined sugars: white bread, white flour, white pasta
- Tastes delicious
- Gives you sustained energy levels
- Nourishing source of nutrients and minerals
Fruit: apples, bananas, blueberries.. etc.
Vegetables: broccoli, pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes etc.
Whole grains: quinoa, millet, buckwheat, oat, brown rice, wild rice
Pulses and legumes: lentils, aduki beans, butter beans, cannelloni beans, chickpeas
Carbs don’t make you fat because they’re carbs. Carbs make you fat when they’re low quality or in excess. (The same can be said for excess protein and fat!) Carbohydrates are low quality when they are unhealthily processed or refined. These include rice and bread of the white variety as well as fizzy drinks. What is so bad about ‘bad’ carbs? They can make you gain fat. They can also contribute to the development of diabetes, the quick digesting nature of the refined carbs causes quick insulin spikes and results in tampering with the body’s response to insulin.
The carbs your body desperate wants can be found in vegetables, legumes, fruits and wholegrains. So you have permission to skip the zero calorie, zero carb, (zero nutrition) noodles and go for something less processed.
Recommended daily intake:
Minimum the average person should eat is: 130g. However it is recommended that the carbs you eat should be 45-65% of total calories in your diet. If you eating 2000 calories per day, this can range from 225 – 325g.
The more active you are, the more carbohydrates you need because carbs = energy. For a bit of guidance: a medium banana contains around 27g of carbohydrates and 100g of cooked brown rice contains roughly 23g of carbohydrates.
THE TRUTH ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS
Eating a lot of carbs won’t lead to weight gain. Eating a lot of CALORIES will lead to weight gain. A lot means more than the body needs to sustain its activity levels.
Most men need about 1900 – 2500 calories to sustain their current activity levels and maintain their weight. Most women need about 1600 – 2000 calories to sustain their current activity levels and maintain their weight. The specific maintenance calories needed for each person depends on how active you are, how tall you are, how much you weigh and your age.
This number increases when you are more active or are heavier. This number decreases the older you get. To lose weight sustainably you need to be in a deficient. At a rate of 1 pound per week the deficient should be 500 calories per day. This doesn’t mean you should just eat 1500 calories per day and exercise a lot. The 500 calories INCLUDES the calories you burn from exercise. For example if you eat 1800 calories per day and burn 300 calories per day in exercise you will be in a deficient of 500 calories.