By Adam Rodriguez
Recent information on carbohydrate intake is generally a bit of a minefield with different professionals telling you different things. In this series, Adam talks you through what they do, how they effect your body and which ones to eat….
Good carbs, also known as complex carbs and for the most part are in their natural state such as vegetables, fruits in moderation, beans and whole grains. They are high in nutrient value and don’t lead to an insulin spike when consumed which is good as insulin is a hormone that promotes fat storage. They take longer to digest because of their chemical structure and fibres meaning their energy is released over a longer period.
Now the bad guys, the simple carbs, low in nutritional value as they are generally highly processed and had any natural nutrients and fibre stripped out of them to make them consumer friendly. They are quick to digest and lead to that dreaded spike in insulin. These include refined grains, white rice, pasta, bread and foods laden with sugar like cereals, sweets, desserts, fizzy and sugary drinks.
How does the body handle carbs?
Basically there are 2 storage sites, the liver and muscles where the carbs which are broken down are stored as glycogen. Liver glycogen once broken down and sent via the bloodstream supplies the energy for proper brain function. Muscle glycogen is the body’s most accessible form of energy.
The problem is, that both the liver and muscles have a capacity to the amount of glycogen they can actually store. For the average person this is about 400g in the muscles and 80g in the liver, equal to about 2 cups of pasta!
What happens to carbs consumed once the stores are full?
If unused through activity, any excess carbs are converted into fat and stored in fat adipose sites. Not what we want to happen!
Also, if your diet is high in the refined sugars and simple carbohydrates then more insulin is released and less stored fat is burned. High insulin also suppresses a hormone called glucagon which should promote the burning of fat and sugar. it also suppresses growth hormone which is necessary for new muscle growth and development. DOUBLE WHAMMY!
These are just a small part of the problem! Once cells are full and cannot take in any more, there’s obviously a ton of excess sugar in the bloodstream, which sends a message to the brain to tell the pancreas (the organ which releases insulin) to release more insulin to take the excess sugar in the blood stream to the already full cells! You can see how a vicious circle occurs. Over a prolonged period of time, the pancreas and the body take a hell of a beating and this can lead to the illnesses such as diabetes type 2 etc…
Still confused by nutrition…….?! We can help you get your head around everything and get you on track to a healthier you. Contact us now at Field of Fitness
Visit our blog again soon to read more about carbohydrate in The Carb Debate……Part 3