I get asked about carbohydrates ALL of the time. I get asked if they are good, bad, how much to eat and when to eat them! I'm going to give you the most important things you need to know about carbohydrates and YOUR health and fitness in a rapid fire Q&A!
Q: What are carbohydrates and what are they found in?
A: Carbohydrates are a macronutrient (along with protein and fats) that are consumed in the diet. They can be found in pastas, grains, baked goods, candy, wheat, fruits, & vegetables.
Q: Tell me about the 2 different types of carbs!
A: Let's keep it simple - there are complex carbohydrates (Whole wheat breads & pastas, fruits & veggies) & simple carbohydrates (Cookies, crackers, cereals, granola, chips, baked goods, white bread & pasta).
Q: Why does it matter that there are 2 different types of carbohydrate?
A: They absorb in to your body differently. Complex carbohydrates release (good!) sugar in the form of glucose into the body slowly. This is a steady release of energy and does not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. Simple carbohydrates release energy quickly and cause a blood sugar spike.
Q: What does this mean for my workouts?
A: You want to consume complex carbohydrates BEFORE a workout so you have a slow release of energy throughout your workout. This helps prevent an energy crash! You want to consume your simple carbs after a workout within the hour. This is when your muscles are hungry to be re-fed with glucose and it is less likely to be stored as body fat as long as you aren't over eating.
Q: Can you give me an example?
A: Sure! A great before workout meal for me is oatmeal, chia seeds and blueberries with scrambled egg whites on the side. After a workout, I might have 1-2 pieces of toast with 1/4 can of tuna and cucumber slices.
Q: What happens if I don't eat carbs?
A: As I tell my clients, your brain ONLY runs on carbohydrates, so if you don't eat enough, you will feel light headed, irritable and like a space cadette (my mom's words!). Your muscles will fall flat and your workouts will be a struggle because your muscles are starving. To maintain proper brain function, dieticians recommend not to go below 130g of carbohydrates per d
ay. (The average slice of bread has 12g of carbs).
I hope that has been helpful for you! If you have any questions, don't forget to email me and we can chat!