Carbs

This macronutrient gets a lot of attention for a good reason and in my experience it can either make or break your physique ambitions. Generally, most people eat carbohydrate’s way out of proportion compared to protein and fats. Below are some of the reasons for this:

  • Convenience– Try walking into a convenience store and picking up something healthy and with good macronutrient ratios like 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fats. This task is very difficult if not impossible, as the store is full of very attractive, quick, easy options such as chips, sweets, pastries and chocolate bars, with lots of addictive ingredients and preservatives. What macronutrient do all these convenience foods have higher proportions of? Carbohydrates. These high levels of fast digesting carbohydrates mixed with trans fats is a recipe for disaster.

 

  • Emotional comfort– there have been many studies published on the addictiveness of food and reward deficiency syndrome (RDS). RDS involves the interactions of powerful neurotransmitters and results in abnormal craving behavior*. People link high carbohydrate sugary foods to feeling good, anytime they are not feeling 100% they turn to their sugary snacks for the quick fix and high feeling. Only to come back down to earth moments later in a crash with the added bonus of gaining more fat! And the cycle continues.

 

  • Lack of knowledge-  Many of us have been haunted by the press and/or fitness guru’s over the recent years to treat carbohydrates like the enemy. Most would try low carb/no carb diets without really paying attention to our body’s nutritional needs. The key is to take some time and effort to understand carbohydrates e.g. 100g’s of sweet potato has 90 calories and 21g’s of carbohydrates, compared to 100g’s of white bread that has 300 calories and 54g of carbohydrates.  That’s a big difference and when you take into consideration that the potato grew from the ground and has lots of micronutrients vs the white bread, which has been bleached and processed. I know which one I’d rather eat.

 

My guidelines below on carbohydrate intake:

 

*Carbohydrate intake is not a guessing game, do some reading and measure your food, at least for a period so future estimates will be accurate. Your intake will differ with goals and body type. If you haven’t got the time, hire a professional to do the calculations for you. There are no excuses.

 

*If your goal is to lose fat, keep starchy carbohydrate intake to a minimum. Consuming only after an intense workout. Aim for 25% of your daily calories to come from carbohydrates.

 

*If your goal is to gain muscle aim for 40-50% of your calorie intake to be from carbohydrates.

 

*Get most of your carbohydrates from naturally grown sources like sweet potato’s, vegetables and fruits. Grain sources can be taken if well tolerated.

 

*Food preparation is key. Walking into the convenience store hungry and coming face to face with a carbohydrate abundance is a recipe for disaster. Prepare your meals.

 

Coach Cyrus

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25278909