The Role Carbohydrates Have on Weight Loss Part 1.
Carbohydrates. They are without doubt the most scrutinized yet misunderstood macronutrient when it comes to weight loss, and even weight maintenance. Simply put, Carbohydrates are our bodies’ favorite and most easily utilized energy source, and are essential to a healthy diet, even when programming for fat loss. So, what kind of relationship should we have with the carb, and how much should we consume per day? Well, how much depends on your body type, daily activity level and your specific goal, but here are some guidelines we can all follow when incorporating carbohydrates as part of a weight loss program.
We all know a well-meaning friend or family member who swears, “Just cut carbs!” and weight will fall off, but it is not that simple.
Sure, it may have worked for them of a friend of theirs, but cutting carbs out of your lifestyle completely is a recipe for short-term weight loss with an equally short rebound to your starting weight.
The bottom line is, in order to lose weight and keep it off, your new eating habits need to be sustainable and part of a healthy lifestyle. Rather than a diet - a term linked to a temporary time period. Hence, “I’m going on a diet” (and will eat what I used to eat as soon as its finished).
Carbohydrates are not the enemy, as we established earlier carbs are our primary fuel source. While that’s all well and good, we do need to understand the role carbohydrates have in the body after being consumed.
Simply put, there are two avenues carbohydrates can go within your body post consumption. After you eat carbohydrates of any type, Glucose from that food is turned in to glycogen and stored mainly in the liver and then in the muscles.
From the liver and muscles, that glycogen can go two ways.
Option One: If you exercise the glycogen stores will then be converted back in to glucose and used as energy. Once these stores are depleted, you will tap into your existing reserves, in your muscles which then results in healthy fat loss.
Option Two: This is the route many of us unknowingly take. Once carbohydrates have been consumed and the glycogen is sitting in our muscle and liver ready to rock and roll, we don’t exercise. And then we eat again, and again, and again. The result? We over fill our own capacity to store carbohydrates before they are forced to turn to be converted in to fat within the body, and over time, this can leave someone thinking ‘how the heck has this happened’ I’ve gained a significant amount of weight.
We know that low carbohydrate diets can maybe leave you feeling lethargic, dehydrated, constipated and depleted, so it is imperative to strategically eat the best quality carbohydrates at the right time. And in the right portion, to increase your chances of adopting a long term healthy lifestyle.
In my next blog, I will focus on when the right times are to be eating carbohydrates, and what the best quality carbohydrates are.